As mentioned in past posts, I love to build things, especially small direct current (DC) motors. There is a fascination designing the motor, collecting the parts, building the motor, and seeing it work for the first time. It reminds me of a cardboard puzzle where you search for all the pieces, put them together correctly, and when it is completed you have such satisfaction seeing the end result.
So it is with a robot. Robots use various types of motors as well. Some use basic DC motors that are controlled by a small microprocessor (sometimes called an electronic brain) that you program. These motors spin freely and can get to a high revolutions per minute (rpm). Some need a gearbox or variable speed motor controllers to work properly. Other motors used in a robot are called geared motors, ungeared motors, brushless motors, and servo motors. Each can be designed for a specific application.
When I went to college, robotics was not part of our curriculum. We worked with vibration damping, fluid flow, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), statics, dynamics, machine design, metallurgy, etc. to understand certain principles for design. Today, robotics has expanded to just about all college engineering schools and is a popular course for many students. It is one of the best ways to integrate mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science into one package.
If your middle school or high school has a robotics class or after school activity like VEX Robotics or Lego Mindstorms or Robotis, I would highly recommend that you give it a try. This website will help you get the basics about DC motors, however, the application of motors and using motors for a worthwhile project is the next step up from learning about motors.
Quote for the day: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas A. Edison