Picture of Pingbot - Micro RC Rechargable Musical Robot Pal
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Pingbot is a very small (38mm diameter), usb rechargeable, programmable, musical, remote control robot designed for maximum fun and danceability.

I've built a few experimental robots in the past and, to be honest, they all looked the part. They were nothing more than circuit boards with wheels glued on.They did help me learn, but they just didn't feel like completed robots. The main purpose of this project was to combine electronics and 3D fabrication into a robot complete in both form and function. A fun robot with a sleek look and a bit of personality. The second goal was to make the robot as small as possible, smaller than half a ping-pong ball (hence the name).

In this Instructable I will share what I've learned while creating the Pingbot. Included is information about PICAXE Micro-controllers, surface mount soldering, PCB design, Autodesk's 123D 3D design software and 3D fabrication, rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries, as well as a few painting techniques.

Included are schematics, a PCB layout, PICAXE code, 123D model files and pictures of the construction process. You will also find a wealth of links to detailed information that is relevant to the project, as well as suppliers for the parts used in the Pingbot.

MSurguy, a friend I made through this instructable, has finished his own version of the robot. Instead of a 3D printed shell he used an actual pingpong ball cut in half, check out the video: http://vine.co/v/bJViYxMAzTw
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crogshockey5 months ago

I'm not sure if there is a need really, although I have had a handful of students and teachers contact me looking to make their own versions for educational purposes.

gideonn111 months ago

The first road I would try would be to add a sound sensor. Then you could set up 3 IR/Sound beacons in a room. The robot would receive a light and sound signal from the beacon and measure the time between the IR and audio to determine distance.


hilmy1251 year ago
saya sudah mebuat ini tetapi saya bingung bagai mana cara nya saya untuk memasukan data program dan bisakah saya minta data untuk memprogram pingbot? makasih

ean man i wish i had one

Its tremendous

clawsgoal1 year ago

I'm not sure if there is a need really, although I have had a handful of students and teachers contact me looking to make their own versions for educational purposes.

chimplost1 year ago

ean man i wish i had one

clean man i wish i had one
thanks for sharing
I'm not sure if there is a need really, although I have had a handful of students and teachers contact me looking to make their own versions for educational purposes.
reddevved2 years ago
when suggesting scavenging from old appliances a picture of the component would be nice if only to save us some time.
nerd74732 years ago
that is so cool is this going to be on the market or is there even a need for this?
Tomdf (author)  nerd74732 years ago
I'm not sure if there is a need really, although I have had a handful of students and teachers contact me looking to make their own versions for educational purposes.

As for marketing, well, I'm learning about the process, but I'm certain that this will never be made into toy that your going to find at the store. However, the kit bundle version should be available soon; it has been submitted to Club Jameco and is making the final rounds now.

Thanks for checking out the project, happy you liked it :)
nerd7473 Tomdf2 years ago
yeah I thought it was neat
JensonBut2 years ago
that looks AWESOME, Where did the idea come from?
Tomdf (author)  JensonBut2 years ago
Thank you Jenson that's great to hear :D
The idea came from all over the place. For the look of the robot, the movie "Batteries Not Included" had a major influence. As for the actual robot, I'd seen several of these little picaxe robots, such as the one by Mikey77 here on instructables, and wanted to make one of my own as a way to learn Picaxe and li-po battery charging.
wrecks1352 years ago
These are great. Instead of remote control does anybody have ideas on how to make something like this autonomous so that it would move to a specified location or to a homing beacon?
Tomdf (author)  wrecks1352 years ago
Thanks Wrecks.
The first road I would try would be to add a sound sensor. Then you could set up 3 IR/Sound beacons in a room. The robot would receive a light and sound signal from the beacon and measure the time between the IR and audio to determine distance. After getting this info from all three beacons the bot could then triangulate its position.

In theory anyway. I personally don't quite have the skills to tell you exactly how to do this, and I'm not sure if a PICaxe chip would be able to handle it. I bet an Arduino/Atmell would though.

Another possibility would be to use a GPS sensor. It would be a little big to fit into a robot this size, but those sensors seem to get smaller everyday.

Hope this helps and thanks again for the interest :D
Tom, this is absolutely a thing of beauty! :)

I agree with everyone else; the first thing I thought of was the little bots from BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED. The little semi-spherical dome also reminded me of a little R2-D2 unit, yet unique. I did some sketches a few years back (inspired by the cute little robots in the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip - which also reminded me of R2-D2.) I like the idea of a unique little artoo-like bot - and a community of them created by other people.

I am an electrical engineer and design this kind of thing in my spare time as a hobby. I am extremely impressed by your expertise in varied areas of design - electronics, pcb fabrication, 3D model design, etc. I do all of these things too, and I have been searching and searching for exactly this type of thing to inspire some of my new creations! Finally, someone with originality and creativity!!!

Anyway, kudos! This is fantastic - and possibly the best, most thorough, and most creative instructable that I have seen yet!

Aaron :)

Tomdf (author)  SamuelAaronWard3 years ago
Aaron, I really appreciate your comments, I think after that my ego is just about to burst over into the next county :D

I'm over the top ecstatic with the response this instructable has gotten, I kind of see it like a full circle of knowledge sharing. I goof off with this stuff purely as a hobby and a large percentage of what I know I've learned from this website. By writing this I was able to take that knowledge and inspiration and put it back into the creative machine so it can be reprocessed by others. That feeling literally makes me giddy like a 12 year old.

You mentioned some fantastic ideas that I'm hoping to add to Pingbot v2, and I know exactly the Asimov story your talking about. While we are on the subject, I learned about these robots shortly after writing this instructable and I think they are just the sweetest thing ever. They are like, Pingbot advanced level 10 without out the hard candy shell. I have a feeling that you'll find it fascinating:

And check this out, you can download the manual for free!
matzo75 Tomdf2 years ago
love it !!!!
justbennett2 years ago
The circuit reminds me of
Biometronics didn't use transistors to power the motors. Instead, each motor was powered by two pins simultaneously to get enough mA.

I like that your design saves pins for use with lights and sound. I'm a big fan of the PICAxe for people like me who don't have time to delve into the more complex languages. You should add the tag "picaxe" to this instructible. I search for picaxe projects from time to time and there aren't many to find on this site.
Tomdf (author)  justbennett2 years ago
Thanks Bennet, I wonder if had seen that circuit before or not, it is very similar.

I'm becoming a big fan of PICaxe too, they have really helped introduce me to microcontrollers. Plus most of the things I want to make don't really need advanced programming.

Light and sound are super important lol. As advanced as robots have gotten I still think that R2D2 tops them all in personality and all he did was beep and spin his head.

I'm adding the picaxe tag right now, thnx again :)
And by-the-way I found this via http://www.clubjameco.com/index.php/projects/project_brief/24/20921.

If you'd like to see this as a kit goto the link and vote for it.
Do you have a larger version of the PCB and Schematic I can download from somewhere? I am having trouble making out the writing. Cheers!
Tomdf (author)  IBreakHeavyStuff3 years ago
No problem at all. Hover your mouse over the image and in the upper left hand corner you will see a small white box with an "i" in it, click that box. when the next screen pops up you will see the image and right under it will be something like this: "original file: (1942x2383) 375 KB"
Click on that and you will be able to download the full size image.
Oh, thanks - found it. I don't suppose you have the original Illustrator file (clear - without the components drawn in) so I can use it to print off a PCB?
Oops, never mind. Just found this:

Thanks for all your help. Now I know how to look at different pictures too. I look forward to seeing more of your work - this is awesome!
Ah - Turns out I do need your illustrator file if at all possible???
you could add on to that robot and make it better
A few other thoughts...

Although your little bot is cute, it would be great if it did something slightly more useful / interesting than just dance around (something that a mere BEAM robot does).

Ideas... I don't know your level of programming proficiency; but if you understand IR communication protocol (like SIRC), you could make your robots have two-way communication capabilities - transmitters and receivers. That way, they could communicate between themselves and perform interesting team behaviors - to accomplish a common task. I get this idea from a short story that Isaac Asimov wrote about some mining robots which performed duties like a hand and its fingers. It would be interesting if each of the little robots had its own unique function and could perform a different task to accomplish the team's common goal.

Also, if you used some geared motors and wrote some good path-following algorithms, you could put a pen in the center of your bot and have it follow a path that would enable it to write messages on a piece of paper - or something like that.

Just some ideas...

Aaron :)
askjerry3 years ago
This is what I call a GREAT Instructable...

1) great project Idea
2) great implementation
3) great instructions
4) Totally awesome results... and repeatable too.

Two thumbs up.
Hey... enter in the LASER contest so I can vote for you.
Tomdf (author)  askjerry3 years ago
Dang, thanks Jerry :D I did have a lot of fun working on the robot and the instructable and it is sweet to hear such positive feedback.

This guy is already in two contest and I really want to make something new for the Laser contest. I hope you like that one too and vote for it ;) Thanks again!
Bray3 years ago
Your design totally reminds me of the little robots from the movie "batteries not included". :)

Thats the first think to come to mind on this end too! Good Flick!
Tomdf (author)  Bray3 years ago
You nailed it Bray! I saw that movie when I was about ten years old and thought to myself "Someday I will have one of those." Now if I could just get it to fly ;)
meenzal Tomdf3 years ago
You should get together with the guy who made the PCB quadrotor http://www.instructables.com/id/PCB-Quadrotor-Brushless/ --the scales are about the same. Print off another body and have your flying version.

Awesome little bot and yep, I thought Batteries Not Included when I first saw it too.
erosas153 years ago
clean man i wish i had one

yokobond3 years ago
Awesome! Very fine work.
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