Category Archives: LEGO Mindstorms

‘Metal Minds Robotics’ FLL Team are Winners & Grinners !

Thank you to the ‘Metal Minds Robotics’ team for a great FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Competition at the Tasmanian State Championships on Saturday 19 October 2016, held in Hobart. I trust everyone else enjoyed the day at least half as much as I did. It was fantastic to see our future Scientists, Technologists, Engineers, and Mathematicians putting their combined skills together for such a great out come.

Teaching the PixyCAM Camera an Object

Teaching PixyCAM an object is super easy. Before we start, which objects will work well with PPixyCAM, and which wont? PixyCAM uses a hue-based colour filtering algorithm to detect objects. Since PixyCAM uses hue (colour), the object needs to have a distinct hue. Here are some objects that are good because they have good, distinct hues.

Installing PixyMon for the CMUcam5 Pixy Camera on a Windows PC

I have finally gotten around to purchasing a CMUcam5 PixyCam for myself. The (CMUcam5) PixyCam is a Smart Vision Sensor, with advanced Object Tracking. One advantage of this Camera is that you can quickly “teach” it to locate objects. It saves you time and data flow by only outputting the object data that you’re interested in. A multitude of connection options are available which means you can use PixyCam with almost any microcontroller, including Arduinos, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black and a dedicated LEGO Mindstorms version. I settled for the dedicated LEGO Mindstorms version of the PixyCam which plugs directly into a LEGO Mindstorms NXT or EV3 Sensor Port.

FLL Robot from a single EV3 31313 Kit: Mark II

FLL Robot from a EV3 Kit
This is my second attempt at a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robot which can be made from a single LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (Home 31313) kit. It was built with the intention of being demonstration Robot that the team members of the Metal Minds Robotics Team I mentor could build at home with their own EV3 Kits.

Dual Container Grab Mechanism for STS Crane

dual container grab mechanism
Over the last 8 months I have been working on Ship-to-Shore (STS) Bulk Container Handling Crane which is scaled to the LEGO 20′ Container that comes with LEGO Maersk  Train set. This Dual Container Grab Mechanism will hand two 40′ Containers, or four 20′ Container, or one 40′ & two 20′ Containers.

PID Control Theory Explained

Overview

Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) control is the most common control algorithm used in industry and has been universally accepted in industrial control. The popularity of PID controllers can be attributed partly to their robust performance in a wide range of operating conditions and partly to their functional simplicity, which allows engineers to operate them in a simple, straightforward manner. 

Supporting the next generation of Mindstorms Robotics Engineers

For my son Anthony’s 11 birthday, and I presented him with his very own LEGO Mindstorms EV3 set. Previously he was using one of Dad’s LEGO Mindstorms EV3 or LEGO Mindstorms NXT Kits. It was as an early birthday present by a few days, as he needed to practice for the Tasmanian FIRST LEGO League Competition in mid November.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robot from a single EV3 Kit

This is my first attempt at a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robot which can be made from a single LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (Home) kit. It was built with the intention of being demonstration Robot that the team members of the Metal Minds Robotics Team I mentor could build at home with their own EV3 Kits.

RobotC v4.54 – The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 ‘C’ Programming Language

The ROBOTC Development Team is very excited to announce their latest update, ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS 4.54, which includes new features, functionality, and bug fixes. 

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Coloured Ball Sorting Crane

LegoMindstormsNXTColouredBallSortingCrane

Good things do sometimes come from disasters. A couple of days ago I was attempting to lift down approximately 5Kg of assorted LEGO parts when the container took advantage of gravity, and headed straight to the floor. This ended in a completely empty storage container, and LEGO dispersed for metres about. Towards the end of the cleanup, I came across a pair of Green Mudgaurds from a LEGO Technics 8291 Green Dirt Bike.

EV3 Brick Firmware Update Process Fails

EV3-Update-Failure

What to do if your EV3 Brick stops working during the firmware update process.

If for some reason your EV3 Brick stops working during the firmware update process, you will need to manually update the firmware by doing the following (the EV3 Brick still needs a USB connection to your computer and the EV3 Software Running on you Computer):

Mindstorms EV3 Container Handling Crane

Container Handling Gantry Crane-06-768x576
This is my LEGO Mindstorms EV3 powered Container Handling Crane. It also uses an Arduino Uno to control the lighting effects. This was a long term project, taking some three month of development before I had a reliable Robot capable of operating over long time periods without intervention.
​I began the build back in March 2015, but it was June before I had a reliable Robots. The first incarnation was controlled with an Arduino Uno powered EVShield from Mindsensors I was Beta Testing at the stage.

EVShield Controlled Double-Leaf Bascule Railway Bridge

Double-Leaf Bascule Bridge
I have started work on another Bridge for my LEGO Railway layout, but this time I have built a Dual Track (Line), Double-Leaf Bascule Railway Bridge. This does mean I will need to build yet another baseboard to house it on, but I have received a large heap of LEGO Train Track, so all should be fine.

A Bascule Bridge (commonly referred to as a drawbridge) is a movable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances a span, or “leaf”, throughout its upward swing to provide clearance for boat traffic. It may be single or double leafed.

Just Monkeying Around

Monkeying Around

This is my latest Mindstorms Project, a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robotic Monkey that Climbs his way along a bar made from 25mm PVC Plumbing Pipe.

The Robot uses an EV3 Programmable Brick to control 3x Large NXT Servo Motors and a Medium EV3 Servo Motor. The Medium Servo Motor Rotates the Monkey’s Arms. Each of the Monkey’s Hands is opened and close with a Large Servo Motor. The third Large Servo Motor animates the Monkey’s Tail.This is my latest Mindstorms Project, a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robotic Monkey that Climbs his way along a bar made from 25mm PVC Plumbing Pipe.

Computerised Vertical-Lifting-Span Railway Bridge

Vertical-Lift-Span Railway Bridge
Movable Vertical-Lift-Span Bridges have a movable portion deck which remains horizontal as it is lifted vertically. The amount of headroom available is determined by the variations between water levels and the heights of the lift towers. Water traffic beneath these bridges are usually restricted to low-masted craft, barges and tugs.



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