I don't write often enough to call this a blog.

Modified PowerWheels

I picked up a free non-working PowerWheels (12v Yamaha Raptor 700R) on junk day a few weeks ago. 12v Yamaha Raptor 700R

Original vehicle when I found it. It suffered from severe neglect and sun damage to the plastic, but the frame and important bits were solid.

My kid wants a camo paint job and for it, "to go fast". In typical DIY OCD fashion I wound up doing a complete frame-off restoration:

  1. tore it apart and cleaned it up
  2. doubled the battery output from 12v to 24v
  3. modified the steering linkage to allow toe adjustment
  4. braced the monocoque frame with JB Weld to make it more stiff

You can follow the project in its entirety on the modified powerwheels forum. It was a fun project and has only cost me a few bux for the spraypaint and batteries

modified 12v Yamaha Raptor 700R

Here it is, essentially complete. I am still waiting for my new motors and a rear coilover shock to arrive, but once those are in i'm done....well...I actually got another old one for another project, ha!

Note to other modders, you can find every esoteric part you need searching google, google is your friend, and if you're ok with long shipping times, you can get everything for dirt cheap.

Arduino Ultimate Machine

Work in progress... I'm building a Marvin Minsky inspired Ultimate Machine" using an Arduino Uno, small servo, wooden recipe box, popsicle sticks, and wood glue. The Arduino controls the speed of the finger back and forth and I've programmed in some randomness to it to make it less predictable/more life-like. I've created a mount for the servo assembly and now at the point where I get the linkage right so the finger has enough torque to flip the big toggle switch. Lastly, I'll probably solder the wiring to eliminate the breadboard. With the Arduino managing the controls, there's lots of neat things one can do with a setup like this if sensors are added.

Arduino Ultimate Machine step 3

Cutting and glueing the jewelry box.

Arduino Ultimate Machine step 6a

Finger assembly and toggle switch mounted...more to come, this is a very slow build, admittedly I lost interest at some point.

Operation Game Using Makey Makey

So I kinda made my own version of the classic Operation game using the Makey Makey (a single board microcontroller). My kids helped with the robot concept and drew the robot on a cardboard box. I then cut the body cavity out with an xacto knife and lined it with conductive foil tape. This tape is wired to ground on the Makey Makey. Chopsticks are covered in foil and wired to click. If the chopsticks contact the bottom or sides of the body cavity, it completes the circuit and illuminates the LEDs on the circuit board.

Operation Game using Makey Makey

I'm thinking this would be so much better though if:

  1. I could run this off a battery
  2. I could integrate some snapcircuits like lights for the eyes and speaker for the mouth

I'm pretty sure attempting the above is beyond what the Makey Makey was designed to do though so I'm considering continuing this project using an Arduino Uno. TBD