Assembling a mobile robot platform with my kid

Today we have had a great time with my 6 years old kid assembling a 4 wheeled robot chassis from a KIT. The KIT is “DFRobot Baron-4WD Arduino mobile platform with encoder”.

The assembly process with my son took less than 3 hours as along the way I’ve been answering his questions and showing some videos about how to protect nut joints from a vibration. I believe it would take less than 2 hours for a single adult to finish the assembly.

Everything went pretty easy, the overall quality of the parts is ok. The chassis frame was made of aluminium, the motors are brushed ones, gearboxes are plastic. There was a plenty of screws, nuts and wires in the robot platform package. Unfortunately, there were only 2 encoders, so it will allow actual rotation tracking only for 2 motors out of 4. Also, please note that the platform is shipped without other electronics so you’ll need to either order the board from the manufacturer or will need to come up with your own.

There has been only one issue so far. The holes in the wheels were not wide enough so the motor shafts did not fit in. I used a small rasp tool to make the holes a bit wider and after I applied some force the wheels sat into the place.

My son Mike enjoyed the whole process, he helped me with unpacking, putting motors in place. I was surprised by this level of engagement. I am really happy to show him the way to the world of the making and I hope so will do other parents.

Once we have received all the electronics parts we will make this robot-platform moving. My plan for the closest future is to use an ESP32 board with MicroPython and make it remotely controllable over WiFi. Later I would like to make a follow-me robot based on this prototyping platform.