Back in the February 2010 issue of SERVO
Magazine, I wrote an article called “Base on a Budget.”
The article described ways to create robotic platforms
with minimal expense. At the time, I created an
aluminum chassis for the new Parallax motor mount
and wheel kit (MMWK). Ken Gracey liked my platform,
but thought it could be made simpler and cheaper. He
created a wood platform which moved the battery
under the robot and out of the way.
After experimenting with this platform, Ken
decided to make the platform round, and voilá! A new
generation of robots was born. This robot would be the
father of the Eddie robot, MadeUSA robot, and now the
Arlo robotic platform system.
The concept with Arlo is that there is no pre-designed
kit. Instead, you start with the base and add the parts and
accessories needed to create your own platform. I
borrowed this concept for the Manta Ray robot article
published in the June and July issues of SERVO. To make
building your Arlo robot platform easy, Parallax has created
a build path chart to get you started.
This build path details the various options available to
you. It shows the parts required, their part numbers, and
quantity. It also provides optional selections. At the time of
this writing, available options were being updated with two
changes not reflected in the chart shown here. The first
change is that the Eddie control board is being
discontinued. These boards were (of course) designed for
the Eddie robot which — while a similar platform — used a
laptop PC to process information and communicate with its
control board. Another option was being added but was
not yet ready for sale. I’ll discuss that later in the article.
First, let’s have a look at what the Arlo robotic platform is
made up of.
Covering Your Bases
A good base is the starting point of any robot, and this
one has been tested to be tried and true. This platform
comes with the battery shelf, as well as the hardware
needed to connect the base and the battery shelf to the
motor mount and wheel kit. The tools required for the
hardware are also included. The base is made of high
density polyethylene and provides 220 square inches of
usable surface area. The battery shelf can handle one or
two 12 VDC at 8 Ahr SLA batteries. You can also mount a
different battery using your own hardware.
A good base requires a good drive/wheel system. The
Parallax MMWK comes in two versions. The first version is
the standard machined 6061 aluminum set which can
support up to 60 lbs. The second version is a lower cost
molded plastic set which can support up to 20 lbs.
Build path for the Arlo robotic platform system.
The round version of the wood robot that would go
on to become the father of several new robots.
First chassis created for the Parallax MMWK.
SERVO 08.2014 49