In a lot of good science fiction stories, the protagonist winds up building a robot for himself and he and his loyal new robot friend wind up going on a lot of adventures, fighting the bad guys and eventually coming out on top. Though robotics in the real world have not quite reached that level of complexity yet, people who want to build robots can still do so, with very little money in some cases.
Perhaps you are asking yourself how you will know which are the best kits, which robots you would even want to build. That’s where we here at the Elite Drone come in. We have put together our picks for the thirteen best robot kits out on the market right now. These kits range in complexity from a bot that can be made from an old pop can all the way up to bots that require programming and coding skills.
Despite their difference in complexity, all of these robot kits have something in common. They are all incredibly fun for you, your kids, or anyone else who might want to build a robot and be the next science fiction hero.
Makeblock mBot 1.0 Kit
Wiring your bot is super easy. There are intuitive color labels to help in wiring the board. Further, there is no actual wiring to do. The connections are made with RJ11 phone-type connectors for ease of use.
Assembly takes about a half an hour as opposed to taking several. This means that you have more time to focus on creating your own projects with your new bot.
Further, the bot’s programming is handled using M Blockly, an open-source programming language based on Scratch 2.0. Since it is both open-source and beginner-friendly, you can make the code do anything you need. Also, you can do the programming for this kit from most iOS and Android devices, excluding iPad one and two and iOS 4.0 or less.
To make this kit even better, you can use either a USB cord (if you are connecting to a laptop) or bluetooth to connect to the bot. An intuitive interface lets you download the programmed code to the bot. Once this is done, you are on your way to playing with your new creation.
The kit even includes most of the tools you will need. The only thing it doesn’t come with is a 3.7v 1800MaH battery and a pair of snub-nosed pliers.
4M Tin Can Robot Kit
Recycling is important for our planet. Now it’s also important to the field of robotics. Using the 4M Tin Can Robot Kit, you can make a robot out of an everyday soda can. It walks, wobbles and has buggy eyes on stalks.
Furthermore, this kit is very versatile. You can make either a silly, wobbling bot or a scary monster bot, or some combination of the two.
The 4M tin can robot kit is suitable for ages eight and up, though some adult supervision is required as the build does require use of a good-quality Phillips screwdriver and the included screws are tiny.
The Tin Can Robot takes one AA battery. This battery is not included, so you will have to furnish it.
There is one small downside to this kit, unfortunately. The bolts for attaching the arm brackets are slightly too short to properly reach the nuts. If you are going to make this kit, we advise going to the local hardware store and getting bolts that are 1/16 of an inch longer than the length of the bolts in the kit. This way they will properly attach without being as fragile.
Despite that downside, this kit is amazing and it will teach your children something about robotics while saving one can from going in the garbage.
Rokit Smart by Robolink
Do you or your child want to learn to code, in a method that’s similar to real-world software applications? Do you want the possibility of building eleven different robots? If the answer to these questions is yes, then the Rokit Smart kit by Robolink might just be right for you. This kit comes with everything you need to build eleven different types of robots including the tools, nuts and bolts. The kit also features online instructions and video tutorials.
What can your robot do? Pretty much anything. Follow the built-in code the company provides or branch out on your own to build, design and code something that is totally unique and entirely yours.
The parts of this kit are mostly made of metal and they go together a bit like an erector set. If you have ever built an erector set, this one should be easy for you.
As for the coding, the library, for being a beginner library is very comprehensive. It is possible to make a robot that follows lines, one that avoids edges and even an interactive games bot.
The only thing that is even remotely a downside to this kit is that the batteries aren’t included. The kit will take four AA batteries. It’s best to have these before you begin building.
4M Doodling Robot
People generally do not think of robots being good artists. However, the 4M Doodling Robot kit will prove that a robot can, indeed, draw and draw well. This little kit comes with everything you need to build a doodling robot. All you will need to provide is one AA battery and drawing paper. The kit includes everything else, including the drawing pens.
The way this doodling robot works is simple but genius. The motor inside the bot creates vibration and spin, which causes it to move across the paper which causes the pens to leave patterns.
This is a versatile kit, and you can draw a number of abstract patterns. The motor can be installed in the bot in four different ways. This way there is a wide variety of patterns you can draw. Even better, if your drawing pens run out of ink, you can buy commercial markers that will fit the pen holders for the bot. This means you are not stuck buying drawing pens from the company or buying another bot kit just to get more pens though you may have to adjust the pen holders to fit.
Another benefit of this bot is that it is durable. It can take a fall from a counter and still keep right on working.
Kuman Project Complete Starter Kit with Tutorial for Arduino UNO R3 Mega 2560 robot Nano breadboard Kits
This arduino starter kit is excellent if you are attempting to learn more about electronics. It comes with several types of motors, boards and LEDS, as well as everything else you may need to build and code your own gadgets. Unlike most of the kits listed in this list, this one does not make just a specific set of robots. This kit can be literally anything you want.
In addition to all the parts the kit comes with, it also contains a card with a username and password. Use this information to download a free beginner’s guide. This guide contains all sorts of projects that you can build. Most of the sample projects use things found in this kit. You will go from little knowledge of electronics to creating and coding your own electronic gadgets in no time at all. The tutorials are detailed, and there are full-color illustrations. Simply pick a project you think sounds interesting and start working.
The makers of this kit also include tutorials that will teach you all you will need to know to code the gadget you build, and they do so in an intuitive manner. There is no unexplained large words or unfamiliar concepts in this kit. You are taught to code in Arduino from the ground up, which cuts down on a lot of the confusion.
The only downside at all to this kit is that they pack the whole thing tetris-style, so it is a little hard to get it all back in the box the first time you open it.
iLoonger 14 in 1 Solar Robot Assembly Rechargeable Kids Toy Kit
Alternative energy is really important in the global climate today. That is where this kit comes in. Start your children off early in their understanding of solar energy by building this robotic kit. Unlike most robotics kits, you don’t just get one robot to build. Instead, you get fourteen to choose from. The kit comes with everything you will need to build these fourteen very different robots.
As a further bonus, there are two levels of building fun. Start with the first level for an intro to how the kit works. build a dog bot, a beetle bot, a boat bot and more. Then when you’ve mastered that, move onto the second level to make even more advanced robots including a zombie, a surfer, and a car. There’s even one that’s a snake that slithers.
The kit is easy to assemble and reassemble again and again, assuring that you will never grow tired of playing with it as it can be nearly anything you want.
The only downside to this kit is that it can be kind of overwhelming. There are a lot of pieces that need to be punched or cut out of plastic sheets, and the directions aren’t always clear.
4M Brush Robot
Have you ever wanted a robotic butler to clean up your spills for you? Well, this robotics kit from 4M isn’t quite as advanced as a robotic butler. However, it is a kit that will allow you to build a robotic brush to clean up your spills and messes. There’s no special knowledge needed with this kit. All the parts you’ll need are included except for two AAA batteries.
This kit is perfect for children ages eight and up. Even then they are likely to need a little help with this, especially with the small parts. Children younger than eight can watch this robot work after it has been assembled.
To give the kit a bit of extra personality, 4M have included googly eyes that can be attached to your brush.
There are, sadly a couple of downsides with this kit. Firstly, the brush is very small. So don’t spill anything big and expect it to clean up the mess. Secondly, it doesn’t work on carpet. Further, the instructions are not always the easiest to follow. However, building this by yourself or with a kid can be a lot of fun and an excellent learning experience.
LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313
Did you ever build a Lego robot? Did you ever wish it could talk, walk and do anything else that you wanted? With the Lego Mindstorms F3 kit, now your Lego bots come to live. The kit comes with everything you need to build one of five bots, track3r, ev3rstorm, Gripp3r, Spik3r and R3ptar. Then, you can use the drag and drop interface on your tablet to program your bots with preprogrammed routines.
If you want to do something different, that’s easy too. Simply fire up your PC or Mac, load the F3 software, and start coding your own routines for your favorite bots.
Just want to lead them around without programming? This can be done using the infra-red remote that comes with each F3 set, or use the robot commander app on your tablet like a remote to control the bots. The power is at your fingertips.
This kit has only a couple of possible downsides. Firstly, the USB cord that comes with the set is a mini-USB and not a micro-USB as you might be expecting. Secondly, The brick housing the computer, the P-brick, takes a long time to boot and shut down. This is because it’s running linux on a slower chipset.
However, despite these downsides, the kit is still a lot of fun and allows you to build five stock bots as well as downloadable instruction sets for twelve more possible creations.
4M Tabletop Robot
The 4M Tabletop Robot is smart. He can detect obstacles and edges, turning in another direction every time he encounters an obstacle or edge. He scuttles along smooth, flat surfaces, just like an actual crab… And you can build him yourself.
The 4M tabletop robot kit comes with everything you need to build one scuttling crab robot except for a Phillips screwdriver and one AA battery and is designed for children aged nine and up. Depending on your child, they may be able to build this little bot themselves. However, some adult supervision may be required in some places.
This kit teaches several important skills. Firstly, it teaches children how their toys are assembled, as they are required to assemble the robot from scratch. Secondly, it teaches them something about following directions. If your child doesn’t put the kit together properly, then the robot doesn’t run. Thirdly, the kit teaches patience as there are several steps to this kit, and it will take a couple of hours to build.
There’s only one downside to this kit. Occasionally, the crab bot will still miss an edge and fall off the table, especially if it’s a high table. When this happens, its legs may detach. However, if this happens, the legs are easily re-attachable.
Other than that one downside, the kit is durable and will keep your kids amused for hours.
ZOOB BuilderZ ZOOB Bot
Zoob Bot is a fifty-piece robot kit that allows you to make a large variety of different robots that actually move and bend. Furthermore, no screwdriver is needed. The whole thing simply snaps together.
The kit comes with instructions for making five bots. However, just like most building kits, you can use your imagination to put the fifty parts together in any configuration you would like.
The best part of the Zoob Bot kit is that when it is done, you can play with your robot. This is not the bot to set up on a shelf and look at. This one has parts that extend, as well as axles and gears that actually work.
Furthermore, the kit also features a pull-back motor and light up eyes. When you pull this little bot back and let him go, the friction will allow the bot to zoom forward.
The light-up eyes, powered by an included replaceable battery are a nice touch to give this robot more personality. Use this kit and create a monster, a vehicle, a humanoid bot. The possibilities are truly infinite.
Smithsonian Science Activities Robo Spider Kit
Do you like spiders? Do you wish you could own one as a pet but think that they would likely be a great deal of difficulty to keep? Do you want a spider that will crawl around without running away? If so, then the Smithsonian Robospider kit might be perfect for you.
This kit features everything you will need to build a robotic spider of your very own including eight multi-jointed legs. These legs allow the finished bot to emulate the walking motion of a real spider.
The build for this kit is a bit complex, so it is rated as being good for a child ages nine and up. However, younger children can build the kit with a bit of supervision. You will need a pair of small clippers to snip out the plastic pieces as they come attached inside plastic frames. Also, be warned. The pieces are very small. It might be hard for children to properly hold and orient the pieces, and they might get impatient.
Though this is an excellent kit for beginning a discussion about articulated joints, there are some downsides. Firstly, the plastic is a bit fragile, and will easily break. Secondly, the spider moves quite slowly and cannot turn on its own. Therefore, it may not always hold a child’s interest. However, despite that, this kit is a lot of fun to build and is a good project for parents and children to do together.
Thames & Kosmos Remote-Control Machines: Space Explorers Science Kit
Most children are interested in space. For those children, the Space Explorers Science Kit allows them to build a working model of a Mars Rover of their very own. The kit comes with everything you need to build the rover, including a remote unit. This remote unit controls three motors that steer your rover, move it back and forth and allow its robot arm to pick up small extraterrestrial specimens, such as building blocks or small rocks.
If the Space Explorers robot kit stopped there, it would be an amazing deal for the price. However, it doesn’t stop there. This 257-piece kit also allows you to build nine additional space-themed models including a shuttle with opening and closing cargo bay doors and a cross-wing flier.
The kit comes with a sixty-four page manual which includes a lot of full-color illustrations not only to explain how to build these models but also information on the Curiosity Mars rover and on how gears work.
There are some downsides to this kit, however. Namely, the parts are plastic. This means that models which use a lot of gears, such as the robotic arm which is the most difficult to build often fail. The gears are not strong enough to pull the arm up when it is fully extended, causing the whole thing to pop apart. Further, there are a lot of ways that a child can make mistakes building this kit. That said, the mistakes can be used as a learning experience.
OWI-536 All Terrain 3-in-1 RC Robot Kit – ATR
This kit allows anyone ages eight and up to build three models, a fork lift, a tank and a gripper and then take them apart to rebuild them again.
The kit is really simple, and is a good kit for learning how to make a remote-controlled toy. It comes with a simple wired remote with about six feet of cord distance between the model and the controller. However, for a first robotics project, it does have its downsides.
Firstly, there are no electronics in this kit. The remote is a simple joystick type remote. Push the stick forward and the motor goes forward. Push the stick back and the vehicle reverses. There is also a button on the remote that allows the jaws or arms to pick up objects.
Though the kit is durable, you must be careful with it. The gripper and the jaws of the fork lift can only hold 3.5 ounces. This means that anything that’s above that will cause the jaws to break or the model not to move. That is why it is the bottom entry on this list.
That’s the end of our list of best robot kits. Robotics has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Now there are kits that are so simple that even a child can build them and feel pride in their achievements. These kits can also teach various skills that people, both children and adults will need in a world that is growing more technically-minded. So, why not pick up one of these kits today and build an awesome robot of your very own.