I always fancied building a robot, but the cost was too high. The SparkFun RedBot is about £100.
However, as always the Chinese clones bring the price down considerably.
He mentions a 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
The simplest is a 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
I personally prefer a 4WD unit as it offers greater flexibility and greater manouverability.
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.
There is also the 4WD Robot Smart Car Chassis Kits metal. Aluminium. For Arduino. ROBOTICS. SILVER, similar to the 25 quid model but £42.
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.
4WD Aluminum Mobile Robot Platform Educational Car Chassis Robot Vehicles, for £76.71. But weighs 1280g!
Fancy a hexapod instead?
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
Robot Car Chassis DIY Robotic Kit NEW Design, for £80.28 + £14 p+p
This is the top of the range model, Robot Car Chassis Kit (Stock Ref.12512), for £106.88
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
- 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
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.
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
and assembled with the two MG996 servos
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.
Camera, HD 700TVL 1/3″ SONY PAL 2.1mm MTV Board Lens Mini CCTV FPV Color Camera, £6.21, but 36mm x 36mm
Here again, with dimensions
1/3″ 700TVL 3.7mm Mini spy cam SONY FPV Camera for small wheelbase multicopter, for £21, and is 24×24
Or 1/3″ 700TVL 3.7mm small spy CCTV camera super Mini SONY FPV Camera 0.01LUX, for £21, and is 24×24
From more information of First Person Video (FPV), see FPV and OSD.
Keeping out of ‘arms way
How about adding an 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
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.
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
For MG996R Servo Aduino Robot Mechanical Arm Manipulator Gripper Mechanical Paw, for £11.65, in plastic
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,
or 90mm x 25mm, Aluminum Large U brackets type mount for Robot joint DIY Robot Arm Monster for $3.90 + $3.30,
and 2 x Aluminum I type Servo Gear Support…, for $3.60 + $3.20
2X Aluminum Multifunction Servo bracket for Robot joint Servo, for $4.50 + $3.30 for 2
2x Aluminum L bracket type mount for Robot servo joint DIY robot Arm car black, for £3.80 + $3.20 for 2
This guy sells the individual brackets:
The plans can be found here below:
Even cheaper here at guy, up to 50% cheaper.
- Robotic five fingered, 5DOF Humanoid Five Fingers Metal Manipulator Arm Right Hand with A0090 Servos CF, £46.29
- or two hands, 5DOF Humanoid Five Fingers Manipulator Arm Left+Right Hand with Servos for Robot, £80.88
From activeRobots.com, there is the extendable basic SainsSmart car body:
There are extensions, or add-ons, to the SainsSmart car body, such as:
Add on Deck – Base Rotate – v2.0, for £15.
and Add On Deck w/ Servo Holes v2.0 for £20.
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
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
Or cheapest clone, 32 CH Channel Servo Motor Control Driver Board for Arduino Robot Biped Spider #, for £17.24. The manual.
A close up of the PCB
Arbotix-M Robocontroller, £38.80. 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
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
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
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
Logitech controller and receiver Wireless PlayStation PS2 PS1 Controller w/ Receiver Logitech G-RA4B 2.4 GHz, for £23.95.
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
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 XBox 360 Controller receiver clone
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
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
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.
The Mega IO Expansion Shield for Arduino Mega – v2.4 has 3 XBee sockets, at £28.32
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.
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.
See Excel sheet on total cost of robot related to the number of brackets for a leg.
From a google search, I found LM393 Comparator Speed Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards), for £2
Other construction methods
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
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
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