zwol: ((mad) science)
[personal profile] zwol
We got ourselves one of those spiffy vacuum cleaning robots to help deal with our vast expanse of hardwood floor that has to be cleaned constantly or else the soles of our feet turn black with grime. It works great, except I have a couple of Persian rugs and the robot's brushes are destroying their fringes.

It seems like I could solve this problem with two flat strips of something, just wide and long enough to cover up the short edges of the rug. As long as the strips were heavy and non-skid enough that the robot couldn't move them, it should just roll over them and proceed to vacuum the rug itself (which most definitely must be vacuumed). I would put them down over each rug before running the robot in that room, and pick them up again afterward, so they don't need to be aesthetic.

The problem is I don't know what to make the strips out of, or how they should be shaped. My first thought was to use a couple of threshold plates, but it turns out that threshold plates are all made of light metal or plastic, and you're supposed to bolt them to the floor. That won't do. Then I went by the TAP Plastics retail front here in Mountain View and they didn't have anything remotely heavy enough either.

Can anyone suggest anything?

Date: 2010-09-10 06:23 pm (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
I think I've seen heavy rubber covers to go over extension cords that run across aisles at conventions, which might work -- though they're probably not flat enough for the robot to go over.

Would it work to adjust the plan to use something that's tall enough that the robot will bounce off it (and eventually go around it), like a wooden 4x4 beam? That might be easier to source.

How long are these "short edges" of the rug that need to be covered?

Date: 2010-09-10 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If I make the robot bounce off the edges I suspect it will miss the rug entirely, or else get trapped on the rug. It uses a random-walk algorithm (plus some edge following) that seems to be very sensitive to obstacles.

The fringes themselves are quite short - less than three inches. The edges with fringes on them are a bit more than three feet long.

Date: 2010-09-10 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A thin piece of plywood, possibly with something heavy, like some books or whatever, weighting it down? Our roomba happily climbs up onto some tiles we have sitting on our carpet in front of the wood stove, and they're about 1cm thick.

Date: 2010-09-11 02:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's a thought. There is no shortage of books.

Date: 2010-09-13 02:31 am (UTC)
brooksmoses: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brooksmoses
That's probably the simplest option, if the robot will happily go over a 1/4" piece of plywood.

Alternately, I was going to suggest a piece of sheet steel, 3 feet by 5 inches by probably 3/32" or 1/8" (which would be heavy enough to hold itself down) but I don't know where to get such a thing. Perhaps one of the various sheetmetal fabricators in the phone book could provide that, and round the corners and deburr the edges so it's not sharp anywhere.

Date: 2010-09-11 07:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Would just folding the fringes under work?

Worst case, I guess you could take the rugs up and beat 'em.

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