The beginning of KitBot

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

We have had a number of friends and family members ask how they can get started in robotics. They are interested in building a robot, especially a vehicle of some sort, but they don’t know where to begin. So, we have been working on the design for a small, inexpensive, easy to build, multifunctional, Arduino-based, programmable robot that will require basic robot building skills, but nothing too fancy. We call it “KitBot.” Our hope is to be able to help people get started. It will be able to function autonomously, but also by RC. It will include many off-the-shelf parts, a basic rover design, motors, servo, sonar sensor, sound, LED lights, and so on. These are our first pictures, which show the beginnings of the initial test project. It’s not done yet, but you can see the direction we’re moving. We have also sent all the parts to build a KitBot to a father and son team to be our initial Guinea Pigs (they wanted to try building it for a school project). As we work on refining the design and features, we’ll see how the father-and-son team does with the initial construction.

Soldering the power wires to the KitBot’s motors

Assembling our KitBot chassis

KitBot: Top View

KitBot: Corner View

KitBot: Front View

KitBot: Side View

Comments (17)

  1. Izzyanajones
    November 2nd, 2011

    It looks cool Lunamoth and julajay, how do I get one?

  2. Camille Beatty
    November 3rd, 2011

    Right now, we are thinking about several different approaches: 1. Provide links to where the individual parts can be purchased along with detailed build instructions. OR 2. Sell it as a complete kit (including all the parts, instructions, and software). AND/OR 3. Put on a one day robotics workshop in Asheville, North Carolina in which we help the participants build this robot. Our goal was to make it a true, fully-capable robot, but keep the cost down. Right now the component parts are adding up to about $140-$195 depending on what “extras” we include. We’re concerned that even though we’ve tried to keep the cost down by selecting inexpensive components that the total may still be too high for most folks. Not sure.

  3. BobbyB.
    November 4th, 2011

    While it doesn’t look nearly as pretty a workable chassis can be constructed using foam core cardboard and hot glue. I bet you would save a lot of money there. As an amateur robot scientist on a very small budget I often have to get creative to cut costs.

  4. BobbyB.
    November 3rd, 2011

    That looks great!

  5. Lars
    November 3rd, 2011


  6. Joe
    November 10th, 2011

    This is great. Could you publish the parts list? I have a little one who’s really into RC helicopters and I’d love to do a project like this with him.

  7. Camille Beatty
    November 10th, 2011

    Yes, we will be creating a parts list.

  8. Pete
    November 10th, 2011

    Same here my son would really like to attempt a quadcopter but since my experience is only in microcontrollers I would like to start us off on something a bit more simplistic and budget friendly to see if there is an interest first.

  9. Camille Beatty
    November 10th, 2011

    Pete: I agree that it’s best to start with something simpler than a quadrotor. Quadrotors are cool, but it takes A LOT of time, knowledge, money and commitment to be successful with them. As time permits, we will be posting info on the kitbot, which is designed specifically to be initial project that involves all the various skills of robot making. If you haven’t already, be sure to Subscribe using the link in the header.

  10. Divya
    November 13th, 2011

    This really looks cool!!

    What kind of motors are you using for this one and which kind?

  11. Divya
    November 13th, 2011

    Sorry, I meant to ask

    “What kind of motors are you using for this one and how many?”

  12. Bilal
    November 20th, 2011

    Can i get the arduino code of this KitBot ?

  13. Billy Ng
    June 19th, 2013

    Clearly I just read about your incredibly family from today’s Sparkfun blog post. It’s been a few years, has the parts list for this been published or a kit created?

    As an aside, my 7 year old is playing now with Snap Circuits and I can only hope that one day he, his younger brother, and I end up enjoying the same hobby together as your family does. Inspirational!

  14. nile
    July 20th, 2013

    Looks great!

    Could you publish the code for the Arduino.


  15. Tobias Vandenbempt
    August 12th, 2013

    Your family is becoming quite famous, I’m visiting from Belgium:). I was wondering if you have decided yet on an online tutorial and/or an kit we can buy?

    Kind regards

  16. ninja-kitty
    November 16th, 2013

    What youtube videos do you recommend to learn about beginning robot building? I really enjoyed looking at your website. I hope I’ll be able to make a robot one day. 😀 My name is Jenny. I’m 10 years old.
    Thank you!

  17. Ryan
    July 17th, 2016

    I made a robotic lawnmower a few years ago and have a business plan than could use stuff like this.

    But with some advances in lica laser scanners and stuff I see another use all together. This would be great for first off conformance.

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