How to make a robot: 3 different options

How to make a robot

Robotics is a subject that has gone from being a simple hobby of geeks or a future that never reaches something popular that has become fashionable. During the last years in Spain the extracurricular activity of "robotics" has become "fashionable" and many educational centers are gradually implementing the subject of robotics to teach their students.

And it is that making a robot is something striking that is currently on the minds of many people, both children and adults. Then we talk to you in various ways about how to make a robot. Ways that go through buying components intended for that purpose and that can not be used for anything other than for the functions that the manufacturer indicates until we create our own components to make a totally personalized and unique robot that no one else will have.

Ride robots

The first way or way to make a robot will go through buying the robot directly. For this way of getting a robot It is not necessary to have great knowledge of robotics or even know how to program, since many robots have limited features and won't do anything extraordinary.

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You can find some examples of robots that are bought assembled and that have certain functions. The price of these devices in some cases is not affordable at all, since more than the components, what is paid is the function that it performs. Something that does not happen in the rest of the ways of making a robot.

Buy robotics kits

Robotics kits They are a very popular way of making robots since you don't need a lot of knowledge to make a robot and customize it. On the other hand, the cost of these kits is more affordable than buying the robot but not as much as creating our own components to create the robot. Then We are talking about three quite popular and easy to get robotics kits.

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Zowi

Two images of BQ's bipedal robot, the BQ Zowi

The Zowi robot or BQ Zowi is an educational robot created by the Spanish company BQ. BQ Zowi is a robotics kit whose purpose is to build a bipedal robot that can be customized and interacts with the user through a smartphone application.

The BQ Zowi robot uses certain Free Hardware components which allows parts such as the housing to be changed or customized thanks to a 3D printer. Zowi functions can be changed but as long as they are within the scope of the BQ application. The BQ Zowi robot can be purchased through No products found..

Lego Mindstorms

Image of the robot resulting from the Lego MindStorms kit

Lego was one of the first toy companies to bet on robotics due to its educational role. For this he created a robotics kit that allows any novice user to make a robot in a few hours. The Lego kit stands out for its guide and its customization capacity.Personalization that is done through blocks and pieces of Lego.

Thus, Lego Mindstorms has a version aimed at schools, another version aimed at adult users and a series made up of several minikits that expand the functions of the robot we create. The only downside of this kit is in the price, a high price if we take into account the BQ kit or the price we pay if we make a totally "handmade" robot.

White Label Robotics Kits

The Lego robotics kit has become so famous that various companies decided to create robotics kits with the same philosophy as the Lego kit, but without the Lego pieces to create structures. In robotics kits you can find different kits with different prices, but the important thing in these kits is the instruction guide or also called project guide and the possibilities of expansion or not with new functions. These elements are important because they will indicate if the robot that we are going to make can be customized or not and if it is aimed at novice users or not. The best thing is to look for a kit that meets these requirements.

Make a robot from scratch

I personally believe that it is the most satisfactory way when making a robot. However, it is not available to everyone as you need advanced knowledge of robotics, programming and Free Hardware. But, in compensation for these demands, the price of the robot is more affordable and you do not depend on a large company or a large community to make the project go ahead. To make a robot (with this method) we will only need a 3D printer and electronic elements, elements that we can get in any electronics store.

Hardware needed to make a robot

The 3D printer will help us create housings, customize the robot, or simply create plastic parts that are either hard to come by or don't exist (This will depend on our knowledge of CAD tools). But we will also need other items such as an electronics board. Within this category the Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards reign but there are many others similar or that offer the same for a lower price. Although we have to admit that the latest versions of Raspberry Pi are very interesting to create a powerful and multitasking robot in a small space.

Image of the hexapod robot created with printed parts, cameras, and various electronics components.

In addition to these two components, we will also need items such as LCD panels, if we want to show information, batteries to power our robot (The use of a cable for a multitasking device is very bad, don't you think?), cables to connect the various components and buttons to activate or deactivate functions. Then, depending on the functions we give to our robot, we may need one or more servo motors, wheels, speakers, microphones and a sim card (if we want our robot to connect to the Internet). These would be some of the most popular components that we will need but to a large extent it will depend on the functions that we want to give the robot.

Software needed to make a robot

Regarding the robot software, it will also depend on our knowledge, but for a few months, there have been operating systems for Free Hardware boards that allow us to have basic functions without losing freedom for it. A good example of this is Ubuntu Core, an operating system based on Ubuntu that allows us to give the Hardware the possibility of having basic functions such as connecting to the Internet, displaying hardware information, connecting with other devices, etc ...

NEC and Raspberry Pi Compute Module

And from here introduce our programs or third-party programs that will execute the functions or activities that we want the robot to perform. Knowledge of programming languages ​​and systems administration will be necessary in this process.

Conclusion

These are 3 ways of how to make a robot at home, at least taking into account the level of knowledge of the user. Personally I think that it is best to choose to make a robot as the last way, that is, build the parts and customizations ourselves, but it is true that this requires advanced knowledge that not everyone has. Perhaps for this reason, the best solution is to do it gradually and start with the robotics kits and progress little by little.


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  1.   Ismael Castillo said

    I recently bought a 3D printer, a Lion 2 model and it has helped me to see how well this technology is for robotics. This model is very reliable, predictive and I have used it with different filaments that work great. I invite you to read more in http://www.leon-3d.es has no loss.