GRIPP3R is one of the more complex robots to build from the Lego Mindstorms EV3 Home set (kit # 31313) with a brick score of 3 out of 3. Compared to TRACK3R , which has a brick complexity score of 1 out of 3, GRIPP3R is quite a bit more advanced in terms of construction design and features used. Though the intricacy of the robot is ratcheted up a couple of levels don’t let that deter you from jumping in. There is a lot to be gained from sticking with it and completing the construction and missions that come with this powerful, versatile and fun robot. Here are the top three lessons to be learned that will not only help you with this particular robot, but with your own future designs as well:
The Modular Design of GRIPP3R
GRIPP3R is a complex robot that comes with four project missions. The beauty of this Lego construction is that each project mission builds on the one before it so that you are not trying to build a very complicated robot right from the start. Each mission adds a bit more to the previous mission so that by the time you get to the fourth and final objective, GRIPP3R is completely built. The first mission is to simply build the powerful gripping claw and test it out. Missions two and three add some motorized components to it to allow the claw to move and find its target. The big lesson here is that a very large and complex task can be easily completed if broken down into easier and smaller chunks.
GRIPP3R and His Amazing Gears
The secret to GRIPP3R’s strength lies in the gear configuration that is attached to the medium servo motor. The ingenious use of the 12-tooth gear in conjunction with the 20-tooth gear (Lego part numbers 4177431 and 4177430 respectively) provide not only the strength necessary to lift some fairly heavy objects, but also provide a great deal of fine motor control that can be taken advantage of during programming or remote control operations. GRIPP3R’s lesson in this arena is that clever use of different gear configurations can yield some powerful results.
GRIPP3R’s Moveable Arms
For the third project mission GRIPP3R gets some arms that move in synch with the movement of the claw. The inclusion of the arms to GRIPP3R really gives him a ‘finished’ look and helps make him look like the powerful robot that he is. The cool thing about these arms and their movements is that no extra motor, or programming or gears or anything are required to get them to move in synch with the claw. By simply attaching them to the right places on the claw and intelligent use of some rotating pieces, GRIPP3R can use motion that is already going on and ‘piggy-back’ on their function. The lesson here is that re-use of some work or action may be easier to just tap into rather than over-engineering a new solution.
Released in September, 2013, Lego Mindstorms EV3 is the latest generation robotics kit and builds significantly on its immediate predecessor the NXT. Using an ‘Intelligent Brick’ that users can program, robot inventors the world over can interface with numerous sensors and motors to create autonomous robots. For more information you can head over to the official Mindstorms page to learn more about the Lego Mindstorms EV3 system or to download the free GRIPP3R programs.