Arduino + K’nex Motors

Written by: admin@makezilla


I've been interested in robotics for a while now, but the need for proper parts, designs, and materials have made simple experimentation too expensive for my taste. That's where this project comes in. It provides an easy way to hook K'nex motors up to electronic circuits, turning K'nex into a useful robotic building medium.

This project pairs well with my K'nex Rail Cart, allowing you to build a semi-controllable robot with only one motor.

Notes: This project requires basic soldering skills and techniques. Soldering can result in burns, so be careful and use common sense. I assume no responsibility for any injuries incurred during soldering.

In this Instructable, I will refer to the complete motor assembly as a "K'nex motor", and refer to the internal motor as simply a "motor".

Step 1: Materials and Tools

To perform this hack you will need the following materials.

  • 1x K'nex motor, any color (keep in mind that, because each color has a different speed, the insides may differ from those of this motor)
  • 1x Arduino (or any other microcontroller)
  • 1x battery for Arduino
  • 1x computer
  • 1x programming cable for Arduino
  • 2x AA batteries for motor
  • 1x breadboard (doesn't have to be very big)
  • 1x L293D dual H-bridge IC
  • Some wire (color-coded is best, I used red, black, green, and yellow wire)

To perform this hack you will also need the following tools.

  • 1x X-Acto knife, or other craft knife
  • 1x Phillips head screwdriver
  • 1x pair of pliers
  • 1x pair of tweezers
  • 1x wire stripper
  • 1x multimeter
  • Soldering equipment (iron, solder, desoldering wick, sponge, etc.)