Build A Firefighting Robot Using Arduino

Firefighting Robot
For my project I created a robot with an attached water cannon. My mentor and I built it in a budget of around $300 (not including the necessary equipment), and it functions quite well. For the motors we used drill motors, powered by the 18 volt drill batteries. To control it all we used an Arduino microcomputer.

Step 1: Make Parts List/Gather Materials

It is crucial that before you start a project, you know what you will need and how much it will all cost. For me, this was my parts list:
2 x 18 volt drills (for motors, batteries, and chargers)
Components to create custom cables
ABS piping (With caps for either side – the diameter you choose depends on how much water you want your tank to hold)
1 x Schrader Valve
1 x Solenoid Valve
¼ Thick Wood (or any other material you want to use to make the frame)
1 x Infrared Thermometer
1 x Arduino Board
2 x Skate wheels
1 x Caster
1 x bike pump (to pressurize ABS piping)
3 x 540 MOSFET’s
1 x Servo motor
Assorted Wires (Preferably Stranded Core) – some red, some black
Electrical Tape
1 x PotentiometerFirefighting Robot

Wood Screws (10’s, 12’s, 14’s)
Power Tools (Drill, Jigsaw, Screwdriver, etc.)
Anderson Power Connectors
Soldering Iron
Multi meter
Wire strippers
Wood Glue
Custom piece designed in google sketch up and created using
Tap and tapping wrench
Small breadboard
Large breadboard
2 x Wire Knuts
Lots of Anderson Power Connectors (4 Bags)
Jumper Cables (to connect the Arduino to the breadboard)
Taps and Tap Wrenches
Wire Cutters/Strippers
Angle Grinder

Step 2: Creating the Custom Part

In order to create the custom part you will need to screw the skate wheels directly onto the motors, you will need to use Google Sketch-up or whatever CAD program you feel comfortable working with (solid works, adobe illustrator, etc.). These instructions should walk you through our method of doing it:

1. Put the camera in Parallel Projection Mode and Standard View -> Front.
2. Imagine that your part will rotate on the Blue (vertical) axis – draw a cross section of the half that will be to the right of the blue axis… start by drawing a rectangle that begins at the origin, that extends upwards equal to the length of your part and to the right equal to the maximum radius of your part. Then cut away rectangles for the center holes, and parts that have a smaller outer diameter.
3. Change to Standard Views -> Top (your cross section will now look like a thin line on the red axis.
4. Draw a Circle centered on the origin, with a radius that just touches the left edge of your cross-section, but then delete the face of the circle, so only the circle path is left.
5. Change to Standard Views -> ISO
6. Select the Circle path, then choose the Follow Me tool and click on your cross-section.
7. Rotate the part around and delete the little circle path..

Once the part is finished and has the correct dimensions, upload it to and order two of them. When they arrive, use the taps and tap wrench to tap the holes of the part. You should then be prepared to put them through the middle of the skate wheels and screw them onto the motors.

Step 3: Disassemble the Drills into Three Parts (Motors, Drills, and Charger)

In order to harness the motors from inside of the drill, unscrew the plastic casing surrounding the parts of the drill using either a drill and small drill bit or a screwdriver. Once you take it out, discard the rest of the drill itself and throw it away (unless you find a crazy reason for why you still need it – you might want to keep the trigger to use as a button later to control the water cannon or motor). Then, unscrew the casing around the battery pack and pull it out. Then, check which side is positive and which is negative using a multi meter. Then solder a piece of red stranded core wire to the positive end the battery and connect a red Anderson connector to the other end (to do this, strip off ¼” of insulation off of the other end of the wire, crimp one of the small metal pieces to the stripped wire, and clip the red Anderson connector onto the metal piece – this can be extremely difficult). Repeat this process for the negative end of the battery using black wire and a black Anderson connector. Finally, do this same process for the other battery.

Step 4: Create the Frame

 Using a jigsaw, or another cutting tool, cut strips of wood two inches tall and a foot and a half wide (these will be the sides of the frame). Then, cut out a larger slab of wood to act as the bottom of the robot (1.5’ x 2’). Then, using wood glue, glue all of the pieces together. When this is complete, the frame should be complete.Firefighting Robot Schematic 

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