James - Your First Arduino Robot




About: Robot fanatic.YouTuber. Robotics teacher.

For more Robotics Tutorials see my website here: http://www.duino-robotics.com/
For awesome videos about robots and 3D printing go here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC340dy5bmr6sLpyRh5qYwrg

Thank you so much everyone for voting for James in the Toy Contest! He got first place and I won a $500 Shapeways voucher! Expect to see more robot instructables from me in the future! :D

So you want to make a robot? Don't know where to start? How about you learn how to make a robot with me and make James!
James was made as part of a Robotics Class I teach to a few high school students.

I called him James in memory of my late Grandfather James Manning Edwards who passed away 14-3-2013. He loved teaching and helping kids and died doing what he loved, hopefully this James will carry on that legacy.

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Step 1: Gather Your Components and Tools

For this build we will be using the Arduino Uno with a Prototyping Shield. You could use whichever Arduino you want with its own Prototyping Shield or Breadboard.

If you are looking to buy this Prototyping Shield search on ebay for “arduino prototype shield uno” and you should see it. Alternatively you can buy a similar looking one from Core Electronics: http://tinyurl.com/brxjx5h

Step 2: Planning

On a piece of paper sketch out a rough sketch of the shape you want your robot body to have. It is always best to have an idea of what you want your robot to look like before you begin its construction.

Next you will want to sketch the shape of the robot body onto the protective sheet of the acrylic, this can be done easily with a pencil. If you do not have acrylic you could use; balsa wood, ply-board, foam-core, cardboard plastic containers or even food containers! You will also need to mark out where you want your servo to go. To cut out the hole for the servo drill four holes on each corner where you want to put the servo, this is to allow the blade of the saw to be easily maneuverered, preventing finger loss.

Step 3: Arduino Mounting Holes

The Arduino will be attached to the robot body using M3 screws and spacers so you will also mark where the mounting holes are on the Arduino so they can be drilled out. Once all of this has been done cut out the robot shape on a bandsaw, if you don’t have a bandsaw you can use a coping saw.

Step 4: Ultrasonic Mounting Bracket

Step 5: Drivetrain

If you would like to learn more about DC Motors and Servos and how to use them with Arduino watch my tutorial below:

Step 6: Checkpoint

So far this is what my robot looks like.

Step 7: Attaching the Arduino

Step 8: Wiring the Motor Driver

To learn more about the L293D Motor Driver Chip and how to use it with Arduino watch my tutorial below:

Step 9: Connecting the Ultrasonic Sensor

If you would like to learn more about the HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor and how to use it with Arduino watch my tutorial below:

Step 10: Power

Step 11: Code

Here is some basic code to get you started. I strongly encourage you to edit it and make it better once you have learned how it works.
To make the use of the ultrasonic sensor easier I have used the new ping library.

Step 12: Finished!

Upload the test code and that’s it! You have made your first robot!

Toy Contest

First Prize in the
Toy Contest

Battery Powered Contest

Finalist in the
Battery Powered Contest

Epilog Challenge V

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge V

7 People Made This Project!


  • Assistive Tech Contest

    Assistive Tech Contest
  • Reuse Contest

    Reuse Contest
  • Made with Math Contest

    Made with Math Contest

117 Discussions


Reply 2 years ago

Hey riyavader plz sent me code to jsmith.aa841@gmail.com


Reply 4 years ago

Hii am amil ...how to make robott..pls give me some idea to make it...how created the program...pls help me and shear to me u r idea .to make a new project. amild1993@gmail.com my mail id...

Entertainment 4Y

2 years ago

Please send the code to
Thanks in advance

Poketech Guy

2 years ago

what is the servo's pin?? where should i connect it??


3 years ago

Is the Arduino Uno R3 ATmega328P ATMEGA16U2 Compatible with Prototype Prototyping Shield ProtoShield For Arduino UNO R3 1PCS With mini Breadboard KG305 . is there any specification for the motor driver?


Reply 3 years ago



3 years ago

hey, its a nice tutorial. Having a prob i.e I have got two DC GEARBOX motors and I need to make the drivetrain now. But, not getting how to fix them out to make work. Please help me performing this task. Waiting for a quick reply.



3 years ago

Thanks for the help. I used your ideas and other inspirations to build mine. Great instruct able. I did find using a cell phone rechargeable battery pack saves some steps and I can just use the usb cable that I used to transfer the sketch with to connect it.


3 years ago

May I know where the ultrasonic sensor is hooked up?


3 years ago

The ultrasonic sensor is constantly at zero. Any help?


4 years ago on Introduction

Made it! Well, sort of... I left the servo out and used the turn left and turn right option to scan. But it worked! This was my first arcuino project and I think I can give this robot a feature to measure its own battery charge and auto-dock when it gets hungry now. If it works I'll make an instructable too!

I'm looking for a website or article that can help me learn more about the basics of Arduino robotics, I don't want to go into building one just yet, can someone help me out? Thanks!