Finally got back to Robot building

After a long time off due to work commitments and health issues I am finally back working on my robot.

This week I have added the PiJuice HAT to give me more control over the battery power of the Pi and to separate Pi power from motor power.

I have also added RasP.iO inspiring LED lights to the front which allow me to easily switch between a Knight Rider / KITT style strobe lighting effect, or to bright LED headlights when driving the robot around my garden filming at night.

I have also made major changes to the design, originally it was 6 wheels / motors but in reality this made turning a lot more difficult, so I have now changed it to 4 wheels / motors and moved them closer together to increase turning ability.

I will add more photos and videos over the coming days.

Raspberry Pi Cases

Turns out that MakerBeam is also great for making your own Raspberry Pi cases when you can’t quite find an off-the-shelf case which fits your needs


You can cut some perspex/acrylic sheet to size and slide it between the beams to make the sides – 3mm fits perfectly in the gap in the makerbeam beams

Or you can cut some aluminium sheet to size and attach it using makerbeam bolts, dome nuts or wing nuts for quick access/removal


This model was designed to go outside in my hedgehog box to capture images/videos and so I can view them remotely – the case is larger as it also holds various sensors to detect temperature, humidity and air pressure as well as having an external goose neck mounted night vision camera with IR lights for night time images


What next?

Over the coming weeks/months this is what I would like to achieve – unfortunately work has got in the way recently!!

  • Add a robotic arm/gripper so I can pick up and carry items
  • Add Knight Rider style lights to the front – not very functional I know but will look cool (and I grew up loving KITT as a child!)
  • Create Python app (or web interface) to show webcam view, allow control of robot and to show ultrasonic sensor readings
  • Improve code so when sensors detect an obstacle it can stop or manoeuvre round it
  • Write some code to make it autonomous, so it can explore house/garden and find its own way around
  • Add the ability for the robot to speak and to do speech recognition
  • Make more use of the camera so it can recognize items or even do facial recognition
  • I would also like to make use of the PiJuice which I have backed through Kickstarter to add an alternative power source with rechargeable battery and a solar panel so that the robot can recharge itself


List of parts used so far

Chassis  –

Floor / Motor Guards –

Wheels –

Top/Lid = cut to size aluminum –

PiBorg Reverse –

PiBorg BattBorg –

PiBorg UltraBorg and 4x HC-SR04 ultrasonic modules –

Raspberry Pi 2 –

Raspberry Pi Camera –

Wireless Dongle –

Bluetooth Dongle –

6 x 12v 100 RPM motors =


Ultrasonic Sensors

Next step was to add more sensors to the robot – for this I chose the UltraBorg (again from PiBorg) which allows you to control servos and ultrasonic sensors

I drilled some holes in my acrylic sheet and mounted two sensors at the front and one at the rear and connected them up to the UltraBorg


Chassis Improvements

Next I cut out some black acrylic sheet which slides nicely into the MakerBeam beams to fill in the front, back and sides of the robot chassis


I then created some motor guards for the bottom of the chassis to protect the motors and motor wiring using some more perforated metal sheet


For the top (lid) of the chassis I cut to size a piece of aluminium sheet in which I drilled a hole to fit the power switch



For the chassis of my new larger robot I chose to use MakerBeam which is a fantastic product construction kit designed for prototyping and building models (like meccano for adults!) – it consists of aluminium beams and various different fixings to allow you to easily build just about anything – it is also very strong and lightweight so ideal for my robot chassis

For UK readers I highly recommend Technobots as a supplier for MakerBeam

For the base of the chassis I chose some perforated metal sheets – again purchased from Technobots – as the holes would be perfect for mounting the Pi and all other electronics