Holly has been begging to build her own robot ever since I made Robie. Fortunately there are some excellent options for kid-friendly robot kits. After browsing the MakerShed we decided to get the 6-in-1 Educational Solar Robotic Kit.
This was a good choice. As the box states you can make six different robots. We’ve done three so far and it is extremely easy to put each one together. I did run into one annoying problem with the kit. The power connections are made by forcing stranded wires through a tight coil spring. To switch configurations, you need to do it four times. It is not always easy to do. Out on the playground, the force involved shook up some components inside the gearbox, reducing the clearance so that the rotor wouldn’t turn. At first I though the solar cell had died. Eventually I realized that a (fairly quick) rebuild of the gearbox would fix it, but it was a frustrating experience.
Power connections often seem to be the most problematic part of a project…why is that I wonder?
I was impressed with the high RPM of the gearbox. This thing can really go! Take a look at the video of the solar car:
Of course, it does not have a lot of torque. The car does not do very well uphill.
We’ve had a lot of fun with this, and for $19.95, it was quite a deal.