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OhGizmo! Review – Solarbotics BeetleBot Kit

OhGizmo! Review – Solarbotics BeetleBot Kit

By Chris Scott Barr

Not long ago the Solarbotics company sent us its easiest BEAM robot that they had to assemble.  Everything came included in the kit along with a nice screwdriver to put it together. The only thing required is about an hour of your time and 4 AAA batteries. Unpack it all and you are well on your way to building your very first robot.

The kit assembles easily enough and the supplied instructions are very detailed and easy to follow.  All of the pieces screw together quite nicely and each part is clearly labeled.  I would highly suggest this item to anyone looking to build a first robot.  For its size this thing is extremely fast.  I threw in some fresh batteries and this bad little critter took off across the kitchen floor bouncing off of everything it could find.  The pets have taken a quite an interest in their new floor buddy as well.  Both having mixed reactions especially when the BeetleBot seems to go into “Attack” mode.

To give you an idea of what goes into building one of these entry-level bots, we documented the occasion:

Laying out parts checking the list. EVERYTHING IS HERE. Off to a great start!

This is after the 3rd step I have removed the film coverings and screwed in the two antennae and switches.

Here we have a front and back side. I have added the two AAA battery packs, motor mounts and motors.

Now we have an ON/OFF switch installed.

We have added the “legs” a tail to balance the robot and now we are wired for initial testing.

BeetleBots come in two different types what I would call “cool” and “cute” we got delivered the Tribal model and I have added a couple of extra stickers.

Now I have shaped the wire “legs” and attached the face plate on to the mainboard.

And here we have the finished product.

You’ll notice that this is far from being an advanced robotics kit. That is exactly the idea. The BeetleBot is a very basic kit aimed at children, or someone who is just wanting to learn the very basics of robot building. Given the ease of the build and the price range ($35 for a kit) I would highly recommend a BeetleBot as stocking stuffer or a gift for the tech geek with “everything”.

[ Solarbotics ]