Open Micro Robot Development Project (Open-MRDP)
Challenges with building Micro Robots
Most components we use in bigger robots, such as geared motors, robot controllers, sensors, batteries, etc. aren't available for such smaller robots and things start to get rather fiddly very quickly. A total new approach is therefore required.
Objectives of the Open-MRDP
As most of the Arduino microcontroller designs are now "Opensource" we'd like the robot kit to be also Opensource to stimulate a more rapid development and sharing of solutions.
The main objectives of the Open-MRDP is therefore to make it easier for everyone to start making thier own micro robots by sharing designs for 3D-printing or CNC machining on your own. The designs are to be kept simple so even the most simple machines will be able to make them.
In addition, ROBOTmaker will be providing low cost micro/nano robot kits. The main chassis will be made of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP), ABS, PLA, and a range of other materials.
We'll also be making various versions of the designs to also accommodate a wider range of micro-controllers such as the Arduino Nano , Arduino Mini, Femtoduino, Pololu Baby Orangutan B-328 which can be purchase fully assembled. As these device don't have motor controllers,motor controller 'Shields' will need to be added to the solution.
GRP MicroRobot Chassis
GRP is the same core material used for printed circuit boards - except that is does not have copper cladding on one or both side. However normal PCB material could be used to integrate parts of the electronic circuit design into the chassis design, such as embedding sensors into the chassis (line, proximity, wheel rotation) motor controllers, battery charging etc. The other advantage is that the full robot controller PCB and chassis can then be manufactured in one shot from a local PCB manufacturer.
Here are some pictures of GRP robot chassis.
We would like to encourage robot designers to contribute by creating and sharing own designs. We will use GitHub as a design portal - where designs can be shared between users.
All designs on the GitHub will be made freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License for all to share and contribute.
The portal will enable developers to download the core design and then add holes, slots and even change other shapes. The finished design can then be sent to your own CNC milling machines, 3D printers or sent as an order to ROBOTmaker for production.
Below is an example of the finished cut item. No bending or screws are required. Just snaps fit the parts together with a small 'blob' of super glue. The chassis is extremely rigid once assembled.