Introduction: Homemade Robots Book Robot

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

The nice thing about my book Homemade Robots is that when you are finished reading it, you should theoretically have all the skills necessary to turn it into a robot. Even so, I recognize that you still might not be quite ready to do this on your own and may want a bit more guidance. With this in mind I have put together some instructions to guide you through the process of converting your book into a robot.

If you are up for even more of a challenge, you can abandon these instructions altogether, take what you have learned, and create an entirely original robotic book.



(x1) Homemade Robots book

(x2) Continuous rotation servos (modified for direct drive)**

(x1) 3 x AA Battery Holder

(x3) AA Batteries

(x1) Quick connector wire clamp

(x2) 7" x 9" x 1/4" plywood sheet

(x2) Spatulas

(x1) 3/8-16 x 9" threaded rod

(x2) 3/8-16 serrated flange locknuts

(x2) 3/8-16 lock nuts

(x2) 3-1/2" wheel with bearings

(x1) 12" x 3/8" ID / 5/8" OD vinyl tubing

(x2) 3.3" (86mm) jar lids

(x2) 1-7/8 clear plastic furniture cup

(x1) Multi-angle adjustable ruler (two sections)

(x4) 1/4-20 x 1-1/2" screws

(x4) 1/2" x 1/2" spacers for 1/4-20 screws

(x4) 1/4-20 lock nuts

(x1) 1-1/2" L-Bracket

(x1) Mini squeegee

(x14) 4" zip ties

(x4) 12" zip ties


(x3) Quick clamps

(x1) Power drill

(x1) Drill bit set (3/8", 1/4", 3/16" and 1/8")

(x1) Coping saw

(x1) Drill vise

(x2) Adjustable wrenches

(x1) Snippers

(x1) Scissors

**To modify servos for direct drive, follow this Instructable. You can also find very clear instructions and suggestion for alternatives in Homemade Robots.

Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I use the money I make from these links to fund future projects. This does not change the cost of these items for you. If you want me to recommend any alternate suppliers for any of the parts, let me know in the comments below.

Step 1: Drill the Servo Horn

Drill 1/8" holes in each of the four ends of the servo horn.

Step 2: Clamp the Book

Align the book between the two sheets of plywood and then clamp it firmly in place with the quick clamps.

Note:If you were to only line up one edge of the book with the edge of the plywood sheets, make sure that it is the 9" edge on the page side (opposite the title edge).

Step 3: Make Cut Marks

Place the servo motor along the 9" edge of the book 3/4" up from the bottom corner (slightly above where the book's page numbers are).

Trace around the servo motor with a marker to create a rectangular cutting line.

Along the same 9" edge of the book, make a dot on the opposite end that is 1" down (towards the motor) and 1/2" in from the top corner. This marking will be eventually used to mount the 3/8-16 threaded rod.

Step 4: Cut the Motor Slot

Start by drilling a 3/16" hole in each of the inside corners of the rectangular servo outline.

Next, use a coping saw to cut along the outline until the saw blade reaches the first drilled hole.

Turn the saw 90 degrees, and continue cutting along the outline until you reach the second hole.

Back the saw blade out along the cut lines to free it.

Cut down along the final edge of the outline to completely cut out the rectangle.

Step 5: Drill Motor Mounting Holes

Position the servo in the rectangular notch and mark each of its four marking holes onto the plywood.

Drill each mark with an 1/8" drill bit.

Step 6: Drill a Hole

Drill through the marking for the 3/8-16 shaft with a 3/8" drill bit.

Step 7: Unclamp

Unclamp the book and remove the plywood to reveal your handiwork.

Step 8: Open Halfway

Open the book halfway. I estimate this was roughly the first page of Chapter 8.

Step 9: Attach the Motors

With the book still opened halfway, place a motor in each of the rectangular cutouts such that the servo horn is positioned on the side towards the center of the book.

Using the servo motor's mounting holes and the 1/8" holes drilled in the book cover, zip tie each motor in place using _ 4" zip ties .

Step 10: Fasten the Motors Together

Firmly fasten the servos together by wrapping a 12" zip tie around each aligned pair of motor mounting tabs. When completed, the motors should be tightly pressed back-to-back

Step 11: Cut the Vinyl Tube

Cut a 3" section of vinyl tubing from the larger tube.

Step 12: Attach the Rod

Place the vinyl tube between the pages in the center of the book and align it with the 3/8" holes.

Pass the 3/8-16 rod through one of the holes in the cover, then the vinyl tube and then outside the hole in the opposite cover. Make certain an equal amount of road is sticking out both ends. This should measure roughly 2-3/4" in length on both sides.

Fasten the rod in place using 3/8-16 serrated flange locknuts.

Step 13: Drill Holes

Gather two sections of the adjustable ruler by detaching them from the larger assembly (if you have not done so already).

Drill 1/4" holes on each edge of the adjustable ruler section's inner channel.

Widen one of the 1/4" holes on each adjustable ruler section with a 3/8" drill bit.

Step 14: Drill More Holes

Center a clear plastic furniture cup atop the servo horn.

Make marks on the plastic cup to indicate the 1/8" holes drilled in the servo horn.

Drill the marks on the cup with an 1/8" drill bit.

Repeat this process for the second plastic furniture cup.

Step 15: And Then Drill Even More Holes

Center the plastic furniture cup atop the 3.3" jar lid.

Trace each of the cup's holes onto lid using a marker.

Drill the markings on the lid with a 1/8" drill bit.

Repeat this process for the second jar lid.

Step 16: And Finally Drill One More Hole

Drill a single 1/4" hole whose center point is positioned roughly 1/4" in from the edge of the jar lid.

Repeat this process for the second jar lid.

Step 17: Mount the Rotary Disc Assemblies

Pass a 4" zip tie down through each of the four holes in the center of the jar lid, and then through the four holes in the plastic furniture cup.

Next, pass each of the zip ties through a hole in the servo horn.

Fasten the zip ties shut to firmly hold the jar lid assembly to the servo horn. Trim away the extra zip tie tails.

Repeat this process to attached the second jar lid assembly to the servo horn.

Step 18: Attach the Linkage and Caster Wheel

Using the 3/8" holes you drilled earlier, slide a section of the adjustable ruler onto each side of the 3/8-16 shaft.

When that is done, slide a wheel onto each side of the 3/8-16 shaft as well.

Fasten these items in place using lock nuts. You likely won't be able to do this by hand and will need to twist them on using wrenches.

You want the nuts to securely hold the wheel and adjustable ruler in place, but not to make it so tight that the adjustable rulers cannot pivot.

Step 19: Drill Pivots in the Spatula

Lay the spatula flat on your workbench and use a 1/4" drill bit to drill a hole in a spatula handle that is 1" from the rubber paddle.

Drill another hole 1/2" from the end of the handle.

Repeat this process by drilling identical holes in the second spatula. If it helps, you can use the holes drilled in the first spatula as a guide.

Step 20: Attach the Spatulas

Insert 1/4-20 x 1-1/2" screw through 1/4" jar lid holes and the 1/4" adjustable ruler section holes back-to-front. Between both sets, this should total four screws in all.

Slide 1/2" spacers onto each of these four screws.

Next, attach the spatulas by first passing the 1/4-20 screws on the wheel assemblies through the 1/4" hole closest to the rubber paddles.

Then pass the screws from the ruler section through the holes in the spatula near the end of the handle.

Fasten the spatulas in place using locknuts. However, do not tighten the locknuts so tightly that spatulas cannot freely rotated.

Step 21: Mount the Batteries

Insert batteries into the battery holder.

Zip tie it to the underside of the servo motors by wrapping two 12" zip ties all the away around the motors and battery holder.

Step 22: Rubber Foot Assembly

Line up the mini squeegee with the edge of the L-bracket such that one of the shorter edges of the squeegee is roughly center-aligned with the bend in the L-bracket.

Mark the L-bracket's mounting holes onto the squeegee and then drill these marking with a 1/8" drill bit.

Finally, zip tie the squeegee to the L-bracket.

Step 23: Mount the Rubber Foot

Attach the rubber squeegee by pushing the metal part of the L-bracket between the battery holder and motors so that the squeegee is pointing downward.

The tension between the motors and battery holder should be enough to hold it in place. If it is not, try tightening the zip ties holding it all together. If that doesn't work, use an extra zip tie or two to fasten the L-bracket in place.

Step 24: Wire It Up

Strip some insulation off of your motor wires if you have not done so already.

Twist together a red wire from one motor with a black wire from the other motor. Insert this pair into one of the quick connect clamp terminals.

Then grab the other remaining pair of motor wires, twist those together as well and insert those into the terminal next to it.

Finally, insert the red wire from the battery terminal into a terminal opposite the motor pairs, and the black wire into the other terminal opposite the motor pairs.

Your robot should now be powered.

You may want to also consider bundling the electrical wires and zip tying them together with a 4" zip tie. This will prevent them from dangling loose and potentially getting caught in the motor mechanisms.

Note:You can solder these connections if you want, but if you do I recommend adding a power switch. You can learn about adding power switches in the appendix of Homemade Robots.

Step 25: Have Fun!

If all went according to plan, your robot should now be moving around on its own.

Have fun experimenting and keep building.

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