How to Build Your Own Robot for Kids of All Ages

How to Build Your Own Robot for Kids of All Ages

From elementary-aged children to university students, robotics has the power to introduce learners to STEM fields and improve communication skills. Children who experiment with robots in the classroom break through traditional barriers of a science class based on the textbook material. Hands-on learning through robotics gives students unique opportunities to understand scientific concepts more deeply, driven by their own curiosity.

But why wait to build your first robot in the classroom?

Virtually any open space—at home, in a park, at the library—can be transformed into the ideal science classroom when robotics take center stage.

Let’s take a look at the basic steps involved in how to build your own robot for kids. You’ll realize it’s easier than you might think.

Assembly

The first step in how to build your own robots for kids is first to gather all required materials. Major components will include the controller board, servomotors, aluminum framework, and connecting parts. Each plays an integral role in the construction and function of your robot.

In addition to a robot controller, the control board must also include a battery case with and batteries, and a micro-USB cable. This control system is at the heart of communication between the robot itself and the computer system.

It’s also critical that a robot is equipped with sensors and motion function. The main tools required for this robot function include button modules, black-white sensors as well as light and sound sensors, and a poka-yoke wire.

Once robots have been equipped with their motor ability, they’re then ready to start moving. This requires the use of servomotors. Primary components include 180-degree digital servo, LED Modules in color, servo disc and wheel, servo mounting plate, and poka-yoke wires including connect parts.

Now it's time for assembly. Aluminum parts needed in the construction of your robot allow for durability yet flexibility in design as well as a light-weight quality. Building components include short I-shaped bar, regular I-shaped boards, slot bars, U-shaped channels, L-shaped bracket, and L-shaped plate.

Connecting parts are uniquely designed to conform to the aluminum parts’ shape and design. Parts include hex socket head screws cap screws, hex socket head shoulder screw, self-lock nuts, washers of 3mm and 7mm size, 6mm head, and the Allen Key + combination wrench.

 

Wiring

Now it’s time to put your wiring skills to work. You’ll learn what it’s like to work as a professional electrician, making careful connections between the controller and the extremities of your robot. Wiring will serve as the backbone of your robot; accuracy is crucial in subsequent steps such as programming your robot.

Prior to wiring your robot, you should check that all components are well-connected. This means no frayed wires or pinched headers. It’s important during the wiring process that parts click into place: not too loose and not too snuggly.

There are a few important steps to follow to ensure the success of your homemade robot’s wiring. First, lay out all the parts flat in front of you so you can think through the connection process and eliminate any concern parts will get forgotten. Second, mount components before making the actual connections to check for design elements such as proper spacing between parts. Then you’re ready to permanently mount parts to one another, using secure mounting techniques. To further strengthen the connection between wires and control board, wires should be crimped. This involves cutting the heat shrink at the end of the wire, crimping down hard on the exposed wire without also crimping the insulation, then running wires to the motors.

Wiring a robot is not always given the same attention as other important steps in creating your robot. Yet, careful wiring is absolutely essential in learning how to build your own robot for kids since it lays the groundwork for programming and motor ability.

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Programming

While some kids might excel in wiring and connecting their robot, others will shine when it comes to programming their robot. Programming skills reach far beyond robotics, and also apply closely to STEM careers in technology and computer science.

In fact, major toy-producing companies are beginning to roll out toys that teach kids programming from a young age. Using a smartphone or simple control pad system, children are able to set their robots into motion.

ROBOTERRA puts kids at the center of the action as the primary programming developers, even for young learners. Students will even have an opportunity to learn basic computer programming skills and practice coding. This coding will set the algorithms needed to make students’ robots move.

Once again, programming skills don’t stop at building your own robot for kids. Instead, programming capabilities are an extremely marketable skill when it’s time for students to start sending off college or job applications. From those pursuing jobs in medicine to software developers and robotic controllers, programming is a crucial pre-requisite that will set you apart from other job candidates.

Making it Move

Now it’s time to put all that hard work to the test. Setting a robot in motion is the perfect combination of fine-tuned mechanics and careful programming execution.

Setting your robot in motion depends on a powerful motor system. Apart from the motor, a variety of robots move in different ways. Some of the most sophisticated robots use hydraulics or pneumatics to move precisely. Others simply have attached legs which allow robots to crawl along in response to predetermined programmed algorithms. Still, other autonomous robots have sensors which allow them to move or to stop in response to bumps, uneven ground, etc. In real life, these types of robots are often used, for example, in cases of rescue emergency, where it would be unsafe for humans to control the robots at a close proximity.

Building your own robot for kids should be an adventure. With a couple guided steps, some careful planning, and a big imagination, you’ll be on your way to creating something new as a result of your own careful testing procedures. Who knows what great talents you’ll uncover along the way?