Hey everyone, I’m sure this question has been asked before so my apologies if this question is redundant. I tried to find a similar question but didnt (probably just missed it).
I’m looking to start a robotics project with my kids as a fun father and kids activity but also to expose my kids to robotics and everything it entails. I’m a newbie myself so my question is, where should I start. I went through the great “How to Make A Robot” tutorial; all ten of them, but since that tutorial is about six years old I didn’t know if I should buy the parts recommended in that tutorial or if there were updated parts I should use.
I saw a kit similar to what the aforementioned tutorial was building but didnt know if that’s the way to go. My preference would be to buy all the parts separately and put the whole thing together myself (and my kids of course). I feel like that would give us the most exposure to move on to more complex projects eventually.
Both my kids are young, under 8 so I don’t know if that makes a difference.
Any information you all can provide would be greatly appreciated.
I’d prefer to stay between the $100 and $200 price range if possible.
You should have no trouble finding a kit in that price range.
Take a look at the Digilent ChipKit line available at www.digilentinc.com. Having the Pmod ports opens the door to about 50 different I/O peripherals that can be readily added plus the bolt together frame is easily extended and or repaired.
www.robotshop.com carries a large selection of kits and individual components.
- Avoid kits without encoders because eventually you will want wheel speed.
- Radios are great.
- Get extra batteries and a good quality charger.
It will be fun.
My son just turned 18, and in retrospect, I wish I had just bought the Lego Mindstorms. To save money, I bought different kits and some he put together, others were beyond his skills etc. and in the end I have spent far more money than just buying the Lego Mindstorms up front. He is going into his senior year, and I did something right since he wants to get into robotics.
Maybe your experience will vary, but your kids are a bit young to grasp the electrical piece. With the Mindstorms, you can go low level with the electrical piece if you want to, but you don’t have to. If you do go the route of pieces and building it yourself, you will be mostly telling the kids to just do this and that to make it work since to really explain why requires a lot of theory and math that they just don’t yet know. Maybe your kids will have the attention span and will get it, but not it they are like my boy.
Or the kids I coached on his robotics team. This entry describes the $25 ebaybot I did with his club.
This was with mostly middle (youngest was 12) but some high school kids. I found I had to make it fun, and make sure that things came together very quickly or the kids were gone playing games on their cells or watching funny videos on youtube. I expected I would do math, explain theory etc, but all kids wanted was to see lights and have something that ran around. What I expected to do at the start was completely different from what I ended up doing.
My advice is to start simple, get something that runs around, bounces off walls and then build on that. Show them what to do, let them play with it and then let them ask the questions rather than trying to explain it from the beginning. That was a hard one to learn for me.
Enjoy the time with your kids; everyone said it to me and it is true, “They grow up so fast…” Please post what you guys do here.
I was in the same boat as OP and thought I might share my experience.
I used Elegoo UNO Project Smart Robot Car Kit and it was just amazing.