Be honest, when you were a kid, you dreamed of being able to build your own robot, right? Don’t worry; it’s a dream we all had at some point. The idea of building something that would follow your commands and do whatever you wanted was just too wonderful not to imagine. Though, let’s be totally honest, most of us just wanted something that would do our homework for us! But it always seemed as though the dream of being able to build your own robot was far too unrealistic to pay much attention to. After all, it couldn’t be possible to actually do it yourself, could it? Well, it turns out that it is possible! Times have changed, and the kind of technology needed to make your own robot is far more accessible than you might ever have expected. Sure, it’s not going to be the simplest thing in the world, but here are just a few things that can get you started on the road to building your very own robot!
Of course, the first thing that you need to do is figure out how you’re actually going to go about building a robot in the first place. After all, if you just starting attaching wires and pieces of metal together then at best you’re going to end up with something useless, and at worst you could end up injuring yourself. Luckily, you have access to the single greatest database of knowledge and information that has ever existed in the entire period of human civilization. That is, of course, the internet. There are plenty of fantastic resources online that you can use to help you build your robot. From websites like Razor Robotics that can give you plenty of information on the tools that you need, to video tutorials on Youtube that can take you through the entire process. Make sure that you do as much research as possible before diving in headfirst into the world of robotics.
What do you need
Of course, knowing what to do is only one half of the puzzle, the other half is a matter of having the right stuff. From circuit boards to MOONS’ servo motors, the amount of stuff that you need to build a functioning robot can be pretty overwhelming. Luckily, it’s never been easier to gain access to the things that you need. For one thing, it’s just easier to find them thanks to the internet, but there’s also the matter of them being a lot cheaper and more accessible overall thanks to the way that technology has evolved and developed. Things that might have been incredibly complex and difficult to find a few years ago are now easily available for the average consumer.
One thing that far too many people forget when they start any kind of project, let alone one that involves electronics and mechanical components, is safety. You need to make sure that you’re taking all of the right safety precautions when building your robot. This means that you need to be aware of how all of the circuits work so that you’re never in danger of electrocution, and keep your hands away from any moving parts. The last thing you want is for your dream of having your own robot turn into a nightmare by having you lose a finger. It can be tempting just to try and dive into the whole process of building your robot, but safety is too important to skip.
Getting the kids involved
What could be a better activity for you and the kids than this? After all, you might not have gotten to live your childhood dream of building your own robot, but you can help your kids do it! Sure, they’ll probably need a great deal of supervision from you in order to be safe, but that’s the same with any project. Talk them through the processes and help them understand how all of the different parts fit together. Before you know it they’ll be putting together motors and servos more quickly than you could ever have imagined! What is little more than a fun hobby for you could awaken a genuine passion in them that turns into a lifelong career path in robotics and engineering.
What do you do with it?
Of course, once you’ve built your masterpiece and you’ve got it working, the question is, what do you do with it? Well, for a lot of people, that’s the end of the process. They’ve got themselves a homemade robot and a remote control for it, and then they move onto their next project. But if you want to keep adding to your robot and improving it, there are always things like Robot Wars and Battlebots. Why not take your new mechanical buddy and outfit them with some killer hardware? (Literally!) There are clubs and organisations all over the world where people come together to battle their homemade creations. Of course, there are certain hoops that you have to jump through. You can’t just have people going around with unregistered robots with flamethrowers attached to them! Organisations like the Fighting Robots Association is the governing body that keeps those kinds of things in check. Of course, throwing their creation into the ring with the potential for it getting smashed to bits by someone else’s remote-controlled death machine isn’t necessarily something that everyone wants. Instead, it might just be a great toy for you and your kids to play with around the house, as well as a jumping off point for your next great invention.
The wonderful thing about building robots as a hobby is that there are always new developments coming out that you can embrace. Whether it’s a new piece of technology that improves the way that your robot functions, or perhaps you’ve simply learned a new skill that you want to try out, there are always going to be ways to get better and build bigger and better robots. Just don’t complain when your home is filled with homemade robots that team up and try to take over the world!