How to Build a Roomba Bot




In this Instructable, I will be walking you through the steps of building a robot that uses a Roomba as the base platform.

Step 1: Measure and Cut the Wood for the Platform

The body of the robot will be made of 1/8" plywood.  This will be a good mixture of sturdy, light, and easy to work with.  Make two octagons for the top and bottom, and 8 rectangles for the sides.

Step 2: Drill Holes for Bottom, Top, and Sides

Drill the holes for the bottom top and sides.  We will be using #6 machine screws to hold the platform together.  On the bottom, drill an access hole for the Roomba's power button and for the Roomba serial cable (big enough for the serial cable to pull in and out).  Drill 6 holes where the Roomba will attach to the platform.

Step 3: Connect the Sides to the Bottom

Starting at the bottom, connect the sides to the platform using 1" angle brackets and #6 machine screws.  Use a washer on the outside and bottom, and a washer and lockwasher with the nut to give a good snug fit.  Start at the front, and work your way towards the back.  Leave the undrilled side off, this will be the door to our access panel.

Step 4: Connect the Sides to the Top

Repeat the same procedure for the top.

Step 5: Attach the Hinges and Clasp for the Access Door

Step 6: Add Caster Wheel to Roomba.

Take the Roomba with the vacuum assembly removed (you can follow my previous instructable on how to this), and cut a piece of wood that will fit in the exposed area where the vacuum and dust bin used to be.  Also, cut another piece of wood that will go on the top, and will sandwich the Roomba.  Place the bottom board on the Roomba, and drill the holes where the upper platform will attach to the Roomba, drilling through the board and the Roomba.  Make sure to not drill through the button panel.  Place the caster wheel on the bottom platform, and drill holes going through the bottom board, Roomba, and top board.  Fasten the caster wheel.

Step 7: Attach Platform to Roomba

The first two pictures will show what the assembly looks like that I use to attach the top platform to the Roomba.  I use a spacer to lift the platform slightly off the Roomba, keeping it from accidentally pressing buttons.  Attach the platform side first.  Then slide the Roomba down into the screws sticking up and fasten.

Step 8: Attach Webcam and Notebook

My Roombabot uses a netbook computer for control and a Yoostar webcam for cosmetics and eventual image processing algorithms.  Drill a hole in the top that will allow your webcam and any other wires to go through.  Then drill holes and fasten your webcam mount to the top.  Next, run your serial cable through the hole in the bottom and plug it in.  Attach the serial and webcam cables to your netbook, place it inside the platform, secure the access door, and there you go!



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    7 Discussions


    4 years ago on Step 6

    What roomba did you use? I had to beef up the suspension on mine just to haul around a 12v half-car-sized battery and an arduino. After beefing up the suspension, the extra five pounds or so still strained the motors and slowed it down to about half speed.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    This was a 400 series Roomba. That's an awefully big battery to haul around, any particular reason why you chose such a heavy battery?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    The idea behind the plans for this robot is to show how someone can make a robot without any knowledge of electronics. Software, however, is left as an exercise to the reader. There is a very good book out there called "Hacking Roomba" that is a great resource, but all you need is a knowledge of sending serial commands and you can have it up and running quickly!

    the plot thickens... now I see what you were doing with that roomba. how much weight can that thing support? are you using the original motors and motor drivers?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I can't find the source atm, but I read that Roombas have a 15 lb payload. The current bot is way under that weight (one advantage of using a netbook). All I did to the Roomba is take out the vacuum, everything else is stock.