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Topic: Need Guidance on What Kind of Robot to Build For Project (Read 3811 times) previous topic - next topic


No, I have experience with using certain tools and have them (like wire strippers and screwdrivers), but I do not have experience with soldering (nor do I possess a soldering iron). The reason why I thought a legged robot would be better is because legged robots can travel through obstacles (especially big ones) like stairs much better than wheeled robots can.


The question is, how will a robot, even a legged one, climb stairs? It will have to be big enough and also probably have the dimensions of the stairs hardcoded into it.
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Thank you. But for me assembling the wheels for that robot would actually be harder than creating a wheeled robot with a sophisticated turning mechanism.
What I suggested is essentially hot gluing a servo horn to the center of a pie pan. If that is difficult for you, your project may not go anywhere.
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Actually, zoomkat, that's doable. What is hard is assembling the complicated wooden wheels shown in the picture. As for making a robot climb stairs, I only said that it is possible to make a legged robot climb stairs. I never said it was easy; in fact, I am not working on that problem just yet. First I am going to try to just get the robot to walk.


So, are you saying that making a walking robot is not a good idea? The problem with wheeled robots is that they cannot traverse rugged terrain very well, especially stairs.


I would think treaded robots can do stairs easier. Longer "wheelbase" allowing treads to be in contact with 2 steps at a time for stability.
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So are you recommending a tank-like design for rugged terrain? I would think that treads help a great deal too since they have great traction.



After some extensive research I have found a good kit for building an inexpensive mobile robot. It is a humanoid with speech recognition. I plan on using the Arduino library included on the site to program it.


Do you think this would be a good option for the money?

Thank you,


It is a humanoid with speech recognition.
I suppose it's "humanoid" but it's not a biped. It's a tall two motor robot.

It looks like it comes with two gear motors and four "servos" so it seems like you get a decent about of parts for the price.

As I've expressed elsewhere, I think Mecanno's communication protocol is painfully slow but as long as you don't need the robot to make fast complex movements it should be okay.

I wouldn't recommend the kit to anyone, but I also don't think it's a complete waste of money.


I don't plan on trying to make the robot do moves quickly. I am mainly focusing on intelligence capabilities. I would like to tinker around with the speech recognition and synthesis and see if I can come up with some interesting actions.


In your first post you said (and I quote):

I want to build a robot so that I can experiment with robotic navigation and sight. I want a fairly stable robot.
As far as I can tell, you've never built a robot, you can't work with tools, you don't have many tools, and despite our suggestions, you are still 5-6 months into your research and you don't have a platform yet - despite several being suggested.

You haven't even gotten a simple two-wheeled, servo-driven table-top/floor bot running - let alone any nav capabilities or vision system.

You need to start small. You need to learn the basics. Do not purchase a walking machine - you will become frustrated very quickly. Do not purchase a humanoid - because now you are adding instability on top of walking (a bipedal design is inherently unstable - you do know that humans walk by controlled falling, right?).

The thing you want, is something very basic: A two-wheeled differentially steered (aka "skid-steer") platform. It doesn't need to be large; it doesn't need to be complicated. In fact, one of these chassis kits from this place (especially the ArdBot platform) would be perfect:


This site is one of the sites of Gordon McComb - his main site is here:


He is the author of this book - he has been an active robotics experimenter for likely longer than you've been alive (at least going back to the 1980s, from what I can gather - and likely earlier):


So - this is what I suggest to you - beyond what I have already suggested:

1. Buy the ArdBot chassis - it's cheap, it uses servos for driving the wheels, and an Arduino for control, and mainly requires a screwdriver to put it together.

2. Buy Gordon's book - seriously, it is worth it. I personally have EVERY EDITION - I bought the first edition when it came out.

Then attach your Arduino to the platform, and start playing. Learn how to make the thing move, go in a circle, turn around, drive in a "box" pattern, etc. Get your beginner's chops on just making the thing move!

Once you have that mastered - then pick yourself up an ultrasonic sensor and bracket, plus a servo, and learn how to scan and get distance information back - and use that to do simple navigation, like finding a path through a crowded area with obstacles.

In the meantime, read Gordon's book, and his site - and maybe try to pick up earlier editions of his book, because each edition adds new stuff, but also removes other stuff that can be just as interesting to know - even if it is a bit dated: It never hurts to have knowledge, even if that knowledge seems out of date, because you never know when that bit of seemingly "outdated information" will inspire or help you solve a problem.

Believe me - these tasks can easily occupy you for a year. Don't rush things; take the time to really understand and experiment. Once you have this mastered, then you can move on to machine vision - which is a whole 'nother ball-o-wax.

If you don't want to get frustrated, you need to start small, and slow, and build up from each learning opportunity and experiment. You are trying to go too fast, and too big. Drop it down to "desktop rover" level (but - play on the floor - nothing sucks more than to have your small robot zoom off the edge of the desk and smash on the floor!).

Please - heed my words. If you are serious about this learning opportunity, do it properly - you have plenty of time to advance beyond these steps, but without the base, you won't have the proper foundation to advance to the levels you are aiming for.

Good luck. :)
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This site is one of the sites of Gordon McComb - his main site is here:


He is the author of this book - he has been an active robotics experimenter for likely longer than you've been alive (at least going back to the 1980s, from what I can gather - and likely earlier):


I also recommend Gordon McComb's book (I know I've done so several times on this forum).

While I think you're safe purchasing something from Budget Robotics, you don't really need any sort of special tools to build a robot.

A microcontroller, batteries and a couple continuous rotation servos will get you rolling. You can use foam board as a chassis.

Here's my foam board robot performing a figure 8.

I remember seeing a robot made from chopsticks (it was one of many robots deleted from Let's Make Robots by the sites new owners (RobotShop)). I thought it was amazing. I realized one didn't need expensive tools or parts to make a robot. You can use whatever parts you have handy. Inspired by the chopstick robot, I made this magnificent failure. It obviously didn't work as I'd hoped but I sure learned a lot making (and especially programming) it.

I've seen a cool Rubik's cube solving robot made from cardboard.

It's a great time to be learning to make robots. Parts have never been so inexpensive and there's never been so many resources for learning to use the various sensors.

IMO, the mechanical aspect of robot making (at least the robots I've made) is the easy part. The hard part is getting the robot to move the way you want it to move. Programming takes a lot of practice. You can learn a lot about programming from a relatively inexpensive robot.


cr0sh and DuaneDegn,

I do greatly appreciate your advice. But I am afraid I have failed to tell you about my previous robotics experience. I got my Arduino Uno back in 2011. I first experimented with the IDE and got it blinking an LED (easy stuff) to familiarize myself with the board and how to create and upload a sketch. (Note that before that I had previous experience with C++ and programming in general.) Next I started experimenting with sensors. I learned how to read values from analog sensors (specifically a photo resistor in this case). Throughout that year I did some simple devices using push buttons, photo resistors, LEDs, and the like. I used the book "Getting Started with Arduino" by Massimo Banzi as a reference for my very basic projects. This occupied my first year using the Arduino.

Next I got the Arduino Esplora. I used it to experiment with the accelerometer and built-in buzzer (and the microphone as well). During that year I became more experienced with working with a variety of sensors and actuators.

The next year I got some additional electronic parts (resistors, capacitors, etc.) and a PIR sensor. I greatly enjoyed using the PIR sensor to detect my movement. One of my projects using this device was a monitor that searches for movement. If any movement is detected, the Arduino sends back information that motion was detected and also the time since the program started. This was my most difficult project up to date, and it took much patience, but when it was finally finished I was very happy. I suppose you know what it feels like when you have tried again and again to build some device, and it fails again and again. Others laugh at you and tell you to quit, but you continue on and persevere. It is because of your patience to finish what you have started that the project is successful.

After that year I decided it was time to get a board with more processing power and memory. I got the 86Duino One, which although more difficult to configure than the Arduino Uno, was able to provide me with more memory for my programs (something which I was desperately running low on as my projects became more complex). That year I began my first true robotics project. I used my Erector set collection to build a 3-wheeled robot chassis (using 135 and 90 degree brackets to hold the Arduino and other electronics in place). The robot I created took a relatively long time to construct (~6 hours) due to the chassis design decisions, but it was well worth the effort.

Now I believe I am ready to begin experimenting with legged robots. I have already created a wheeled robot before (and I have read Robot Builder's Bonanza (I don't have a copy myself, but I have read it from the library and done a few things)). I would like to obtain a copy of that book as it seems to contain a wealth of information about the topics I am interested in. The humanoid I have mentioned is entry-level; it shouldn't be much harder to make and program than the wheeled robot I made (probably easier, since there are instructions for it). Perhaps you can give me further advice taking into account what I have said above.

Thank you for your time,


I have finished making the robot and have successfully run the servos and LED eyes using the 86Duino One.

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