school and college crowd. The impressive features include
an SD card slot and micro SD card which allows for data-logging and file storage. A variety of upgrades can be
added as you gain skill and confidence.
At the heart of the project is a Parallax Activity Board
(Figure 11 and Figure 12). I am very familiar with this
platform as it is our board of choice for puppeteering
projects. I have been extremely satisfied in my past
experience using it, and can highly recommend it. This
feature surely played a part in my selection of this product
for our list.
Out of the box, the ActivityBot is programmed using
Propeller C (Figure 13). The Simple IDE (integrated
development environment) programming software is a free
download available on the Parallax website. Your ActivityBot
can be expanded to utilize the BlockyProp graphical
interface as well. This will take some added components,
but will open up another valuable learning tool that we can
take advantage of.
The ActivityBot has added the necessary mini
screwdriver and a small plastic wrench in its parts list. It’s
always nice when I don’t have to be searching for exactly
the right tool to complete a build. Batteries are not included
18 SERVO 11.2017
Figure 11. Parts are included for a variety of projects.
Figure 12. My modified ActivityBot ready to roll!
Figure 10. Taking it up a notch with the ActivityBot.
Tips and Tricks
Have you ever been frustrated when trying to mark a
hole in a hard-to-reach spot? I’ve had to resort to trying to
accomplish this by taking careful measurements, but this
is time-consuming and the results can be less than
Another option is to use a quick blast of spray paint.
The paint will pass through the hole and mark your spot.
Effective, but it can be messy and I still have to track down
a working can of spray paint.
Having a Deep Reach Marker in your tool belt can
come in handy and save some valuable time (see
Resources). It also allows you to mark more quickly and
accurately. The narrow shaft of the marker allows it to
pass though holes with a diameter as small as 7/64 inches
and 3/4 inches deep at its narrowest dimension. You can
get additional depth, but the shaft does widen out as you
go (Figure A).
It’s permanent ink, works on wet or dry surfaces, and
comes in several different colors. I prefer black as it shows
up on most of the surfaces I work with, but you can get
them in blue, green, or red as well.
Since purchasing one, it has proved its worth several
times. I will be sure to always have one close at hand.
Figure A. You will find plenty of uses for a Deep