AVC Update and "Engineering Roundtable" - Homemade Pan/Tilt with Creo


First off, we have an exciting announcement about the 2013 SparkFun Autonomous Vehicle Competition. After months of filling out forms, writing emails, and making phone calls, we’ve nailed down a date and location for the 2013 SparkFun AVC. The event will take place on June 8, 2013 at the Boulder Reservoir.

If you’re not familiar with the AVC, this has become SparkFun’s signature event where competitors race against each other with DIY autonomous vehicles. In the past, the event has been held at SparkFun HQ, but the AVC has officially outgrown our location so we’re moving it to the reservoir.

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Details, like entrant and spectator signups, will be coming soon, but we have now locked down the date and location. Plan accordingly! We’ll be posting again soon with more details, a course preview, rules, and other info. We hope you can make it for what should be an awesome day of robotics!

Today, we have a new episode of “Engineering Roundtable.” We are also introducing a new “character” (and a character, he is) - Paul, SparkFun Mechanical Engineer. In today’s episode, Paul discusses his homegrown pan/tilt camera mount. Check it out:

Vimeo version can be found here

As usual, leave any comments or suggestions for Paul in the comments section below. We hope you enjoy the video and we’ll be back in a few weeks with another episode of “Engineering Roundtable.”


Comments 30 comments

  • Awesome, can’t wait for June 8! I’m not sure yet if I need to make Data Bus amphibious. Awaiting further details. :D

    • nope :-) I think you’ll like some of the changes we’ve made though. a little bird told me there’s gonna be a ramp.

      • YES!!! Will it lead to water??? lol

        • kinda.

          • That’s like being a little bit pregnant

          • Either that means you’re going to drive a UGV into the reservoir, or into a kiddie pool. Either way, Sparkfun is amazing. Wish I could go, but I’m kinda all the way on the east coast….And I’ll still be in school….I’ll probably have a final or state test that day…..while all y'all have fun…..:-/……are you going to live stream it this year?

            • I’m not entirely sure how video coverage will work. We’re hashing out a few different ideas. It’s not going to be at our building, so internet access is more complicated. We’ll see…

    • Well based upon this Google Map I thought maybe yes. :-)

      http://goo.gl/maps/fcnhg

  • Are aquatic Autonomous vehicles allowed??

    • We haven’t yet created an aquatic category. It gets difficult at the res because there are wildlife protected areas, and we need to make sure we don’t leave robot bits floating there, polluting the area if something goes wrong. Perhaps for next year’s AVC however!

  • I just downloaded CREO 2.0 to learn and to teach my high school kids. PTC makes it free to all K-12. Sweet! Did you create the Arduino model yourself or did you grab that from somewhere?

    • I agree, it is very nice that the student version is free! I learned ProEngineer Wildfire 3 back in 10th grade and have used it ever since. I found the model off of grabcad.com

      No time for that much detail!

  • Boulder Reservoir? Hmmm, boats and submarines?

    • Before you start cutting metal, sorry, even though the event will be at a reservoir, there will be no aquatic or amphibious events this year (unless your navigation is WAY off). We’re definitely considering such things for the future.

  • Nice, glad to see some mechanical stuff on here.

    Two comments: One. Add a second bearing on the main shaft to eliminate the wobble

    Two. If you want to hire another ME let me know…

  • I’m really liking that Creo program. Any good tutorials you know of for it?

    • It’s sort of hard to find good Creo tutorials. You’ll have much better luck searching for Pro Engineer tutorials. The progression of software went from Pro Engineer 1 to Pro Engineer 5 and then changed to Creo Parametric, this being Creo Parametric 2.0. Most of the functions are similar between the two so it is possible to work your way through a ProE tutorial using Creo.

      For a pretty good overview of basic and even a few complex tools, check this out

      • Thanks. I’ve downloaded the Creo Elements Direct Modeling Express version. We have a makerbot replicator here at work and I want to maybe give it a try.

    • check youtube. that’s actually how I learned solidworks. there’s a lot of good videos out there.

  • Awesome video, Paul!

    • Why thank you.

      • Truly that is really cool! But how come you used gears instead of just mounting the servo straight to the bracket? Is it to slow it down?

        • To make it more stable, I needed to mount the camera on a bearing. It would have been far too flimsy mount directly on top of the servo. As mtbikerTi said, it would have been a good idea to use another bearing at the top to stabilize it more.

  • I am assuming that the arial portion will be at the airfield there? I have been waiting to find out if the location will have enough runway for my gas powered plane. Anything goes this year right?

    • it won’t be in the airfield. we’re putting together a course preview as well as a full post to explain everything. give us another week or so and all questions will be answered.

  • Sweet! I’ve been looking forward to this AVC since June 17th of last year! New course, new bots, new mayhem. See you there!


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