Its been another busy week at work and at home, but finally the “slow boat from china” has delivered a new robot platform for me to work with.
2 wheel drive robot kit assembled with battery box attached
I’m hoping to use this robot platform as the basis for a “build a bot” event at one of the forthcoming Paignton Pi Jam’s, the idea is to create a “robotic solution” that is reasonably priced an has functionality (such as line following / maze running / object avoidance). The micro controller of choice will be an Atmega chip commonly found in Arduino Open Hardware reference boards, although the final layout and component configuration has yet to be worked out, and we may even add a pi into the mix at a later stage (just like marco 2).
The platform itself is relatively cheap coming in at £7.21 directly from China, which is the only catch as you have to wait approximately 7 working days (possibly longer) for it to arrive, and you are at mercy of the prevailing humour of the Tax and Customs officer. The current regulations seem to allow up to £36 for items marked “gifts” (which this doesn’t fall under) or £15 for other items (which I guess this does) before paying import taxes.
So the kit arrives as a “bag of bits” that need to be assembled:
“Newbot” kit comes as a bag of bits…
The instructions are in Chinise (naturally) but luckily the diagrams are mostly servicable and the Youtube video on the website was even more informative in terms of assembly strategy.
I had mine pretty much assembled in 20 – 30 minutes, although I did have to reassemble one of the metal blocks attached to the motor because I had assembled it upside down.
I was a little disappointed that there was a hairline crack in the acrylic base plate. Whether this happened during manufacture or during transit we will never know, and the only other annoyance was that while there were holes in the base plate strategicly placed for adding line following / IR object detectors and encoder wheel sensors, none of the hole configurations lined up to a standard ardunino system board. Finally although wires are provided for the motors, you will need to attach these yourself, which realistically means a bit of soldering. As the “build a bot” session is intended to be a “plug and play” event for younger robotics engineers to enjoy I will need to factor in some time to pre-solder the wires to the motors.
“Newbot” base with caster wheel attached and showing motors with wires attached (soldered).
Overall I am happy with the purchase as this provides a very reasonable platform at £7.21 for experimenting with robotics and computing. Hopefully when I have had some time to work out a final layout we will be able to put on a “build a bot” session at Paignton Library.
Finally some more pictures:
“Newbot” assembled with white nylon standoffs attached.
“Newbot” with fomex plate placed on top of standoffs.
Please note that these pictures may not be representative of the final design and configuration.