BUILDSBot Droplet

buildscc | 08 Feb 2012 | | projects

Specifications and GoalsBuild a swarm of semi intelligent robots The swarm robots should achieve the following things:

  • Ability to communicate amongst each other and w/ a computer of choice
  • Distributed vs Centralized (Ender Wiggin vs Bugger Queen)
  • Low Cost for reproducibility
  • Possibly of different types and specs. Or all the same. For example: ** Feelers. Collision detection. Used to map out the area.
  • Movers. Extra actuators… Possibly using electromagnets to move metallic objects around
  • Philosophers. Computation nodes, can also move.

Soldering Workshop

buildscc | 05 Feb 2012 | | workshops, events

Sunday Feb. 5, 2012 at 1:00pm in BUILDS

Workshop 2 (TBD): BUILDSduino Explosion

Workshop 1 (2/5/12 @ 1:00pm): Through Hole Soldering and Protoboard Prototyping


  1. Soldering Safety.

  2. Soldering on scrap boards.

  3. Review of Trinket, how would one build it given certain design specs.

  4. Build trinket.

  5. Go on your way with awesome soldering powers.

Automatic Nightlight

Schematic Image

Parts List

  • 1 10k Resistors
  • 1 10k Potentiometer
  • 1 470-500 ohm Resistor
  • 1 NPN Transistor (2n2222 works nice)
  • Protoboard
  • 1 LDR (Light Dependent Resistor)/Photocell
  • An LED of choice color (may need to change the value of R3)
  • 2 AAA batteries (with lots of tape and

Eagle Files

(Note: these are Eagle 6 files)


  • Lithium Ion Batteries are expensive as are battery holders. Since I needed to construct the kit on a limited budget I had to use AAA batteries and make my own battery packs using wire and electrical tape.
  • Teaching circuit theory and soldering at the same time is hard… Next time focus on one of the other.
  • Transistors can be tricky to read and set up
  • Radioshack is expensive an unreliable.

The Party Switch

buildscc | 31 Jan 2012 | | projects


The goal of this project is to restore the now-defunct party switch to a working condition. Possible actions include: the deployment of a disco ball, lasers, strobes, colored lights.



  • Mikhail Andreev (Project Leader)

Meeting Minutes for 2012-01-18

buildscc | 18 Jan 2012 | | meeting-minutes


Kyle Brogle

  • Welcome back everybody! Apparently Wednesday work better for a lot of people. Regardless, a doodle will be sent to the list to schedule another (maybe better) meeting time.
  • Also, thanks to everyone who helped clean up over break!

Anthony Inzero

  • Last weekend was cleaning weekend. Thinking about implementing a pika-esque lost and found/ trash-it system, check your email for further updates.

George Silvis

  • Computer parts are on their way to being ordered. In the future (about 2-3 weeks), there will be BUILDS computer cleanout session to set up the new stuff

Kyle Brogle

  • On Jan. 25th, BUILDS is signed up for the Mozilla CTF! It’s 24hrs. long, of course nobody is obligated to join the BUILDS team, but you should definitely do it for the practice (and bragging rights) if you’re into computer security.
    • Furthermore, a second doodle will be sent to the list later this week for the Wire Shark info lectures.

Jess Hamrick

  • SIPB (Student Information Processing Board) at MIT is having a hackathon this weekend (this saturday) for … check your email for further details

Russell Shomberg

  • The door is now (sort of ) operational, requiring only a card with a mag strip to get into the room.
    • Also, every sunday at 1pm there will be a BUILDS “Get things done” meta-project: A project concerning getting other room projects done. Stop by!

Monica Gribouski

  • Multitouch Table
    • The Multi-touch project will actually be starting this semester, blocking on a Home Depot run. Stay tuned and check your email

Avery Gray

  • Video Game Collective
    • Tentatively VGC will be meeting every saturday at 2pm, coding in C++. Contact Liam or Avery for more details, or just stop by to see what’s happening.

Listserve Commands

buildscc | 13 Jan 2012 | | tutorials


If you haven’t noticed, we tend to use list-serves quite a bit around here. Here’s how to add (and remove) yourself from a list-serve, so you don’t end up spamming everyone with requests. (You might only be able to do this from your BU e-mail, but I really don’t know.)


List-serves are all run by The way it works is that you e-mail commands in the body of the e-mail to majordomo, and it carries them out. Anything in the subject line is ignored, so don’t worry about including one.

Subscribing to a List Send an e-mail to: with the following command in the body of the e-mail:

subscribe <list-serve address> <your e-mail address>

(The carats (< & >) here are just used to indicate where you put the respective addresses, so don’t put them in your real message. See the examples if you’re still confused.)

Unsubscribing to a List Send an e-mail to: with the following command in the body of the e-mail:

unsubscribe <list-serve address> <your e-mail address>



Subject: (no subject)

Body: subscribe awesome-dudes-list

Majordomo Commands

BU’s Majordomo understands the following commands:

  subscribe [<list>] [<address>]
      Subscribe yourself (or <address> if specified) to the named <list>.
  unsubscribe [<list>] [<address>]
      Unsubscribe yourself (or <address> if specified) from the named <list>.
  get [<list>] <filename>
      Get a file related to <list>.
  index [<list>]
      Return an index of files you can "get" for <list>.
  who [<list>]
      Find out who is on the named <list>.
  info [<list>]
      Retrieve the general introductory information for the named <list>.
      Show the lists served by this Majordomo server.
      Retrieve this message.
      Stop processing commands (useful if your mailer adds a signature).

Conductive Paint

buildscc | 20 Dec 2011 | | projects

Conductive Paint is a conductive material made up of a conductive powder suspended in a binding fluid. When dried the conductive powders will be close enough together that the material itself becomes conductive. There are different kinds of Conductive Paints, but the easiest and cheapest to produce utilizes graphite powder. Carbon Graphite is a surprisingly good conductor and is both easy to come by (as it is often used as a lubricant) and relatively easy to work with and mix into other materials.


1 Goals/Specs 2 Attempt 1 2.1 Materials List 2.2 Process 2.3 Results 2.4 Possible Improvements 2.5 Resources 3 Credits


  1. Produce a conductive material which can be painted onto walls
  2. Material should be useable for cap sense
  3. Material should have a resistance < 100 ohms / in^2 when dry
  4. Relatively low cost

Attempt 1

Picture of the materials I used. Acetone, Graphite, Liquid Tape

Materials List

  • Graphite Powder of some sort
  • Liquid Tape/Liquid Electrical Coating
  • Paint Thinner (Acetone or Tuloul)
  • Glass Container for Mixing
  • Paintbrush for mixing and painting
  • Scrap Wood/Paper for Testing

Total Cost: If you have a container, some paintbrushes and scrap wood you can get by for under $20.


This is a very rough process because I did not have anything to measure with.

  1. Put some insulating tape into a mixing container (1 part by vol)
  2. Start mixing the tape and add in graphite powder (1.5-2 parts by volume)
  3. Add acetone to thin out the mixture into something that can be painted onto a surface (instead of a glue like adhesive). You want this to be relatively thick paint, but a paint not a glue. (1 part should work)
  4. Paint this substance ASAP, because it will dry really, really fast. At first I started painting relatively long portions. I started using smaller samples.

Note: For this batch I used a lot of liquid tape and slowly added more graphite and continuously tested this mixture

REMEMBER: Do this in a well ventilated area!


Resistance Measurements

Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4 Trial 5
Overload 284.1 kOhm/in. 14.4 kOhm/in. 5 kOhm/in. 1 kOhm/in.

The different trials are the same mix with more graphite added. Not a whole lot of measurement was taken, but as a proof of concept this was very effective.

Possible Improvements

  • Use something that is not diamagnetic and insulating as the carrying material…
  • Try straight acrylic paint
  • Saw some posting about using isopropyl as a carrier for the graphite powder.
  • Use copper/aluminium powder (very expensive though)
  • Need better measuring apparatus



  • Dan Gastler
  • Christopher Woodall
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