O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Robot Builder's Bonanza, 4th Edition, 4th Edition

Book Description

The Bestselling Robotics Book--Now with New Projects and Online Tools!

"Amazing...should be required reading for any budding robot builder!" -GeekDad, Wired.com

Have fun while learning how to design, construct, and use small robots! This richly illustrated guide offers everything you need to know to construct sophisticated, fully autonomous robots that can be programmed from your computer. Fully updated with the latest technologies and techniques, Robot Builder's Bonanza, Fourth Edition includes step-by-step plans that take you from building basic motorized platforms to giving the machine a brain--and teaching it to walk, talk, and obey commands.

This robot builder's paradise is packed with more than 100 affordable projects, including 10 completely new robot designs. The projects are modular and can be combined to create a variety of highly intelligent and workable robots of all shapes and sizes. Mix and match the projects to develop your own unique creations. The only limit is your imagination!

Robot Builder's Bonanza, Fourth Edition covers:

  • Parts, materials, and tools
  • Building motorized wooden, plastic, and metal platforms
  • Rapid prototyping methods
  • Drafting bots with computer-aided design
  • Constructing high-tech robots from toys
  • Building bots from found parts
  • Power, motors, and locomotion
  • Robots with wheels, tracks, and legs
  • Constructing robotic arms and grippers
  • Robot electronics and circuit making
  • Computers and electronic control
  • Microcontrollers--Arduino, PICAXE, and the BASIC stamp
  • Remote control systems
  • Sensors, navigation, and visual feedback
  • Robot vision via proximity, light, and distance

New! FREE online content at:
www.robotoid.com

  • My First Robot tutorial lessons
  • Project parts finder
  • Animated, interactive learning tools
  • How-to videos, robot e-plans, bonus articles, links, and more

Plus, go to:
www.mhprofessional.com/rbb4 for:

  • Downloadable programs
  • RBB app notes
  • Bonus chapters

Make Great Stuff!
TAB, an imprint of McGraw-Hill Professional, is a leading publisher of DIY technology books for makers, hackers, and electronics hobbyists.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Robot Builder’s Bonanza
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Contents
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Photo and Illustration Credits
  7. Introduction
  8. Part 1—The Art and Science of Robot Building
    1. Chapter 1—Welcome to the Wonderful World of Robotics!
      1. What the Adventure Holds
      2. Why Build Robots?
      3. The Building-Block Approach
      4. Lower Costs, Better Bots
      5. Skills You Need
      6. Do It Yourself, Kits, or Ready-Made?
      7. Thinking Like a Robot Builder
    2. Chapter 2—Anatomy of a Robot
      1. Stationary versus Mobile Robots
      2. Autonomous versus Teleoperated Robots
      3. Tethered versus Self-Contained Robots
      4. So, What’s a Robot, Anyway?
      5. The Body of the Robot
      6. Locomotion Systems
      7. Power Systems
      8. Sensing Devices
      9. Output Devices
      10. Where the Word “Robot” Comes From
    3. Chapter 3—Getting Parts
      1. Local Electronics Stores
      2. Online Electronics Outlets
      3. Using FindChips.com to Locate Parts
      4. Specialty Online Robotics Retailers
      5. Hobby and Model Stores
      6. Craft Stores
      7. Hardware and Home Improvement Stores
      8. Samples from Electronics Manufacturers
      9. Finding What You Need on the Internet
      10. Shop Once, Shop Smart
      11. Haunting the Surplus Store
      12. Getting Parts from Specialty Stores
      13. Scavenging: Making Do with What You Already Have
      14. Getting Organized
  9. Part 2—Robot Construction
    1. Chapter 4—Safety First (and Always)
      1. Project Safety
      2. Battery Safety
      3. Soldering Safety
      4. Fire Safety
      5. Avoiding Damage by Static Discharge
      6. Working with House Current
      7. First Aid
      8. Use Common Sense—and Enjoy Your Robot Hobby
    2. Chapter 5—Building Robot Bodies—the Basics
      1. Picking the Right Construction Material
      2. In Review: Selecting the Right Material
      3. Robots from “Found” Parts
      4. Basic Tools for Constructing Robots
      5. Optional Tools
      6. Hardware Supplies
      7. Setting Up Shop
    3. Chapter 6—Mechanical Construction Techniques
      1. First Things First: Eye and Ear Protection
      2. Plan, Sketch, Measure, Mark
      3. Drilling Holes in Things
      4. Cutting Things to Size
      5. Using Portable Power Tools
      6. Getting Work Done Fast with Air Tools
    4. Chapter 7—Working with Wood
      1. Hardwood versus Softwood
      2. Planks or Ply
      3. The Woodcutter’s Art
    5. Chapter 8—Build a Motorized Wooden Platform
      1. Making the Base
      2. Building and Attaching the Motors
      3. Building and Mounting the Wheels
      4. Attaching the Ball Caster
      5. Using the PlyBot
      6. Variations on a Theme
    6. Chapter 9—Working with Plastic
      1. Main Kinds of Plastics for Bots
      2. Best Plastics for Robotics
      3. Where to Buy Plastic
      4. The Ins and Outs of Rigid Expanded PVC
      5. How to Cut Plastic
      6. How to Drill Plastic
      7. Making Plastic Bases
      8. Making Plastic Frames
      9. How to Bend and Form Plastic
      10. How to Smooth the Edges of Plastic
      11. How to Glue Plastic
      12. Using Hot Glue with Plastics
      13. How to Paint Plastics
      14. Household Plastics for Bot Constructions
    7. Chapter 10—Build a Motorized Plastic Platform
      1. Making the Base
      2. Attaching the Motors
      3. Fitting the Wheels
      4. Attaching the Ball Caster
      5. Using the PlastoBot
      6. Altering the PlastoBot Design
    8. Chapter 11—Working with Metal
      1. All About Metal for Robots
      2. Measuring the Thickness of Metal
      3. What’s This about Heat Treatments?
      4. Where to Get Metal for Robots
      5. Recap of Metals for Robotics
      6. Metal from Your Home Improvement Store
      7. Metal from Craft and Hobby Stores
      8. The Metalsmith’s Art
    9. Chapter 12—Build a Motorized Metal Platform
      1. Making the Base
      2. Using the TinBot
    10. Chapter 13—Assembly Techniques
      1. Screws, Nuts, and Other Fasteners
      2. Brackets
      3. Selecting and Using Adhesives
    11. Chapter 14—Rapid Prototyping Methods
      1. Selecting Lightweight Robot Materials
      2. Cutting and Drilling Substrate Sheets
      3. Rapid Construction with Semipermanent Fasteners
    12. Chapter 15—Drafting Bots with Computer-Aided Design
      1. Making Drilling and Cutting Layouts
      2. File Formats for Vector Graphics
      3. Using Laser-Cutting Services
      4. Producing “Quick-Turn” Metal and Plastic Prototypes
    13. Chapter 16—Constructing High-Tech Robots from Toys
      1. Erector Sets
      2. Fischertechnik
      3. K’NEX
      4. Other Construction Sets to Try
      5. Construction with Snap-Together Components
      6. Specialty Toys for Robot Hacking
      7. Making Robots from Converted Toy Vehicles
    14. Chapter 17—Building Bots from Found Parts
      1. A Dozen Ideas to Get You Started
      2. Experimenting with “No-Cut” Metal Platform Designs
      3. Using Wood and Plastic Samples
      4. Keep Your Eyes Peeled and Your Tape Measure Out
  10. Part 3—Power, Motors, and Locomotion
    1. Chapter 18—All about Batteries
      1. An Overview of Power Sources
      2. Batteries for Your Robots
      3. Understanding Battery Ratings
      4. Recharging Batteries
      5. Robot Batteries at a Glance
      6. Common Battery Sizes
      7. Increasing Battery Ratings
    2. Chapter 19—Robot Power Systems
      1. Power and Battery Circuit Symbols
      2. Using a Premade Battery Pack
      3. Making Your Own Rechargeable Battery Pack
      4. Using Battery Cells in a Battery Holder
      5. Best Battery Placement Practices
      6. Wiring Batteries to Your Robot
      7. Preventing Reverse Battery Polarity
      8. On the Web: How to Solder a Barrel Plug onto a Battery Holder or DC Wall Transformer
      9. Adding Fuse Protection
      10. Providing Multiple Voltages
      11. Regulating Voltage
      12. Dealing with Power Brownouts
      13. Battery Voltage Monitors
    3. Chapter 20—Moving Your Robot
      1. Choosing a Locomotion System
      2. Locomotion Using Wheels
      3. Locomotion Using Tracks
      4. Locomotion Using Legs
      5. Locomotion Using Other Methods
      6. On the Web: Managing the Weight of Your Robot
    4. Chapter 21—Choosing the Right Motor
      1. AC or DC Motor?
      2. Continuous or Stepping Motor?
      3. Servo Motors
      4. Motor Specs
      5. Testing Current Draw of a Motor
      6. Dealing with Voltage Drops
      7. Avoiding Electrical Noise
    5. Chapter 22—Using DC Motors
      1. The Fundamentals of DC Motors
      2. Reviewing DC Motor Ratings
      3. Controlling a DC Motor
      4. Motor Control by Switch
      5. Motor Control by Relay
      6. Motor Control by Bipolar Transistor
      7. Motor Control by Power MOSFET Transistor
      8. Motor Control by Bridge Module
      9. Controlling the Speed of a DC Motor
      10. Bonus Projects: Interfacing to Motor Bridge Modules
    6. Chapter 23—Using Servo Motors
      1. How R/C Servos Work
      2. Control Signals for R/C Servos
      3. The Role of the Potentiometer
      4. Special-Purpose Servo Types and Sizes
      5. Gear Trains and Power Drives
      6. Output Shaft Bushings and Bearings
      7. Typical Servo Specs
      8. Connector Styles and Wiring
      9. Analog Versus Digital Servos
      10. Electronics for Controlling a Servo
      11. Using Continuously Rotating Servos
      12. Modifying a Standard Servo for Continuous Rotation
      13. Using Servo Motors for Sensor Turrets
    7. Chapter 24—Mounting Motors and Wheels
      1. Mounting DC Motors
      2. Mounting and Aligning Motors with Aluminum Channel
      3. Mounting R/C Servos
      4. Mounting Drivetrain Components to Shafts
      5. Mounting Wheels to DC Gear Motors
      6. Mounting Wheels to R/C Servos
      7. Attaching Mechanical Linkages to Servos
      8. Drivetrain Components for Robotics
      9. Using Rigid Flexible Couplers
      10. Working with Different Shaft Types
      11. Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Gears
    8. Chapter 25—Robot Movement with Shape Memory Alloy
      1. Shape Memory Alloy Comes to Robotics
      2. Basics of Shape Memory Alloy
      3. Using Shape Memory Alloy
      4. Operating SMA Using a Microcontroller
      5. Experimenting with SMA Mechanisms
      6. Using Ready-Made SMA Mechanisms
  11. Part 4—Hands-on Robotic Projects
    1. Chapter 26—Build Robots with Wheels and Tracks
      1. Basic Design Principles of Rolling Robots
      2. Two-Motor BasicBot
      3. Bonus Project: Double-Decker RoverBot
      4. Building 4WD Robots
      5. Building Tank-Style Robots
    2. Chapter 27—Build Robots with Legs
      1. An Overview of Leggy Robots
      2. Selecting the Best Construction Material
      3. Scratch Build or Parts Kits
      4. Leg Power
      5. Walking Gaits for Legged Robots
      6. Build a 3-Servo Hexapod
      7. Creating X-Y Servo Joints
      8. Bonus Project: Build a 12-Servo Hexapod
    3. Chapter 28—Experimenting with Robotic Arms
      1. The Human Arm
      2. Degrees of Freedom in a Typical Robotic Arm
      3. Arm Types
      4. Actuation Techniques
      5. Build a Robotic Wrist
      6. Build a Functional Revolute Coordinate Arm
      7. Build a Robotic Arm from a Kit
    4. Chapter 29—Experimenting with Robotic Grippers
      1. Concept of the Basic Gripper
      2. Two-Pincher Gripper
      3. Tool Clamp Gripper
      4. On the Web: More Gripper Plans
  12. Part 5—Robot Electronics
    1. Chapter 30—Building Robot Electronics—the Basics
      1. Tools for Electronics You Should Have
      2. Making Electronic Circuits—the Basics
      3. Understanding Wires and Wiring
      4. How to Solder
      5. Using Headers and Connectors
      6. Using Clip-on Jumpers
      7. Good Design Principles
      8. RoHS Demystified
    2. Chapter 31—Common Electronic Components for Robotics
      1. But First, a Word about Electronics Symbols
      2. Fixed Resistors
      3. Potentiometers
      4. Capacitors
      5. Diodes
      6. Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
      7. Transistors
      8. Integrated Circuits
      9. Switches
      10. Relays
      11. . . . And the Rest
      12. On the Web: Stocking Up on Parts
    3. Chapter 32—Using Solderless Breadboards
      1. Anatomy of a Solderless Breadboard
      2. Steps in Constructing a Solderless Breadboard Circuit
      3. Making Long-Lasting Solderless Circuits
      4. Mounting the Breadboard to Your Robot
      5. Tips for Using a Solderless Breadboard
    4. Chapter 33—Making Circuit Boards
      1. Overview of Your Primary Circuit Board Options
      2. Clean It First!
      3. Making Permanent Circuits on Solder Breadboards
      4. Using Point-to-Point Perforated Board Construction
      5. Using Predrilled Stripboards
      6. Creating Electronic Circuit Boards with PCB CAD
      7. Producing Arduino-Specific Boards with Fritzing
      8. On the Web: Etching Your Own Printed Circuit Board
      9. Using Custom Prototyping Boards
      10. Making Semipermanent Circuits with Wire Wrapping
      11. Effective Use of Plug-in Headers
  13. Part 6—Computers and Electronic Control
    1. Chapter 34—An Overview of Robot “Brains”
      1. Brains for the Brawn
      2. Igor, Pull the Switch!
      3. Brains from Discrete Components
      4. Programmed Brains
      5. Of Inputs and Outputs
    2. Chapter 35—Understanding Microcontrollers
      1. All about Microcontroller Categories
      2. Microcontroller Shapes and Sizes
      3. Under the Hood of the Typical Microcontroller Chip
      4. Microcontroller Programmers
      5. All about Microcontroller Speed
    3. Chapter 36—Programming Concepts: The Fundamentals
      1. Important Programming Concepts
      2. Understanding Data Types
      3. Lucky Seven Most Common Programming Statements
      4. Variables, Expressions, and Operators
      5. On the Web: More Programming Fundamentals
  14. Part 7—Microcontroller Brains
    1. Chapter 37—Using the Arduino
      1. Arduino under the Hood
      2. Many Variations on a Theme
      3. Ready Expansion via Shields
      4. USB Connection and Power
      5. Arduino Pin Mapping
      6. Programming the Arduino
      7. Programming for Robots
      8. Using Servos
      9. Creating Your Own Functions
      10. On the Web: Operating Two Servos
      11. Flow Control Structures
      12. Using the Serial Monitor Window
      13. Some Common Robotic Functions
      14. Using Switches and Other Digital Inputs
      15. Interfacing to DC Motors
    2. Chapter 38—Using the PICAXE
      1. Understanding the PICAXE Family
      2. Programming the PICAXE
      3. Core Language Syntax
      4. PICAXE Functions for Robotics
      5. Example: Controlling an RC Servo with the PICAXE
      6. Example: Reading Buttons and Controlling Outputs
    3. Chapter 39—Using the BASIC Stamp
      1. Inside the BASIC Stamp
      2. Stamp Alone or Developer’s Kit
      3. Physical Layout of the BS2
      4. Hooking Up: Connecting the BASIC Stamp to a PC
      5. Understanding and Using PBasic
      6. Interfacing Switches and Other Digital Inputs
      7. Interfacing DC Motors to the BASIC Stamp
      8. Interfacing RC Servo Motors to the BASIC Stamp
      9. Additions in PBasic 2.5
    4. Chapter 40—Interfacing Hardware with Your Microcontroller or Computer
      1. Sensors as Inputs
      2. Motors and Other Outputs
      3. Input and Output Architectures
      4. Interfacing Outputs
      5. Interfacing Digital Inputs
      6. Interfacing Analog Input
      7. Connecting with USB
      8. Using Analog-to-Digital Conversion
      9. Using Digital-to-Analog Conversion
      10. Expanding Available I/O Lines
      11. Understanding Port Changing
      12. On the Web: Understanding Bitwise Port Programming
    5. Chapter 41—Remote Control Systems
      1. Build a Joystick “Teaching Pendant”
      2. Commanding a Robot with Infrared Remote Control
      3. On the Web: Control by Radio Signal
      4. Broadcasting Video
  15. Part 8—Sensors, Navigation, and Feedback
    1. Chapter 42—Adding the Sense of Touch
      1. Understanding Touch
      2. Mechanical Switch
      3. Using a Button Debounce Circuit
      4. Debouncing Switches in Software
      5. Programming for Bumper Contacts
      6. Mechanical Pressure Sensors
      7. Experimenting with Piezoelectric Touch Sensors
      8. Experimenting with Piezo Film
      9. On the Web: Build a Piezo Bumper Bar
      10. Other Types of “Touch” Sensors
    2. Chapter 43—Proximity and Distance Sensing
      1. Design Overview
      2. Simple Infrared Light Proximity Sensor
      3. Modulated Infrared Proximity Detector
      4. Infrared Distance Measurement
      5. On the Web: Passive Infrared Detection
      6. Ultrasonic Distance Measurement
    3. Chapter 44—Robotic Eyes
      1. Simple Sensors for Robotic Eyes
      2. Building a One-Cell Cyclops Eye
      3. Building a Multiple-Cell Robotic Eye
      4. Using Lenses and Filters with Light-Sensitive Sensors
      5. Video Vision Systems: An Introduction
    4. Chapter 45—Navigating Your Robot
      1. Tracing a Predefined Path: Line Following
      2. Wall Following
      3. Odometry: Calculating Your Robot’s Distance of Travel
      4. Compass Bearings
      5. Experimenting with Tilt and Gravity Sensors
      6. More Navigational Systems for Robots
    5. Chapter 46—Making and Listening to Sound
      1. Preprogrammed Sound Modules
      2. Commercial Electronic Sound Effects Kits
      3. Making Sirens and Other Warning Sounds
      4. Using a Microcontroller to Produce Sound and Music
      5. Using Audio Amplifiers
      6. Sound and Music Playback with a Microcontroller
      7. Speech Synthesis: Getting Your Robot to Talk
      8. Listening for Sound
      9. On the Web: More Sound Projects
    6. Chapter 47—Interacting with Your Creation
      1. Using LEDs and LED Displays for Feedback
      2. Feedback via Simple Sounds
      3. Using LCD Panels
      4. Robot-Human Interaction with Lighting Effects
    7. Chapter 48—Danger, Will Robinson!
      1. Flame Detection
      2. Smoke Detection
      3. Detecting Dangerous Gas
      4. Heat Sensing
      5. Robotic Firefighting Contests
      6. Finally, Go Out and Do!
  16. Appendix A—RBB Online Support
    1. You’ll Find . . .
    2. Backup Support Site
    3. Sources for Special Parts, Web Sites
  17. Appendix B—Internet Parts Sources
    1. Robotics
    2. Electronics
    3. Hobby
    4. Forums and Blogs
    5. More on the Web!
  18. Appendix C—Mechanical Reference
    1. Decimal Fractions
    2. Drill Bit and Tap Sizes—Imperial
    3. Drill Bit and Tap Sizes—Metric
    4. Numbered and Fractional Inch Drill Bit Comparison
    5. Fasteners: Standard (Imperial) Threads at a Glance
    6. Comparison of Decimal Inch, Fractional Inch, Mil, and Gauge
    7. More on the Web!
  19. Appendix D—Electronic Reference
    1. Formulas
    2. Abbreviations
    3. Letter Symbols Used in Electronics
    4. Numbering Units in Electronics
    5. The Six Most Common Units of Measure in Electronics
    6. Resistor Color Coding
    7. Wire Gauge
  20. Index