Let's Make Robots! | RobotShop

How to build your first robot?

Dear: LMR

Just to let you know guys it wasn't that long ago I asked my Dad if we could start a robot club at school. My dad brought it up to my princible and he did not have a problem with it. This robot club is probably going to teach people in highschool to build there first robot. I have no idea what robot I am going to teach highschoolers to build.

Just to let you know I was thinking of maybe laser cutting a chassis since I have expereince with 2d cad. My dad disagrees and he thinks we should hand cut acrylic and glue everything onto the chassis like the motor mounts, sensors, and electronics and I find that diffucult to beleive that would be good enough. I was thinking of using 38mm motors from pololu and then attaching them to the chassis by bolting them onto a laser cut chassis. My dad and I have no idea because I don't think we have a solid idea for motors yet.

Also I was hoping for electronics we would use a raspberry pi enslaving an arduino so we could use ROS. I don't know what my dad thinks because I have no idea how hard it would be to teach ROS to a bunch of kids who have never programmed before. Does anybody have a suggestion for a robot chassis that is cheap, a decent robot software, and suggestions for electronics? I know my princible is very serious and will have no problem whatsoever of us doing it. Thank you.

From: Noah

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I teach a robotics class geared towards beginners. The most important thing I learned was you need a positive solution. No wishy-washy "What do you guys think?" options to get started. We selected the tadpole from Chris-The-Carpenter because it provided a start to finish in about 8 weeks with sessions aimed at construction, electronics, and programming. After all the students got a basic working machine we were able to diverge according to individual aspirations.


Dear: GG

Thank you for the suggestion of the tadpole robot. No offense although it is not really in my budget I think I can get some ideas for what to build. This is probably coming from my pocket and if we have twenty kids a tadpole robot is not an option. Thanks for the suggestions for teaching though. I don't think it will be wishy-washy. I also didn't know you did teaching and congratulations. Thank you so much.

From: Noah

Pi Zero and Arduino Nano clones now make a nice, really small, cheap, low wattage, modular way to begin making robots with advanced abilities. Or a ESP8266 nodemcu, which is like an arduino with wi-fi for 5dollars. A 3d printer would help, but they are slow. Cardboard is a nice intro material.

Dear: Silux

Thank you so much for your advice. I never heard of pi zero and I already own a few nanos and they will be probably be used on my project. Also a 3d printer would help and I seriously think I know what went wrong with it. Thank you I'll look into the other suggestions as well. I also can't say enough how cool Pi Zero is I love RPi.

From: Noah


Sounds like you are really excited.  Like the post say above, make sure you have a clear goal for the class to follow.  If you find a robot project you like review the instructions and make sure they are clear and concise.  


As for acrylic, laser cut it if possible.  Hand worked stuff looks bad. Acrylic also has splinters and fracture quite a bit, so hand worked acrylic might accelerate that issue.   Good luck.



Dear: Mr. PTZ

I am so sorry I didn't see that I had some replies but I alread got an idea. My dad bought several ten dollar robot chassis on ebay. Thank you.

From: Noah

I am working on an arduino based program for middle schoolers, an account of my FRC team's community outreach program. However, here is list of a few considerations that must be made.

  • How much money do you have at your disposal?
  • What programming language do you want to teach with?
  • Does your school have computers that you can use for programming, or do you need to create a stand alone system / obtain computers for use / have members bring laptops?
  • What level of involvement do you want members to have in construction (it seems like you and your father plan to do a great deal of it)?
  • Do you have an idea of how many memebers you expect to join your club (You mentioned the figure of 20 students)?

Once you have those questions answered, I can help you far better, not to mention the first step of reaching a goal is understanding that goal. For now, I can concur with Silux. The Arduino Nano and the Raspberry Pi Zero are both valid choices. However, it isn't necessary for them to work in conjunction. It just depends on what capabilities you need.

Well, that's about it for now. -KIDBOT


Just to let you know we want to spend 30$ for robots for 8 kids. We want to teach arduino and maybe python. We have some computer but we were hoping that the kids would bring there own. We want it to be as simple as possible for construction. Last but not least we want 8 or 15 members. Thanks for your help.

From: Noah