Tips for Getting Started with Robotics as a Hobby

Technology grows at an exponential level nowadays. Sometimes one finds it difficult to grasp the vastness of technological advancement. In robotics and engineering, one can only surmise that these become possible because of scientists, professionals, and researchers alone. 

However, as years go by, it has also been proven that the complex world of robotics and mechanical machines is not only for the chosen few but can also be tried and done by ordinary people who are willing to devote their time and resources to make their robotic technologies.

As tools, resources, equipment, funding, partnership, and literature are readily available nowadays, the hobby of making robots has also become easier and accessible.

While it is true that there is a lot of technical data on robotic technologies that discourage others from pursuing their hobby, what is important here is the acquisition of a basic understanding of this field.

For the beginners of robotics, there are plenty of reading materials, resources, references, and even step-by-step video lessons on YouTube they can find to guide them into the right path and decision-making about choosing this hobby of building robots.

Wireless remote controlled robotic car made for science project. Robot car working model in hand
Wireless remote controlled robotic car made for science project. Robot car working model in hand

It is also crucial for you to learn the roots of robotics to know the evolution of this engineering field. 

Due to the numerous pieces of literature and movies depicting the terms and characteristics attributed to robotics, like androids and cyborgs, this subject has been known to us. However, these things that became products of science fiction movies and novels give us a theoretical and mythological understanding of robotics.

Reading the works of famous American writer and professor Isaac Asimov will give a glimpse of the fascinating world of robots in a science fiction setting. Asimov, a prolific writer like Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, wrote or edited over 500 books that can help us trace back some of the mythological concepts about robots.

By the time you are finished reading some of the famous science fiction works about robots, this will lead you closer to building up your interest in robotics.

Developing and acquiring a hobby in robotics is now available to anyone. More competitive robotics events are also being organized across the globe for the public to try themselves. Interestingly, you do not need to finish an academic degree to research and design robotics. However, it would help if you had a focus and clear vision of seeing yourself doing this hobby for real to succeed.

Close Up of a Young Person Studying Science Topic About Robotics at Home. Student is Working on Homework for School. Reading Research Articles About a Hobby. Education Concept.
Close Up of a Young Person Studying Science Topic About Robotics at Home. Student is Working on Homework for School. Reading Research Articles About a Hobby. Education Concept.

“Robotics can be an intimidating subject to start. However, I commend you for taking the first step…,” said Liz Miller, Founder of Learn Robotics. 

“Everyone is a beginner at some point. It’s okay to make mistakes. You’re not going to be ‘great’ at robotics when you first start. No one is. New skills take time. But that’s kind of the point,” added Miller, who holds a B.S. in Robotics Engineering from WPI.

As a way of inspiring people to try their hands on robotic technology and start having it as a hobby, Miller stressed that “robotics is very overwhelming.

 “There are so many topics you need to know, and so many ‘unknown unknowns.’ The things you don’t know you need to know won’t become apparent until you need to know them!” said Miller, whose various robotics experiences ranging from being an instructor at MIT,  Robotics Researcher at UPenn, and Automation Engineer for United Technologies.

Diy project
Diy robot project on table in background man working in his home office

Some essential steps to consider before starting with robotics as a hobby

1. Find a robot project to build

You need to know that you will get things done when you start doing it. The idea of looking for a fantastic robot project to build will lead you to your vision of being a robotics hobbyist.

You can do this by researching. The research works you are going to do will build up your knowledge about the field you are thinking of. The research will prepare you of the many surprises ahead. It will also give you plenty of options as you start working on your project. Researching techniques, tools, and kits on robotics can help you manage your expectations about the subject.

2. Start small 

While you might be tempted to build a robot to help you with your household chores, this won’t happen immediately in real life. Thus, it is important to start small. You can buy robot kits to see how the machines are built and working. You can also start by tinkering with machines or motors. Another way is to disassemble and rebuild a simple robot for you to understand each function. By doing this step, you can be ready with consulting or finding a professional to help you along the way.

3. Attend an online robotics course 

By the time you understand that you need more professional help, you can enroll in a robotics course or a program at a college. In this manner, you will find yourself working as a technician or getting professional training in programming, designing, and Artificial Intelligence usage.

4. Find a robotics group

You can find and join a robotics group to enlarge your circle and get more fresh insights from various like-minded individuals. These clubs could be managed by a group of professionals or student organizations but are willing to accept membership from the outside. Robotics clubs are the best place to collaborate, find new ideas, get funding, join a competition, share knowledge and skills, ask questions, and learn from the mistakes of others.

5. Start building your own prototype 

If you feel that you are ready with the time you spent on your research and studies, you can try building your prototype. You can do this by drawing it or illustrating it through a computer software program or 3D. Then you can purchase or gather the tools, parts, and materials to build the prototype. Ensure that you are doing it with extra precaution by wearing protective gear around your face and hands. You also have to inform the other household members that you are not doing something potentially dangerous to them or the public.