Robot Building, Wanna Build Your Very Own R2-D2 or C-3PO?
What is it all about?
Building a robot, a machine meant to mimic the behavior of humans, can be a very exciting and rewarding hobby. While building your very own fully functional R2-D2 is likely just beyond the beginning hobbyist, there are many ways to get started.
While sketches and plans for automated machines go back a couple thousand years, the term “robot” first arrived in 1921 when R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), a theatrical play by Karel Capek, premiered in Prague. The term really got a boost in the 1940's when author Isaac Asimov wrote about these creations in many of his numerous science fiction novels. From there the name has fueled imagination and invention!
Today's bots have five major components to them. These are:
1. Body or framework
2. Muscles or motors
4. Brain or computer
5. Power Supply
From the simplest bugbot to a full humanoid android all share these basic parts. The sophistication of each component helps determine the range of abilities that your finished machine will have.
As a beginner, perhaps the best way to get started is to buy a kit. Kits include all the components needed with the possible exception of a battery. You can find kits for every level of ability and desire. So, make sure you select a starter type kit and graduate to more complex designs as your comfort level grows.
Once you get the hang of building these machines you can move up to building them from scratch. Obtaining supplies and components can be loads of fun. Many bot creators scavenge parts from old VCRs, record turntables, pagers, small power screw drivers and a mess of other electronic and mechanical devices. Tearing these used items apart is a load of fun all by itself!
Some of the most fascinating are the small bugbots. These are small, usually smaller than your hand, insect like mechanical creatures. Some walk, some jump and some of the more advanced are even able to fly. Easy to get excited about these. Again, there are kits that can help you get started.
So, welcome to the world of robots, don't be afraid to just jump in!
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