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Make-A-Pede

An open-source, modular, centipede robot platform that can be used as a tool to teach programming, electronics and other maker skills.

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The Make-A-Pede is a open source robotics platform. It is based on a segmented chassis design, giving the robot a centipede-like motion and allowing the robot to be easily expanded with more modules. All of the components are readily available, or can be made at your school or local makerspace. We’ve tried to make the robot versatile so that beginners and experienced users alike can learn and have fun with it.

The Make-A-Pede is not intended to be finished once it is assembled. Instead, it is designed as a community-driven project that is constantly evolving with new features and improvements. Our hope is that after you build your Make-A-Pede, you will join our forum to find new project ideas and share your experiences. Whether you are adding sensors or doing advanced programming, you will be helping to inspire others to take the Make-A-Pede to the next level.

There are many robotics kits on the market today.  Some help teach programming, while some focus more on the electronics or the mechanical aspects of the robot.  In an attempt to get children started early learning about electronics and programming, robot kits can be very simplistic or toy-like.  These kits are great for getting kids excited about being makers!  But, while the toy-like design can help to catch the attention of younger children, older kids may see these more basic kits as only for little kids.  Also, older kids may be overwhelmed by the complexity of more advanced kits or by trying to figure out where to begin.

Additionally, both basic and advanced kits can have limited capabilities.  Often, once the robot is complete, it cannot be expanded upon or added to making it easy for the user to lose interest.

When older kids need a place to start or when younger kids have reached the limit of their kits the Make-A-Pede is the answer.  A kit like this has the potential to change the world by helping more students develop STEM skills.

The Make-A-Pede is a project that has been brewing for some time. It was first conceived when we were working on projects for a Maker Faire. In our booth we had made several robots and other projects all out of salvaged stuff. The original Make-A-Pede (which didn’t have a name at that time) was made from various salvaged components found at thrift stores and our local makerspace. It was controlled by an Arduino Nano and a home-made motor driver board. As we were building it, we saw this robot as having real potential as an educational robotics platform. The Make-A-Pede has come a long way since then. We have made numerous design changes and improvements along the way, and have had many opportunities to field test the robot through maker events and robotics classes.

The Make-A-Pede is now completely open source. Our vision for the Make-A-Pede is that it is a community project. We want makers of the Make-A-Pede to join our forum, post their successes, their challenges, and their ideas for improvements. We want to see what creative things people have done with their Make-A-Pede. We’ve tried to make the robot versatile so that beginners and experienced users alike can learn and have fun with it.

What sets Make-A-Pede apart from other DIY robots is that it is based on a segmented chassis design, giving the robot a centipede-like motion and allowing the robot to be easily expanded. Segments are driven using pairs of motorized “legs”, and can carry a variety of different modules. The Make-A-Pede can be controlled over Bluetooth using a smartphone app, or can be programmed to operate autonomously.

Shown with optional OLED display eyes

We showcased the Make-A-Pede at the 2017 Bay Area Maker Faire. Since then, we have been working towards releasing kits so that anyone can build a Make-A-Pede, regardless of whether or not they have access to a laser cutter and 3D printer.

For more information about the Make-A-Pede, visit our website at: makeapede.com

  • 1 × Make-A-Pede Head Segment This is the front section of the segmented chassis. It can be made with a laser cutter and 3D printer.
  • 4 × Make-A-Pede Body Segments This is the standard segmented chassis component. It can be made with a laser cutter.
  • 1 × Arduino 101 An Uno or Leonardo with an HC-08 BLE module will also work.
  • 1 × Cytron MDD10A 10A dual channel H-bridge motor driver
  • 1 × Sensor Shield

View all 12 components

  • Arduino 101 Discontinued

    Cole B07/25/2017 at 17:27 0 comments

    Due to the Arduino 101 being discontinued, we will be switching to using an UNO-compatible microcontroller and a HC-08 Bluetooth module.

  • More Sensor Tutorials

    Cole B07/24/2017 at 03:36 0 comments

    We have been working on making more tutorials on adding sensors to the robot.  Tutorials for a sound sensor and a RGB LED are now posted on our tutorials page.


  • Updated 9V Holder

    Cole B07/22/2017 at 17:05 0 comments

    We have updated the design of the 9V holder to include some additional wiring slots.  These help to make wiring any electronics on the head module easier, particularly the OLED display eyes.

  • PIR Sensor

    Cole B07/20/2017 at 00:21 0 comments

    We got a PIR motion detector working with the Make-A-Pede.  More details on how to install one on your Make-A-Pede are available on our tutorials page.

  • Tutorials

    Cole B07/19/2017 at 05:34 0 comments

    We uploaded all of our basic assembly tutorials to our website today. They detail how to construct, wire, and install electronics on a Make-A-Pede. There are also instructions on how to download the programs necessary to get it up and running. The videos and written instructions are available at: makeapede.com/tutorials.

    Going forward we will be trying out some additional sensors and possibly uploading some tutorials related to expanding the robot with additional sensors.

View all 5 project logs

  • 1
    Introduction

    A detailed bill of materials and all of the files you need to make the laser cut and 3D printed parts can be found on the Make-A-Pede plans page. If you do not have access to a laser cutter or 3D printer, we will soon be offering the laser cut and 3D printed parts for sale on our website in addition to full kits.

    We are currently working on written and video tutorials that will walk you through building a Make-A-Pede. These will be posted here as well on the Make-A-Pede tutorials page. We also have a Make-A-Pede Forum for questions and technical support.

  • 2
    Build the Chassis

    Segment Assembly Instructions PDF
    Head Segment Assembly Instructions PDF
    Segment Connection Instructions PDF

  • 3
    Add the Electronics

View all 4 instructions

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