Your first real robot the easy way, learn all the basics while at it :)

Picture of Your first real robot the easy way, learn all the basics while at it :)
This tutorial is the easiest way in the world to give you a fast start into building robots.

And so, it is very easy!

This is an updated version, the original can be found here: The original instructions

Welcome :)

Everything here is so easy, that after you have gone through it, you can make a robot in a couple of hours. Why cant you do that now?

Because there are so many little things you need to know. This is an attempt to let you know excactly all these little things, and nothing more. Fast, and based on 2 years of experience of what people need to know to get started. If you hurry, you can run through this, and be robot builder in a couple of hours. But expect to use a good weekend - Learning takes time - even though it is very easy, it just takes some time, all the little things to get to know :)

There are other "How to get started building robots" out there. This one is focusing on getting you around everything extremely fast. You need no knowledge of .. anything. And you will learn everything.. well, the basics of everything ;)

All images in high-res here.

(Sorry for the music, it was an option in Youtube to add it - I did not in the next one ;)


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Step 1: Materials needed

Picture of Materials needed
It used to be a hassle to buy the materials, because not one single webshop was carrying everthing needed, and you had to buy from several shops.

Good news is that LMR have started a cooperation with Solarbotics, so you can buy a complete bundle with everything needed.

All info on how to buy this bundle on

No matter from where you get it, the following is what you will need

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TanM4 months ago

Cool dude!

AnthonyM36 months ago

Hello fritsl what kind of solder do you need does it matter because ive never really heard of a solder and imgonna buy one and I wondered if there is a certain type of solder or solder iron

scottbaker828 made it!1 year ago

Thank you so much for the instructable, I just finished it!

The only issue I had was in the programming, where in the sample program you used "readadc1", unlike the "readadc0" used when introducing the range of values from Sharp. So "readadc1, b1" caused b1 to always be 255, b/c the analog pin 1 was connected to V by the shorting block. Seems simple now, but took me ages to pinpoint this as the problem! I hope this can help someone else! :)

pdiasanta2 years ago
hi! where can i buy the materials?? does it have online selling?
and how much will it cost?
yhdesai2 years ago
This is really cool. Thank you for adding this. Will the store(solarbotics) be getting your kit in stock any time soon? I was also wondering if this kit is RoHS compliant? Thanks.
null3 years ago
where do i find these?
null3 years ago
where do i find these?
pbebergal4 years ago
I have wanted to build a robot like this for a long time, but I have been putting it off because of all the support behind Arduino. Would it be possible to get advice on how to build this same robot, but with an Arduino. It seems like I am going to invest in a microcontroller, I should do so with something that I am more likey going to do more with besides the bot... any suggestions? I am not dissing Pic, just so much maker momentum seems to be with Arduino...
Check out Scratch for Arduino!
fritsl (author)  pbebergal4 years ago
I always wanted to do this walkthrough with an Arduino based setup, as a parallel, so people could chose.

However, things are just that more "complex" with Arduino. One line of code makes a servo go to a direction with Picaxe. And that is even one simple and logic line of code, that your dog can understand:

servo 1, 150

With Arduino, you'd have to upload a library first, and then deal with many lines of hard-to explain-for-the-novice-code and syntax.

- For doing the excact same thing. And that's just the servo, things just get so much hairier. I want people to get a good start, not to meet a wall.

But I like Arduino, and every now and then I think about how to present it as "your first project", in the spirit of the walkthrough above. I Just have not found a way yet :)

There are, however, tons of walkthroughs on how to get started with Arduino. I am just focusing on how to get started building robots here. And for that purpose, I have chosen the components listed, because I believe they are the best mix for a starter who wants to dive in to fun-zone right away :)
RoboZek fritsl3 years ago
I have had experience with Parallax's Basic Stamp board. As you said with Pic, it takes only a line of code for a servo to go in a direction. Same with Basic Stamp, it doesn't require much more then pic, PULSIN 1, 150. I believe that is the right way to write it. I haven't used it in awhile. But Basic Stamp can be very easy.

You can go here to find more about it.

I never have used Picaxe or Arduino before. I hope to use both.

This is still very good.
Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. Do you think Picaxe is the way to get started with Microcontrollers in general?
You could also put a 5v voltage regulator on it and use 6 rechargeable batteries, you would get 5v and for a longer time because you could use more batteries.
you are a genius. you make robotics easy to understand. thank you
sci4me4 years ago
Not that your robots not good (i actually luv it) but i think i can make an easier and cooler one. 1 rc car and 1 picaxe 08 motor controller board. Thats Practicelly all it takes. And sensors for a good and cool robot. Nice job though.
Raziel74 years ago
could you give me the artist's name who sings the song in part 1 of your instructional video?

I tried looking it up on Google and there are people in forums wondering the same thing (they heard it on a you tube video) but no answers so far.

Great song and great video
macman8084 years ago
can i use an ultrasonic range finder instead of the sharp, without having to change the program?
punit1134 years ago
wow,its ousom,great
how to do that?????
account3r24 years ago
Yeah! Mario Bros!

Johnny Rex4 years ago
fritsl, i need help, im 12 years old and very smart, i bought the robot and put it together but im having trouble programming it, sometimes when i type in engine codes like: high 4 low 5 high 6 low 7 i hear the engines moving but the wheels arent, the wheels arent touching anything either. ill try recharging the batteries but dont think thats it. Plz respond, i need help and this was a pretty decent investment for me. all i have left to do is figure out the right engine codes and ill be done completely, unless the wheels wont turn like now. THANKS!! and to all who are wondering if they should uy this I RECCOMEND IT!!! =]
Pkranger884 years ago
Great job, with one caviat though.  If you use a lighter to activate heat shrink tubing, you need to keep the flame from having too much direct contact with the tubing.  A heat gun, or a hair dryer, works better and is more appropriate anyway.  I've caught heat shrink on fire before by using a lighter. 
fritsl (author)  Pkranger884 years ago
I do not agree with you, but thanks for the points, now people can try both ways :)
I'm sorry you don't agree, but you admitted yourself, that you burnt the wires.  You can deny reality all you want but eventually it bites you in the butt.   Good luck.
Pkranger88, Your opinion may be based on the type of heat shrink tubing you are using.  There are several types of heat shrink tubing available, and they are not all created equally.  One of my favorites is polyolefin.  I personally use heat shrink tubing almost every day of my life, and have done so since the early 80's.  I carry a Bic lighter for that explicit purpose.  While in some cases a heat gun is more appropriate, in many cases it is not.  Your version of "reality" does not necessarily coincide with someone else's.  In my experience and my "reality" you'd have to be a real dunce to catch good quality shrink tubing on fire!  The fact that the author disagrees with you doesn't indicate a denial of reality.  It may simply indicate a difference in experience and or skill level.  Good luck to you as well.
Most heat shrink tubes are flame retardant anyway, I usually use my soldering iron to shrink them.
Once you get the hang of it it's not too hard, as you probably know.
tanmanknex4 years ago
Did you think about putting the "head" on the back of the robot facing forward? That should give you enough space so that it won't freak out when something's close, shouldn't it?
fritsl (author)  tanmanknex4 years ago
If you are thinking about the "dead zone" within 10 CM's in front of the Sharp, you are absolutely right!
Cool, it's not very often that that happens. ;)
Amuraxis4 years ago
Very well presented and detailed instructable, can't wait for payday to make this badboy

Kryptonite4 years ago
Yay! The kit's on sale!

...damn.... bit expensive. Looks like I'll have to save up!
alex_shoal4 years ago
 good job.
Arbitror4 years ago
Hey, you should sell kits here on Instructables:

Grooby4 years ago
I think "Wholes" is should to be "Holes"
dabode4 years ago
very nicely done. was easy for me to understand and get motivated...thanks so much this sure explains what I needed to know...
amando964 years ago
 Cool, very detailed, didn't know you had an account here!
fritsl (author)  amando964 years ago
Thanks. Well, frankly, this is not where I hang out, though it is a cool site - However, I am mostly here to spread the word though :) My friends are on LMR.
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