The Bett Show

As part of our commitment to being a non-profit, we’ve used the small surplus from the KickStarter campaign along with a startup grant to have a table at the Bett Show, the main British education / schools exhibition, to help spread the word amongst schools in the UK. Getting a larger user base is a key part of developing materials & activities.

If you’re coming to Bett, drop by our stand in the Futures section, stand BFS36 – you’ll see our logo on the lollipop sign!

Christmas 2016

Buy a ChickBot Arduino or micro:bit kit, save 10% with code XMAS2016 and we’ll throw in a microswitch accessory so you can program the bump-n-go activity!

KickStarter promotion

Our KickStarter is live!

Check out the details at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11438761/chickbot-the-fully-functional-low-cost-robot and, if you can support us, make a pledge!

See us at the Derby Mini Maker Faire

We were there last year, getting feedback on our ChickBot design.

A lot has happened in the last year – we’ve a solid design, plenty of sample activities and kits in a box!

Come and build a ChickBot Arduino, program a ChickBot micro:bit and check out all the amazing Makery things on display.

More info see https://makerfairederby.com/

derbyminimakerfaire

East Midlands activities over Summer 2016

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

There are a whole host of activities that we are involved in over the summer holidays. Most of them are hands-on sessions that you’ll need to book on in advance.

There are two micro:bit introductory sessions at the University of Derby campus at Markeaton St on the 28th Jul and 11th Aug from 3pm to 6pm. Booking required.

This is followed up by a drop-in session & inventions exhibition on the 25th Aug at The Silk Mill, Derby from 3pm to 6pm.

There will be two Chesterfield library drop-in sessions, one in the library 16th Jul from 10am – 12pm and one in the Pavements Shopping area on the 28th Jul from 2pm to 3:30pm with a variety of activities in which there will be the chance to try out a ChickBot micro:bit robot.

Nick will be running two intro sessions at Chesterfield library on the 4th & 18th Aug from 2 – 4pm followed by a longer ChickBot micro:bit robots session on the 1st Sept from 1 – 5pm. Booking required.

The Derby & Chesterfield activities will be using accessories from microbit-accessories.co.uk as well as the ChickBot.

Fill in the contact form and we’ll send you booking details.

Lasercut chassis

ChickBot laser cut chassisA huge thank you to Hope Valley College for running out a batch of chassis’s on their laser cutter and particularly to Roman for taking the time to trace out the logo.

Hand cutting & drilling them was getting to be a bit of a chore and really didn’t reflect the rest of the kit in terms of quality – they look so much better now.

We expect to be shipping these laser cut chassis’s from September onwards when we have the next batch of PCBs for Arduino & microbit arrive.

The Coop – the community forum

Now there are more and more ChickBot’s getting out in to the wild, we have setup some simple forum software so people can post messages, questions and successes.

Just click below to go to The Coop.

The-Coop_big

For those not in the know, a coop is a hen house.

DIY ChickBot parts from eBay – June 2016

Here’s the latest list as of Friday, 17th June 2016, so you can source your own ChickBot parts and go independent – which is absolutely fine, we encourage it. We know this combination of parts will work as it’s the same list as the first ChickBot prototype.

Item Comment Qty Pack price eBay UK
Arduino Nano The brain of the StepperBot – will need some soldering 1 £1.48 eBay UK
Stepper Motor with driver board The stepper motor & interface board 2 £1.08 eBay UK
Connectors M-F Connection wires 1 £0.99 eBay UK
Connectors M-M Connection wires 1 £0.99 eBay UK
Breadboard Circuit mount board for the Nano 1 £0.99 eBay UK
Motor mount Mounting for the stepper motors 1 £4.50 eBay UK
Base plate A5 sheet of 3mm ply for mounting everything 1 £0.99 eBay UK
Battery box Battery pack – batteries not included! 1 £0.99 eBay UK
Tyres The wheels – will need centre hole widening 1 £0.99 eBay UK
Caster Half a ping pong ball! 1 £0.99 eBay UK

Many of these items have more than you need in, which makes the one off cost of the list above £15.07 but you only use £7.54 worth of parts, the rest being spares or left overs.

This was what inspired us to make ChickBot a club – because we’d like to see people getting together and buying a set of kits so they can have a sub-£10 robot. Here’s the calculations for 2, 5 and 10 kits. As you can see, just two people buying gets the price down to under £10 and there’s even more savings to be had for 5 kits.

Item Pack price Items in pack Packs for 2 kit 2 kit cost Packs for 5 kit 5 kit cost Packs for 10 kit 10 kit cost eBay UK
Arduino Nano £1.48 1 2 £2.96 5 £7.40 10 £14.80 eBay UK
Stepper Motor & driver board £1.08 1 4 £4.32 10 £10.80 20 £21.60 eBay UK
Connectors M-F £0.99 40 1 £0.99 2 £1.98 3 £2.97 eBay UK
Connectors M-M £0.99 40 1 £0.99 1 £0.99 2 £1.98 eBay UK
Breadboard £0.99 2 1 £0.99 3 £2.97 5 £4.95 eBay UK
Motor mount £4.50 10 1 £4.50 1 £4.50 2 £9.00 eBay UK
Base plate £0.99 2 1 £0.99 3 £2.97 5 £4.95 eBay UK
Battery box £0.99 1 2 £1.98 5 £4.95 10 £9.90 eBay UK
Tyres £0.99 4 1 £0.99 3 £2.97 5 £4.95 eBay UK
Caster £0.99 12 1 £0.99 1 £0.99 1 £0.99 eBay UK
 Total       £19.70   £40.52   £76.09
££ per robot        £9.85   £8.10   £7.61

For those with a Raspberry Pi, you can drop the Arduino & the breadboards. You do need to be careful with your Pi as it won’t be able to supply power to the motors and you need to ensure you don’t inadvertently use the wrong voltage on the input pins. You will need some sort of USB battery pack to power your Pi as well as a battery pack for the motors. We’ll get a detailed independent build sorted out asap.

[Yes, that’s a cat jammed up against the camera. Bubble was doing QA on the ChickBot on the desk, bottom right!]

ChickBot micro:bit coming soon

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

We’ve got some big orders out the door for the day job and had some time to work on the next phase of projects. Most importantly, we’ve got the ChickBot micro:bit alpha PCB’s back and the first one built & programmed.

It allows the control of two motors forward & back, access to P0 and P1 for whatever you need (mostly analog things in, like line sensors, but who knows what you’ll dream up as they could just as easily control an output), we slave out the A & B buttons so they could have switches on them for something like bumpers or similar. Plus we’ve put a jumper in to provide access to a piezo buzzer so you can play tunes when programming with TouchDevelop or Python. Alternatively, you can use the P0 output to connect to our speaker accessory to play music in the Block Editor.

This is the design that line followed its way to victory at the recent Institute of Engineering & Technology Robotics Triathlon in Derby, so we know it’s a champion right from the off.

Here’s a sneak preview of it in action and my trendy old man’s slippers:

It will need a week for us to tidy up a few loose ends and then we’ll get some kits out to our testers. There will need to be a PCB revision but everyone who’s asked about a ChickBot micro:bit can be assured that they will be ready by then end of term so that planning for this September can take place.