ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby roboalchemist » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:14 am

Hey everyone!

Just thought you guys might like to know we're in the process of two things:
1.) I've successfully found the factory that makes the hobbyking metal gear servos, got samples, tested them, and have negotiated a pretty decent rate for them to make our own servos!

We're still trying to figure out how to offer an upgrade path for existing users, and how to sell kits going forward. If you haven't noticed, we've stopped selling all colors but blue. This lets us mass-manufacture at a factory now without having to worry about keeping wacky inventory numbers of 7 different colors. Blue was accounting for ~40% of sales anyway, and we haven't noticed a dip in sales since we stopped selling anyway.

Our current thought is to offer a discounted packs to existing hexy owners, and then to offer both plastic and metal gear kits. (metal gear being $300 vs $250 plastic). If it turns out we're selling metal gear as much as we sell plastic gears or more, we'll just switch entirely to metal gear.

We'll let you know when we start getting shipments in - I'm sure more than a few people would be interested.

Now the bonus: We are also getting some factory samples made of special 'servos' made. These are less servos than fancy gear boxes with built-in pots already attached, as we're ripping the controller board out. Each one would have 5 wires coming out (two for motor, 3 for the potentiometer). The idea is that control would be way better (and servos cheaper) if control was off-boarded to one or more processors on a central board. While it makes for a more complicated central control board, this would be awesome because it would make each 'servo' programmable and let you start doing fancy stuff, like position readings (poses anyone?) or even footfall detection. With raw pot data and motor control, the sky's the limit.
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Joseph Schlesinger - ArcBotics Co-Founder/CTO
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Re: ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby rpcook » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:41 pm

+1 for feedback control of the motors being handled by some custom electronics. I'd suggest that foot-fall detection should be very achievable with this. Of course, your controller board will have to provide 19 different voltages @ power current levels to control each of these. Hmm, methinks some challenges await.

Q: does this mean that I can claim my (red) Hexy is a limited edition model?
Rob
A record of my exploits and musings with Hexy and Sparki: http://robcook.eu, content available under a Creative Commons license.
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Re: ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby olestra » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:51 pm

I eagerly await!

a servo upgrade -- gives me servos to use on other projects -- awesome!

gear motors with encoders?, woot! cool options.
Tomorrow wouldn't be soon enough :D
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Re: ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby roboalchemist » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:07 am

This should give you guys a good idea what I mean by "pivotable" hole on the bottom

Image

We're also looking at just having the potentiometer wire broken out and leaving the electronics in. On further examination, unless you want a ridiculously large board because you're using all those 5x1 0.1" header pins, you have to use a custom connector. That would mean the board would be pretty incompatible with any other servo (also the 'servo' incompatible with any other board). I'll be investigating to see how much a pain it would be to get custom electronics made that you can stuff inside the servo. If we can do that, it'd avoid the problem by letting you use 4 pins for uart (or 3 wires if you wanted to get fancy and use 1-wire).
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Re: ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby TooManySecrets » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:18 pm

I think the best idea would be to leave the electronics inside the servo and just pull out the pot wires out. No need for new electronics board that can handle the servo. You would just need a few analog pins for the pots if im understanding this correctly.
Image
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Re: ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby E.Mk » Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:06 pm

Great news on the servos!

.... are these the servos that you'll have available?

http://www.adafruit.com/products/1404
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Re: ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby roboalchemist » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:40 pm

Even better! (and cheaper). They've be metal gear, strong, and we're aiming for $6 retail.

Yeah, I have to admit I kind of shat a brick when I saw they came out with those, though.

But basically, yeah, that's the idea. Imagine being able to calibrate your Hexy just by moving it into place, or capturing move by posing it.

Hexy, or say, a humanoid robot... ;)
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Re: ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby wildo69 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:28 pm

Any updates?
been really needing to replace the plastic servos
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Re: ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby roboalchemist » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:01 pm

Yes! We've gotten the samples, tested them, nailed down our plan with the factory, and are getting injection molding tooling started to make the custom plastic bottoms. We're still discussing how long it will take exactly, but we should have an estimate in a couple of days. Even cooler: We're going to be doing a factory tour on Monday. I'll be the annoying white guy taking tons of pictures, which I'll be posting on the blog (I'm getting more serious about communicating with you guys more, I just spent a few hours cleaning it all up last night).
---
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Re: ArcBotics Metal Gears and Custom Servos

Postby wildo69 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:28 pm

that's great news... i cant wait.. hoping the price comes down a bit but eithereway they sound like they are going to be highly durable servos and im gonna want em :)

on a side note i have been checking in here and there but your blog page does seem to have and RSS feed

do you think it would be a huge deal for you to add RSS to your blog page? i try and follow many project companies and stuff like Arcbotics and when they have something i can stick in my news reader (rss reader) it makes it so much easier for me to keep up with what you guys are doing. Especially now that the Kickstarter stuff is in the past its a good way to help get your stuff out there. Mailing lists are an option but i prefer RSS feeds personally
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