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Meeting Notes, May '06

by Jim Kindsvater Fall 2006


May 20, 2006


SRS President Jim Wright opened the meeting, outlined the process, and we all introduced ourselves. Secretary Steve Kaehler reported no new news regarding the Workshop Robot classes. Steve also asked for suggestions regarding tours of interesting organizations or meetings related to robotics. Contact him at with any ideas.


Jim Kindsvater announced a new pcb layout software package available called Dip Trace. ( It is similar to Eagle in it's presentation, but a little more intuitive. The free version does not allow making gerber files. You will have to pay $75 to obtain the Home version which allows 250 pins and 2 layers (like the free Eagle version). It does have some advantages in useability and routing and might be worth the $75.00.

Jeff Bronk exercised his machinist skills and produced a small rover bot from aluminum plate and then wrote an article for home shop machinist magazine ( The robot demonstrates a very easy approach to chassis design and could be produced using simple tools.


Ron Provine discussed a conference he attended on remote controlled and independantly controlled aircraft and robots at the University of Alberta. An overview of the conference is presented at


Doug Bell brought in Some VEX robotic components that he had picked up at local radio shacks at half price. Most thought that the components were a good value at 1/2 price, but overpriced at normal levels. Radio Shack has returned the label to the original owner Vex Robotics ( Vex plans to continue marketing the kits at the original pricing levels.




Stewart Tansley and John Wingfield from Microsoft talk about the Maker Faire

Stewart presented a lot of pictures from the Maker Faire in San Diego, CA and detailed Microsoft's participation in that event. See for more details. An amazing program with a huge variety of Robots and other projects was presented.

John Wingfield talked about his job at Microsoft creating programs and robot links to LEGO Mindstorm Robots. John thinks he has the best job in the world. He talked about Micorsoft's suite of robotic interface tools which are detailed at Microsoft intends to invest heavily in the robot market and this is their first entry into the field.

Jeff showed us his LEGO robot and talked about the capabilities it demonstrated.