How do I go about building a robot from scratch?

What could I use for muscles; is there a material that quickly contracts when electricity is passed through it?
I don’t plan on building a robot, but by askin these kind of questions, I can learn things about this kind of thing, and hopefully, be able to one day…

first of all you have to decide what you want it to do –
from there you can figure out the rest

I doubt any robot hobbyist uses the exotic materials needed for artificial muscles – usually it’s electric motors and gears or perhaps hydraulics or pneumatics that are used to make the parts of a robot move

until you figure out what you want it to do – I can’t really give you much advice –

say for instance you want to build a ‘battlebot’ – you know you need propulsion – a way to make it move – a weapon of some sort – and the ability to remotely control it all – it’s pretty easy for your mind to take it from there – you need wheels and steering and a motor and . . .

now say you want to build a robot that will do a spot weld for you – ok it probably won’t need to move

see my point you need to know what it’s going to do

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10 thoughts on “How do I go about building a robot from scratch?

  1. I think you had better pick a simpler project because I really don’t think you have the knowledge for this one.

    There is a material that contracts when electricity is passed through it… it’s used on spacecraft, among other things… and it’s expensive.
    References :

  2. I started a robot from scratch once.

    I build a small wood platform, got some 4" wheels from a hardware store and an axle. I had a 12 Volt motor from an old RV airconditioner. I mounted a 12Volt battery to the platform and built an H-bridge motor controller (google "H-bridge circuit" for examples). I also used 2 rotating castor wheels for the front and back (for balance). That’s about as far as I got: a platform that could go forward and back. But it was a good start.

    After that I would have used a microcontroller. Back then there weren’t many choices, but now there are many choices, and lots of robot ‘kits’ that you could use as a start for more sophisticated functions.

    http://www.parallax.com/html_pages/robotics/shop/robo_comparison.asp
    is a great place to start.

    good luck with your project.

    .
    References :

  3. For actuating "muscle"-like materials that contract with electricity, look for electroactive polymer (EAP) materials. There are several new interesting low-modulus materials that feel like muscle that may work for you. A simple EAP or artificial muscle search on google or yahoo should help to get you started. Good luck!
    References :

  4. first of all you have to decide what you want it to do –
    from there you can figure out the rest

    I doubt any robot hobbyist uses the exotic materials needed for artificial muscles – usually it’s electric motors and gears or perhaps hydraulics or pneumatics that are used to make the parts of a robot move

    until you figure out what you want it to do – I can’t really give you much advice –

    say for instance you want to build a ‘battlebot’ – you know you need propulsion – a way to make it move – a weapon of some sort – and the ability to remotely control it all – it’s pretty easy for your mind to take it from there – you need wheels and steering and a motor and . . .

    now say you want to build a robot that will do a spot weld for you – ok it probably won’t need to move

    see my point you need to know what it’s going to do
    References :

  5. Nitinol is a metal used for that purpose.
    It is purchased as wire and is not too bad expensive.
    References :

  6. As someone recommended above, I would start out with a robotics kit, there’s plenty out there that would give you a good starting point.

    You want to start out with simple stuff, not artificial muscle material. Even something as simple as Legos can make an effective robot.

    As far as controllers go, I know the "Handyboard" is a good introductory microcontroller, heavily supported last time I checked.

    Robotics is a great way to get exposed to all sorts of engineering and design opportunities.
    References :

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