Affordable and flexible platform to ease prototyping using a STM32F401RET6 microcontroller.

Nucleo Robot

17 Apr 2014

Here is a low-cost robot that I have been working on. I am trying to integrate the Nucleo F401RE board and plan to develop a few shields. Already designed several shields that work with chipKit UNO32 board by Digilent, but these Nucleo boards caught my eye.

Nucleo F401RE board looks like it will work well with my robot.

Regards, Abe

18 Apr 2014
18 Apr 2014

Sea Food, thanks for the link. I have already designed a motor shield for the chipKit UNO32 board and so it's not too much trouble to spin a Nucleo version. I am trying to keep the overall robot cost as low as possible. I also want to be able to connect IR sensors along with a micro HS-81 servo that will actuate a gripper mechanism.

Regards, Abe

21 Apr 2014

@Abraham, This is pretty neat, please keep us posted of the progress!

21 Apr 2014


Will do.

Regards, Abe

10 May 2014

I received my motor shield PCBs and got the chance to assemble and test. Everything works as expected. Now I am bread board testing the idea of using TI's SN754410E h-bridge chip as opposed to the current Toshiba TB6612FNG, which has a higher price tag. I am doing everything to strip out cost from this robot, but while maintaining expandability for more complex experiments.

I added a +5 V regulator for the HS-81 servo that actuates the gripper mechanism and also provide a place for a higher-capacity +3.3 V regulator, such as the RECOM SIP series.

I have been working with injection mold suppliers in order to understand tooling costs and to select a final supplier.

My goal is to release a sub-$80 basic robot and a sub-$100 root with a gripper. Neither of these kits would possess IR sensors, but they can be added when purchased separately, but I will release tiered kits so customers can select the one that is right for them.

I welcome any feedback whether it is positive or negative and thanks for taking a look.

You can view my project updates via my Twitter Feed.

Regards, Abe




19 Jun 2014

I recently placed an order for the mold tool. Working with Eck Plastic Arts. Plan to put together a Kickstarter campaign in order to generate initial sales. I will add updates as things progress.

Regards, Abe

19 Jun 2014

Looks like nice little robot. Two questions:

Couldn't you offer different Nucleo boards? Or would that give compatibility/sourcing problems? You don't actually need the F401 for its processing power. And it looks like you are using the Arduino headers, so it should work with every similar shield?

Second one, out of curiosity, what is the most costly part? I would guess the molding?

19 Jun 2014

Erik - wrote:

Erik, thanks for taking the time to check out my robot. I could probably use some of the other Nucleo boards, but might need to adjust my motor shield if something wasn't aligned from an I/O functionality perspective. Trying to support additional boards would also add complexity. For now I am using the Nucleo board as it is and no matter which version you pick they all are $10.33 (US), so no extra money for the horsepower.

Not sure if your 2nd question is referring to robot piece-part cost or tooling cost, so I'll cover both. The most expensive piece-part cost is probably the HS-81 Hobby Servo that runs the gripper. Most of the remaining parts can be procured cheaper when bought in high quantity. The optional WW12 wheel encoders exceed that at $19.95 (US). I have tried to source off-the-shelf parts where it makes sense and design my own custom parts as needed. From a tooling perspective, the injection mold is the most expensive. The top cover is laser CNC cut by Pololu and they do a great job and I only pay for material and time on their laser, so no tooling costs there. Injection molds can run several thousand dollars to 10s of thousands of dollars and higher as complexity increases. I am investing in the upfront cost, so that the robot body is cheaper. Trying to get under $100 (US) is hard.

Regards, Abe

19 Jun 2014

Below is a video of Apeiros using its gripper to fetch a bottle of beer. With a gripper this robot can manipulate objects in interesting and novel ways and hopefully for less than $100!

10 Jul 2014

As I see, this robot uses an expansion card, which is for the motherboard driver board stepper motor (such is often used to control stepper motors 3D printers and CNC), but instead I would use cheaper Stepper motor driver chip ULN2003 DARLINGTON

three optocouplers, and one servo drive =)

I can help you in three dimensional model of the housing of the device, because it is printed on a 3D printer =) and in principle all of the mechanical part of the body can be printed out =)

Как я вижу, этот робот использует плату расширения, которая является материнской платой для платы драйвера шагового двигателя, (такие часто используют для управления шаговыми двигателями 3Д принтеров и ЧПУ), но вместо этого я бы использовал более дешевую Драйвер шагового двигателя на чипе ULN2003 DARLINGTON

три оптопары, и один серво привод =)

Могу помочь вам в трех мерной модели корпуса этого устройства, ведь оно напечатано на 3Д принтере =) да и в принципи все механические части корпуса можно распечатать =)

Привет из России =)

10 Jul 2014

Sergey, thanks for the suggestion, but I have since switched over to the TI SN754410E h-bridge chip for cost (less than $1 in Qty) when it comes to controlling the two GM8 dc gearhead motors. In the prototype phase I was printing parts via a 3D printer. However, I recently purchased injection mold tooling, which should come online before the end of this year. This mold tool will allow me to produce thousands of body parts for a relatively low cost because that's the advantage of tooling up for a part.

Regards, Abe

10 Jul 2014

Abraham Howell wrote:

Sergey, thanks for the suggestion ... ... for a part.


Abe, You case is not possible to give Me a 3D model Nucleo board?

Regards, Sergey


Эйб, У вас случаем нет возможности дать мене 3Д модель Нуклео платы?

С уважением, Сергей

Example for Arduino:

or alternative link to download.