Let's Make Robots!


Lives on my desk

As an ongoing project. I have been working on a small robot that could live on my desk as a pet, hence the Deskpet moniker. I’ve done some research into how to give him personality, as well as how to add emotion (links soon). Last weekend I decided to play with my CNC mill and cut out a design for the body of my deskpet robot. I’ve been working on this design for a while so it was just a matter of loading and running the program. Then, one of the guys at work used the CNC’d master to make an RTV mold, and I molded a urethane copy:

Deskpet1 Deskpet 2

The body is shown with a Nickel for scale. The pics are really crummy because I used my cell phone, I’ll post better pics later. This will make a robot small enough to use for Micro-Sumo competition, and is designed around the GM-10 motors. I may end up selling these as just the body, or as a complete robot kit.

I have finished the pcb schematic and have almost completed the layout. I hope to send the board out to BatchPCB for fab by the end of the week.


I finished routing the PCB. Maybe I'll be able to send it out for fab by tonight. 



These pics are quite old, but I got quite distracted with other projects and forgot to update. 

Here's an RC prototype using a Nordic keyfob transmitter:

Deskpet Proto

I also made the bodies available on Shapeways if anyone is interested:


The body is easily reproduceable by making a silicone mold, but be sure to get it made with "Transparent Detail" if you are gong to make a mold. The "White, Strong and Flexible" material doesn't release from the molds easily.

Next up is some ideas I had for an alternate body/frame for the deskpet:

Alternate Deskpet Body

Alternate Deskpet body - internal

This body is also on Shapeways, but I have not tested it yet, so I have not made it available for sale. While it looks a lot nicer, it would be a much trickier build. I also have a design for molding the tiny tank treads for this which still needs to be tested, I just ordered a pair of the tread molds and one of the bodies, so we'll see how it goes.

Finally I have been doing a lot of thinking and a bit of writing over the last year or so about the personality/emotions/learning for the deskpet robot. I wrote some of it down and recently made it available through my blog in case anyone is interested:


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Sounds like you have some nice equipment. I'd kill for a CNC milling machine.
Very nice equipment indeed. :) Giving a robot personality really is the holy-grail of robotics. Please, continue to keep us posted. If I were you, I'd focus on personality more than sumo because its really unique. I'm sure we've all dreamed of a robot with personality. :)
Good luck!


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.... -Marianne Williamson

Huh? CNC, mold?

You are going to make bodies for all of us now! Seriously, what do you need for 3D-model, and how can we put this into system, so that your boss can see the benefits / making he's money worth on it?

What would a mold like the one you have made cost?

You cannot just show a thing like that and hold it to yourself. The rest of us use duct tape and free sticks, you know :) Imagine a project like TIRDNKWIIT - what would I not be able to create if I had your powers? 

You should build yourself one of these:


I discovered that I already have the controller board for that thing lying around. It is kind of expensive though :-)

- Jimmy

If you're interested in making some awesome cases for your bots, you mightwanna check out building something like this.


According to the video, it's pretty much the same way they made all the Storm Trooper outfits in Star Wars.

Yeah - or just get a 3D printer etc.. But these things are not good enough in quality yet, or too pricey.

I like the RepRap . The fabber which can make a copy of its self. We could pool resources, make one - then let it replicate copies and send the children to everyone :)

Then again, maybe I would do better taking glue gun lessons from Frits or Martha Stewart.

I think there is a general rule of thumb that you should stick to 45 degree angles when routing traces (especially avoid the 90 degree angles). I guess this is not a pressing matter for hobbyists but it does make the PCB look more "professional" :-). 

Otherwise the PCB looks nice and compact.

- Jimmy 

IN any case, even if there were a guideline suggesting this, the angles between the tracks which are at 45 degress would, by definition, be at 90 degrees....!

A lot of these tracks look manually routed. Sometimes you have to do that if your auto router craps out. 

looks good to me. im guessing a few months of planning?