Modular Robot Platform or "Thrift Shop Johnny Five"




I knew from the beginning that I wanted the design to be both fun and modular. I wanted to be able to swap out one arm for another, or be able to make a new head and just bolt it on with ease.
The theme of this platform really is versatility. With this framework I can now outfit it with whatever sensors, motors, ect. that I like.

Main Sections

Head. Chest. Backpack. Right Arm. Left Arm. Torso. Motivator.

Step 1: The Great Gathering of Materials

Most of the materials for this project I had laying around or were harvested from the local thrift store along the way.

Step 2: Stripping Down an Electric Wheelchair.

I was lucky enough to get a used electric wheelchair at a reasonable cost. I removed the seat and all non essential parts for later use.

Step 3: Base Frame Construction.

I made the base and the underlying skeleton out of an old stationary bike, half a snowboard, and some lumber.

Step 4: Adding Pneumatic Power

I added an air storage tank for powering future projects. I also like the idea of a robot filling up tires.

Step 5: Arms and Computer Storage.

The arms are the arms from the wheelchair, they can be moved and locked in any position. The arms can be removed and alternates can be easily inserted allowing for the robot to be customized for specific tasks. The standard computer case allows me to either place a full motherboard in there or any substitute electronics.

I attached the chestplate that was made from and old washing machine frame.

My grandmother gave me some broken binoculars that I used for eyes, they are only for show but give this guy some character for now.

Step 6: Finishing Up Assembly.

In these pictures are the final putting together of all of the pieces for the platform. The two boxes on eather side of the robot are for tool/project storage and are removeable.

Step 7: The Future Is Yet Unwritten for This Robot.

Now that the underlying structure is complete the robot can be outfitted in a number of different ways. Currently the base is still only controlled through a physical joystick. This could be easily controlled using servos allowing for the interface of any microcontroller.

Things that this robot might do in the future.

Walk dogs.

Zombie defence drone.

Mobile Music Player.

Remote Audio and Video Surveillance.



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    11 Discussions


    1 year ago

    any update?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Try adding arduino based projects into this thing i kinda like the android device idea for speech recognitions etc ...


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome Stuff man this remind me of childhood when short circuit movie came ... I kinda disassembled my toy robot wishing it might become johnny lolzz


    4 years ago on Step 7

    Hey, I was wondering if you could tell me how exactly you are controlling the wheelchair motor base and what type of wheelchair specifically your are using. I'm thinking of making something similar...


    4 years ago

    need more input..input


    4 years ago

    nice start. would love to see some autonomous functionality.