Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2012


I managed to get the little Jansen style walker up and running on radio control. Probably overloaded the central supports with a huge 5 cell AA Nicad pack, and 7 channel Rx... and indeed it did "realign" the gears, which caused a bit of skipping. However the point of the exercise was to see if it would take a radio signal, and it does. If it takes a radio signal it means I wan swap in an Arduino and use the PWM channel.

On another tack I nipped down to #buildbrighton last  Thursday and with Adam's help disassembled a Dalek voice changer helmet, and stuck the sound circuitry into the head of our "real" Dalek.
It works after a fashion, and flashes the dome lights too.
Once I've done the hard work building the neck section, I'll strat wiring stuff up properly.

Voice changer

I've won an ebay auction for a Dalek Voice changer helmet, £13 for some basic dalek sounds, which I can shove in my Dalek, seems like a bargain.

more legs


I rebuilt the servo mounts and everything seems sort of sorted. There's lots of flex due to the wonky gears, but it seems to move. I think i need to add some tension springs to keep the legs pointing in the right direction, they get easily deflected. Also my birthday present has turned up: a Gakken Rhino walker


I've had trouble getting enough torque out of the tiny HS50 servos that were fitted to the walker, so last night at #BuildBrighton I added a pair of meaty old 3003's from an old antweight robot. It works, buuut I need to make some mounting brackets. Video taken on my iPod touch by Adam, who is trying for the "Bourne Identity" shakey cam effect.... but even so you can see the organic wriggle of the legs.

Adam also had a bash at creating the walker mechanism using Lego mindstorms.

(Originally I put the video on Vimeo, but 12 hours after uploading it's still sitting in a queue for conversion... so good old YouTube did the job)

Solar powered

Duff paint means poor coverage on the solar panels, but at least they are done.
Neck next.

Heads up

I've cut some temporary "solar panels" out of MDF until I can get round to cutting some aluminium, or maybe some of lexan I have littering my cellar.
Anyway, primer coat has been applied, sanded, and a second coat added... I might spray them with a top coat tomorrow, simply because I'm keen to see some progress. I remember having the same issues with the hemispheres, there's just so many of them, each that requires filling, sanding, priming, undercoating, top coating, finishing etc...

I also ordered up some indicator units for a LandRover Defender which are the same pattern as the ones used in the 70's Daleks, which I think my Dalek most closely matches.
I had to cut slightly bigger holes in the side of the head to accomodate.
That's about it, neck building next....I'm bidding on a new Dalek Voice changer helmet which seems a very cheap way of getting hold of ring modulator style electronics. 29 minutes to go!

Getting waisted

I'm amazed the grey paint I used on the skirts about 8 years ago is still ok, and have added a coat to the waist section. Silver spray on the band, and some mesh from Wickes.
Next step is to paint the "solar panels" and fit them.

Return of the Dalek

I started building this Dalek so long ago I can't even remember when... I think it was probably 2002/3.
Since then I've had half a Dalek taking up space in my basement, gathering dust. My recent visit to the Brighton mini Maker Faire sparked off a desire to do some creative things in the real world again, as I spend so much of my time in the computer world.
So I joined the Planet Dalek forum, realised that my build is a little at odds with the plans (no much in the way of plans available back in 2002 when I started). I thought I'd bash on anyway, and this week I've been working on and off on the waist section. With luck I'll have the waist sort of finished by the weekend, but it's fiddly work.

For the avoidance of doubt

When I posted last night I said I had a lot of half started projects lying around the house... I grabbed the camera and took a snap of those within arms reach in my underground batcave office... there are many many more things in the loft, and the garden, and scattered elsewhere.. this is just a taste.
steam powered walking robot
flash cotton fireball gun
Heinzmann hub for electric bike project
pneumatic axe featherweight robot
speed controller rat nest from featherweight robot
laser cut Jansen walker
old lynx motion arm and antweight robot
curtis speed controllers
4QD speed controllers... and stuff
Mindstorms self levelling robot
1 Watt guitar tube amp
high power cabling
low pressure pneumatics
antweight chassis 
meaty 16 bar pneumatics
Bosch 750's and such like
Norgren 16bar ram, and 10 bar jobbie
IR robot
Shape memory allow tentacle, Altoid protoyping board etc

Build Brighton

Inspired by the Mini Maker Faire I nipped down to Brighton this evening to check out the open evening that Build Brighton run on Thursdays.
I called in on Adam who lives 3 doors down from the BB. workshop, and then spent an hour and a half chatting about autonomous control vehicles, CNC. Drills, 3D printers and such like.
The hackspace has room to sit and drink tea, or crack on with the lathe, and MIG. Welder, or laser cutter.
When I got home I had a quick brainstorm of all the projects littering my basement that I could finish, and think I'll maybe start with the Jansen walker... I think there may even be a couple of folk interested in lock picking...
I'll nip along for a couple more. Thursday's and if it sticks I'll join up for the year... Cheaper than the gym, and probably better for me.

updated images

This blog wasn't always here.
It started as a frontpage site, on freeserve, then moved to geocities where it got a swanky update when I learned how to use Dreamweaver 2...
Blogging wasn't even called blogging back then, but performed the same function.
The problem with migrating it was the images didn't make the transfer very well.
I had an hour to spare this evening so went through the html and matched up images back to 5-6-2002.
The posts go back a fair bit further, and I'll add some more images when I have a little more time.

What prompted this spurt of enthusiasm? Well, I got fed up with looking at the old Dalek that has been cluttering up my basement for 10 years, and decided to have a bash at finishing it. I tried to find some pics to post to the Dalek forum, but couldn't find any...but did find a backup of "robotweb"
I've stuck all the very tiny images (these are from the days of 56k modems) up on a picasa album:


I'll keep an update…


Just switched on the telly for a bit of light relief, and there was my little boy Adam from about 10 years ago, driving Killercarrot in RobotWars ExtremeII.