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Driving and Painting

This was one of the first painting machines I made. This design could use some improvements: I would like to re-design it so it steers better, and figure out a better way of distributing the paint.-Margaret

Here’s the first version I tried. I basically built a machine that would "walk" on four feet, and strapped little sponges to the feet. Two motors are mounted under the RCX — I used a small gear on the motors to large gears on the wheels so it wouldn’t go so fast. It still went plenty fast.

It sort of self-destructed. I had it run with a pre-existing program that I thought would make it go back and forth (which it did), but the feet also ran into each other and knocked each other off. It also didn’t do a great job of drawing — the spots it made were kind of random and far apart.

Here’s attempt number 2. I decided that if I just made big, round wheels out of sponges, figuring that round things wouldn’t hit each other, and even if they did, they’re made out of sponges.

Here are the wheels. I hot-glued the sponge wheels to square legos that stuck on the ends of the axles.

I used fairly thick tempera paint (one color one each side of the machine), and tried to soak the sponge pretty well. (The tricky part of this step was trying to take a photo with only one hand, hence the focus problem.)

This worked a lot better. It did drive back and forth well. I would like to figure out a better way of making it turn — I could do that by changing the program.

It made a better pattern than the previous version. I found that if I grabbed it and set it back down, I could get it do make a sort of plaid pattern.

What else
Learn to make copper sensors.
Read what Margaret wrote about her interactive storytelling idea.
Will food conduct electricity? Read about an activity that combines food and Crickets.

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