Adafruit – An Awesome Vendor

I highly recommend Adafruit Industries as a supplier of electronic components.

Her site (I think of the store as a “her” so, that’s the pronoun I’ll use here) promotes education and creativity in the field of electronics especially for women, young people and artists. However, it appeals to me a great deal too and I’m not in any of those categories.

One time, I ordered a bunch of parts from her and after putting them in the robot, I thought one of them was defective. I posted on her “help” page with info about the problem. She handled my case very politely and sent a replacement part free of charge. A couple days later, I found out I WAS WRONG! The part wasn’t broken at all! Maybe I’ll send a couple of customers her way and make up for the money she lost…

Whenever I need a part, I’ll always check Ada first and if it’s on her site, I’ll buy it from her – no doubt.

– Ralph

R1 Parts List

This is a partial parts list for making a R1 robot. There are some small electronic components like resistors and capacitors that are not on the list because I got them from my preexisting supplies. There are also some hardware store components like electrical tape missing. However, this list has the main components.

Of course, a bunch of tools are needed (including a soldering iron). A digital multimeter is highly recommended. Continue reading

About Ralph’s Robots

Hi, my name is Ralph. Welcome to!

In March 2012, I built a hobby robot named R1. R1’s picture is on the right side of this blog’s header.

Originally, I wanted to investigate precision motion and equip R1 with a pen attachment that could write/draw on poster paper on the floor. After the robot was up and running, however, I realized the robot was not going to achieve that kind of precision.

Now the goal for R1 is to have it:

  • Autonomously explore the area you put it down in.
  • Generate a map of the floor plan.
  • Be able to locate itself within the map.
  • Go to a user-selected place in its environment by plotting a course that avoids “known” obstacles.
  • Go around newly discovered obstacles while en route.

I’m writing this blog because I want to share the experience with you! Specifically, the goals of this blog are to:

  • Describe what R1 is.
  • Explain how it works.
  • Explain how to build one for yourself.
  • Publish parts lists, schematics and all the computer code for making R1. That is, make R1 an “open source” project.
  • Provide links to resources around the web that I’ve found useful.

As the project continues to evolve, here are a few things that may happen:

  • Design a new robot based on lessons learned from R1. Perhaps its name will be R2.
  • Make R2 available as a kit that I can sell online for a modest profit.
  • Get some of you involved making improvements/options for these robots and sharing them online. For example: a grasping attachment or arm, camera, voice response etc.

Thank You!