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VEX Robotics - Hexbug Spider

Walking around via remote control or IR sensor
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Hello folks

Today I'll talk about VEX Robotics - Hexbug Spider Kit, this kit lets you to build a six legs, large size robot.

This kit was kindly offered by LMR and RobotShop and my daughter and I, had a great time building it.

Packaging

The kit arrived well packed and wrapped in an extra box. The kit box contains about 350 parts organized in separate bags so they were easy to identify and use.

Building

Assembling the kit was very easy and my daughter (she's seven), helped by me here and there, complete it in about two hours. At some points she needs help because some parts were too stiff for hers little fingers, but I guess an eight years (or older) kid should be able to assemble the kit without help.

The parts are well designed and made from quality plastic, not too soft to bend but not too stiff to break when put to mechanical stress.

Assembly process is well thought, manual is very well made and the entire building path is shown only in pictures, no reading (eventually translation) is required. Building process is split in small accessible steps, building parts are shown at 1:1 scale for easy identification. The only part where help was really required was wiring the motors and sensor.

Parts are assembling together using small plastic pins made from a quite soft plastic (the white ones), easy for kids to assemble. Some pins (the black ones) which required a greater structural strength are a little stiff and sometimes were a little harder to assemble.

The robot design can be split in two major parts:

  - the head - which contain two geared down DC motors, an infrared distance sensor, the brain of the robot which is also the power source for motors and sensor, a two-color red/green LED and the gears assembly used to move the legs. The LED can be mounted on either motor connector, if it's mounted on the motor used for head turning will light when the head turns left or right, if it's mounted on the motor used for walking will light when moves forward or rear.

                 - the Brain box have a DIP switch which can be used to change robot' s behavior:

  - the lower frame - which holds the legs and linkages for them.

The robot have a clever design and use only two motors and four gears to operate all six legs. The legs have multiple connecting points and I suppose some tweaking can be made to adjust the walking gait, although we used the default/recommended configuration.

To power the robot are used 3 x AA batteries placed in the brain box, and one 9V battery for Remote Control unit.


Playing

The robot is quite tall, 27 centimeters from my measurements, and have a great look.

Turn on the power on Remote Controller and on the Brain box of the robot and they are paired automatically, no other actions are required.

Robot can be operated in two ways, manual or autonomous, these modes are selected from Remote Control unit.

The manual mode was the favourite so far :), kids enjoy it very much.

In autonomous mode, robot navigate by itself until it found an obstacle and then change it's walking direction according with programming settings. 

For autonomous navigation, robot use an infrared sensor placed in front of the head with a detection range of about 40 - 50cm, from my tests. When an object is detected by the sensor, the robot change it's behavior: change walking direction, reverse motors, turn head fast or slow, etc.

    To enter autonomous mode, on Remote Controller move de mode selector switch to position "A". To start the robot, move up the Controller Right button, towards the [ > ] (play) sign. To pause the robot in autonomous mode, move the Controller Right button down, towards the | | (pause) sign.

    In the end it was a pleasing building experience for kids and adults alike and I recommend this kit for those who want to start build robots. The good part is that you are not restricted to Spider design, the parts are easy to disassembly and can be combined in different ways.

The entire building process and "Spidey" first steps are caught in the attached video.

I want to thank again LMR and RobotShop for the chance to test this kit and I invite you to watch the show :)

PS: I noticed that on some devices the embeded video did not work, so here it is the link to Youtube video - www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l0mgInQGqc .

PS2: For a detailed description of robot programming and electronics take a look at this post - VEX Robotics - Hexbug Spider - Beyond the basics.

-=Seba=-

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Great start to your review, Seba!

I have my Kit 99.5% assembled, and the final part (on of the black clips to attach a leg) is on it's way; your review has got me really looking forward to get it walking!

When assembling did you find that the gear assembly (at 7:40ish of your video) was very stiff to move?

I have yet to fire mine up but I am a little concerned that to move the T part will take a lot of effort.

 

Cheers! :)

 

  Hi Craig, thanks :)

  Sorry to hear your kit is incomplete...I'm eager to see your robot finished. I'm also curious about a couple of things on your bot.

  To answer your question, in my case the gear assembly run smoothly, motor have no problem turning it. Still, I think the gear assembly has a small issue (the only one I found so far with this kit), I'll write an update about it after I'll took some relevant pictures.

 All the best

 -=Seba=-

I can't wait to get it up and running.

I look forward to reading your update about your findings. When I get my last part I may re-assemble the gearing to see if I have done anything incorrectly to make it so stiff.

Very nice video! I was quite surprised at just how large this robot is. Walking robots this size normally cost quite a lot so goven the number of parts, this seems like a good deal. It certainly has an advanced droid look.

 

  Hi,

Thanks. Yes the Spider is quite large, although I read it's characteristics online, it is different when you see it for real.

I like how it looks too and I have a plan to make it look a little "different", I'll post the result here if I succeede.

Talking about parts, it would be nice if motors, sensors and LEDs would be available for separate purchasing, outside kits. The Spider kit have a spare sensor port and I believe it would be interesting to have it working with two sensors.

Very Interesting!

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