Let's Make Robots!

Towards a Robot Kit for Maker Faire

I'm trying to come up with a kit to build at Maker Faire NYC this year. Chris the Carpenter and I ran a series of four workshops last year, that were in high demand. The challenge is developing an inexpensive yet awesome kit that can be made in an hour by just about anyone.

After my experience teaching 9 to 10 year old kids robots with the Rocket Brand Studios Tadpole kit, I'm looking for something that is simple, simple, simple. Still, I'd like to top what we did last year.


I built a quick prototype last night using parts from the Tadpole educational kit. I replaced bolts and nuts with double sided foam tape, simplified the wheels, and came up with this.

Behold! Am I not beautiful?


It uses the Tadpole base plate and top plate, battery holder, motors, parts of the wheels, and two bump switches. The brain is a DAGU Mini Driver. It only uses three screws per wheel, plus the bolts for the brass standoffs. 

Check out my sleek lines!


I think it came out pretty cute, overall. The "tires" are cut from the necks of punching balloons.

Face it, I'm gorgeous!


The only difficult part was lining up the parts as you stick them on. Maybe we can come up with a paper template to help align the parts. Or perhaps I can convince Chris to add some laser etched guidelines to the top and base plates. That's what he did last year.

Ah! Don't peek!


Above, you see the ugly underbelly. You can see how all the parts are stuck together.

The final kit may wind up quite different. This is just a first pass. We also still need to fund this somehow or we won't be able to afford it.


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Yup, he's a butt-dragging robot. It actually works surprisingly well, even on carpet.

probably a small round plastic bead like they use for necklaces and a paperclip would make a suitable roller for the rear. Straighten the paperclip, feed it through the bead and then poke both ends through holes in the base and bend them over so it cannot fall off.

It will not matter if the bead does not spin on the paper clip although a big hole could be put in the base between the two small holes that the paper clip pokes through.

Last year I bought a bulk pack of little half-round beads and we just stuck them to the underside of the bot with double-sided foam tape. 

If we use the Tadpole bottom plate for the robot, the tail is actually rounded so very little contact is made, and I'm not sure a tail wheel or castor is even needed. It seems to work fine even on carpet.

I will keep your suggestion in mind though; it is a good tip.

Is it my imagination or when he's running, is this little guy quite literally dragging ass? ;-). No jokes though, that mini driver board is an unmatched value. Good choices here, IG!