Introduction: Electric Turtle Robot

About: part time robot designer :-)

Featured on HackadayMake Magazine now it's going to the 2011 Maker Faire!!

Be sure to check out my new instructable , the 'little Tank'!Really nice tracked design complete with cut files!

update: I've had so much response on this instructable, thanks to all. If you end up making one, please let me know! I'd love to put your work on my website!

New new update - The Electric Turtle is going to the 2011 Makers Faire in New York with the LMR (lets Make Robots) exhibit!!!

5" robotic platform, setup for Picaxe or Arduino with sonar ranging mast. This one currently does obstacle avoidance. 90 degree radian etched into the top plate to make turn calibration far easier.

Many battery configurations possible, including lipo (with a regulator) - the deck is spaced to accommodate a large range of power sources.

Designed and made in response to the poorly made/designed commercial offerings - this thing uses I-Beam construction - you can stand on it.

Nice platform to pickup and run with, applicable to many configurations and adaptable to multiple purposes.


Offset ranging mast is provided with cutouts for the ping (what I had on hand), but I put placement holes for several popular models on there as well - tried to make it as universal as possible. Standard IR sensors should fit if you choose to go that route.

Motor configuration is for a Tamiya 70097 motor/gearbox combo - placement holes are in the chassis for either the high or low ratio build configuration of the gearbox. Wheels are Tamiya 70145's.

Capability to use standard servo or micro servo with adapter plate (included).

  Here are laser cut parts kits if you'd rather not cut your own -

Lets make robots! is an excellent resource for DIY robotics as well.



Step 1: Cut Your Parts

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

To complete this instructable, you'll need:

1. laser cut parts
2. qty 4 1.25" #6-32 screws (hardware store)
3. qty 2 .75" #4-40 screws (hardware store)
4. qty 4 2" #6-32 screws (hardware store)
5. qty 4 .5" #4-40 screws (hardware store)
6. qty 1 servo (standard or micro, standard recommended) and hardware pack that comes with the servo
7. qty 1 sonar or IR (PING used, others may be substituted)
8. qty 1 pair of Tamiya 70145 tires
9. qty1 Tamiya 70097 motor/gearbox
10. qty 1 Arduino, Picaxe or other microcontroler - this instructable uses the Picaxe 28x1
11. Wires, connectors, heat shrink

If you'd like to keep the soldering to a minimum, just use male-male servo extensions for all of the hookups. This will limit your soldering to the 2 connections on each motor. The motors can also be connected with crimp connectors to eliminate all soldering, but I advise a hard soldered connection to the motors in any case.

Soldering iron, multimeter, screwdrivers, etc...

Standard disclaimer about not cutting your fingers off or sticking a hot iron in your nose..

Step 3: Wiring Diagram / Code for Picaxe

This is the wiring diagram for use with the Picaxe, ping sonar, Tamiya 70097 motor / gearbox and the electric_turtle.bas code. Attached file as PDF for easier viewing.

This diagram will work with the code as is, no changes to the code necessary. File is located below, electric_turtle.bas

Step 4: Assemble Your Robot!

This step is the most fun!

Start with the sonar mast. You'll need 1 .75" screw, 2 .5" screws, 2 spacers and 3 nuts.

Step 5: Servo / Upper Deck

Attach servo to upper deck. You'll need 2 .5" screws and nuts.

Step 6: Carrier Board / Microcontroler

Attach your microcontroler (Picaxe pictured) to your carrier board. You'll need .75" screws + nuts and 4 spacers.

Step 7: Lower Deck / Servo Risers / Motor

Attach the motor, risers and wheels as a unit to the lower deck. Use the screws and nuts that came with your motor for this step. Also install the fore / aft anti-tip screws and nuts at this time. Use 2 .5" screws + nuts.

Step 8: Upper Deck / Lower Deck

Attach the upper deck assembly to the lower deck assembly. You'll need 4 1.25" screws + nuts for this step.

Step 9: Carrier / Upper Deck

Attach the carrier board to the upper deck assembly. You'll need 4 1.25" screws + nuts and 20 spacers for this step.

Step 10: Sonar Mast / Servo

Attach the sonar mast to the servo control horn, and attach this assembly to the servo. Use the screws that came with your servo for this step. Also attach your battery usind double sided tape / velcro / adhesive of your choice.

Go conquer the world!

Celestron Space Challenge

Participated in the
Celestron Space Challenge