Late in the year 2000 after watching Battlebots, I decided that I needed my own robot. While the price of a Battlebot proved too high, both in terms of materials, access to machine tools, and radio remote control knowledge, I found another robot that seemed like it would be within reach. In these pre-youtube days, finding the “bs2-6-bot” on this page looked like a robot that wouldn’t break the bank, but would still be very impressive given it’s six-legged walking style. As there were only a few pictures to work with, it was a challenge figuring out how to make it, but after a week or two of work and around $200, I had a working robot.
This robot did work in the sense that it could crawl on a very smooth surface for a little while before either the paper-clip linkages broke, something unscrewed, or there was another random breakage. Clearly I had a lot to learn about building a robot that worked well. I would learn much of the sills needed to make this a good robot, including machine tools, CAD, and even some kinematic analysis techniques over the next year as an engineering student and intern. Gradually, and after about $100 of new parts, this ‘bot transformed from a very shoddy robot-shaped-object into something that I could actually be proud of. It was even chosen to represent Clemson University at a regional engineering conference (this wasn’t done as a project for school, but I entered it anyway).
In the next few posts I will try to give you the basics that you would need to build a robot like Pegleg. Possibly you’ll instead be inspired to come up with something on your own. Four more posts are planned including: construction, prints, and bill of materials, walking and linkage analysis (kinematics is the technical term), servo control and robot programming, and a section on ideas that were tried but never really implemented. This “hexobot” robot isn’t currently functional, so if I get around to it, maybe I’ll have another post on restoring it to functionality and/or how it does versus my dog Evie.
As an introduction, here’s a video of Pegleg in a very early form without some of the improvements that would come later.