Homemade Robots Cover

Homemade Robots

10 Simple Bots to Build with Stuff Around the House
by Randy Sarafan
August 2021, 192 pp.
Full Color

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Download Chapter 10: SKITTER

Homemade Robots is a beginner’s guide to building a wide range of mobile, autonomous bots using common household materials. Its 10 creative and easy-to-follow projects are designed to maximize fun with minimal effort—no electronics experience necessary!

From the teetering Wobbler to the rolling Barreller, each bot is self-driving and has a unique personality. There’s the aptly named Inchworm Bot made of aluminum rulers; Buffer, a street sweeper-like bot that polishes the floor as it walks; and Sail Bot, which changes direction based on the wind.

Randy Sarafan’s hacker approach to sculptural robotics will appeal to builders of all ages. You’ll learn basic electronics, get comfortable with tools and mechanical systems, and gain the confidence to explore further on your own. A wide world of robots is yours to discover, and Homemade Robots is the perfect starting point.

Author Bio 

Randy Sarafan has been working for Instructables.com for more than a decade and has published 300+ how-to articles for the web, book compilations and magazines on a wide range of subjects – from giant rideable robots to chamomile ice cream. He also runs the Instructables Community Team, creates online classes, and is the author of 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer (Workman Publishing).

Table of contents 

Chapter 1: Building Tools and Supplies
Chapter 2: Getting Started with Electronics
Chapter 3: Motors
Chapter 4: Soldering and Desoldering
Chapter 5: Wobbler
Chapter 6: Buffer
Chapter 7: Daze
Chapter 8: Barreller
Chapter 9: Lazy
Chapter 10: Skitter
Chapter 11: Inchworm
Chapter 12: Walker
Chapter 13: Sail
Chapter 14: Flip Flop
Appendix A: Reference Materials
View Appendix B: Cutting and Drilling Templates


"If you’re looking to inspire the next robotics engineer, look no further than Homemade Robots. This book explores how to make easy to build robots, all from inexpensive electrical components and everyday household items. With clear pictures and easy to follow directions, you’ll work through progressively more technical builds, exploring new ways to make robots move like crawling, wobbling, rolling, and inch-worming all over your floor."
—Mike Warren, designer, inventor, and best-selling author of Cut in Half: The Hidden World Inside Everyday Objects

"This looks [like] a good one."
—Alun Williams, Gadget Master

"It's the fastest guide I've seen to getting bots made and moving, but it also shares a love and appreciation for robots as a fun new medium for expression. Nothing is over simplified, instead the key aspects of what you need to make fun robots asap are clear, straightforward, and fun!"
—Dr. Andrew James Quitmeyer, Director of Digital Naturalism Laboratories

"I can vouch for the fun since I test built some of the robots in the book."
—Becky Stern, Digi-Key

"Homemade Robots is very thoughtfully constructed–inspiration from the robots is paired with practical learning about techniques and methods. This book could have saved me lots of time on my own journey."
—Eric J. Wilhelm, Founder, Instructables

"You will have a blast creating these wobbly and wacky robots that you set free to bump around the house. However, what you may not realize is that you've just gained the foundational skills of an electro-mechanical engineer, and the techniques taught in this book are utilized by all robots, from the clumsiest to the most sophisticated."
—Alex S, Fuzzy Wobble, Toy Maker

"Not quite the uncanny valley but teetering on suspension of disbelief, Randy Sarafan's book on bots made of everyday household objects breathes life into mundane objects and adds members to your family that you don’t have to walk, wash or feed. Great book!"
—Paula Frankel Levine, Professor, School of Art, San Francisco State University

"Homemade Robots is a wonderful introduction to robotics and electronics for the growing engineer, builder, and creative. These accessible and affordable projects can be enjoyed by both the young and old."
—Dan Moore, Creative Technologist, Make It Do A Thing

"Randy Sarafan's approach to learning robotics is refreshing, engaging, accessible, and (most importantly), fun. The use of everyday materials in each project is truly brilliant. The book's clear documentation and thoughtful tutorials demystify getting started with electronics and quickly encourages readers to be comfortable working with tools and motors. Can't wait to turn everything into a little robot!"
—Audrey Love, Echo Echo Studio

"Homemade Robots is a must-have book not only for the beginners in the fascinating world of DIY, but also for educators who want to learn how to teach complex concepts in a fun way. Randy included not only some of his classic creations, but also several new ones, with interesting and funny behaviors that will encourage you to explore, experiment and create."
—Mario Caicedo Langer, STEAM Educator and Professional Maker

"Most books about building robots assume that you have access to digital fabrication tools, that you have construction skills, and that you want a programmable robot. Homemade Robots is for beginners who may not have these skills, tools, or budgets, showing the reader how to make 10 different robots with common or inexpensive items. Simple yet detailed introductions to tools, electronics, and construction techniques assure inclusion of those who have not yet learned these skills."
—Michael Shiloh, Associate Professor of Practice of Interactive Media, New York University Abu Dhabi

"If you have good maker skills and an assortment of some of the more common materials, this book would be a good choice . . . All library systems should stock this book. It would make a good addition to a university library."
—Eliana, Age 12, Kids' BookBuzz