In This 
  • Unwrapping the components
  • Getting a bird's eye view of robot assembly
  • Gathering tools and preparing parts
 Preparing to Build a Programmable Robot:
Starting with a robot kit such as ARobot  or Soccer Jr. is a great way to get to know the various pieces of hardware and procedures  used to build almost any robot. By investing only a few hours of your time, you end up with your first robot.
In this you will build a powerful,programmable robot called ARobot (pronounced 'a robot'). You can see exactly what you'll end up with in Figure below:

 Robot Components Overview:
Before you grab a screwdriver and begin building,however,it helps to have a general understanding of the components that make up the body of your robot as well as the more specialised parts that control its actions.

Looking at basic robot parts:

Robots consist of a few basic components:

A base,which is like the robot's body, to which you attach its various parts

  • A set of wheels that your robot uses to roll around the room
  • A steering mechanism that helps the robot direct those wheels
  • A drive motor that makes the robot move
  • A battery pack that gives juice to the robot so it can get up and go
  • Cables to connect various components together
  • A controller circuit board that acts as the robot's brain
Building the basic robot involves attaching the wheels,drive motor, and the steering mechanism to the body, adding the controller and a battery pack, and connecting some cables.

You've probably already seen parts such as wheels and a battery pack. An unfamiliar robot feature, however, might be the controller circuit board. For a robot to perform sensing and decision making functions, a computer must be involved. In robot lingo,that computer is a controller.

Controllers, which are simply computers that have specialised features for robots,usually  have more input/output (I/O) ports than the  personal computer sitting on a desk. Controllers need these I/O ports to read sensors(such as a sensor that picks up data about temperature or light) and control actuators such as motors and speakers. When you've assembled all the parts of your robot,your last steps will be to install the controller board and controller chip and connect the robot to your computer. Then you're ready to download programs that tell the robot what to do.

Looking at ARobot's Components:
First things first. Open the kit box and see what bits and pieces it contains.Lay everything out around you and open the assembly book- but don't remove the parts from their bags yet. Figure below shows you what the ARobot kit stuff looks like.

You will find the following items:

  • Dual,front whisker sensors that are used to detect objects that the robot encounters
  • Rear-wheel steering mechanism with an RC(remote-control) servo motor.
  • Bidirectional,front-drive gear motor(also called a drive motor) that moves the robot

  • Optical encoder that your robot uses to measure the distance travelled when it goes for a stroll.
  • Metal body components and brackets.
  • Wheels
  • Drive and steering motors
  • Battery pack and cable
  • Cables,which carry signals between the controller and components.
  • Controller board used to hold the basic stamp 2 controller chip,which provides the brain for the robot.
Beware of small parts
ARobot doesn't contain any dangerous voltages,radioactive Kryptonite, or bliding lasers,so you don't have to be concerned with a whole slew of safety issues. Before you get started, however,remember that small children and small parts don't mix.
Also consider puting all you small parts in separate paper cups,plastic bags, or some other containers  so that the parts don't roll off the table, into the waiting mouth of the vacuum cleaner or those little ones.
In addition to these major items mentioned, the kit also contains a bunch of screws, spacers,washers,brackets, and other hardware for putting ARobot together.(If the king's men had had all this stuff, they could have put Humpty Dumpty together again in a heartbeat).

You might notice some extra parts such as screws and nuts. Don't panic. The manufacturer puts extra parts in there just in case you lose one or they make a mistake. I suggest you put all the extra parts in a bag and keep them for a while just in case. You could also make any extra hardware part of your robot parts inventory.

Assembly Process Overview:
Before you jump right into assembling all this stuff,I though I'd give you an overview of the steps of the building process. Building ARobot involves performing the following steps:

1.Organise and prepare ARobot's parts.
2.Sand,paint,and decorate ARobot (optional)
3.Connect the whiskers.
4.Install the front wheel assembly with axle and drive motor.
5.Mount the encoder sensor.
6.Assemble the steering motor and rear wheels.
7.Mount the controller board.
8.Install the Basic Stamp 2 controller(the computer that controls ARobot) on the controller board.
9.Mount the battery holder
10.Use the body cable and other cables to connect various components.
11.Route cables to tidy things up.
12.Add the Basic Stamp 2 controller chip to the controller board.
Robot building is n't difficult, but it does involve several steps. 
How long it takes you to complete a project depends on your speed, the number of interruptions,and any trouble you may encounter. I suggest beginning only when you can commit at least one hour of time.
During this process,you'll be utilising basic assembly and wiring skills.You'll also need a basic knowledge of electronics terminology. 
Taking it one step at a time:
The first things a successful robot builder needs are patience and a willingness to learn as you go.Master basic skills before tackling a complex robot.Discovering simple mistakes now can help you avoid costly mistakes later.Pay attention to the small stuff, and the small stuff will take care of you and your robot.

Gathering you tools:
If you have nightmares of  having to assemble an arsenal of high-tech,sci-fi-type tools to work with robots,let me reassure you that the only tools you need are common hand tools found in most kitchen drawers(far in the back,behind the out-of-date coupons for yogurt):
  • Phillips srewdriver.
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Hobby knife
In addition to these basic tools,you also need the following:
The Basic Stamp 2 (BS2) controller:The BS2 makes aRobot think like a real robot.
Sandpaper,paint,a brush,a sloppy shirt, and some extra time:These items are required only if you plan to paint your robot.
A fresh supply of eight AA size batteries:You're usually better off buying the best batteries because they last so much longer.
TIP: The faint of heart will be happy to hear that soldering isn't required to complete the ARobot kit because the controller board is presoldered and tested, as are the body cable,motors, and other cables.

Preparing the parts:
One of the first jobs you have to tackle is cleaning up the robot's body, or chassis.ARobot's body parts(a base,two motor brackets for the front wheel,and an encoder wheel) are made of aluminium and have been precisely cut with an expensive laser. However,other than bending and some mild sanding,these metal pieces have been given no other preparation.

Some metal edges have burrs and slag(metal jagged thingies). To take care of these imperfections,use a metal file or some 220-grit sandpaper on those rough edges until you have a nice smoother finish . If necessary,use a hobby knife to trim excess material- always cutting away from your fingers and other body parts,of course(see figure below):

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  • Mobile Robots:Inspiration to Implementation by Joseph L.Jones,Anita M.Flynn,Bruce A.Seiger(published by A.K.Peters Ltd.) Build your Own Robot! By Karl Lunt(published by A.K.Peters Ltd.) Robot Builder’s Bonanza by Gordon McComb(published by McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics) Getting Started in Electronics by Forrest Mims III(Published by Radio Shack Corp.)

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