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Seed Spreading Robot

 by randofo

Featured

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Last summer it was brought to my attention that you could buy nearly everything you needed for automated lawn care but a seed spreading robot. This intrigued me. For starters, why on Earth would anyone make lawn care robots in the first place? There are countless reasons this seems like a bad idea. Secondly, a seed spreading robot sounded like a bizarre robotic cross between Wall-E, and Johnny Appleseed. The idea clearly had potential.

So, when asked if I wanted to actually take on the challenge of building one, I obviously responded with a definitive yes. Even though I personally don’t own a lawn (my backyard is concrete and weeds), it seemed like an opportunity too good to pass up. In terms of actually using it, I found a willing victim in Glenn Derene of Popular Mechanics. He was more than happy to let this thing loose on his lawn (along with a slew of other robotic lawn care contraptions). So one fateful day last summer, I tightened the last bolt, wrote the last line of code, packed it up safely, and shipped it cross country to meet whatever fate lie in store.

Albeit I only later saw a video of it in action, it is my understanding that it performed about as well as you would expect an experimental DIY seed spreading robot to perform on its initial run; in short, not very. Rather than a cross between Wall-E and Johnny Appleseed, it is more of a cross between Johnny 5, and the groundskeeper in Caddyshack.

Nonetheless, I think the structural design of the robot is solid. If the code is tweaked a bit, and the rangefinder repositioned, I think this robot could spread seed like a champ.

     
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Step 1: Go Get Stuff

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You will need:

(x1) Lynxmotion Tri-Track Chassis Kit
(x1) Earthway EV-M-Spred Seed Hopper (or similar)
(x1) Arduino Uno
(x1) Arduino Motor Shield
(x1) Parallax Ping Rangefinder Sensor
(x1) 1/4 Scale Servo
(x1) Lynxmotion 12v battery
(x1) Vex battery charger
(x1) M-type plug
(x2) Multipurpose Prototype Circuit Board
(x1) Dual Mini Prototype Circuit Board
(x1) 7805 voltage regulator
(x1) Heat sink
(x1) Thermal transfer paste
(x1) 10 uF capacitor
(x4) 0.1uF capacitor
(x1) 1K resistor
(x20) Header pins
(x1) ATS177 hall effect sensor
(x2) 1/8″ rare earth magnet
(x4) 1-1/4″ aluminum spacers
(x4) 1-1/2″ x 6-32 nuts and bolts
(x1) 12″ x 24″ x 1/8″ acrylic
(x1) 6″ x 6″ x 1/4″ plywood
(x12) 1/4″ nylon spacers
(x12) 1″ x 6-32 nuts and bolts
(x4) 1-1/2″ x 4-40 nuts and bolts
(x8) 1/4″ nylon spacers
(x6) pens
(x6) 1/4 x 6″ nuts and bolts
(x4) 1-1/4″ aluminum spacers
(x4) 2″ x 6-32 nuts and bolts
(x1) Assorted zip ties
(x1) Assorted shrink tube
(x1) Krazy Glue (gel)
(x1) Thread lock
(x1) 24″ x 24″ cardboard sheet

You will also need to download and cut out the following files:

SensorHolder.epscut out of 1/8″ acrylic and etch away the black square 1/16″ down
HopperDrillBracket.epscut out of cardboard
TopBracket.eps —  cut out of 1/8″ acrylic
ServoBracket.epscut out of 1/8″ acrylic
ServoConnector.epscut out of 1/4″ plywood
BottomDrillBracket.epscut out of cardboard
PingBracket.eps — cut out of 1/8″ acrylic

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