Well, what is the Insect Bot. Actually it's not really an insect because it only has four legs, insects does have six of them, right? However, the robot got the name because of his shape with the thin wire legs and the IR sensor rosed up.
That robot already has a long history. first I built one with standard servos and an Arduino UNO but soon I wanted it smaller and even more easy to build. After a couple of attempts with different designs this one is the final one.
Here you can see the big one: letsmakerobots.com/node/26194
The following is the step by step description, how to assemble the robot and if you are already a bit skilled in such things then it will not take you more than one hour of your time.This first video shows how the robot could walk after switching it on for the first time and without adjusting the legs :-)
Step 1: Servos Building the Body
Make sure you align them properly that they build a nice body for the robot.
Step 2: Servos Wrapped
Step 3: Bending the Legs
Bend about 10mm of the round end to 90° The bending quality depends on the wire you are using. I am using stainless steel 304 with 1mm diameter. That sort of wire you can still bend with your fingers and it will stay in the shape you gave it. However, the 90° bend needs to be quite sharp to fit, so please bend it as close to the pliers edge as possible.
Step 4: Attaching Legs to the Servo Horn
You may use the servo horn shown on the picture or any other one which comes with those micro servos.
Step 5: Attaching the Legs to the Servos
Bend the legs in a shape that the robot is standing nicely and stable.
Step 6: Sensor Holder
The base need to be 10mm wide to attach the holder on the servo.
Optional: Bend the end about 5mm to double the material thickness, if you are using thin plastic in order to have more grip for the screw. Punch/drill a tiny hole in the bottom. These holes should not be bigger than the diameter of the screw to guarantee the screw is holding. Attach the sensor holder with a screw from the servo accessory at the top of the front servo.
Step 7: Attaching the Sensor to the Sensor Holder
The sensor also could be attached using some suitable bolts and nuts but then you will not have those nice antennas on that insect head :-)
Step 8: Solder the Beetle on the Beetle Shield
You need to solder the pics for “D9”, “D10”, “D11”, “A0”, “A1” and “A2” as well the two power pins labeled with “+” and “-”.
Note: The Beetle is DFRobots tiny Arduino compatible MCU board with 3x digital I/O and 3x analog I/O as well solder pads for RX/TX and four I/O's on the backside of the board. The Beetle Shield is for now only available in the Insect Bot mini kit
Optional: You may use any other MCU which fits but so far the Beetle or the previous version the Cheapduino is small enough.
Step 9: Assembling the Battery, Board Backpack
Make sure the battery wire is facing to the right to connect it with the power connector on the Beetle shield.
Warning! Make sure that you not puncture the LiPo battery with the leads on the bottom side of the Beetle Shield. Use double sided foam tape with minimum 3mm thickness to prevent that from happening.
Step 10: Wiring Up
If you are using the provided code then you need to connect the servos and the sensor as followed.
Connect the front servo cable with D9 on the PCB and the rear servo with D10.
Make sure that the yellow wire is facing inwards to the Beetle board in the middle of the PCB.
Connect the white plug of the sensor cable with the socket on the infrared sensor and the black plug with connector A1 on the PCB. This cable needs to be connected with the blue wire facing inwards to the Beetle on the PCB.
To make sure that you've got the right cable please check the Wiki http://www.dfrobot.com/wiki/index.php/Insect_bot_mini
The last task is to connect the battery with the battery pins on the PCB. Make sure the red wire is connected with VCC and the black wire is connected with GND. After pressing the switch to power up the robot, the LED on the PCB should light up.
Step 11: Programming the Insect Bot Mini
The connected Beetle will show up as a Leonardo. Please choose this and select the proper COM port.
Open the previous downloaded file insect_bot_smooth_en.ino from below that instrucable and upload it to the Beetle.
Once it's done without errors the Insect Bot mini is ready to take his first steps.
The complete Insect Bot mini kit is available at DFRobot and comes with all the parts plus rechargeable LiPo battery with USB charger.
Time lapse video of the assembling:
Step 12: Workshops and Other Stuff
That little robot is quite a star in our local Shanghai Hackerspace Xinchejian. We did many workshops for kids building them. These kids had a lot of fun and each one of the robots was looking different after finishing it. The kids used any materials left from the build to decorate them, glued feet on the wire legs or did cut the sensor holder in different shapes.
Here some pictures about these workshops and creations:
Workshop in Xinchejian:http://xinchejian.com/2011/05/09/insect-bot-workshop-2/
Workshop during Maker Carnival in Shanghai:http://letsmakerobots.com/node/38849
Helpful notes from userhabsinn: https://hackpad.com/INSECT-BOT-WORKSHOP-I1ZTtSBlnaH
Thanks for reading till the end :-)