Let's Make Robots!

Platform and Motors

Hi there

I want to make my first robot, but i got some questions:

1) How do i make my own platform? I dont want to buy one, but i dont know which material i should use to build my own platform?

2) Which kind of motors should i use? (DC, Servo, Stepper) What is the difference between these ones?


Any other thing i should know before jumping in to robotics? :)


Thanks! :)  

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Of all the robots you have looked at, which chassis materials did you find that seemed like they would work for you? I'm sure some of the designs you have seen spoke to you in some way. 


Almost everything can become a robot chassis. from CDs to free paint sticks and MDF. a plastic box or a handy breadboard. and what about lego or meccano? What (old junk) materials have you laying arround there? I'm sure you have something to use..

Good luck with your robot projects!

DC motors for driving a robot will require some form of h-bridge, either a chip that is capable of controlling 2 motors or a whole slew of components including resistors and transistors, maybe even relays. These motors will require at a reasonable minimum of 2 control lines each and preferably 3 control lines each. There are ways to use a single line per motor, but, that is a lot of messing around just to save a pin or two. You would also not have the same functionality that you would with 3 lines; 1 for PWM on the enable pin of the h-bridge for each motor and 2 more for forward/reverse/coast/brake.

Servos will either require you to open them up and make some alterations or purchase them already modified. Servos will require only 1 pin each from the microcontroller to get 'full' forward/stop/reverse.

Steppers will also require at least one chip between the microcontroller and the motor to protect the uC from the current draw of the steppers. If you only use a chip that lets you pass higher power out, you will use 4 pins per motor and a fair bit of controller time making the steppers move(my opinion). There are circuits that let you pass a direction and step to stepper motors to get them to move readily and that shouldn't require much work from the microcontroller.

I will let you decide for yourself, but, premodded (continuous rotation) servos will cost you the least overall in my opinion.


Question 1) Use a cardboard box. It is a very good prototype material. You can work fast and find the challenges you need to solve when moving on to plexiglass, wood, aluminium or some sort of plasticfoam ply.

Question 2) Easiest to use are continuous rotation servos. Then and this is prefered use 1:224 gear motors. But you have to consider Birdmuns comment about the H brige.

About your other thing: use the existing material from LMR. Get inspired by the thousand robots that we as a collective have built. Use the search if you look for something specific. Add a picture of you in your profile. Go and donate a few dollars.

Welcome to LMR.

I've been using an Arduino before, so i think i want to use my Uno for this project. I think i want to buy Adafruits Motor Shield. Would this be a bad idea?? And then buying this motor with wheel. 



The motorshield should suit you well but the motor link is broken. So I have no idea what motor it is you are looking at.

I was wondering what the difference between this motor and this motor is?? 


Btw, Thanks for helping beginners like me ! :) 

and everything that goes with higher gear ratio; more torque, higher current draw, lower speed. If you use the solarbotics GM2, you should either stack 293's or use a 754410 due to the stall current rating of 700+ mA. Otherwise, the motors are very similar.

Sorry, but i don't know what a 293, 754410 and 700+ mA is?? 

The L293(D) and 754410 are both common quad half h-bridge ICs. They both have the same pinout so they are able to replace one another. The 293 can handle 600mA within reason. The 754410 can manage 1A.

A and mA are Amps and milliAmps. They are a unit of current. There are 1000 mA in 1 A.