ing in a single direction for the show and
put the shoulder
rotation plans on the
back burner for now.
We built Ponginator’s
head from a large
plastic storage bin
(Figure 9); mounted
some boat navigation
lights for antennas;
some push lights
were modified with
servos and high
brightness LEDs for
eyes; some decorative lightning lights were added as ears;
and a sound activated CCFL light bar in
a box was placed behind a metal screen
to act as a mouth. As I knew the
controls would all be at ground level
but the things being controlled would
all be up high, I used RJ- 45 jacks on
both the motor/head end and also at
the control board end. This made it easy
to find cables of the proper length to
use for the finished project as we could
use standard Ethernet cables.
■ FIGURE 9.
WE HAVE ASSUMED
Now that we had gun turret
motors and solenoid operated sprinkler valves, I had to have something to
coordinate all this machinery. I cut a
sheet of 1/2” plywood to about 2’ x 3’
and then started to gather and attach
the microcontroller components I
figured I would need to control the
show (Figure 10). I ended up using:
had the last piece of the
puzzle, so it was time to
load it all up and truck it
about 15 miles to the
arena. I borrowed a large
truck and trailer from my
brother (thanks Walt!)
and we loaded the
Ponginator and all the
other displays for the
Faire onto the trailer. (Oh,
did I forget to mention
that in addition to creating the Ponginator in 30
days, we also had about a
dozen other Robot Group
created displays we had
to set up for the Faire —
see Resources. We were a
very busy crew.)
Once we arrived on
site, we had to assemble
the Ponginator for the
first time (Figure 11). We
had put up one layer of
scaffolding in my garage
■ FIGURE 10.
READY ... AIM ... PING!
(The Ponginator Firing Sequence)
■ Press the fire button.
■ Parallax BSIIp starts countdown on LCD.
■ EFX-TEK DC- 16 activates smoke machines.
■ First uMP3 player starts sound effects.
■ S3 Motor Mind C moves gun turrets into firing
■ EFX-TEK DC- 16 blinks LED eyes, antennas, and
■ EFX-TEK RC4 blinks rope Lights and activates
police light bar.
■ Second uMP3 player starts background music.
– EFX-TEK DC- 16 fires solenoid valve.
– Parallax BSIIp pauses 10 seconds.
– S3 Motor Mind C moves gun turrets to new
■ Repeat above three actions for next three shots.
■ First uMP3 fades out sound effects.
■ Second uMP3 fades out music.
■ EFX-TEK RC4 and DC16 turn lights out.
■ S3 Motor Mind C moves gun turrets into load
■ Manually muzzle-load the guns for next shot.
■ Press button, guns raise to seat ping pong ball
■ Ready to fire
• Parallax BASIC Stamp IIP24
• Parallax Super Carrier Board
• Parallax Serial LCD display
• Solutions Cubed Motor Mind C
• Solutions Cubed Motor Mind C Carrier
• EFX-TEK RC4 (quantity two)
• EFX-TEK DC- 16
• Circuit Specialists Kit 74 octal relay
• Rogue Robotics uMP3 sound players
• Surplus 250W ATX PC power supply
With the control board built, we
■ FIGURE 11. Trailer unloading.
December 2007 87