Twin brothers hack whatever’s put in front of them, then tell you about it.
by Bryce Woolley and Evan Woolley
THE THRILL OF BATTLE.
SERVO Magazine features a panoply of awesome projects, and every
issue is sure to inspire intrepid tinkerers
to pursue their own robotic endeavors.
Sometimes, however, prospective
hackers might be discouraged by what
could seem like a lack of raw materials.
Robots seem like a special breed of
project, and if you don’t have a kit of
parts lying around or another robot
that you’re willing to cannibalize, it
might appear insurmountably daunting
to come up with the components
needed for a cool project.
This month, we aim to show that
anyone can make an awesome project
out of just about anything. Since we’re
always on the lookout for spare parts,
Robot Central has become a bit of a
repository for old appliances and
whatever else might be able to pay
tribute to a future project.
To show that the possibility for
robotic greatness lurks in even the
most innocuous parts, we wanted to
take a discarded appliance, turn it into
a robot, and give it a task to do. Even
better, we wanted to take two similar
appliances, make two robots, and see
which one could complete the task
better. Let the games begin ...
A sense of friendly competition
always makes things more fun, so we
fashioned a set of rules to define the
parameters of our game. Each
competitor would start with a
comparable appliance. We happened
to have two printers laying around that
we were sure had aspirations of
A WORTHY COMPETITOR?
The core principle of the game
would be that to the extent
reasonable, competitors would be
limited to the parts in the appliance
itself, but any part of the appliance
would be fair game to use. The most
strictly enforced aspects of this rule
would be that only the motors from
the appliance could be used, and no
additional nuts or bolts could be
Perhaps it would be more efficient
to list the exceptions to the rule of no
additional parts that we would allow.
Even though we would not add any
nuts or bolts to the project, we
couldn’t resist allowing the
introduction of some of the most
universally useful essentials for any
project — robotic or not: duct tape and
WD- 40. We like to add zip ties to make
it a trifecta of awesome, so we would
allow those too.
that we justified with the
refrain of safety related to
the electronics. We would
use third-party battery
packs instead of trying to
power the robots off of
the power supplies that
came with the appliances
and plugged into the wall.
In our defense, the battery
packs were also simply
lying dormant in Robot
Central, patiently waiting
to be called forth for a
A DISMANTLED DESKJET.
70 SERVO 08.2013