Introduction: Arduino Naval Battle Robot

The University of Michigan – ShanghaiJiaotong University Joint Institute (UM-SJTU JI) has been a tremendously impactful Institute that has propelled the international study culture for China’s educational system. Being an auspicious collaboration between one of China’s leading universities and one of America’s best public universities in the sciences, Shanghai Jiaotong University (#3 Top University in China) and the University of Michigan (#4 Top Public School in America), joined hands to establish the Joint Institute in 2006 and provide students with a conducive study environment as shown in Figure 1.

This instructable page is a detailed description on how to assemble and operate the Arduino robot, conceived for the purposes of the VG100 class’s Project 1. VG100, Intro To Engineering, is a unique and indispensable course at JI. The course aims to give students a broad idea of what engineers are capable of doing and what methods they employ to solve problems.

Project 1 is a competition for groups of freshmen to construct an Arduino robot that must able to move small ping-pong and large wooden balls across an elevated wall inside a designated and confined playfield. A more detailed description of the competition’s rules and circumstances is shown in List 1. Our score on Game day and our place in the tournament results is shown in List 2.

Studying at the Joint Institute (800 Dong Chuan Road, Minhang District, Shanghai), which is located inside the Shanghai Jiaotong University, we, team Screw, hope that this Instructables guide we provide for our Arduino robot would prove useful to anyone intrigued on how this robot is made and how it works.

List 1: Game Rules And Regulations

  • One match is joined by only 2 teams
  • The teams playing should only play in the provided playfield (Figure 2)
  • For every match, the 2 robots are to start at opposite corners of the field
  • Dimensions of the robot are: 350mm x 350mm x 200mm (highest part of robot)
  • Each side of the wall will be provided with 8 small balls and 4 large balls
  • The starting position of the balls are randomly changed for every match

The scoring rubric is as follows :

1. If the ball is at the opposing team’s side of the wall:

- Small ball = 1 points

- Large ball = 4 points

2. If the ball is at the team’s own side of the wall:

- Small/Large ball = 0 point

3. If the ball is directly under the vertical projection of the wall:

- Small/Large ball = 0 point

4. If the ball is knocked out of the playfield by a team:

- Small ball = - 2 points

- Large ball = - 5 points

5. Scores are counted at the end of the match and the team with the higher score wins

6. Each match has a time limit of 3 minutes; if two teams are tied (based on score and number of large balls) in ranking, an additional 1-minute match will be held to break the tie.

List 2: Game Score And Rank

Ranking : 22

Team Number : 4

Large Balls : 0

Small Balls : 0

Penalty : 0

Time Left : 0

Score : 0

Step 1: Prepare the Materials

Prepare the materials which figures are shown in Figure 3-16 according to Table 1.

The total budget for our robot is 686 RMB ( 114 U$D ).

Step 2: Measurements

  • Before cutting out the base of the robot, measure the desired dimension on the Acrylic board.
  • Measure the component’s dimensions and placement on the cut-out board.
  • Place markings on the board for where the holes (for the screws to be inserted) are to be drilled and measure the proper diameter of the holes. Be careful of drilling holes with a larger diameter than intended.
  • Measure the dimension of the Acrylic board base.
  • Make sure that the cut-out board is not too small, as ample space very important.

Step 3: Drilling the Holes

  • Using the marked points on the board, drill the holes using a power driller and the proper drilling head size
  • Safety comes first; always wear goggles and gloves when drilling holes, as well as have someone supervise the whole process
  • Once the holes are drilled, use screws to check if they are of correct size
  • The detailed position of the holes on and measurements of our acrylic board is shown in Board.dwg which you are able to download and display using the Autodesk AutoCAD software that is able to be downloaded from this link:

Step 4: Connecting the Circuits

Connect the Arduino Uno, Motor Driving Board L298N and the PS2 signal receiver with wires accordingly to the individual configuration as shown in the circuit diagram.

Step 5: Install the Mechanical Arm

  • Assemble the arm if necessary
  • Secure the arm onto the board using the proper screws and nut
  • Connect the circuits to the proper ports of the arm’s Arduino
  • Test the arm using the controller after everything has been installed

Step 6: Installing Other Main Components

  • Use proper sized screws and nuts to secure components on to the acrylic board.
  • Make sure that components that require circuits to run are properly checked and placed on the board, so that it may work properly.
  • Main components to be secured :

1. Motor and Tires

2. Arduino Uno

3. L298N

4. Caster

    • Each component should be spaced properly, or if there is restricted space, make sure that each component does not hinder another component or feature of the robot.

    Step 7: Final Modifications

    • It is optional but recommended to modify or customize the arm or the body parts of the robot
    • Customization is aimed for greater ease in grabbing or moving the balls
    • You can add brush or board on the front of the robot so that Ping-Pong balls can be pushed by the robot

      Examples :

      -- Attaching a wooden board on the claws to stabilize gripping

      -- Moving parts on the robot to achieve balanced weight distribution

      -- Attaching sweeps at the frontal side of the robot to allow sweeping of multiple ping-pong balls.

      Step 8: Final View

      Our Robot was able to move four large balls in 2 minutes.

      The hyperlink below directs to a video of how our robot's performance on the field.

      Step 9: Troubleshooting

      • If you are unable to control your Arduino Uno with your computer, check if it is connected to the correct port.
        • If you are unable to control the robot using the PS2 controller, check the following:

        1. The signal receiver is only receiving the controller’s signal,

        2. The PS2 controller is properly receiving the wireless signal,

        3. The wires and circuit properly connected and secured.

          • If the signal receiver of the arm is not working, try restarting the arm to avoid other foreign signals.
          • If the motor on the robot starts to slow down, try checking the battery if it still has power.