Panda is a 3D-printed, Arduino-powered cleaning robot


This Maker’s mini cleaning machine that is like a Roomba on steroids. 


As our world continues to get smarter, it seems like many of us are becoming increasingly less fixated on taking care of our homes and more on our homes taking care of us. While we await a Rosie The Maid-like robot sidekick that can take care of the mundane tasks around the house, from folding our clothes to washing the dishes, Maker Jake Lee has took a stab at creating a DIY cleaning machine that can do a little bit more than the typical Roomba.

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The Panda, named after his soon-to-be-born son’s nickname, is a robotic device that boasts a number of enhanced features like air suction, a sweeper and a roller brush. Lee had originally devised a project two years ago, however found it to be a bit too small and that it had to be connected to a power source, like a PC, with the cable dangling in the air. As you can imagine, that’s not the most convenient set up for a freely moving machine.

Back with his second iteration, the new design is a little larger, measuring in at around 6” x 6” and is capable of sweeping and vacuuming not just the floor but his desk as well. The mini robot chooses its directions randomly, and can even detect cliffs or other obstacles that may stand its way.

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The top, bottom and mid-housing components, along with its two battery covers, gear box and dust cabinet were all 3D printed on Lee’s MakerBot Replicator 2X. As for its hardware, Panda is based on an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and runs on a pair of 135 RPM gear motors for the wheels, a 1000RPM motor for the roller and sweeper, as well as a DC 3V motor for the vacuum and fan blade. Beyond that, Lee used PRO_E modeling software, but notes that just about any program would suffice.

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To reinforce the suction capabilities form his earlier model, the Maker added a roller with brushes and a sweeper. Perhaps one of the more challenging steps of the project was determining a way to use the gears rather than a motor to power the roller and sweeper, since it would consume less battery power. According to Lee, not only does this setup save battery power, it also works like a charm.

Looking for a robotic cleaning gadget of your own? Check out Lee’s detailed Instructables page here to get started.

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