DOs and DON’Ts of Making a Robot from Scratch


When your fingers are too chubby

When we say robots, some think about complex, powerful, intimidating humanoids and some think of kitchen robots. It’s normal that they think so, since the term robot comprises a huge category of various machines. However, in principle a robot has 3 components: sensing, computation and actuation. Taking these into consideration, you can also make your robot very easily!

You can order an Arduino micro controller, a breadboard and wires (or a starter kit), then get started. Here are a couple of DOs and DON’Ts for beginners.

DO observe other people’s designs and learn from them. They might’ve solved a similar problem that you also encountered or have found a more efficient way to do the same thing as you.


DON’T forget to document the process! It’s the most fun part and you will look back to those pictures and reminiscence when you’re old.

Smile big to cover the frustration of infinite bugs

DO ask others for help. You should try to solve your problems on your own first, but if you’re completely stuck for the past half an hour, call someone. As long as they’re willing to give you a hand, or offer their opinion on your project, take it.


DON’T turn to laser printing as the first resort. Try to redesign your robot or find an alternative unless the piece absolutely has to be 3D-printed. 3D prints not only take a lot of time, but also they’re much more fragile than other materials.

Everyone has a makerbot these days…

DO use laser-cutting instead. Laser cutting is a much faster process and provides you with more sturdy component. You can read more about the differences between additive and subtractive manufacturing here.

We used laser cutters to make luggage tags as an assignment

DO stay up until late hours. Of course don’t do plan this ahead, but you may need to stay up late working if you need to meet a deadline, do it. Things don’t always go as planned in robotics and you may end up underestimating the time each task will take. In that case don’t rush it and work on your robot as long as it’s necessary.


In the end, when your robot works it’ll be worth all the efforts and late-hour work. While the process is fun, seeing the end result is even more pleasurable. Click here to watch our robot orchestra!


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