Let's Make Robots!

Autonomous 2/5 scale Dalek

This is my first complete robotics project. I started out with a simpler prototype of the electronics and then set about building the Dalek itself, which was quite time consuming. I started this project in March 2012 and just recently completed it (I say completed, but there are some cosmetic details to take care of and I will probably add some other features - like an MP3 player so it can play well known Dalek phrases such as 'Exterminate!').

If you don't know what a Dalek is, it is a character from the long running British TV series 'Doctor Who'.

The main electronic components are:

  • 1 x Arduino Mega 2560
  • 1 x Dual VNH2SP30 Motor Driver Carrier MD03A
  • 2 x 34:1 Metal Gearmotor 25Dx52L mm HP
  • 3 x MaxBotix EZ1 Ultra Sonic Sensor

The software is open source and is available on github here: https://github.com/andygrove/robotics/tree/master/dalek

I have documented the build process on the excellent Project Dalek web site here: http://www.projectdalek.com/index.php?showtopic=9245

I have also put some details on my blog here: http://theotherandygrove.com/projects/dalek-robot/ 

The motors turned out to be a bit too powerful and I need to slow the Dalek down a bit but I'm getting a high pitched whine when I do that and I understand that is something to do with the PWM frequency so that is one of the issues to be resolved. Thanks for looking!

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Thanks for all the feedback. I am going to update this post with some more photos and more detailed information on the electronics this weekend.

Very nice classic series Dalek.  I myself am in the beginning stages of building a full scale dalek, though mine will be a ride in costume and completely foot powered.  Kudos on a well done project.  I have seen dalek builds on a similar scale and I have always wondered about where you would get the parts.  I managed to find some 4 inch hemis that started out life as christmas tree ornaments and a few other pieces, but mine is mostly MDF.  The diligence you have shown in reducing the scale and building something this detailed is really amazing.  The robotics elements are probably child's play in comparison. 

Thanks for the feedback. This is actually made out of MDF too and the hemis are ping pong balls. The dome is made out of papier mache. The spray paints make it look metallic pretty well. I had to cheat a bit on the dome lights and eye etc. as I couldn't easily find or make authentic parts, but to the casual observer I think it looks fine :-)

I've actually started on a full size Dalek too now, and like yours this will most likely be foot powered. Do you have a build diary on Project Dalek? I've found it to be a great site.

I am a member of Project Dalek, but I have mostly been gathering parts and thinking about what style of Dalek I would like to do.  Plus, it will be hard to get my wife to agree to losing some garage space for a while.  I think I will be making a classic series Dalek with a few of the NSD touches, I believe they have a category for Daleks that don't actually fit any one categorgy.  I am doing this for a few reasons.  One, I think making an old series base looks easier and two, I am 6'2 and calling me husky would be being polite, so I want to be able to adjust the proportions up a few percent if I don't fit like I would want to.

I am starting at the bottom so that I can just convert into a Davros Chair if the whole thing gets to be too much a challenge.

The first Daleks have to be built somewhere...  How else can they thrive and attempt to take over the universe?


I saw one at a SciFi convention I went to 3 or 4 years ago, but it was not autonomous. They had a remote control for that one. Also yours looks more well-made.



Dr Who is alive and well in many places. :)

Nice build.

The video was shot at the bottom of some stairs, which reminds me how I always wondered why the Dr. And his companions didn't always head for stairs when the menace reared its head. I think when the tenth Dr. Faced them they could fly, but they never showed them doing it in the original series.
Tell me you didn't give him a real laser. For an autonomous Dalek that would be a really bad idea! Cool project. I'd like to see more technical photos. His innards, etc.