Robot kits are a great way for kids to be exposed to all aspects of engineering and STEM in general. Programming, mechanics, even biology, they are can be present in a robot kit as a child build it. And with STEM related jobs growing at 17% per year it is a great field for for eventualy job-holders to be exposed to.
A robot is also a great thing to build because it gives a child a true sense of accomplishment as they see their create move around or grab something for the first time. This drive to create something will help them as they move ahead in any career in the future.
1. LittleArm 2C Arduino Robot Kit
The LittleArm 2C is the second generation of 3D printed LittleArm Robot kits. The design of the arm makes it simple to assemble using only a screwdriver. The electronics are clear and easy to plug together and they few screws there are are simple to put in. Kids as young as 8 can assemble the kit with some adult help.
Once assembled the arm can be controlled and trained with either the free bluetooth app or Windows software. Using these tools kids get train the kit to perform different tasks just like real industrial robot arms.
The Littlearm robot kit is also based entirely on arduino and the code is all available so that it can be reprogrammed from scratch by using the www.arduino.cc/en/Main/SoftwareArduino IDE or tools such as Blockly.
The mBot is another Arduino Robot Kit. It can be controlled with an app and reprogrammed with the mBot scratch interface.
While the kit has a lot of fasteners it is fairly esay to build and contains many sensors for kits to work with and learn from. Overall it is a good beginner to mid-level robot kit.
If you have legos laying around, this is the robot kit for you. It includes multiple sensor, motor, and microprocessor bricks that allow you to bring old legos to life. The only problem with the kit is that is can be difficult to keep kids directed since there are so many directions they can go with the kit. But if they can stay focused it is a fun robot kit.
The LittleBot is an extremely simple robot kit for young kids. With only 3 screws in the entire kit it can be built by anyone in about 20 minutes. Once built it can be controlled with the Android App. When kids want to dig deeper they can reprogram the LittleBot using Arduino. Since the LittleBot is a simple demonstration of nearly every component of robotics, it is ideal for beginner builders.
The LittleBot is a simple beginner arduino robotics kit. This robot kit is fully 3D printed and can be assembled in a matter of minutes. It can be played with quickly by using the LittleBot Android app. But it can also be reprogrammed with Scratch, Blockly, or using the normal Arduino IDE. We also have many sample programs that can be uploaded or built upon to control the LittleBot
Below are multiple resources to help with the assembly and use of the LittleBot robotics kit.
Arduino Code for the LittleBot Arduino Robotics Kit
This post should detail some of the most stumbling blocks in building and using any of the LittleBots.
Bluetooth or USB not connecting
With the LittleArm Big, and all of our robots, the Bluetooth and the USB cord cannot be connected simultaneously. Since they both use the Serial port of the Arduino their signals effectively cancel each other. If you wish to control the arm with Bluetooth ensure that it is not connected via USB and vice versa.
Driver Issue with Arduino
The Atmega chips used in all of our robots are Arduino Clones, as such a certain driver error can arise when attempting to flash them using the Arduino IDE, if it is not appropriately updated. This is easily remedied by following this instructable about adding the necessary drivers to your computer.
3D printing can occasionally leave a little residue behind. This can sometimes be due to poor retraction, or intentional in order to gain something somewhere else in the design. This residue can sometime block or impede insertion of components. If you find/print a piece with this slight defect simply use some needle-nosed pliers, a razor, or a small file to pluck or smooth out the problem. This is a very minor side effect and is easy to remedy.
3D Printing the Arm
All 3D printed parts for the LittleBots are designed to be Sliced with CURA. Using other softwares can sometimes result in incorrect slicing of the parts. While we work to make sure that our files are compatible with all 3D printing slicers we do not always succeed and are constantly updating the files to extend their compatibility.
One last consideration. We designed the LittleBots to be printed with our printers. That is the only reference that we have. Since many of the kits are "snap together" tolerances are fairly tight for 3D printing. Many desktop 3D printers are not tuned or maintained well enough to hit our tolerances. Generally this can be fixed by scaling parts to 101% of their original size. This typically increases the margins enough for servos to slide into to lower-tolerance slots, without causing other assembly difficulties.
If you have trouble with one of your LittleBots please let us know and we will work to help you as much as possible.