We started out building simple BEAM robots and have progressed to building Arduino based wheeled robots.
See our BEAM Robots page for more information.
Check out our first Arduino based two wheeled robot.
Parts / Tools
To get started building a robot you will need some basic tools and electronics skills.
1. Soldering iron
3. Wire cutters / strippers
This is a very basic list. Also helpful would be electrical tape, a multimeter, magnifying glass, extra wire, resistors, leds, breadboard.
You will acquire more of these things over time.
If you have never soldered I would get a soldering iron and practice. Radio Shack currently has a cheap one for about $10.
You will probably want a better one later on. I have a Weller with adjustable power that cost about $45.
Also, check out this You Tube video on how to solder.
Here are some places we like for parts and tools to get you started.
1. Adafruit.com – great for electronics kits/parts and Arduino related stuff. They make the motor shield we used in our two wheeled rover.
2. Pololu.com – great for robot parts and sensors. We bought some cheap IR bump sensors that work great.
3. Sparkfun.com - great for kits and parts.
Another good resource is your local hardware store or a Radio Shack.
After you have had some practice and progressed a bit, you might try the Herbie The Mousebot kit from Solarbotics.
It costs about $40 and takes about 2 hours to solder together.
Here are some books we have and recommend only because we like them.
1. Anything by Forrest Mims. Great stuff for understanding electronics. He used to write books for Radio Shack as well.
We have some of his Engineer Notebooks. You can find them on Amazon for about $12.
2. Junkbots, Bugbots and Bots on Wheels We made our BEAM walker robot from this book. $15 on Amazon.
3. Make: Electronics Good book for general understanding of basic electronics from Make Magazine.