Building a Robot 101
One of the coolest things a person can do as a hobby that may or may not involve family members is not playing age of gods free spins, but to build a fully-functioning robot. And it’s not just for giggles, you can also move on to robotics as a career choice. So, how can you build your own robot? To put it simply, it does require some prior knowledge, but it does not have to be nightmarishly difficult.
This step is the one that discourages the would-be robot builders the most. The question you have to ask yourself is what kind of robot is it that you want to make? Are you looking for a static toy that can do a few simple moves, a robot hand that plays a game of tic-tac-toe, or something that you normally see on Robot Wars or another similar TV show? Let’s start simple for now and move on to advanced stuff later on.
This should go without saying, but you need a set of proper tools to build a robot. These include electrical tape, solder, solder gun, wire cutters, and wire strippers, among others. You also need to know how to use said tools in order to build your robot safely.
After deciding what kind of robot you are looking for, it is time to gather the components. Many different sites, blogs, and experts recommend getting Raspberry Pi, a tiny computer that works great as the brains behind your robot, in addition to many other awesome things, one of which is building your computer from scratch, but we digress. If you choose to do so, you can go without a brain and build an analog system.
The brain is, well, the brain of the thing, but you may want to look into muscles as well. We are talking about servo motors, whether standard-sized or small. These servos are going to need power, so you should get cell batteries, but don’t hook them on directly – make sure there are regulators between the batteries and the motors. Attach the joints to the motors and check out how they move and whether they move at all. Congratulations! You are making your first steps towards building a robot.
Common hurdles in making your first robot include not being able to assemble the electronics correctly or failing to program the brain. While building your first robot is simple, relatively speaking, it does require some knowledge in terms of electronics and/or programming. This is not something that should discourage you. It only means that there are a few additional steps you should undergo if you are considering this as a hobby.
What Can You Do?
Don’t fret if you are not proficient in either area. Knowing how power moves and what it can do is relatively easy to learn, so electronics should not be a major issue. Many premade bots with their own components ready for assembly also come with software and instructions ready to receive your commands or obey a few simple ones.
While this little guide offers some basics, your best bet might be to find step-by-step instructions by engineers and robot enthusiasts. Robotics is a hobby with a very welcoming community and you are likely to find guides, videos, and even premade software to install into your new buddy.