PiWars development

Our blogging has been a bit slow this year but Team Ipswich Makerspace has been very busy beavering away on our new robot. Once again Keith is designing TractorBot (possibly being renamed this year) in Fusion360. Keith has had trouble with files becoming corrupt in previous years, but with 2 x PiWars worth of experience things are going well so far. The model is even parametric, believe it or not the two images below are renderings from the same model, just with a couple or parameters edited to change the primary dimensions.

Short and high

Short and high

Large and flat

Large and flat

We started off using micro metal gear motors, and this is what we thought it would look like, once again using the trusty 7.2v NiCd batteries.

Potential layout(1)

And the first hardware was born.

And little while later we had movement. It’s always good (and a relief) when you see a robot move for the first time.

TractorBot 2017 from Keith Ellis on Vimeo.

Ipswich Raspberry Jam

Ipswich Raspberry Jam

Ipswich Raspberry JamMost of you will already know this, but in case you do not, the second Ipswich Raspberry Jam is being held on 27th February 2016 at the UCS Waterfront Building. It has been added to our event page so for more information see this page.

The Ipswich Raspberry Jam website can be found here

Tickets can be purchased here, they only cost a nominal £1.50 to cover administration. Tickets are selling out fast, so get them while you can.

Cheap Raspberry Pi Robotics Kit – EduKit 3

If anyone is looking for a cheap way to get into robotics with the Raspberry Pi, you cannot go far wrong with the CamJam EduKit 3 Robotics Kit. It comes with everything you need to create a Raspberry Pi robot, you just need to add your own Raspberry Pi, any model will do, and batteries. Oh, they don’t provide a chassis either, but that can be made from anything like an ice cream tub to a piece of thick cardboard or even the box the kit comes in.

Not only is the price of £17 brilliant, the CamJam team have also provided a series of worksheets which take you from Introduction, through building the robot and then onto using the sensors and creating a line following and other robot operations. This is a great educational tool and would make a great Christmas present for kids or adults alike.

The kit consits of the following:

  • A custom-designed, pre-soldered motor controller board (with screw terminals)
  • Two DC motors (with wires pre-soldered)
  • Two custom red wheels (which go extra fast… because they’re red!)
  • A ball castor (used as the ‘third wheel’ to your robot)
  • A small breadboard (to create your circuits)
  • Two pieces of strong 3M padded double-sided tape
  • A battery box for 4 AA batteries (batteries not included)
  • An ultrasonic distance sensor (for detecting objects in front of your robot)
  • A line follower sensor (for detecting and following black lines)
  • Resistors and jumper cables with which to complete your circuits
  • A strong cardboard box to keep it all in… or to cut into to make your chassis!

This kit is highly recommended and as a bonus, soldering is not required, it’s all plug, code, play.

If robotics seems a bit complicated for now, the CamJam team also offer two other great EduKits with sensors and more work sheets.

Here is a video from Alex Eames demonstrating the kit.

Getting started with the Raspberry Pi

Originally posted by Kieth Ellis from Ipswich Makerspace.

“Ok, so I was going to write a guide to getting started with the Raspberry Pi. However Michael Horne the organiser of the Cambridge CamJam has already written an excellent article.

So take a look at this post and definitely look at the Raspberry Pi foundation website, they have a great resource page with lots of guides and ideas for things to do with your Pi.



Once again, if you have any questions, just ask.”

Keith is one of the builders of our 2014 PiWars entry (which won its category) and was at the Ipswich Jam on Saturday demonstrating the robots.