I, Robot

Preamble

I always fancied building a robot, but the cost was too high. The SparkFun RedBot is about £100.

The SparkFun Redbot
The SparkFun Redbot

However, as always the Chinese clones bring the price down considerably.

Video Tutorials

He mentions a H-Bridge,

H-Bridge
H-Bridge

A H bridge is an electronic circuit that enables a voltage to be applied across a load in either direction. These circuits are often used in robotics and other applications to allow DC motors to run forwards and backwards.

eBay Cheap kits

2WD

The simplest is a 2WD robot

2WD Robot
2WD Robot

The cheapest is the Great quality Motor Smart Robot Car Chassis Kits Speed Encoder For Arduino. This one seems to lack the speed encoder, however. I’m awaiting a reply from the seller, to confirm, but it’s only £4.38

Otherwise the cheapest complete 2WD model is 2WD Smart Robot Car Chassis Kit/Speed For Arduino 2 encoder Battery 1:48 SR1G for £6.77

4WD

I personally prefer a 4WD unit as it offers greater flexibility and greater manouverability.

4WD Robot
4WD Robot

The cheapest 4WD model is 4WD Motor Robot Smart Car Chassis Kits Speed Encoder DC 3V 5V 6V for Arduino, for £12.01

If you want something more tasty, but less DIY, then the 4WD Robot Car Development Robotics Platform Kit for Arduino Uno Mega Made in UK, for £25.

Robot Developement Base
Robot Developement Base

It comes with a number of attachments, such as pan and tilt unit for £9.95, and a gripper.

There is also the 4WD Robot Smart Car Chassis Kits metal. Aluminium. For Arduino. ROBOTICS. SILVER, similar to the 25 quid model but £42.

Robot Car Silver
Robot Car Silver

2.4GHz RF UNO 4WD Mobile Car L298N HC-SR04 Sensor Kit Robot Arduino w/s PC SW, for £47.99 + £10 (p+p), with USB stick and PC control software.

Aluminium 4WD with 2.4GHz comms
Aluminium 4WD with 2.4GHz comms

4WD Aluminum Mobile Robot Platform Educational Car Chassis Robot Vehicles, for £76.71. But weighs 1280g!

4WD Chassis
4WD Chassis
4WD Chassis assembled
4WD Chassis assembled

Hexapods

Fancy a hexapod instead?

Hexapod
Hexapod

Try the 18DOF Black Hexapod Robot Spider Kit for Arduino Raspberry Pi PICAXE, for £35. It is made of PLA (plastic) not aluminium.

For more information and links, see Them!

Caterpillar Tracked robots

I  would prefer over the 4WD robot a caterpillar type. Now it may be possible to put caterpillar tracks on the 25 quid robot car.

‘Zumo’ Sumo Robot Chassis, for  £18.95, but looks pretty limited

Zumo
Zumo

ALL Metal Robot Tracks Development Platform FPV for Arduino, for £67

Tracks Robot
Tracks Robot

Robot Car Chassis DIY Robotic Kit NEW Design, for £80.28 + £14 p+p

Robot Car Chassis
Robot Car Chassis

Robo-Soul Crawler Robot Chassis Triangle Mobile Platform TK-100 TK210 UK, for £96.80, or Robo-Soul TK-100 White Crawler Robot Chassis Triangle Mobile Platform UK, for £87

Robo Soul
Robo Soul

MC Robot MK1S Thicked Al Metal Robot Car Chassis Crawler Track Tank ge, for £104, or 2015 Hot sell New Design Robot Car Chassis DIY Robotic Kit for £92.72

MK1S
MK1S

This is the top of the range model, Robot Car Chassis Kit (Stock Ref.12512), for £106.88

4 caterpillar track robot
4 caterpillar track robot

Humanoid

Humanoid using the brackets, for £55, which is worth it, just for the parts, 17DOF Biped Robot Educational Robot Kit Servo Bracket Ball Bearing Black e, and also has 17 metal servo horns (see Service please! – Linkage for MG996), plus the bearing cups are a useful “free win”. Or from the UK, 17DOF Biped Robot Educational Robot Kit Servo Bracket Ball Bearing Black UK SHIP, £55.22

17DOF Robot
17DOF Robot

Parts:

  • 16 x Multi-functional servo bracket
  • 7 x Short U-type servo bracket
  • 4 x Long U-type servo bracket
  • 4 x Oblique U-type servo bracket
  • 4 x one-type servo bracket
  • 4 x L-type servo bracket
  • 1 x U-type robot waist bracket
  • 2 x Foot Base
  • 14 x Miniature Ball Radial Bearing
  • 17 x Metal Servo Horn
  • 1  x Screw and screw cap set

New 17DOF Biped Robot Educational Robot Kit Servo Bracket Ball Bearing Black, for £48, but lacks the servo horns

17DOF robot kit
17DOF robot kit

Fitting instruction photos in a zip.

An interesting quote from the Amazon page:

To run 17 servo’s you are going to need lipo batteries and a big UBEC. I used a Turnigy 2.2 20-30C 2200mah lipo with a Turnigy 6v 8A UBEC (with a peak 15A load) and it works nicely, each of these will cost about £15 to £20. A servo controller board and a bluetooth serial link will complete the line up, or us arduino nano’s (which I prefer) and a servo driver – I recomment the adafruit 16 channel one, the other servo can be controlled directly by the ardiuno, its only for the head so isn’t that important). Total build (not including controller) is about £180 which is by far the cheapest way to get a biped robot.

Add-ons

Pan and tilt

Note that this pan and tilt unit, Aluminium Alloy Matte PAN AND TILT SERVOS BRACKET SILVERY Robot Arduino Silvery, is the cheapest at £5.88, or if you fancy black then New Black 2 DOF Pan and Tilt Servos Sensor Mount Kit for Robot Arduino MG995, for £6.00

Black Pan and Tilt bracket
Black Pan and Tilt bracket

and assembled with the two MG996 servos

Black Pan and Tilt bracket assembled
Black Pan and Tilt bracket assembled

A very cheap and cheerful plastic pan-tilt unit, Pan/Tilt Camera Platform Anti-Vibration Camera Mount for Aircraft NO SERVO parts, for £1.15. However, it can only handle 9-12g servos (SG90), and light-weight 700TVL cameras (GoPro is probably excluded), with 28mm x 28mm dimensions (the SONY ones go for $98), the cheaper ones are 32*32, see below, and so no good. There is 24×24 camera for £21 (see below), but I think that the 6 quid aluminium frame is much more versatile and if you already own a GoPro, then the way to go. However, as always, watch this space for developments.

Plastic Pan Tilt
Plastic Pan Tilt

Assembled

Plastic Pan Tilt Assembled
Plastic Pan Tilt Assembled

Camera, HD 700TVL 1/3″ SONY PAL 2.1mm MTV Board Lens Mini CCTV FPV Color Camera, £6.21, but 36mm x 36mm

700TVL Camera
700TVL Camera

Here again, with dimensions

36 x 36 Camera
36 x 36 Camera

1/3″ 700TVL 3.7mm Mini spy cam SONY FPV Camera for small wheelbase multicopter, for £21, and is 24×24

24x24 Camera
24×24 Camera

Or 1/3″ 700TVL 3.7mm small spy CCTV camera super Mini SONY FPV Camera 0.01LUX, for £21, and is 24×24

24x24 Camera #2
24×24 Camera #2

From more information of First Person Video (FPV), see FPV and OSD.

Keeping out of ‘arms way

How about adding an arm?

Robot Arm
Robot Arm

The Aluminium Robot 6DOF Arm Mechanical Robotic Clamp Claw Mount Kits for Arduino goes for £25.99, or down to £23.54.

A rotating base, for $19.95

A simpler arm, like the GoPro camera robot arm which only offers 2DOF, is the 3 DOF Mechanical Arm Claw 3 Axis Steering Gear Bracket without Gripper Robotic U, for  £8.70

3DO Robot Arm Assembled
3DO Robot Arm Assembled

As it has 3 servos, then it could be used as a weighty hexapod‘s leg. The only issue is would the body plate be strong enough to hold 6 legs such as these?

Here is the kit of parts. How is differs from the 2DO, Pan and Tilt, GoPro bracket, is the addition of the short brace.

3DO Robot Arm
3DO Robot Arm

Claws!

Aluminum Robot Arm Clamp Claw For Arduino Medium Servo Robot MG995 for £10.88 (there are other cheaper examples available, down to 5 quid, have a search!), in aluminium

Aluminium Gripper
Aluminium Gripper

For MG996R Servo Aduino Robot Mechanical Arm Manipulator Gripper Mechanical Paw, for £11.65, in plastic

Plastic Gripper
Plastic Gripper

Robotic Claw For Medium Servo Robot Arm Arduino Other Projects aluminum for £7.02

Blue 1DOF Mechanical Claws Non-mergeable LD-2015 Digital Servo for Robot Car for £14.41

Hinge and Bracket

Just the brackets? Short U bracket, 2x Aluminum Long U brackets type mount for Robot joint DIY Robot Arm Monster for $3.90 +$3.19,

Long U brackets
Long U brackets

or 90mm x 25mm, Aluminum Large U brackets type mount for Robot joint DIY Robot Arm Monster for $3.90 + $3.30,

Large U brackets
Large U brackets

and 2 x Aluminum I type Servo Gear Support…, for $3.60 + $3.20

Short Bracket
Short Bracket

2X Aluminum Multifunction Servo bracket for Robot joint Servo, for $4.50 + $3.30 for 2

Multifunction Bracket
Multifunction Bracket

2x Aluminum L bracket type mount for Robot servo joint DIY robot Arm car black, for £3.80 + $3.20 for 2

L Bracket
L Bracket

This guy sells the individual brackets:

MFU £1.56

MultiFunction Bracket
MultiFunction Bracket

LU 1.72

Long U Bracket
Long U Bracket

L 1.23

L Bracket
L Bracket

Straight 1.30

Flat Bracket
Flat Bracket

SU 1.46

Short U Bracket
Short U Bracket

OU 2.09

Oblique Short U Bracket
Oblique Short U Bracket

Foot 2.52

Large U Bracket
Large U Bracket

Waist 2.91

Waist Plate
Waist Plate

The plans can be found here below:

Plan: MultiFunction Bracket
Plan: MultiFunction Bracket
Plan: Long U Bracket
Plan: Long U Bracket
Plan: L Bracket
Plan: L Bracket
Plan: Short U Bracket
Plan: Short U Bracket
Plan: Oblique U Bracket
Plan: Oblique U Bracket
Waist Plate
Waist Plate
Plan: Large U Bracket
Plan: Large U Bracket

Even cheaper here at guy, up to 50% cheaper.

Another good market place, robotshop.com, with lots of chassis parts, and also nex robotics.

Hands

fivefingerhand.jpg

Body Parts

From activeRobots.com, there is the  extendable basic SainsSmart car body:

SainSmart car
SainSmart car

There are extensions, or add-ons, to the SainsSmart car body, such as:

Add on Deck – Base Rotate – v2.0, for £15.

Swivel plate for SainSmart car
Swivel plate for SainSmart car

and Add On Deck w/ Servo Holes v2.0 for £20.

Servo plate for SainSmart car
Servo plate for SainSmart car

One might consider building one’s own chassis from aluminium rods, if the right chassis does not materialise. A good article on Quora, about which materials to use.

The hunt for a chassis with 4 bolts on a side

TAMIYA 4005004 King Tiger Tank Chassis 56004/56007 NEW 42€.

The Arduino Robot

This Arduino Robot does not appeal to me, but worth a mention for the design ideas and code. Goes for about £170

Arduino Robot
Arduino Robot

Controllers

Generic

MEGA Sensor Shield V2.0 Dedicated Sensor Expansion Board for Arduino, for £2.50

Mega servo shield
Mega servo shield

Or cheapest clone, 32 CH Channel Servo Motor Control Driver Board for Arduino Robot Biped Spider #, for £17.24. The manual.

Cheapest 32 Channel controller
Cheapest 32 Channel controller

A close up of the PCB

32 Channel MCU
32 Channel MCU

Arbotix-M Robocontroller, £38.80. ArbotiX-M Robocontroller, with XBee interface

Arbotix-M Robocontroller
Arbotix-M Robocontroller with XBee interface

SONY PlayStation 2

For only, £ 35.57 + £2.46 (p+p), 32 Channel Servo Motor Control Board & PS2 Controller Receiver for Robot Spider, with PS2 wireless receiver

PS2 Controller Board showing Receiver
PS2 Controller Board showing Receiver

So, it is cheaper that the Arbotix-M Commander/Robocontroller boards’ solution as saves on a $60 Commander controller. Although you do lose out on the XBee functionality. A close up of the board

PS2 Controller Board
PS2 Controller Board

It is hard to tell what ATmega chip is on the board, or even if Arduino based. Certainly looks too small to be a ATmega 2560. There are some more SMDs on the reverse of the PCB

PS2 Controller Board (Back)
PS2 Controller Board (Back)

Control anything with ps2 controller and Arduino (wirelessly) can use an old remote receiver. Also, this Playstation 2 Controller Arduino Library v1 article is very useful.

There is just this PS2 Robot Controller (v3)  and receiver for £23.85

PS2 controller and receiver
PS2 controller and receiver

Logitech controller and receiver Wireless PlayStation PS2 PS1 Controller w/ Receiver Logitech G-RA4B 2.4 GHz, for £23.95.

Logitech PS2 controller and receiver
Logitech PS2 controller and receiver

You can get a new clone for £6.17, New 2.4G Wireless GamePad Controller Joypad Joystick for Playstation 2 PS2 Black

Just the receiver  HAMMERHEAD Plug-In Replacement Part for SONY PS 2 Wireless Controller, for £5.99

Hammerhead Receiver
Hammerhead Receiver

Microsoft XBox 360

Or for the XBox controller, try the PC Wireless Gaming USB Receiver Adapter for Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller New, for £4.50.

The original.

Microsoft USB wireless XBOX receiver
Microsoft USB wireless XBOX receiver

The XBox 360 Controller receiver clone

USB wireless XBOX receiver
USB wireless XBOX receiver

from Arduino Robotic Arm Controlled By Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, and comes with a USB connector, type A, so you also need a USB shield. Here is the USB Host ADK Shield Support Google Android F Arduino UNO MEGA Duemilanove 2560, for £6.14

USB Shield
USB Shield

Another article uses a keyboard or an XBox 360 controller connected to a PC, via the PC’s bluetooth, to control an Arduino, ARDUINO + BLUETOOTH + XBOX 360 CONTROLLER = FUN! touches upon the subject as well as providing a little code. Python for the PC (KB and XB360 controller) and Arduino code.

There is the APC220 Wireless Communication Module for Arduino+USB Converter, for £19

Wireless and USB
Wireless and USB

Arduino Mega Shields

As an aside, the 16-Channel 12V Relay Shield Opto-couple For Arduino UNO MEGA2560 R3 AVR Robot, for £10.49. However, this is not actually a shield, there are no pins.

16 Channel Relay
16 Channel Relay “shield”2

The Mega IO Expansion Shield for Arduino Mega – v2.4 has 3 XBee sockets, at £28.32

Mega Shield with 3 XBee sockets
Mega Shield with 3 XBee sockets

Speed encoders

Using the aluminium cars, sacrifices the speed encoder sensor (hall effect or optical wheel, for the back of the yellow Chinese motors) mounting points, which the cheaper 2WD car kits, and some 4WD car kits, include. Are cheap ebay motors any good? A review of the cheapest, including the brilliant N20 gear motor.

SSC-32

SSC-32
SSC-32

Which could be the same as, or similar to, the Chinese clone with the PS2 controller remote (see above). See Elechouse 32 Channel Servo Controller Problem where the chap mentions the clone with the PS2 controller. Commands are in USB-SSC32_Command_Formatting.pdf (raw).
There was another board that required the PS controller to be opened up. I need to find that link again.

External Calculators

See Excel sheet on total cost of robot related to the number of brackets for a leg.

Speed encoders

From a google search, I found LM393 Comparator Speed Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards), for £2

Speed comparator
Speed comparator

Other construction methods

SES route

There was a site (WALKER8 – An Octopod Project) which mentioned I decided to go with the SES route, and I didn’t understand the reference. Refers to Servo Erector Set, from Lynxmotion. The term SES does not seem that popular on eBay, although google throws up some references. These are, essentially, the same as the brackets referred to as servo brackets, servo motor brackets or robot brackets.

The SES brackets are designed for Hi-Tec servos, but they will also fit a wide variety of compatible servos, such as the HiTower 995/996 servos and their clones:

Hitec Servo Brackets
Our selection of standard brackets can use most standard size Hitec analog or digital servos. The HS-3xx, 4xx, 5xx, 6xx, 54xx, 56xx, and 59xx servos are verified to fit. Note that servos from other manufacturers are not guaranteed (nor likely) to work. With the new ultra powerful digital servos it is now possible to control larger, more complex assemblies than ever before. The HS-5685 digital servo is the most cost effective power house digital servo.

The large brackets line can use several Hitec large size normal or digital servos. The HS-755HB, HS-755MG, HS-5745MG, HS-805BB/MG servos are verified to fit. Note that servos from other manufacturers will likely not be compatible with these brackets.


The micro brackets line can use several Hitec micro size servos. The HS-85BB and HS-85MG servos are verified to fit. Note that servos from other manufacturers will likely not be compatible with these brackets.

Looking up the HS-5685 on eBay, Hitec HS5685MH HV, for £30

HS-5685
HS-5685

Tetrix

There is also the similar TETRIX system

TETRIX is a robotics building system that was created by Pitsco. The system consists of aluminium elements for construction and powerful drive motors, controlled by an NXT brick

TETRIX Starter Pack
TETRIX Starter Pack

iRobot Create

It is worth mentioning the iRobot Create, which is based on the Roomba cleaning robot.

Regarding brackets, there is the Metal Create Bracket

The Create Brackets are sold in sets of two and allow for easy mounting between IFI (Previous Metal Parts), the iRobot Create, and current KIPR Metal Parts

Metal Create Bracket
Metal Create Bracket
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