Let's Make Robots!

Which is the best way to build robots?

I'm lost and can't choose which way to go, I read David Cook's book, I read LMR's starter guide and some other sources. Saw a lot of robots in action here and there but I can't still choose which way to use, a programable robot wither using PICAXE or Arduino or even to stick to non-programable robots just like the one in David's book which is called Sandwich robot.

I can see each of these ways has its own features, advantages and downsides but I would rather hear it from professionals who tried most of these ways. My aim is to achieve more knowledge in this field, I'm not in hurry to build my own robot. I purchased some parts for David's robot, waiting for my PICAXE starter pack to arrive "This is another problem I have as I can't find these parts easily here in Japan due to my lack in Japanese language so I purchase them from online stores and ebay which adds extra shipping fees and delays for my progress".

So, to summarize this up, which way is recommended to adopt? A non-programable robots building "I assume it's not", PICAXE, Arduino or another way "please state it"?

Thanks in advance, waiting for your replies.

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I'd go with the start here bot, its simple, and will teach you more than a nonprogrammable robot will and after you learn the basics, you'll be able to create all sorts of robots, such as wall avoiders, line followers, wall crashers, line avoiders (personal favorite), etc. with a nonprogrammable bot, you can only do what the hardware will and won't be able to do brain surgery

I don't agree with you, I already did the start here bot, and built the non-programmable one, you know? I learnt great things in electronics "at least for me as a newbie" from that one and nearly nothing "other than programming commands" from the Picaxe one. As I stated in my question I wasn't in hurry to build a robot and I preferred to learn and now everything going well as I'm studying the picaxe modules and trying to get the best out of it and now planning my "real own robot" not a something I buy the pieces and just plug it as the one at start here.

I didn't mean it's not useful. It's really useful for someone that needs to just build a simple and fast robot and go not someone wants to learn. And it's a good chance to thank fritsl for his great efforts to build such a community which we learnt a lot from and for his nice robots.

Well I guess it sort of depends, the tutorial from David Cook probably would teach you more about electronics as it explains everything in depth and is like 500 pages long, but for me at least, the Start Here was a lot more helpful as i couldn't get all of the parts in my area so i had to make do with what i could get and i ran into a lot of errors and because of those errors i ended up learning more than i did with David Cooks book (I read that when i was a beginner too), so in my opinion i think that trial and error teaches you more than any one tutorial could teach you. Since you did both of them i guess you learned what both of them could teach you, but most robots that you will end up building (most likely) are the ones that are similar to the start here bot, even if you can build everything without programming, it would cost a lot more money, take a lot more time, and you wouldn't be able to change what you want it to do without buying more parts or changing the whole design.

It's where I started, and it's well...for dummies. I found it quite helpful, due to its simplicity.

There's a new Start Here-bot comming up!

It would be finished by now If I was not spending my time on stuff like writing this ;)

It is even simpler!

Hi... it's depending on what robot you want... a simple line follower could be made with two tranzistors and 2 sensor... simple... thats it...


Fritsl your robot needs programming.... I suggest using even simpler robots, brainlesses...

I appreciate your inputs, I'll start by PICAXE and build on it and I agree with you mintvelt that knowledge comes by trying, doing mistakes and fixing them.

You can spend all your life deciding on which platform is better or which way to build a robot works best, but in the end you have to decide based on your own experience, so the first thing you need is to get some.

I suggest you start with the start here bot; like markus and telefox say. When you've tried a few things with your first robot, you'll figure out you want floating point math and C programming and decide to switch to arduino. Or maybe you''ll see that the IR sensor doesn't really work well in your situation so you need te find something else for a distance sensor.

Bottom line is: you need to run in to problems and figure out what the limitations are of all the bits and pieces you are using for your robot. Solving those problems and finding those limtis is more than half the fun and is actually the best way to make well thought out decisions. An experienced robotics professional can only point out the pro's and cons of the components, but not which criteria is important to you.

I've gotta agree with Markus regarding complexity - you may spend a lot of time adjusting your hard-wired, non-programmable bot before you can get it to do anything cool. If you buy a pre-built microcontroller development board (as in a PICAXE project board, or an Arduino-type board, or something similar) then you can go from a few parts to a functional robot (like the Start Here bot) very quickly.

People that are just starting out often spend a lot of time upgrading and modifying their first robot, as this allows them to approach new concepts one at a time. If you get a project board that has header pins/terminals/sockets then you can keep changing the robot without having to worry about desoldering and soldering every time.

"To design advanced non-programable robots require a lot of knowledge in electronics."

I thought that non-programable robots are the less advanced ones as I saw it's the very first method David Cook used in his book "Robot Building For Beginners'. This adds one more question to my list of questions, which is the more advanced technique in building robots and which is the less advanced one?

Thanks for your input MarkusB