Let's Make Robots!

SOLAR Scrapbot.

Soon to be an object avoidance robot.

This little bot is made from scrap parts i have lying about. What inspired me was the University projects i have seen on-line and in person. I found out that not many projects involved or touched much on renewable energy sources. So i decided to build one from scrap and try. I am building robots and getting more into the software side as i have a course of robotics in mind for next and make my life at University a lot easier next year.

Body: This body is made from a salvaged plastic container which was just collecting dust in the shed so i decided to use it as it has plenty of room for Arduino components in the very near future (when my sensors arrive from China)

body and old wheelsUnderside


Drive Train: This rover has a 4wd system. The gearboxes i have allow me to adjust the ratio from 5:1 to 625:1 and they are dirt cheap i had some left over from a school project! The motors are 280 size ones, similar to the one in the RP5 platfrom. I am currently using a 125:1 ratio which has a great torque output and decent speed.The Gearbox upclose

Assembled gearbox

The wheels: The wheels were purchased on eBay for $20 ages ago for a project that i did not have time for. I decided to use them as they were lightweight, offer great traction and looked a bit cool.

Battery/power supply. As mentioned earlier, i wanted to give it a go at solar, i have not built a solar product before and not many people have not really experienced the joys of using solar in autonomous kits. It is going to be a battery/solar hybrid bot i cant chose whether to use NiMH or Sealed Lead Acid. Solar panels are currently on their way from China, they are laser cut into pieces soi will have to tab them and put them in series and parallel. They were cheap too.Solar Panelsbackbattery type

Difficulties Encountered and how they were solved
1. Gears tend to slip when a big load was applied (they were used so they were not tight around the drive rods) I solved this by using superglue, it holds very well and i have had not have an issue yet.


2. Loud noise. it was quite loud to begin with so i put a square piece of stubby holder material between the body and gearbox, its not as loud but its still a bit noisy but i will deal with it.

3. Battery power: The SLA's were heavy but had great capacity and i had heaps available. but i decided to switch to nimh as they are lighter and have a better energy density. I will probably switch to Nicad as they have a less steep discharge curve compared to NiMH

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That's great! I love things made out of old boxes. I know a guy who used tupperware to make a mesh of sensors to be deployed in the sea. Repurposing is great.


Have you decided where you're going to have the sonars and how many you'll have?

I might have one on a constantly sweeping servo on the front or have 3. one in the middle, and one on the left and right corners.


Glad to hear how you were dealing with noise. Interested in more about autonomous solar. One rover I saw plotted the sunniest spot on the lawn to return to for recharging later.

I have put this project on hold and have since been working on my terestial explorer robot as i found it more interesting/challening  :)