Let's Make Robots!

$20 Robot platform

The Making of a Robot including Mcu for less than $20

This project was devised to show how easily it is to make a robot on limited funds.
It is a good "Starting Off" Robotic base as it can be easily changed and transformed.
This is just the start of the project and there are many additions planned for it.

It is a cross platform base, meaning that any micro computing unit (Brain) can be used ie. Propeller , Picaxe or Arduino (aka Atmega).
Due to its low cost i foresee me building a "Swarm" of them .....this one is already the second (first being a picaxe version).

The base uses Geared Stepper motors which means that it is very precise and repeatable in its movements. ( forget your  sloppy continuous servos )

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I've powered the little motors with a 3S Lipo (+-12V) to get more speed from them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLozZ_RYIRE

They do run hot @ 12V, but I haven't killed them... yet. I did need to write code that slowly ramps up the speed else I could not get them to spin fast. I used 2 74HC595 shift registers to control the 4 stepper motors. So I only needed 3 pins to control 4 stepper motors :)


video is not working for me. Anyone else have the same issue?

Thank you

....check for "issues" with your pc system.....

Brilliant Swiss Elves! ... steppers seem to be a great solution.. didn't know they were so amazingly inexpensive.  Also the heavy gear reduction on dc motors means you have to overpower them to get them to move initially...  (makes control more complex)

I have been looking for a precise control (encoder free ! ) solution !

High-Five from the Pacific Rim Elves !

Tracking is good..... now i realize how important having identical wheels.

Rubber compound tires are the order of the day. (so are Port and Starboard lights)

Yes i have noticed that the motors are "impulsive" meaning that they move when told to move...and gives them pretty good climbing ability.

Any following Swarmbot picking up the luminous trail could decode it (ie provided the leader is evolved enough to send morse code)

Sounds like a great idea..
Would be interesting what behavioral patterns you could come up with..

Another possiblity (although it would increase the cost per unit $12) is bluetooth control...  The 'lil bot could be influenced by computer control (always one of my agendas) - and the data collected by the swarm could be sent to the puter for assembly & display (Swarm SLAM!)..  I was headed this way, but me' elves got frustrated with sloppy positioning of continuous rotation servos & complexity of overpowering dc geared motors ....


I bought 2 of these motors with the driver board from Yourduino for less then 10$ http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=126

From what I've read these little motors are used in AC units and are made by the millions, more info here http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/SmallSteppers

Yes i have also seen distributers offering these at stupid reductions assuming you buy 10,000 or so....

Its real good to know that there is a plentiful supply , means surplus is out there so they are easy to get. (seems middle men are still too greedy with inflated prices), mine cost £0.99 each new, including the motor driver.

Big Thanks for the links, however ebay is the place to find cost effective deals on these motors though..

No way??? 99 pennies for that motors including the board? Then I am not sure if you still can reduce the price that much ;-)