Build a Very Small Robot: Make The World's Smallest Wheeled Robot With A Gripper.

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Picture of Build a Very Small Robot: Make The World's Smallest Wheeled Robot With A Gripper.
Build a 1/20 cubic inch robot with a gripper that can pick up and move small objects. It is controlled by a Picaxe microcontroller. At this point in time, I believe this may be the world's smallest wheeled robot with a gripper. That will no doubt change, tomorrow or next week, when someone builds something smaller.

The main problem with building really small robots is the relatively large size of even the smallest motors and batteries. They take up most of the volume of a micro robot. I am experimenting with ways to eventually make robots that are truly microscopic. As an interim step, I made the three tiny robots and the controller described in this instructable. I believe with modifications, these proof of concept robots, could be scaled down to microscopic size.

After years of building small robots (see here: , I decided the only way to make the smallest robots possible, was to have the motors, batteries, and even the Picaxe microcontroller external to the robot.

pic 1 shows R-20 a 1/20 cubic inch robot on a dime.

pic 1b and 1c shows smallest wheeled robot lifting and holding an 8 pin IC.

THERE IS A VIDEO in step 3 that shows the robot picking up an 8 pin IC and moving it.
And another video in step 5 that shows the robot turning on a dime.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
18x Picaxe microcontroller from Sparkfun:

Micro serial servo controller available from Polulu:

2 high torque servos from Polulu

2 standard servos from Polulu

.oo5" thick copper, brass, or phosphor bronze sheet metal from Micromark

2- 1/8" x 1/16" neodymium magnets

1- 1"x1"x1" neodymium magnet. Magnets available from:

Telescoping brass tubing from Micromark:

Brass pins from Walmart

Glass beads from Walmart

1/10" fiberglass circuit board material from Electronic Goldmine:

clear five minute epoxy

Assorted nuts and bolts


tin snips
soldering iron
metal files
small needle nose pliers

Pic 2 shows the Picaxe module used.

Pic 2b shows the back of the Picaxe module.

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Onyoxa15 days ago


is it just me or does anyone else notice this is all done with a magnet through the table?

He got me, when i noticed, i laught so hard...

I noticed it too, I thought it was the robot, but I realized the 'robot' was the magnet controller under the table.

either that, or the magic of stop-motion.

Xixfas2 years ago
riyer22 years ago
robo_bob5 years ago
i think its fake
(removed by author or community request)
whatever happened to the "be nice policy?"
I KNOW RIGHT!! every1 is sorta being mean i think its pretty sweet 5 star TOTALLY
im not
but yeah 5 star
I think that is just to scare they are not going to do anything
You can flag a comment as "Not Nice."
He started it! :D
yeah i agree to that one atleast he made one!!!!!!!!!!! If they didn't know what they were talking about how did he buiild it.
we need a "be clever policy".
Touche........I guess people need to wise up.....
laxap robo_bob5 years ago
robo_bob: maybe you missed step 4 ? Pictures 5 and 6 are showing what's under the robot, hidden below the blue background surface that we see in all photos and videos. mikey77, maybe you should post a video of this mechanism at work. Awesome project and idea! 5*
Indeed it is not fake, why would you fake it?
How dare you! It is not fake
mk20012 years ago
bfk3 years ago
Wow! Kudos on your contest win and coming up with such an innovative way to keep the bulk and power on the outside. The goal isn't how to pack everything inside, but how to make the machine as small as possible. Someday all powered devices may work this way.
devonfletch3 years ago
I've found really tiny motors in those tiny r/c helicopters. You can buy the whole thing for $15, and it's got some really good micro-stuff in it. Gears, batteries, motors, and even.... a remote control.
tinker2343 years ago
ok hey could i make them micro scopic also using velcro as well to make a holodeck so i can have the swarm assmeble and change color using color changing lights
llasram4 years ago
this is so cool!
how much does it cost to make?
yobwoc5 years ago
Brilliant, brilliant work. But you were wrong on the title. Some American doctors and robotic engineers are working on robots the size of a speck of dust, whick will be used to clear blood vessels. But as I said, good job.
Well, no, the author could quite possibly be correct in his statement in the title; he dubs his creation the world's smallest "wheeled robot with a gripper". Whether the wheeled part with a gripper qualifies as a robot is debatable, but it may indeed be the smallest of its kind. Nanobots are not designed with wheels and grippers, most probably acting as a tiny vessel for transporting drugs to designated locations.
Yeah, my bad. Should have read the title a bit more closely.
Brian857 yobwoc4 years ago
I don't think that those robots are wheeled, though.
do u mean nanobots?
Heywasup yobwoc5 years ago
i agree with yobwoc
durkluf4 years ago
well i think the purpose of life is to die as stated in matrix revolutions.
martzsam4 years ago
I don't think this should count as the worlds smallest robot. It isn't self contained. It is driven by a magnet underneath the table. anyone who calls this a robot is wrong. In a way you cheated.
Im going to try to make one.
Thats realy cool dude!
9874565 years ago
does liking robots make me a geek?
Possibly, but its much better to be a geek then a nerd...there's a huge difference.
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