Introduction: Electric Turtle Robot

Picture of Electric Turtle Robot

Featured on HackadayMake Magazine now it's going to the 2011 Maker Faire!!

Be sure to check out my new instructable , the 'little Tank'!Really nice tracked design complete with cut files!

update: I've had so much response on this instructable, thanks to all. If you end up making one, please let me know! I'd love to put your work on my website!

New new update - The Electric Turtle is going to the 2011 Makers Faire in New York with the LMR (lets Make Robots) exhibit!!!

5" robotic platform, setup for Picaxe or Arduino with sonar ranging mast. This one currently does obstacle avoidance. 90 degree radian etched into the top plate to make turn calibration far easier.

Many battery configurations possible, including lipo (with a regulator) - the deck is spaced to accommodate a large range of power sources.

Designed and made in response to the poorly made/designed commercial offerings - this thing uses I-Beam construction - you can stand on it.

Nice platform to pickup and run with, applicable to many configurations and adaptable to multiple purposes.


Offset ranging mast is provided with cutouts for the ping (what I had on hand), but I put placement holes for several popular models on there as well - tried to make it as universal as possible. Standard IR sensors should fit if you choose to go that route.

Motor configuration is for a Tamiya 70097 motor/gearbox combo - placement holes are in the chassis for either the high or low ratio build configuration of the gearbox. Wheels are Tamiya 70145's.

Capability to use standard servo or micro servo with adapter plate (included).

  Here are laser cut parts kits if you'd rather not cut your own -

Lets make robots! is an excellent resource for DIY robotics as well.



Step 1: Cut Your Parts

Picture of Cut Your Parts

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials

To complete this instructable, you'll need:

1. laser cut parts
2. qty 4 1.25" #6-32 screws (hardware store)
3. qty 2 .75" #4-40 screws (hardware store)
4. qty 4 2" #6-32 screws (hardware store)
5. qty 4 .5" #4-40 screws (hardware store)
6. qty 1 servo (standard or micro, standard recommended) and hardware pack that comes with the servo
7. qty 1 sonar or IR (PING used, others may be substituted)
8. qty 1 pair of Tamiya 70145 tires
9. qty1 Tamiya 70097 motor/gearbox
10. qty 1 Arduino, Picaxe or other microcontroler - this instructable uses the Picaxe 28x1
11. Wires, connectors, heat shrink

If you'd like to keep the soldering to a minimum, just use male-male servo extensions for all of the hookups. This will limit your soldering to the 2 connections on each motor. The motors can also be connected with crimp connectors to eliminate all soldering, but I advise a hard soldered connection to the motors in any case.

Soldering iron, multimeter, screwdrivers, etc...

Standard disclaimer about not cutting your fingers off or sticking a hot iron in your nose..

Step 3: Wiring Diagram / Code for Picaxe

Picture of Wiring Diagram / Code for Picaxe

This is the wiring diagram for use with the Picaxe, ping sonar, Tamiya 70097 motor / gearbox and the electric_turtle.bas code. Attached file as PDF for easier viewing.

This diagram will work with the code as is, no changes to the code necessary. File is located below, electric_turtle.bas

Step 4: Assemble Your Robot!

Picture of Assemble Your Robot!

This step is the most fun!

Start with the sonar mast. You'll need 1 .75" screw, 2 .5" screws, 2 spacers and 3 nuts.

Step 5: Servo / Upper Deck

Picture of Servo / Upper Deck

Attach servo to upper deck. You'll need 2 .5" screws and nuts.

Step 6: Carrier Board / Microcontroler

Picture of Carrier Board / Microcontroler

Attach your microcontroler (Picaxe pictured) to your carrier board. You'll need .75" screws + nuts and 4 spacers.

Step 7: Lower Deck / Servo Risers / Motor

Picture of Lower Deck / Servo Risers / Motor

Attach the motor, risers and wheels as a unit to the lower deck. Use the screws and nuts that came with your motor for this step. Also install the fore / aft anti-tip screws and nuts at this time. Use 2 .5" screws + nuts.

Step 8: Upper Deck / Lower Deck

Picture of Upper Deck / Lower Deck

Attach the upper deck assembly to the lower deck assembly. You'll need 4 1.25" screws + nuts for this step.

Step 9: Carrier / Upper Deck

Picture of Carrier / Upper Deck

Attach the carrier board to the upper deck assembly. You'll need 4 1.25" screws + nuts and 20 spacers for this step.

Step 10: Sonar Mast / Servo

Picture of Sonar Mast / Servo

Attach the sonar mast to the servo control horn, and attach this assembly to the servo. Use the screws that came with your servo for this step. Also attach your battery usind double sided tape / velcro / adhesive of your choice.

Go conquer the world!


propellerheadgeek (author)2011-08-26

The Electric Turtle is going to the 2011 Maker Faire!!!

incognito0288 (author)2013-07-19

wtf no code?, though just trying to sell the

sdcharle (author)2013-06-01

Hi Sir, I tried opening the .dxf file in Adobe illustrator. All I saw were very very tiny images. I had a similar problem when I tried Open Office Draw. Is there a problem with the files? Is there another place I can download from? Looks like a really great and fun project and I'd like to make some to use for an Arduino class at our local hackerspace.

fellingwood (author)2012-04-20

what program did you use to program it?

ignoblegnome (author)2012-02-15

I have posted a nice review of this product on my blog.

HERNAN MOMA (author)2011-11-30


propellerheadgeek (author)2011-09-20

It's officially official!!!!! The Electric Turtle is on every continent in the world. There is even a turtle that was air dropped to GPS cords in the Amazon!!

ignoblegnome (author)2011-09-20

Thanks for sending your Electric Turtle robot to Maker Faire with us. It looked and worked great! I think people really liked it.

Thank you so much for taking him with you! He's quickly becoming a well traveled turtle :-)

Ryan11540 (author)2011-08-28

Can you give me th ardunio coding for this robot

Drop by - there are many examples of arduino code, and quite a few will work with this robot with some modification.

Yeah can you please give me a link to one that works please

Macworldwizardz (author)2011-08-04

Very cool!! Really nice cutting files as well. Any chance of posting code?? Maybe?

Thanks! Sure, I'll post some code. It's kind of a hodgepodge from several sources, some mine and some not.. but it works. It's for a Picaxe 28x1.

file is located on the "wiring diagram / code for Picaxe" page.

Here you go - filename is electric_turtle.bas

carlchipsanders (author)2011-08-04

has it become "self aware" yet?

Incase of rouge AI remember to use a paradox! or atleast that's what portal taught me

Not yet... but we're waiting...

About This Instructable




Bio: part time robot designer :-)
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