Building your ChickBot Arduino

Building your Stepper motor ChickBot

Please read all the instructions before starting, just in case there is something you do early in the build that has an impact on a later step.

Clear a space on a table and get yourself a chair so you working at the right height.

Unpack the parts, don’t upend the bag, there are small parts that may go astray

Lay the parts out, putting the chassis in the centre:

The Kit

You’ll need some glue, a small screwdriver and a pair of scissors

Tools required

First we will attach the motor holders.

Take a plastic motor holder and a cable tie:

Mounting a motor holder

Position the holder at the edge of the chassis so that the holes line up:

Holes lining up

Thread a cable tie through the hole in the chassis and the holder:

Back cable tie

Thread the flat end of the cable tie through the clip at the end of the tie:

Cable tie ready to tighten

And pull the cable tie tight

Now thread a cable tie through the other hole on the chassis & holder:

Both cable ties

Thread the flat end through the clip and pull tight

Trim the cable ties and, if required, rotate the head of the cable tie inside the chassis:

Cable tie close up 2

Now do this for the other side of the chassis so that you have two holders positioned:

Holders mounted

Sticking the caster in place

Use two sticky pads to secure the ping pong ball half on to the square

Ping pong on square

Now use the other two sticky pads it to the end of the chassis

Caster on chassis

Now we will mount the controller board.

Locate the circuit mounts – we call them sticky feet!

Sticky feet

Push the pointy end through the holes on the controller board:

Sticky feet in controller borad

Peel off the tape that covers the adhesive pads on the feet:

Sticky foot with tape removed

Position over the motor end of the chassis with the USB connector at the end, as shown:

Controller board mounted

And press in to place

Putting rubber on the wheels.

Cut the piece of balloon into three pieces:

Balloon cut up

Turn a piece of balloon inside out and stretch it over the wheel edge:

Rubber stretched over wheel

This can be a bit fiddly, take your time!

And do it for the other wheel:

Both wheels done

Mounting the motors.

The motors just slip in to the holders:

Motor in mount

Mounting the wheels.

Take the third piece of balloon and cut it in to two small squares like this:

Rubber squares

Taking a square, balance it on the motor shaft:

Rubber square on motor shaft

Press a wheel on to it:

Wheel pushed on to motor shaft

Do this for the other motor too.

Motors mounted with wheels

Wiring up the battery clip

Take the battery clip:

Battery clip

And wire the two leads in to the Batt+ and 0V connections like this:

Battery clip wired in

Wiring up the motors

The ChickBot is pre-programmed with an example program. It will only work if the leads for the motors are wired up correctly. The motors have coils inside that have to be activated in the right sequence for them to work so please don’t be tempted to get creative with the wiring.

At a later date you can experiment, but for now, please follow the directions.

The right hand motor wires go in to terminals 2 – 5, the left hand motor into 6 – 9, plus the red wire goes into +.  The order of wires from left to right is: Right motor: Red, Orange, Yellow, Pink & Blue and then Left motor: Orange, Yellow, Pink, Blue & Red:


Fill the battery pack

You’ll need four AA batteries, take care to put them in the right way round:

Batteries & battery pack

Attach the battery pack to the clip:

Battery pack on chassis

Use a small piece of the BluTack to hold the battery holder in place.

Locate the on-off jumper

The on-off jumper

We choose this so that a loop can be attached to it – when your ChickBot is misbehaving, you can tug the loop to turn it off!

Pimp your on-off jumper

We’ve included some stiff nylon cord for you to put a loop on the jumper.

Get ready to fire up your ChickBot for the first time!

Here’s what the finished result should look like:

The end result

Put the jumper across the two pins and the small LEDs (lights) on the top of the controller will flicker and a short victory tune will play.

Make sure your ChickBot has some room and won’t go off the edge of a table – it’s best to pop it on the floor. Press the button in the top right corner and watch as your ChickBot performs a victory dance.

Well done! Don’t forget to give your ChickBot a name!