typical robot. You’ll need wires,
switches, fuses, and other odds and
ends to complete the design. Check
the sources that follow for these and
other common construction parts.
And don’t forget our regular
advertisers who specialize in providing
just the right parts for your next robot
(or first!) project.
Of course, your local hardware
and home improvement stores are
good places to start when building up
your tool chest. However, there are
literally thousands of online sources
for tools. I’ve provided just a sampling
of them here. Remember that many
of the regular advertisers in SERVO
and Nuts & Volts carry hand tools, so
check them out first.
Sells surplus motors, including
stepper, DC, and gear motors. Also
offers a printed catalog mailed to
current customers. Retail stores in the
Los Angeles area.
Makers of several lines of
microcontrollers, including AVR — a
very popular eight-bit controller used
extensively in amateur robotics.
Basic Micro, Inc.
Basic Micro produces the MBasic
line of compilers for PICmicro®
MCUs. Among their products are:
development boards, getting started
kits, programmers, Basic Atom microcontrollers, and prototyping boards.
The BasicX is a general-purpose
microcontroller with a built-in programming language. You write programs on
the PC using a Basic-like syntax, then
download them via a cable to the
BasicX (including the BasicX 24 — an
all-in-one module that is pin compati-
64 SERVO 12.2008
ble with the Parallax BASIC Stamp).
Batteries (including sealed lead
acid, ni-cad, Ni-Cd) and rechargers;
single-cell and packs.
US nationwide battery retail chain
sells products for retail and commercial
applications. Check the website for a
Ni-Cds, camcorder, NiMH, and other
Source for surplus motors. Check
their site often so you are sure to
catch the best deals.
Resells the Basic Atom from Basic
Micro, as well as their own custom
boards. The BasicBoard is a general-purpose microcontroller board with
LCD panel, speaker, LEDs, and other
Several variations of specialty
servos and wheels for small robotics.
(This is the company I operate.)
Machineable plastic, foam board,
and Butter-Board — a lightweight
plastic block that is non-abrasive and
very easy to machine or work with
using hand tools.
House of Batteries
House of Batteries is a distributor
and online retailer of batteries, battery
packs, and chargers. Most name brands
are carried in common consumer and
industrial sizes. Not all products are
available for online ordering.
HSC Electronic Supply
Mail order, with walk-in retail
stores in Northern California.
Jameco Electronics/Robot Store
Jameco carries just about everything you need, including surplus and
new motors. They’re a good source
for small gear motors. Also check out
their sister website, The Robot Store.
Kronos has developed microcontrollers in various lines (Dios, Athena,
Perseus, and Nemesis) where speed and
low cost are key features. The chips
support code libraries of functions, which
allow you to readily program the chip
without having to re-invent the wheel.
Additional products include various co-processor boards and adapter modules.
Hitec servos, custom-made
mounts, and wheels just to highlight a
few of their products for sale.
McMaster Carr Supply Company
Huge inventory of industrial supplies,
including various types, sizes, and colors
of pre-cut ABS and PVC plastic sheets.
Microchip makes a broad line of
semiconductors, including the venerable
PIC microcontrollers. Their website
contains many datasheets and application
notes on using these controllers. Be sure
to download and save them for study.
MicroMint offers single-chip controllers with built-in Basic interpreters,
stackable controller boards, PicStic micro
modules, miniature modems, and more.