Let's Make Robots!

Complete noob wants to build robot

Hi there

My plan is, somewhere in the future, to build a robot that can fold a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. I have never touched robots, but consider myself a skilled programmer, so that part shouldn't be too hard. Does anyone have advice on where to start? What books is good for learning to make this kind of robots (or isn't it called mechatronics)? Is my idea too complex  for a beginner (with no experience in hardware except plugging in wires on hdd's and pci-cards in motherboards)?

If you could recommend any good danish books on this topic it would be just terrific :)


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Well, if you are a skilled programmer, all you need to think about is how the mechanism should work. Maybe look for some pictures of the machines that fold the newspapers in print-factories, or buy a robot-arm kit and try to make it fold a paper just like humans do. For the programming any microcontroller will do. A lot of people use Adruino or Picaxe plattforms on this site, they will be able to give you advice if you run into problems. I#s an interesting project, good luck with it

thanks for your reply joker. seems like i'll have to get out of my books and look at the real world for once if i want to get this done.

it's all going to be programmed on linux, so the microcontrollers must support that platform. what i've read (and i haven't read that much yet) is, that the PIC microcontrollers have a lot of open source and free tools. seems like a good choice for a microcontroller - or does it?

any other comments on building this thing is welcome. i'm a book worm, so any books that can guide me towards my goal is really appreciated. 

Your problem will not be programming or microcontrollers.. It is a completely HW task. And if you cannot see that, you should start with something much, much simpler.

Getting a LED to flash, and then a speaker to make sounds will be a good start! (everyone who makes robots started there)

what is a HW task? (sorry if that's a stoopid question)

Hardware or homework. I see a problem with both if someone has only programming experience and wants to start robotics without starting small and learning as you go.

Thanks, I Agree with both of you, but as a longterm project, nothing is impossible

Don't get me wrong I'm not saying they CAN'T EVER do it I'm just saying to start small. I copied Firts START HERE project, then I wired up a 28x1 on a breadboard with the circuit to program it. Then I made it blink an LED on the breadboard, then I added a motor driver and motors. This is usually the best approach because you LEARN how and why it work sinstead of copying a more complex bot and not knowing why it works. Everyone is different, but we have had a lot of people post question after question because they tried to start with a YDM instead of starting small.

It's alright, i knew where you're coming from the first time around, just wanted to motivate summer a little

seems like i'm going to order some parts for making an led flash then.. guess there's a guide somewhere on this site.. thanks for your help

The guide for "make an LED flash" comes with many "project boards". These are the premade boards that have a microcontroller on them. These controllers have special software that make it extra easy to program them.

Arduino is such an example (programs in C). Picaxe is another (programs in Basic).

Picaxe is oriented at educating kids (ages 10 to 1000). The manuals are available as pdf on the rev-ed site. One of the chapters covers everything about LEDs and flashing.

I suppose the Arduino world has an equivalent. I live in Picaxe world for now. Because my age is closer to 10 than to 1000.