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Robot Cost Estimate

The DPRG has been discussing the idea of a robot that people can program at their location and then send in their code to be run at our local contests. Cool idea!

I tried my hand at estimating the cost of a robot that we could all build no matter where we are located, IE standardized parts. They all 3 use the Arduino and either Pololu’s or MAKE’s / Adafruit’s motor control board .

The prices look higher than I want but they include all parts, including batteries. It’s interesting how cheap a robot looks until you pay for all the parts!

Maybe Pololu would give us a club discount “package deal” and let us still order individually to get them shipped to our home locations. Like 25% off if we several of us all bought the same robot.

** I prefer the gear motor 2 wheel robot.
Here is my attempt to document robot costs for just such an idea.
DPRG Standardized Robot Estimate V1
DPRG Standardized Robot Estimate V1 XLS

Summary:

Gear Motor 2 Wheel Robot **

Pololu 5" round robot chassis

Pololu 5″ round robot chassis example

 

I didn’t find a picture with an Arduino on this chassis, but it has the holes drilled for mounting it. I suppose you would mount the batteries on the chassis top and use standoffs to mount the Arduino and motor control board.

The gearmotors can be mounted on top of the board and use 3/8″ caster, or on the bottom and use a 1″ caster. The latter would give better clearance. The chassis has holes to make it easy to mount many different type sensors, easily.

Features: Gear motor 2 wheel differential steering, compass, buzzer, gear motors, accelerometer, MPU power management, button, pin outs for connector wiring, 6 IR line/edge sensor

Base $126
With edge detect rear left right sensors $131
With object detect front & rear sensors (4″ digital) $145
With wheel encoders $175

Note: With little wheels you need faster gearing like 50:1. I think that would give good ground speed.

I’ve seen this type chassis in aluminum somewhere. It was using servos I think.

Servo Motor 2 Wheel

Simple U shaped chassis for Arduino and servos

Simple U shaped chassis for Arduino and servos

I couldn’t find a picture I liked for a good chassis for Servos and Arduino. The one above is discontinued

The BOE-Bot still does a great job, if chassis are available reasonably priced.

BOE-Bot with servos

BOE-Bot with servos

I have used two 2.5″ x 1.5″ x 1.5″ (est’d) hard wood blocks to mount the servos on back to back, the battery box on the bottom and the MPU on the top. This works well and saves the cost of a chassis ($8)

Features: Servo motor 2 wheel differential steering, pin outs for connector wiring, 6 IR line/edge sensor.
If you add $4 you get the same features as the other two robots, but you have to deal with connecting servos and managing their power surges, as the MAKE/Adafruit motor control board does not have servo control.

Base $99
With edge detect rear left right sensors $104
With object detect front & rear sensors (4″ digital) $118
With wheel encoders $148

Note: Servos behave differently from one another and have several variables – mechanical, electrical, brand, assembly variances – that might make it hard for me to program my robot send you the code, and get the same results on your “identical” robot.

Zumo 4 Wheel Tank

Pololu Zumo Robot
Pololu Zumo Robot

Features: Zumo 4 wheel tank, differential steering compass, buzzer, gear motors, accelerometer, MPU power management, button, pin outs for connection wiring, 6 IR line/edge sensor

Base $116
With edge detect rear left right sensors $121
With object detect front & rear sensors (4″ digital) $135
With wheel encoders $165

Note: I was not happy with the way the Zumo rear wheels attach to the plastic chassis (internet drawings may be misleading) Also you have a challenge changing the batteries or taking the robot partially apart, the battery terminals go into the Motor control board so you have to take them loose to take off the board. Looks alike a really well thought out and fairly price robot otherwise.

 

Zumo robot rear wheels mount with a trapped nut in plastic

Zumo robot rear wheels mount with a trapped nut in plastic