Let's Make Robots!

School project tank robot


To finish my education i have decided to make a tank robot as my project. But i cant afford it to cost to much, as i am not sure how much time i will use on it when i am done. And if i decide to spend more time on my robot, i realy want it to be able to drive around outside. (more fun)

First problem i have runed into is, damm tracked based chassis cost alot. And most of them can only be used indoors. Any1 know some good cheap track based chassis that dont cost to much? And some motors/gearbox.

I live in Denmark (Aarhus). But at the time, i dont know any shops, that sells robot parts.

In my project i shall build all the electronics my self. And i have deciede to start out with building a robot that can drive around by it self, and avoid obstacles.

I am thinking of using either Led's with photo diodes/transistors, or maybe infra red. Not sure what is best. As i where told by a friend that they dont cost to much, and still should be very good to use.

Hope that there are some1 out there, that can help me.


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What about bike tyres as tracks? bike tyres go from very cheap, to quit expensive, just cut the beads off, and you have a nice threaded rubber circle. some powerfull windshiled whiper motors.


as for the brains, the arduino is so simple, no need for external programmers, just plug it in the USB port, and program away, the programming is quite easy after a couple of weeks of practise, good luck :) 


What type of processor's have you generald been using for robots, i am thinking of using a PIC16F631. But i am not sure how good it is, as i have never tried to work with it before. But a friend told me that it is good, and should be easy to program, is i just learn how it works.

But in here i think that most people use premade boards, is that so much easier?

Focus on the programming language. Are you likely to be good at Basic, Assembler, C or anything else out there? Choose your processor based on that.

Many beginners like Picaxe because it was designed for them. I cannot choose for you. Only you can. The best way to get some experience is to simply buy one likely candidate and try it out. I know, I know. You want to spend your money wisely.

Consider the hidden xosts for any choice, before buying a chip. Does it need a board, a programmer, a programming cable, software license, USB or serial port on you PC? Choose the complete package before coparing prices.

Just found a cheap RC tank on a danish home page, so now i just hope i win the action.

As i then can begin on the project, and hopeful begin to post some pictures of it.

And thanks about the info about the sensor, i am thinking of first to try and get some cheap photo diodes/thransistors, just to make some test with them, and then try to get some IR sensor, so i can put them up agains each other, in the report.

By the way, have any of you tried to use solar cells on a robot?




i have built my own ir sensor before but they are not as good as some you can buy. Rik is right, robots only way to know anything is by sensors, so that parts needs to be the best part of your robot. Without working sensors it isnt really even a robot.

I have found that sensors (for obstacle detection) are the hardest of themall to fabricate yourself or scavange from used gadgets. All the other stuff (drive system, motors, power, electrics, even brains) are easier and cheaper to come by.

So my advice would be: choose one really good sensor that you understand really well. Spend some time in the understanding part. Spend your remaining budget on the rest. Economize where you want, just not on the one sensor.

One sensor hould be enough. If you want a robot that can look in different directions, put the expensive sensor on a cheap servo. Build your budget around the sensor. The rest will follow.

i recamend vex they have a reliable tread and a easy programing software

a good platform for beginers


Thanks for the replys.

I can proberly afford to use about 600-2000kr (danish kr) on my project. aybe alittle more.

Problem with ebay, is that most of those that sells tank's there only will ship to canada and U.S.

The reason i want to use tank tracks, is that then the robot will have the ability to turn around where it stand. And if i also can use it outdoors, it will be more fun to work with, also if i want to work on it when i am done with my school project.

And i must say, that link to the 6wheeled, where very nice.

the six wheel design I linked to (and many onthers) have the same kind of steering as your tank, often referred to as skid steering or tank steering. None of the wheels turn like the front wheels of a car, they are all mounted in line. And you turn by running the wheels on one side forward, and the other side backwards. Just like a tank on threads or tracks.


And for those unfamiliar with Danish money-thingys: The budget is roughly 100-350 USDollar