This Instructable shows you how to build a simple, inexpensive breadboard for robotics experiments. It is a companion to Cheap, Easy Robotics for the Non-Programmer. Here we'll learn how to build a Babuino robot to use for experiments with the Babuino/Blocos software environment. Using a breadboard like this makes it easy to experiment with robotic circuits. Since no soldering is required, it's also very easy to make changes to your circuits. (Note that some soldering is required to build the breadboard, but it's pretty minimal.)
This website (featured in the last Instructable) provides a great design for a simple robot. That platform is both simple and elegant, but has two short-comings for an individual wishing to experiment with robotics. The first is that the platform really wants to be built for a class. That is, the tools and setup to build it may be beyond an individual who does not have a fairly complete shop (like a band saw or jig saw) and the materials become economical when purchased in quantity. The other short-coming is that the platform is fairly specific once the Radio Shack prototype board is built. Sensors, motors, etc. are soldered in place, so making changes is difficult.
There are many other examples of simple robots and Arduino clones on the Internet. Pointers to some of these were given in the last Instructable, and lots more can be found with Google. So why am I reinventing the wheel? Simply to bring together in one place all the pieces you need to build a robot breadboard, complete with motors and motor controls, at minimal cost and assembly effort. Add the environment from the last Instructable and have a blast with robotics for a tiny investment.
First, I'll show you how to build the mechanical platform, then we'll add the Babuino controller. Two alternative Babuino incarnations will be presented. The first will be an actual Arduino clone, using the same processor used on Arduino and having exactly the same hardware resources. The second is a simpler to use version with a built-in USB interface and additional hardware resources. Both will work great, pick your favorite.
Important Note: When I use the name “Arduino” I mean not just the (not quite copyrighted) Arduino itself, but also the many public domain versions collectively known as “Freeduino”. In some cases I use the term “Ard/Free-duino”, but the terms should be considered interchangeable for the purposes of this Instructible.