Let's Make Robots!

Hello all, I'm starting a new project!


Hey everyone, this is my first post but I’ve been keeping up with LMR for months now.

I'm starting to build my first homemade robot. I built several advanced mobile robots in grad school, and work with ...certain types of mobile robots professionally now. But building one on my own with my own tools (for cheap) is a new adventure that I'm looking forward to.

I have a pretty good collection of "stuff" to get me started like servos, dc motors, sensors, etc. And I'm going to try not to buy anything else, so it should turn out pretty original. For starters I don't have two similar motors, so I'm contemplating on making a tricycle robot. And I’m thinking about making two idle wheels in the front and have a single rear wheel steer and provide locomotion as opposed to the differential steer, or the traditional tricycle that has drive wheels in back and steers in front. Kind of like a real tricycle for little kids, but in reverse.I realize that the center of gravity will need to be close the drive/steer wheel, and that tricycles are susceptible to tipping over, so I’ll need to keep that in mind during the design. Have any of you ever seen anything like this?

I only have one choice for the microcontroller…and it is a beast…

Dragon12 from EVBplus.com

It’s a Motorola/Freescale HCS12 mounted on a development board I got from http://www.evbplus.com/ (They call it Dragon12). I had to buy it for a class when I was in school. This thing is huge, but it has just about everything I’d ever need.  

Starting off I’m just going to build the platform and implement an IR swivel head wall avoidance, but ultimately I plan on R&D-ing a means of indoors localization/mapping. I don’t want to get ahead of myself so I’ll stop here.

What do you guys think?


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Wow that board looks like it has the Eddie Bauer luxury package. What? No onboard 3.5" floppy? That thing looks as big as a micro-ATX mobo.

The reverse trike is a great idea. Trikes are very stable when set up correctly and do away with one of those pesky wheels. I like it with the rear wheel being idle and diff drive up front but I'd be keen to see your rear-drive setup as well.

The two wheels in front and a single in back in recumbent trike circles is called tadpole design. As for the steering wheel also being the driven wheel, William Grey Walter built a pair of robots in 1948 and 1949 that were called turtles they used the same method for locomotion.

Yes, I had to look him up, but, I knew about the robots which were named Elmer and Elsie. :)

Good call, I just read about him...pretty interesting guy. Apparently he made the first autonomous robot 

turtle robot

I've gotta say, I've always been interested in three wheelers with the two in the front ever since I seen the T-Rex


Not to be confused with the reliant robin with the two in the back...


That Freescale board is massive.  I like the idea of using only parts that you already own.  As every new idea I have seems to involve a few parts orders, following your strategy would save me a ton of money!  But more than the money, the "no new parts" rule will push innovation.  Have fun with this I'll be looking forward to seeing your progress.