JDC Creations

Building a Robot from Scratch – Part 1, First Steps

Posted on June 16th, 2011 by jdc15 under Building a Robot | No Comments »

I’ve recently started a new project and have decided to document my progress online.  As the title says, I’m attempting to build a robot.  This robot will be a biped which hopefully will be able to get up on its own and balance itself.  I’ve been working on it for a small while so I’ll be posting updates on what I’ve done so far.

Step 1 – Obtain Some Tools and Parts!

As a first step in many building projects, it makes sense to buy parts.  “What about a design?”  you say.  As a beginner in all things electronic I decided to get a decent breadboard kit and learn a bit about electronics before doing anything serious.  Thus indeed, I ordered a bunch of tools and parts from various sources.

Before doing any serious electronics, I would need a soldering iron.  Even a cheap one would do for me since I’m a complete beginner.  Thus I ordered a soldering iron and some solder from DealExtreme.

For raw electronic components I ordered three kits from NightFire Electronics since they had great prices and free shipping as a bonus.  Then I decided to get an Arduino as something to control my robot.  I had seen various similar projects online using an Arduino, and since I know C already I figured it would be a good controller to start with.  Thus I ordered a few bare bones kits from Modern Device since they were again budget friendly and I’d get some hands on experience soldering.  I also got some jumper cables from them.

Step 2 – Start Soldering

As soon as the parts arrived, I started soldering.

This is a picture of my setup.  This is before I realized my need for a multimeter and desoldering pump.  They would have made the soldering job quite a bit easier.  Anyway, as an end result I had in my hand a RBBB Arduino and a BBB Arduino, as well as a USB-BUB to program them.

Step 3 – Blink!

To test the board I tried the simple blink sketch.  To my surprise it immediately worked without any tweaking.

I’m greatly impressed by the ease of use of the Arduino IDE.  I had become accustomed to numerous link errors and library incompatibilities with other open source PC software, but the Arduino software simply worked.

Well, that’s all for now.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of my experience creating a robot.  If you have any questions leave them below.

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