Introduction: Ante: Lego Mindstorms NXT Car


Let's build a car! This is a great project for kids aspiring to become engineers. It has elements of programming, making it slightly more challenging. With this LEGO Mindstorm NXT 2.0 kit, you can build a car from the steps we have provided in this Instructable and from NXT. The kit can be bought on Amazon or you may already have this kit. The original car can be assembled using the link below.

We created Ante with the mindset to further develop something that we both enjoy. Ante is the latin word for "forward." In a sense, our creation was a representation of us moving forward in our dream to become engineers.

Here is the link provided by NXT that has the instructions to assist makers in creating the RaceCar:

Mindstorms NXT RaceCar Instructions

Some of it's great features are:

  • a Color Sensor
  • mobility and steering
  • smooth range of motion
  • stable structure

In addition to the basic instructions NXT had provided, we've added new components that have improved the vehicle. We added improvements in:

  • aesthetic appeal
  • the hood of the vehicle
  • headlights

We hope you enjoy our tutorial!

- Sanjana and Stacy

Step 1: All About the Looks

Now that you've constructed the basic structure of your car, it's time to personalize it!

We've added a couple of elements to Ante to create a sleek figure. Something simplistic, but still taking it to the next level.

To the front of the car, we added the Lego version of a fender flare. This gives Ante a realistic look to mimic a life-size car. Attach these directly above the wheel on either side. For visual assistance, refer to the photos attached. As you can see, we've gone ahead and added stickers to the top and front part of the fender flare.

To create the hood of the car, make the exact same piece as the windshield. Take two connector pegs and insert them in the top most hole of the fender flare piece. Then, slide pegs in the middle holes of the hood. You can also additionally customize the hood and the windshield by switching out two of the pieces for black ones like we have here.

We have also added side elements to the car. These act like the side bumper of the car. To attach these, simply use two more connector pegs. Do this to the left and right side of the vehicle.

Step 2: Lights On!

In order to go above and beyond, we decided to integrate headlights onto Ante. It provides a unique feature to the basic race car. This step includes the use of a hot glue gun. Ask a parent for help OR be cautious to prevent burning yourself.

Here are the lights that we purchased for this project:

LED Lights

If you purchase these, keep in mind that they are of lower quality. Some of the lights are slightly different shades of white. Make sure to carefully look through the lights and pick the ones most similar in brightness.

  1. After deliberately choosing which LED lights to fasten on your NXT car, plug in the hot glue gun and wait several minutes for it to warm.
  2. Remove the front wheels to ensure ease of access to the gluing area.
  3. Before fastening the lights onto the car, make sure you position angle of the light to your liking. This will not be adjustable after you fasten the lights on. For reference of where to glue the light, see the attached photos.
  4. Squeeze hot glue onto the area you would like to fasten the lights.
  5. Fasten the end of the LED light, or the hook, on the hot glue.
  6. Squeeze more hot glue onto the top and sides of the hook to, essentially, sandwich the hook with glue.
  7. If the LED light seems unstable after it cools, continue to add hot glue to uncovered areas of the hook.

Once you are happy with the placement of the light, test out the light by twisting it on!

Step 3: Programming

To program Ante, we installed the NXT 2.0 Software.

For this, you would need the Software on the CD, or burn it onto a separate disc. After downloading the software, go to the Mindstorms NXT Instructions we linked in the first step. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find the programming instructions.

Here, you can download the program for the Single NXT Programs of the Bluetooth Controlled Programs. Unfortunately the Bluetooth Controlled Programs requires two NXT Robots, which we do not own.

We stuck to the Single NXT Programs, favoring the ColorRace program especially.

The official instructions manual explains thoroughly how to set up the car and get it ready to race!

If you need help, here are a couple of links that helped us :)

  1. NXT Required Software
  2. Download Software

Happy Making!