Assembling the Tinker Pi Robot for Arduino #tt26

Image for Assembling the Tinker Pi Robot for Arduino #tt26
Tinkerer: Lory Livezey

The Tinker Pi Robot is a learning platform that can run with any of the open source micro-controllers, such as Circuit Playground, Raspberry Pi, Microbit, and as we'll be doing in this tutorial, the Arduino.


  • To learn how to assemble the Tinker Pi Robot to get it ready to program and run!

Previous Step

  Turn a DC Motor From an Android Phone Using App Inventor #tt25

What you will need

Materials List

Step 1 - Attach the Castor to the Black Base

The castor, or third wheel, is attached to the bottom, using the screws in the bag marked castor. The screws should be inserted in the colored piece, and run through and first hand-tighten the nut on the castor. Use a screw driver to tighten.

Image showing attach castor

Step 2 - Attach the Motors

Place the colored bottom on the black bottom. Next, we'll attach the motors.

The two pieces that are the same snap onto the two notches on the outside edge. One of the two inner pieces has an "L" shape, the other is straight.

The bracket with the "L" shape should be inserted on the left side, pushed down through the colored piece.

Attaching the L Shaped Bracket

Flip the base over, and snap the side bracket in the notch on the side:

L-Bracket Underneath

Slide the motor in between the black brackets. Slide the screw through. Hold the nut with your finger and tighten the screw with a screwdriver:

Screw Motor onto Brackets

The straight bracket will slide down through the right side.

Right Bracket

Slide the screw through the motor and the two brackets, then tighten with a screwdriver.

Screw the right motor

Feed the wires up through the bottom layer:

Image showing feeding the wires through bottom layer

Step 3 - Attach Bridges to Base

The bridges hold the top layer to the bottom layer. Snap the bridges into the base layer, then use the screws in the bag labeled bridges-- four screws are inserted from the base of the bridge, through the bottom layer, then a nut is first hand-tightened, then tightened with a screwdriver. You should have two screws left over for the next step.

Image showing attach bridges to base

Step 4 - Attach Top Layer to Bridges

Place the colored top against the black top and use the two remaining screws to attach the top layer to the bridges, using the center holes. Insert the screws through the top and hand-tighten the nuts underneath. Use your screw driver to tighten.

Image showing attach top layer to bridges

Step 5 - Assemble the Wheels

Snap the black tires onto the colored wheels. It works best if you start at the bottom and work your way up.

Snap Tires Onto Wheels

Insert the hubs into the wheels through the outside of the wheel. The inside of the wheel is flat, the outside has the design. Screw the wheels into the motors.

Insert hubs into wheels

Next, insert the wheels onto the motors:

Fit Wheel onto Motor

Screw them on:

Fit Wheel onto Motor

Step 6 - Assemble the Motor Board Snap

The motor board snap will allow you to snap the motor board into the robot. The flat side of the screw goes through the bottom of the snap. The screw sets in and acts as a spacer. Then place the board on, and screw it into place

Assembling the motor board snapee

Assembling the motor board snapee

Snap the motor board onto the top layer of the robot.

Step 7 - Install the Battery

The rechargeable battery is 7.2 volts, and powerful enough to power both the Arduino and the motor driver. If you choose to use a different battery, a 12V AA battery pack would work best. Many people will use a separate battery for the motor driver, as it pulls quite a bit of power. A 9V battery will not last, so don't waste your money.

We use velcro tabs to hold the battery in place, allowing you to remove the battery to charge it (though you can plug it in while it's in the robot if you wish).

Install the Battery

The battery installed:

Install the Battery 2

A WARNING ABOUT THE BATTERY: DO NOT CROSS THE WIRES! IT WILL HEAT UP AND POTENTIALLY CATCH FIRE! Once it is connected to the motor driver, this isn't a problem. But keep the battery unplugged until you get it connected.

Battery Precaution

Step 8 - Attach the Motor Driver

Feed the two short black/red wires up through the front slot:

Feed the short wires

Plug the red wire into the first terminal:

Plug the red wire into the first terminal

Plug the black wire and a longer black breadboard wire into the second terminal:

Motorboard wired to battery

Step 9 - Install the Arduino Snap

The Arduino snap will allow the board to attach to the robot. Slide the screw into the bottom of the snap, then the screw (which is too big to screw, but just serves as a spacer). Use the screwdriver to tighten the black nut on the top of the board:

Install Arduino Snap

Snap the Arduino on top of the robot, and connect the power and ground:

Wire the Arduino

Step 10 - Bluetooth Hookup

Next, hook up the bluetooth module using the diagram below, and snap the module onto the robot:

Connect Bluetooth Module

Step 11 - Motor Hookup

Remove the jumpers if they are on the motor driver pins (see below). These pins will be needed for controlling the motor's speed using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) -- that's Pins 3,5,6,9,10 and 11:

Remove the Jumpers

Finally, connect the motors using the final diagram:

Connect the motors

Step12 - Ready to Program!

You have successfully assembled the Tinker Pi Robot for the Arduino. The next step will be to program it, so that it can be controlled by an Android App created in MIT App Inventor.

Finished Robot

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Next Up

Programming the Tinker Pi Robot for Arduino Using App Inventor Part 1 #tt27

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