Ugly Robot Proves the Beauty Is in the Journey

The Internet is full of beautiful robots — many of them here on Hackster. Great design, meticulous planning, and skilled craftsmanship combine with 3D printing or CNC milling to yield stunning results. These are the builds that are generally passed around the internet, and there is a huge amount of competition among hobbyists to make something noteworthy.

Sometimes, though, we come across a robot that has us smitten with plain old pluckiness, and with the determination of its builder. Guyjantic didn’t have access to a 3D printer, CNC mill, or a laser cutter to fabricate parts for his robot. He also didn’t purchase any of the prefab frame systems out there, or even new motors.

Instead, he cobbled together the parts from a few printers and scanners to build one of the ugliest (and most endearing) robots we’ve seen. Using just basic hand tools and mostly scavenged parts, he was able to patch together a robot that kind-of, sort-of drives around! Alright, so it’s more of an app-controlled RC car at this point, but the foundation is there for things like autonomous driving.

One of the biggest challenges of the build, one which took Guyjantic weeks to finish, was the gearbox. He assembled the gearbox from mismatched gears and axles from the printers and scanners, and held it together with hand-cut pieces of plastic. After several iterations, he finally came up with a design that was close enough to working.

The smoothest part of the process was setting up a Raspberry Pi Zero to be the brain of the thing. There are definite advantages to using new components that are popular and well-documented. At this time, the robot is only capable of driving in the four primary directions (and nothing in-between). But, the build log is an entertaining read which reminds us that you don’t need expensive tools or components to have fun building a robot.