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Hacking Your LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Kit

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Hacking Your LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Kit


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• The first guide to hacking the out-of-the-box Mindstorms EV3 kit: build amazing robots, and take DIY to a whole new level!
• Build five incredibly cool robots with a single EV3 set!
• No additional parts needed for any of the basic projects (but Baichtal also shows students how to supercharge their projects with low cost additions!)
• Beautiful 4-color design: shows them exactly what to do, with hundreds of vivid, step-by-step photos!
• Written by one of the industry's most experienced makers and writers, John Baichtal


  • Copyright 2016
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 320
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-5538-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-5538-4

EV3 without limits!

Build 5 amazing robotics projects that take DIY to a whole new level!

You can do way more with your LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit than anyone ever told you! In this full-color, step-by-step tutorial, top-maker and best-selling author John Baichtal shows you how to transcend Mindstorms’ limits as you build five cutting-edge robotics projects.

You’ll discover just how much you can do with only the parts that came with your kit–and how much farther you can go with extremely low-cost add-ons like Arduino and Raspberry Pi. You’ll learn how to reprogram your Mindstorms Intelligent Brick to add additional hardware options and create more complex programs.

Hundreds of full-color, step-by-step photos teach you every step, every skill. Whenever you’re ready for advanced techniques, Baichtal explains them in plain English.

Here’s just some of what you’ll learn how to do:

  • Build a drawing Plotter Bot that gyrates to draw new patterns
  • Hack Mindstorms’ wires–and control robots without wires
  • Create a remote-controlled crane, and operate it from your smartphone
  • Use the EV3 brick to control third-party electronic modules of all kinds
  • Replace the EV3 brick with smarter, more flexible Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or BeagleBone Black hardware
  • Build a robotic flower whose petals open and close based on time of day
  • Use third-party sensors to build robots that can sense practically anything
  • Load an alternate operating system onto your EV3 brick
  • 3D print, laser, and mill your own perfect LEGO parts
  • Create ball contraptions, and extend them with your own custom parts
  • Make a pole-climbing robot–and hook up an altimeter to track its height

This book is not authorized or endorsed by the LEGO® Group.

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Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Hacking Your LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Kit: Connections

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 3 and Index)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

    Hacking Mindstorms 2

    Chapter Topics 6

Chapter 2 Project: Plotter Bot 7

    Parts List 8

    Building the Plotter Bot 9

    Program the Plotter Bot 43

        Moving the Motors 44

        A Simple Program 45

        Resetting the X Axis 47

        Hacking Opportunities 49

    Summary 49

Chapter 3 Hacking LEGO I: Connections 51

    Mindstorms Wires Explained 51

        Inside the Mindstorms Wire 52

        Hacking Mindstorms Wires 53

    Exploring Wireless Options 56

        Infrared Sensor and Beacon 56

        Bluetooth 57

        Hacking Wireless 58

    Summary 62

Chapter 4 Project: Remote-Controlled Crane 63

    Parts List 64

    Building the Crane 65

    Programming the Crane 93

    Controlling the Crane with Infrared 98

    Using Your Phone’s Commander App 98

    Summary 104

Chapter 5 Hacking LEGO II: Alternate Controllers 105

    Microcontrollers and Microcomputers 106

        Arduino 106

        Raspberry Pi 108

        BeagleBone Black 110

        But Why? 112

    Example Projects 114

        Book Reader 114

        Mini Tank 115

        Chocolate Milk Maker 116

        Ball Counting Robot 117

        Rolling Alarm Robot 118

        BeagleBone Black Robot 119

    Programing Environments 120

        LeJos 121

    RobotC 121

        Monobrick 121

        ev3dev 121

    Summary 122

Chapter 6 Project: Robot Flower 123

    Robot Flower Mindstorms Build 124

        Parts List 124

        Steps 125

        Program the Robot Flower 146

    Substituting the Arduino 150

        Quick and Dirty Arduino 151

        Parts 152

        Steps 153

        Programming the Arduino 154

    Summary 155

Chapter 7 Hacking LEGO III: Create Your Own LEGO Parts 157

    Designing Your Own Parts 158

        Check Your Dimensions 159

        Create the Design File 160

        Output and Iterate 161

    Finding Designs 161

        Thingiverse 162

        LDraw 163

        SketchUp Warehouse 163

    Outputting Your Own Parts 164

        CNC Mill 164

        Laser Cutter 167

        3D Printer 170

        Tip: Parametric 3D Models 175

    Summary 176

Chapter 8 Project: Ball Contraption 177

    Building the Contraption 178

        Parts List 178

        Steps 179

    Program the Contraption 224

    Creating Your Own Parts 225

        The Baseplate 226

        The Gear 233

    Summary 237

Chapter 9 Hacking LEGO IV: Add-on Electronics 239

    Motors and Wheels 240

        Motor Driver 240

        Omni-Wheels 240

        8-Channel Servo Controller 241

        Hub-ee Wheels 242

        Linear Actuator 242

        Servo-Actuated Pneumatic Valve 243

    Lighting Systems 244

        RGB LED Modules 244

        Light Strands 245

    Sensors 246

        Grove Sensor Adapter 246

        dGPS 246

        Proximity Sensor 247

        Pixy and Pixy Adapter 248

        Sensor Mux 249

        Absolute IMU-ACG 250

        dPressure Sensor 251

        Thermal Infrared Sensor 252

    NXT and Education Electronics 252

        Pneumatics Add-On Set 252

        NXT Light Sensor 253

        NXT Temperature Sensor 253

        NXT Sound Sensor 254

        NXT Ultrasonic 255

    Control Systems 255

        Relay Driver 256

        sBrick Control System 256

        PlayStation Controller Interface 257

        NXTBee Wireless Board 258

    Summary 258

Chapter 10 Project: Flagpole Climber 259

    Building the Flagpole Climber 260

        Parts List 260

        Building Steps 262

        Programming the Pole Climber 288

        Installing the Ultrasonic Sensor 289

        Programming the Sensor 290

    Swapping in the BrickPi 291

        Raspberry Pi Quick Start 292

        Adding the RPi and BrickPi 292

        Parts List 294

        Steps 294

        Tip: Troubleshooting 301

    Summary 302

Glossary 303

TOC, 9780789755384, 10/12/2015

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