Game of Drones Hiro Airframe Quadcopter Part 1: Building the Quadcopter

     This is the first time where I will try to learn and make a quadcopter. Parts from the Crossfire Quadcopter will be used to make this quadcopter with the Hiro Airframe from Game of Drones. The end result is shown above. An image of the frame alone can be seen below.
The Hiro Airframe that will be used for this quadcopter build

Boca Build 2.0 Geared Sliding Puzzle: Final Fabrication

This posting will show the final fabrication and finish work that went into the Boca Bearing Sliding Geared Puzzle. I will have a final posting with high quality, still shots of the finished piece.

For starters, I need to make a platform or base for the puzzle. Up to this point it has basically been a rough steel frame that slides around on the table when you move the pieces around. I have a tendency to collect handles, wheels, feet, risers and other useful or decorative parts of furniture so I had 4 rubber-bottom bolts with nuts that used for adjustable feet.

I needed the feet to be able to lower all the way. This means the nut will need to screw on all the way to the head so I would have to thread the rest of the bolt. The nut will then be welded on the base as seen below.

This is the main base. It used to be a home made stand for a table mount drill press. I shortened it by adding new pieces of channel (the horizontal pieces seen at the top and bottom of the picture above) and then cutting off a few inches including the old channel.

You can see the nuts welded to each corner for the feet.

The channel is tapped with a 10-32 thread for bolts that will hold the main frame.

Main frame attached to base.

Here, the top is folded down close to the base for a lower profile during transportation. The hinge shown above is from an old treadle sewing machine and is connected by a 10-32 bold that screws directly into the channel cross-members. You can also see the bolt (foot) coming through the nut on the lower right hand side of the picture.

The "kickstand" comprises of two folding arms that I cut from an old steel table that was in my scrap pile. Each was welded to the frame at one end and then at the other ends they were bridged by welding a steel rod between the two.

Above the kick stand, surrounding the edge of the frame is another frame made of welded 1/2 steel angle. This frame fits over the main frame to keep any puzzle pieces from being removed or falling out. It is drilled with 4 3mm holes while the main frame is tapped with 4 holes to receive 3mm bolts.

Now that the main fabrication is complete, it is time for finishing. For the control box, main base and small frame, I used "traffic grey' powdercoating from Powder Buy the Pound to achieve an industrial feel on the piece.

The powder gets sprayed on around 15-20 psi and goes into the oven around 400 F.

After it cools to room temperature, its ready to handle.

The main frame that holds the puzzle pieces will not be powder coated. Since the hinges move against each other and the panels slide agains the steel, the powder coating will likely crack and flake off. I also wanted to have a little contrast between parts so I used a Slate Black Patina from Sculpt Nouveau. I also need to seal it so it does not continue to rust so I used their Clear Guard Matt Black.

I sandblasted it, made sure not to touch it with bare hands so I did not transfer oil and dirt back onto it and then sprayed the full concentrate patina onto the surface. You can dilute the patina with water to conserve it and to get a more rusty color.

The patina is basically a red/black rust so it has a fuzzy texture to it. I used some super fine steel wool to remove the loose "fuzz" and am left with a blackend surface similar to gun bluing.

To hold the color and prevent rusting I then apply the clear guard using a spray gun.

The lacquer darkens up and unifies the color of the patina while also protecting it.

For the main surface, I did not apply a lacquer but carnauba wax found at the auto store . Since the wood panels are riding on 4 bronze rods (bushings), the wax will help the panels slide. If I use the lacquer, then it will just scrape off, the wax will protect and lubricate.

I have already fabricated the aluminum handles but I need to clean them up, remove burrs and finish them.

I start with a file to round off the edges and worked up to 320 grit sandpaper for smooth finish.

Here is a shot of the raw panels before adding Teak Oil for a natural looking finish.

The oil makes the grain pop out and darkens the over color as seen above. I use paste wax on all 4 edges of each piece to help them glide against one another.

To help keep all the handles, nuts and bolts tight, I use a little threadlocker purchased from the auto store. Now it is time to re-assemble everything.

Here you can see the finished puzzle with the control box. I want to add a couple decals but that is about it. The puzzle has been a challenge since I have not build one before and there were several obstacles to over come, but that is what made it such I a blast to make.

Chad Bridgewater
November 23, 2015

Boca Build 2.0 Geared Sliding Puzzle: Control Box

The geared puzzle is ready for its electronics. It has been running off of an Arduino Uno that is plugged directly into the wall. Boca wanted to include a simple timer and switch so that the piece can be displayed as well as played. I was working on the fabrication but I needed help on the electronics so I turned to my friend Associate Professor Bryan Cera. Bryan also went to UWM working with Professor Frankie Flood earning his MFA.

First, Bryan used a bread board to mock up all the electronics including a digital display, main power switch, toggle switch for the motor and an Arduino Nano.

Traxxas XO-1: Boca Bearings Install

I all started with my love for speed.

I love to drive as fast as possible. I started to receive speed tickets and that had to stop. The next best thing I figured out was RC racing.

I picked up my first Traxxas XO-1 and I was hooked. I got it up to 100 miles per hour but I wanted to go even faster. At this point it was time to build something better and I started the 150 mph project. This new XO-1 received all the bells and whistles.

I installed Castle Creations 1/5th scale ESC with A Leopard 1/5th scale motor. I used all 1/5th scale mounting products from High Gear RC. And batteries from Max Amps. I also went with 1/5th scale wheels from GRP and adapters from RC Hornet Products. Also it would never go this fast without using the Boca Bearings Lighting Kit for the Traxxas XO-1.

Check out the videos of the build:

Part 1: Wheel Knuckles, Center Drive Shaft and Crush Drive

Part 2: Steering and Differentials

Part 3: Front Assembly

Part 4: Rear Assembly

Part 5: Center Assembly

Part 6: Final Assembly

M. White Reckless
November 16, 2015

3D Printed Robotic Hand: Part 7--The Last Codes Used (No Servo Shield Required)

     The last time I wrote a post for this project, I didn't post the codes that I was using for the arm and glove. The codes that I last used were the codes I used to control the hand without the servo shield from Adafruit. This can help you save you little bit of money by not having to buy that shield
     Also, this codes seems to be much easier to understand and to calibrate the ranges for the flex sensors. 

     So the code for the glove is as follows:

// This will be the code for the glove. I got parts from two different existting glove codes.

// One from Garbry295 on Instuctables and the other from dschurman from 
// instructables as well.

int flexpinky   = A0;
int flexring    = A1;
int flexmiddle  = A2;
int flexindex   = A3;
int flexthumb   = A4;

void setup()

pinMode(flexpinky,  INPUT);
pinMode(flexring,   INPUT);
pinMode(flexmiddle, INPUT);
pinMode(flexindex,  INPUT);
pinMode(flexthumb,  INPUT);

Simple Robotic Arm Made Out of Cardboard Pieces -- Part 2: How to make it


This post I will be covering on how to create a simple robotic arm out of cardboard pieces. This project is fairly simple and based on the Arduino's IDE example "Knob." I will be covering on what parts are necessary and where to get them.

List of Parts
The following parts are necessary to complete this project:

Boca Bearings Innovation Series: Acavallo Carousel

Riding on a carousel as a kid was fun, sitting on the horses going up and down, riding in a wide circle as the music played. Well the Acavallo Carousel is a little different, and a little cooler in our opinion. They set their steel horses on a pirate ship, and made the whole thing able to drive along the playa at Burning Man while blaring music. Since its inception they have traveled to events across the world, bringing this engineering marvel to the masses.

Each year Quill Hyde improves the design and keeps thing running. Here was what he said about his project.

Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another function?

It's a work of participatory art - A Cavallo, the Carousel, is a rolling Coney Island pirate ship with steel horses galloping, a stage on the back, and shooting musical fire up above; celebrating life, art and performance along the way. An interactive, not-for-profit art experience, A Cavallo is a unique piece of public art, above and beyond the band of horses - its a roving, powered stage for circus performers, musicians, fire artists, DJ’s, aerialists, and others who want to share their talents. It re-debuts this year at Burning Man, after which The Carousel will roam - bringing art to communities around the country. What is it? The carousel is a rolling, transformative metal ship. We're remixing the materials, parts and pieces of the original carousel into a new, infinitely more flexible version, designed for ease of transport and setup, enabling it to play events and parades the world over.

When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?

I started this project in 2007, and it took me six months to design and 8 weeks to build the first version. My initial design goals were a little skewed - pack as small as possible, bolt up to as big as possible - which makes setting the ship up a five-day excursion to nowhere. It's been sitting for 4 years, waiting. I've completely reworked it to meet new design goals - travel as a self-contained gooseneck trailer, on 3 axles. Unfold to a 13' version for parades, with telescoping options for higher-clearance events. In full trim, it reaches to 38' or so. I've used the original CAD to generate the new plans, cutting up the parts many different ways until I settled on the simplest and most sensible solution. That's taken me another year or so. Now we're starting the rebuild, which will take us 8-10 weeks.

What was your goal in building this project?

To bring a vision to life - I went to Burning Man in 2006 and saw art that really got me excited. I had a company, and built automation systems for Broadway shows. Which meant I was ready to build something big, and had a tremendous set of skills to bring to bear on the project. I had a dream of metal horses, with fire above and a stage behind, all wrapped in a ship, and rolling down an abandoned freeway in a post-apocalyptic world. And I set about designing it, raising money, and built it, because I'd seen it already, in my head. The goal of the project was to involve as many non-makers as possible (to teach metal arts), and to make a piece that would interact with as many people as possible, in a joyous way. With music, with carouseling horses, with the ship itself. Once on the piece, you're in the piece, transported to another time and place - you're on a stage, you're part of the art. And it's so much fun.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

The project is meant to inspire others to make, ultimately. I find, in our rapidly technologizing culture, that many people have never been exposed to the process of bulding things, never been inspired sufficiently to learn to drill holes, make up bolts, design mechanical systems for no reason. I hope to do that. My dream is for this art project to provide the backbone for a nonprofit educational organization, teaching making skills and building interactive public art.

What makes your idea unique?

It's a unique take on the carousel, for one - life size horses, on a ship, going in a straight line while the horses go up and down underneath you. So much more pleasant than the spinning kind. And the stage, too, for performers, and the horses, and the attention to detail throughout.

In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?

There are rod-end bearings everywhere (in all the suspension swingarms, the horse crank-stabilizers) and various other linkages. The horses themselves are supported at the bottom by a self-aligning 1-5/8" cast-iron housed flange bearing. There are also, of course, the bearings in the motors, the gearboxes, and in all the hubs of the many wheels.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?

That it's for them, that when they see it, they're welcome to come onboard, to ride the horses, to listen to the band, to play with the flame effects. They're even welcome to write their name on the piece, tag it, make it theirs.

Autonomous Rover Part 6: Troubleshooting

Ordered a power module (PM) from Amazon for the Ardupilot Mega and received it a couple weeks ago. Below is a picture of the PM.

Boca Bearings Innovation Series: Primal 2 Speedbike

Imagine going down the highway at 80+ MPH, not so hard right? Now image that you are traveling in a narrow carbon fiber vehicle, powered only by your legs! The Primal 2 Speedbike is an amazing attempt and journey to break the human powered land speed record. Using bike parts and a lot of ingenuity they travel faster than the highway speed limits!

George Leone has been working on speedbikes since the 80s. Here is what George and the Primal 2 Speedbike team had to say about their project.

Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another function?

Primal 2 is a speedbike (human powered vehicle) designed for world speed record attempts. An enclosed, recumbent streamlined bicycle. It is powered solely by one person pedaling, with no stored energy of any kind. It is also used to demonstrate advanced technologies applied to the familiar workings of a bicycle. Primal 2 has been shown at car shows, museum exhibits and school visits to encourage teenagers to start building their own creations and to pursue careers in technology and science.

When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?

I started working on speedbikes in 1980, and worked as part of a team to build our own advanced composite design from 1984 to 1988. Primal 1, the prototype for Primal 2, was built and raced in 2008, and we have been working on, racing and improving Primal 2 since 2009.

What was your goal in building this project?

To set the world land speed record for a person traveling under their own power, with no wind or slope assistance. The current record for women is 76+ mph; the current record for men is 82+ mph.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

The project seeks to combine a human rider and a machine into one unit to maximize the power one person can produce. It also is using super-light and super efficient systems to demonstrate improvements that will create ultra high mileage transportation in the near future.

What makes your idea unique?

Our use of Carbon fiber and other advanced materials for lightness and safety, Boca Ceramic bearings and other strategies to improve mechanical efficiency, coupled with cutting edge streamlining technologies, all combined in a machine powered solely by muscle, that already goes faster (70.40 mph) than the National Speed Limit for cars.

In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?

We are using Boca Hybrid Ceramic bearings to maximize power transmission efficiency in multiple locations in the vehicle. It's working. We're doing faster-than-freeway speeds on fractions of a horsepower!

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?

The future belongs to the efficient and to the innovative! Dream BIG. You can be part of the solution, too!

Bearings in action! Boca Bearings, a small part of something amazing. 

Boca Bearings Innovation Series: Human Powered Helicopter - Gamera

A human powered helicopter! It seems like a crazy idea, or something out of Leonardo Da Vinci's notebook. But that is what one team set out to accomplish.

In 2012 Team Gamera entered their project into Boca Bearing's Innovation Contest and quickly captured the imagination of the Boca Bearing team, and inspired engineers everywhere. 35 years ago, the American Helicopter Society (AHS) put up the Sikorsky Prize. the prize requirements are to hover for 60 seconds, momentarily reach an altitude of 3 m (about 10 ft), and stay within a 10 m X 10 m area during flight. Team Gamera consists of engineering students of all levels, Freshman through PhD, at the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering and Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center.

Here was what Team Gamera had to say about their project.

Tell us briefly about your project. Is it a work of art or does it serve another function?

The Gamera project aims to design, build, and fly the first human powered helicopter to meet the requirements of the 32 year-old American Helicopter Society (AHS) Sikorsky Prize. The prize requirements are to hover for 60 seconds, momentarily reach an altitude of 3 m (about 10 ft), and stay within a 10 m X 10 m area during flight. Since the challenge began in 1980, no individual or team has come remotely close to meeting these requirements, despite many serious attempts. Several in the rotorcraft community have said the requirements are nearly impossible. In August 2012, the Gamera team was able to accomplish hover durations of 65 seconds and altitudes of 9 feet (2.7 m), separately. These achievements have erased many of the doubts in the community, and raised the level of excitement surrounding the challenge. Team Gamera consists of engineering students of all levels, Freshman through PhD, at the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering and Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center. The purpose, beyond winning the prestigious AHS Sikorsky Prize, is to push the envelope of lightweight design, to provide a unique educational experience for all the students involved, and to inspire the next generation of engineers.

When did you start working on this project and how long did it take you to complete?

The project started in Fall 2008, and it took 2.5 years for the first vehicle, Gamera I, to be designed and built. Between May and July 2011, Gamera I reached a maximum duration of 11.4 seconds and only about 1 ft altitude, which was a US national record at the time. During the Fall 2011, we went back to the drawing board, putting all the engineering lessons we had learned on Gamera I to use. The result was the design of Gamera II, which was a significant improvement. Vehicle weight was reduced by 30 lbs from 106 lbs to 76 lbs, while rotor blade aerodynamics were improved, resulting in 40% less power being required from the pilot. Extensive human power research was also conducted, showing that having the pilot pedal with hands and feet simultaneously increases power output by about 20%. As of August 2012, with Gamera II XR (Extended Rotor Radius), we have achieved hover durations of 65 seconds, and altitudes of 9 ft in separate flights. The project is ongoing, and we are currently working towards implementing a control system to hold vehicle position within the required hover area, as well as combining the 60+ second flights with the 10 ft altitude to win the 32 year old AHS Sikorsky Prize!

What was your goal in building this project?

The project’s goal has always been to progress towards meeting the requirements of the prestigious AHS Sikorsky Prize (hover for 60 seconds and 10 ft altitude). The secondary goals were to enhance the engineering education of students at the University of Maryland and inspire the public (particularly future engineers). We want to push the envelope of lightweight design and accomplish what was once considered impossible.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

The human powered helicopter is not meant to be a practical aircraft, and will not be in stores near you soon. But the Gamera project is all about tackling an “impossible” challenge, and in doing so encourage the next generation of engineers to dream big. And not only dream big, but make it happen!

What makes your idea unique?

A pedal-powered quad-rotor the size of a Boeing 737 airplane is pretty unique! Our commitment over the years to carefully researching and improving each aspect of the vehicle has paid off with an enormous leap in capability over previous designs, putting the AHS Sikorsky Prize finally within reach.
August 2012, the Gamera team was able to accomplish
hover durations of 65 seconds and altitudes of 9 feet (2.7 m)

In what capacity are you using bearings and what type of bearings?

The Gamera II XR helicopter uses ceramic bicycle bearings for the hand and foot cranksets, as well as steel needle roller bearings and steel needle thrust bearings for each of the four rotor shafts. There are also a variety of smaller roller radial bearings being used in idler pulleys for transmission string re-direction and in idler sprockets for chain tensioners in the cockpit. Steel needle roller bearings are used on the flywheel shaft, which rotates at 800 RPM. There are PTFE plain bearings in the hand grips as well. In a weight-critical application such as this, the performance of these bearings has proven to be well worth the added weight.

What is the most important thing you want people to know about your project?

Human power is 10 times worse, per pound, than a steam engine! While it seems conceptually simple, constructing a human-powered helicopter to lift off the ground for even one second is a huge challenge. Going from 1 second to 60 seconds is an order of magnitude greater challenge, and similarly with going from 1 ft to 10 ft altitude: the difficulty increases exponentially.

Bearings in action! A small part of something amazing. 

Boca Build 2.0 Geared Sliding Puzzle: Clutch

This is the second (of 3) posts for my most recent project with Boca Bearing of Florida. The sliding puzzle is in the last stages of design and at the beginning stages of fabrication. While not all the details are complete, the design for the pins and handle for moving the cogs is finished. This has been the biggest challenge and I will continue onto the full fabrication of a cogged panel. If works, then I will duplicate the fabrication for everything.

The pins are machined from a piece of round stock aluminum I pulled from the dumpster at school. When they hired someone to put handles on the gallery doors, these were the left over pieces that were tossed in the trash (there were at least 4 of them). I use a machinist or drill press vice to hold the round stock because it will twist in my fingers.

To keep the aluminum flat against the bed of the band saw, flip the vice upside down with both jaws touching the bed.

After cutting the end of the aluminum on the band saw, I center it on my 1940 Montgomery Wards (mfg by Logan) Lathe using a four jaw chuck.

My first attempt at designing the post was using a single piece of steel for mounting the gears.

After center drilling and facing the steel, I used a live center to steady it.

I machined the axle (long, skinny section on to the right), followed by the bearing's seat (this sits in the top layer of wood), and the end that sits in the bottom two layers of the wood panels. Then a parting tool cuts through the steel stock to remove the new part. It still needs to be turned around in the lathe, machined a bit more and turned back around to cut the 1/4 -20 threads.

Here are the parts laid out (lt to rt). Acrylic gear (not final material), nut, washer, a Boca Bearing and the steel post.

I used steel because I plan on using magnets in the base of the board so each panel snaps into place and fully engage each other. I was going to fabricate a handle of some sort but I did not like the balance of the piece. The piece is bottom heavy and when moving it from the top of the post, the whole piece wants to tip forward like a weeble wobble. I decided to modify the design in aluminum and steel while also breaking up its parts some.

I started with the lower half of the post. It will be threaded so I can used a bolt to join the two haves together with a carriage bolt.

The part on the left is the bottom section. The part on the right sits on top of the Boca bearing and spaces the handle (largest diameter section).

(Top row lt to rt) rare earth magnet, fully assembled post and gear on magnet, and end gear.
(Bottom lt to rt) 1/4 -20 nut, lower aluminum post, Boca bearing, gear, upper aluminum post, 1/4 -20 carriage bolt.

The side view shows the layers that will go in the wooden panels. The very bottom is just a steel plate for displaying these gears temporarily while being joined to the gear assemblies with rare earth magnets.

From here, I will construct the wood panels for these two gears, resolve any issues and finish its construction.

Chad B.
October 5, 2015