Damon has been experimenting with balsa wood as an alternative chassis material for our workshops. He used it in his class today with the DT097 first years. They built a great set of robots which you can see parading in this video:
I think the balsa wood worked out incredibly well. It’s really easy to cut during the workshop and it’s easy to stick things to it, so it leaves plenty of room for improvisation. For example, look at the following robot built today by Séamus Mac Lú and Paul Lynch. As shown in these photos, they improvised a balsa wood prop and slider at the front of the robot. It was attached to the chassis with a hot glue gun, which is our new favourite tool for fast robot construction!
We began using the hot glue gun recently after being impressed by the RoboSlam robot Paul Banahan built with it. He did such a nice job on his robot that we exhibited it at the recent Discovery Science festival in Cork City, and again at the DIT open day last weekend. Paul is an enthusiastic advocate of the hot glue gun and I must admit that I’ve been converted 100%. Ironically, Ivan Twohig who was involved in the very first RoboSlam workshop had suggested we use it then, but we decided to use double-sided tape instead. If only we’d listened to you Ivan!
This is Paul Banahan’s hot glued robot:
You can see it here in action on the floor of lab KEG-003 at one of our weekly RoboSumo robot hacking sessions.