Steam powered robots?

Guys, check this site out. I feel inspired...
http://www.crabfu.com/steamtoys /
DLC

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Dennis Clark TTT Enterprises
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The ten minute runs are a drag, IMO. Good for art, bad for robotics. Or am I being overly pessismistic?
I am unsure if it's a fuel capacity limitation, a water limitation, or what.
In all honesty, I had considered steam as a source of propulsion or energy for robots, but always came to the conclusion that the fuel+water weight was too much of a limiting factor, at least for smaller robots.
I must search this group and see if there have been previous threads on propulsion/ energy sources and their ramifications, scale, etc.
TTFN, Tarkin
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Tarkin wrote:

10 minutes is actually pretty good. In 10 minutes most robots get hopelessly lost.

Doctor Lovelace did. Here's just the leg (can't find a photo of the full thing) of a giant steam-powered spider robot thingie...
http://www.sinemafanatik.com/wildwildwest/barry3.jpg
...with Will Smith sitting on it.
-- Gordon
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LOL, that's exactly what I was thinking - this shows that the Wild, Wild West wasn't that far fetched, just a little ahead of it's time.
Can't wait to see 40' tall steam-powered mass transit walkers, complete with the twanging cable sounds.
Eddy
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    --There's a reason why locomotives haul a tender behind! :-) Maybe make a horse-and-wagon sort of bot and you'll get longer range..
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"Steamboat Ed" Haas : I'll have the roast duck
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : with the mango salsa...
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I have revisited the site for my own edification, and gathered data from three of three projects- the tank, the crab, and the tank/spider. Of these, only the first tank had the hard timing data -10 to 15 minutes, limited by, as I had suspected, the amount of water it was able to carry.
Thinking back to my first couple of BEAM walkers, 10 minutes was pretty generous- it was one the things I had wanted to tweak before pausing that particular hobby.
I had thought that perhaps ICE's or mini-turbines would provide a better source of energy- after all, steam vehicles aren't all the rage for personal transport- although I have seen a wood-burning steam-driven runabout that someone in Australia had built. In any event, they were just thoughts.
I guess I am biased towards batteries for powering robots, as the technology is well understood, widely (and cheaply) available, and density seems to be improving monthly.
My ideas about energy sources for robots tend to parallel trends in the auto-industry. Technologies like hybrids and fuel-cells seem like they would scale down well, although it will be a while (IMHO) before fuel cells are both small and cost-effective.
I joined this group to learn, and I appreciate your input.
TTFN, Tarkin
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that's because it's open loop... The water blows away as steam.
Put a condensor on the steam output of the steam engine. Condensor = radiator.
Put a few peltier chips on the radiator. These convert heat to electricity (inefficient, but it works) Have the peltier chips power a fan, that blows past the condensor....
You would need a water injector on the boiler, to overcome boiler pressure. Close the loop and you increase your runtime.
Have two boilers, one for locomotion, one for electricity generation for servos, receiver, etc... Run a small turbine with boiler#2
Rich
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    --Hey I like the idea of the Peltier condenser! BTW I met the guy yesterday at the Makers Fair and took a pile of photos; neat conversions he's done..
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Hacking the Trailing Edge! : with the mango salsa...
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    --Found it. The kits are made by an outfit called Gakken and the series of kits are called "Mechamo". Here's a good write-up of crabfu: http://www.gorobotics.net/The-News/Hobbyiest/Steam%11powered-Walkers%2C-Centipedes%2C-and-Crabs /
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"Steamboat Ed" Haas : I'll have the roast duck
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : with the mango salsa...
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Putting aside for the moment the highly controversial topic of the practicality of steam power in robotics applications, I have to point out that this guy's work is just plain COOL! I mean, that LocoCentipede is like something out of a Tim Burton movie!
They are toys, after all, Don
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True enough. And the OP did just say he was 'inspired'.
I learn a lot from spirited debate, so I can come off as a little antagonistic. I certainly do not wish to offend; I only wish to learn.
They are cool. It'lkl be interesting to see if he gets the crab or the spider/tank working.
TTFN, Tarkin
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    --The centipede and other contraptions that he's put steam engines onto are commercially available kits from another outfit, but I don't have the URL handy. Will dig around a bit..
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"Steamboat Ed" Haas : I'll have the roast duck
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : with the mango salsa...
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Which was my whole point. Sometimes I like to make robots that actually do something useful, sometimes, it just works as functional art. I've always wanted a steam powered robot, now I have a target to shoot for!
DLC
Don wrote:

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