Bonus Chapters From RBB Second Edition

Good Stuff That Wouldn't Fit In the New Edition

Out with the old, in with the new.

These free bonus chapters are from the second edition of Robot Builder's Bonanza (published 2001). The chapters were removed from the fourth edition to make room for all the new stuff. Much of the discussion is still relevant to robo-building today -- though in a few places it's a bit old-fashioned. Technology marches on.

The chapters provided here are in PDF format, exactly as they appeared in the book. They have not been modified with any updates, so you may want to take a quick glance at the RBB2 Errata Page for any clarifications or corrections made since the original printing.

  • Build A Metal Platform.pdf - Complete plans for the RoverBot, a two-motor robot made with a p[iece of 6" x 12" aluminum sheet. Demonstrates the idea of constructing a metal robot without cutting material.
  • Build Custom LEGO-Based Robots.pdf - Introduction to robots using LEGO plastic pieces, including parts selection, assembly, and permanent construction techniques. Includes plans for the PepBot, using an OOPic microcontroller development board. (The OOpic is no longer widely available; substitute it with an Arduino, PICAXE, BASIC Stamp, Propeller, or other development board.)
  • Creating Functionoids with LEGO.pdf - Introduction to robotics using the LEGO Mindstorms RCX "programmable brick." Discusses making your sensors for the RCX.
  • Programming the LEGO RCX.pdf - Programming the LEGO RCX brick using advanced methods; specifically the (no longer available) spirit.ocx ActiveX component for Windows Visual Basic programming, and Not-Quite-C.
  • Working with Stepper Motors.pdf - All about using stepper motors with your robots. Included are several stepper translation circuits using discrete components. These days it's much easier to just use a small microcontroller, like a PICAXE 18M2, to provide the step sequence to the motor.
  • Build a Roverbot.pdf - Complete building plans for the Roverbot, a medium-size mobile bot for indoor or outdoor use. The Roverbot is constructed using commonly available metal parts from the hardware or home improvement store.
  • Build a Six-Legged Robot.pdf - Full building plans for the Walkerbot, a large (36" x 18") six-legged walking robot. The design relies on gear motors pulled from a child's riding vehicle. For advanced builders only.
  • Build a Revolute Coordinate Arm.pdf - How to build a human-size revolute coordinate arm out of metal. Includes some savagely advanced techniques, like counter-balancing the arm with fishing tackle weights! For advanced builders only.
  • Build a Polar Coordinate Arm.pdf - Plans for a full-size polar coordinate arm, similar to the type used in industrial assembly. For advanced builders only.
  • Computer Control Via Printer Port.pdf - If your PC still has a parallel port, this is how to interface it to control robotic functions. Includes full details on building a buffered interface adapter, and programming it in QBasic (QBasic was a small version of BASIC that was included in PC-DOS). The information is still modestly useful, as some mini-ITX motherboards come with a 25-pin parallel port; when combined with a free version of PC-DOS (such as DR DOS), these boards make for practical and low-cost controllers for mid-size robots.
  • Using the BasicX Microcontroller.pdf - How to use the BasicX microcontroller in robotics. Covers: architecture of the BasicX, variations, and introduction to its programming language. The BasicX makes for an interesting robot controller as it supports multi-tasking.
  • Using the OOPic Microcontroller.pdf - How to use the OOPic microcontroller in robotics. This product is no longer actively developed, but you can still find OOPic-based products for sale.
  • Tips and Tricks for the Robot Experimenter.pdf - Grab bag of bits and pieces about designing and building robots.