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: http://www.instructables.com/id/Building-Small-Robots-Making-One-Cubic-Inch-Micro/) , 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.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
18x Picaxe microcontroller from Sparkfun: http://www.sparkfun.com/

Micro serial servo controller available from Polulu: http://www.pololu.com/

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: http://www.amazingmagnets.com/index.asp

Telescoping brass tubing from Micromark: http://www.micromark.com/

Brass pins from Walmart

Glass beads from Walmart

1/10" fiberglass circuit board material from Electronic Goldmine: http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/

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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Onyoxa4 months 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
mk20013 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.
devonfletch4 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.
tinker2344 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?
yobwoc6 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 yobwoc6 years ago
i agree with yobwoc
durkluf4 years ago
well i think the purpose of life is to die as stated in matrix revolutions.
martzsam5 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!
9874566 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.
 that is not true. a geek i good at one thing, and one thing alone, (aka only watching baseball, or only playing vieogames, or only doing schoolwork,or  only sodering robots. if ou are good at one thing, and only that, you are a geek regardless of what it is.) and a nerd is smart, but they can do other things as well, and not be social outcasts.
zye masonrulz5 years ago
In this world there are dorks, nerds, and geeks. Let's see if we can accurately describe them, without being insulting. Picture a Renaissance Faire. The dorks are the guys running around with a sword on their back . . . and tennis shoes. The nerd is the one with the completely accurate costume who points out that fact to annoyance of everyone around. But the geeks are the lords and ladies in the completely accurate costume with the appropriate weapons who are so comfortable in their nerdiness and dorkiness that they have elevated it to a new level. They have become cool due to the sheer awesomeness of their personality. These are the geeks - these are us and these are you - and we are the people who will rule the world. -ThinkGeek.com
You got it screwed up a bit, I'm in High School so I got first hand experience at this, Geek is smart but in a good way and aren't social outcasts, they are relatively low on the social totem pole but so is your average kid...A nerd is actually someone who is a social outcast and is not necessarily very good at anything, let alone being smart, and they are usually jerks.  They are much lower on the social totem pole.  The Stereotype of a Nerd being super smart is incorrect but the stereotype that Nerds get shoved in trash cans is also relatively incorrect...In other words, Geeks Good, Nerds Not so Good...

And if you have no social problems but you are still smart and good at most scientific subjects? I wouldn't care if people call me geek, that's kind of what I'm trying to live up to. As long as this does not go too far. Then I think I'll be safe.

 Hopefully this venn diagram will help clarify the distinction
Propaganda... Nerd is someone who lacks smarts and is also socially inept.  Geeks are ppl that are smart but in a cool sort of way, they generally have some friends, but not huge quantities of them.  ARE WE CLEAR!  I am in High School, I now this stuff, I could write a 600 page book on this and the complete breakdown, but I'm 17, I'm too lazy.  Listen to the person that knows first hand!
 i wonder if there has actuall been a study on this... but anyway, good pont
Yes there has, they called it High School, and it caught on, so they continued with it...
Gubban 9874565 years ago
My math teatcher calls me a geek! (Not a math geek)
 no, it means you think they are cool\want to know how they work\want to mak them
It's ok. You should be proud of being a geek.
Yes....unfortunately it does....I'm sorry....you will never live a normal life again.
Xyver5 years ago
Very cool.
anres3215 years ago
NICE one !! XD
LEDgonuts5 years ago
but you guys are wrong  cause the magnofield/magnet hooked up the servo would be nothing with out the external165378 resister and the magnetic feild to cobine with the remote to create signals thru the  feild to the magnet wich i have no i dea how powerd to resieve the disierd movement its not stop motion its not rocket sience     

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