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Thread: Where to start

  1. #1
    waylund Guest

    Where to start

    I've been enamored with the idea of robotics for a while now and decided to do something about it. Problem is, I have no idea where to start. I have about 15 years of programming experience and some basic electronics skills (I can solder new components into a guitar or repair my airsoft gun pretty confidently) but I'm no engineer.

    I googled around for "basic robotics" or "learning robotics" but most of what I found was little toy robot kits that seem like they do all the real work for you and you just put it together like a model, solder a few wires, then it sits on a shelf until you maybe tear it up for spare parts later - please tell me if I'm wrong and those are actually good to go through.

    I guess I imagined the robotics equivelent to those old radio shack boxes filled with electronics bits and a book of ideas on how to put those bits together in different ways to make different things. Can you guys give a good suggestion on where to start?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Re: Where to start

    I'm definitely with you on the "doing more than one thing" with the hardware. You'll find two approaches along that line: lots of people build a robot chassis with some microcontroller, and experiment with adding sensors and improving/tinkering with code. There's also the Bioloid kits which let you build lots of different bots from the same set of servos/brackets.

    A good place to start along the former lines would be Society of Robots' $50 tutorial... but you can spend way more than $50 on the hardware, if you want. In my case I basically built the same bot as in this tutorial, but bought a full fledged microcontroller board and used Lego for my chassis.

  3. Re: Where to start

    I was in a very similar position when I started into robotics last year, minus the programming experience. I bought the MINI Robocontroller sold here on Trossen and have been very happy with it. It gets just enough of the electronics work out of the way that you can get right into the really creative bits, but has plenty of flexibility. Pair it with a couple of motors for differential drive and maybe a distance sensor or some hobby servos, and you can take it in whatever direction you want.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Fairbanks, AK
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    Re: Where to start

    Another option would be to build the Arduino bot that was in Servo magazine. Just get some plastic sheets, some motors, an Arduino, and a breadboard. You can make it any shape you want and add whatever sensors you want. With the breadboard you can add or remove circuits and sensors easily and the software is there for you to get started with.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    South Sphincter Idaho
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    Re: Where to start

    What the other guys said...but first.

    Decide what direction you want to head concerning the method of movement. Legged robots regardless of the number of legs, will be very different to build and program compared to a wheeled or tracked robot. All types are fun to build and program, they can all use the various sensors available, but are unique in how they move. Wheeled or tracked bots don't require a bunch of servo controls, while legged bots don't need a bunch of motor controls.

    Then it's off to the races having fun with stuff.

    Team Maggot---Mechs. "Bheka" (retired), "Maggot Mk.3(A)"
    " Keep your stick on the ice ".... Red Green

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