Starter Guide

In this small guide we will help you to recognize the pieces of the kit and we will assemble a robot to see all those components working.

MARK Robots

MARK is a modular system for building robots and consists of electronics, construction, programming and web modules (we are working on it).

We will get to know each one of them in this guide.

3D Files

You can download all the files to print in 3D (they are in .stl format) and you will also find editable (.stp) in case you want to venture into creating your own pieces.

Electronic Modules

It will allow you to make use of all the sensors and cables of the kit and even more once you get inside the robotics.
Inside there is an Arduino UNO board and a MARK shield.

The Arduino UNO board is the best to start in electronics and programming. It is super robust and is the most documented of the Arduino family.

She is the true brain of MARK, where the microcontroller resides and performs all the operations so that it works well and can be programmed.

It has all the basics to start:

  1. ATmega328P microcontroller
    It is a small computer, it has a CPU (processor), RAM and ROM, input and output ports. Its function is to execute the orders that are recorded in its memory.
  2. 14 output pins / digital inputs
    They allow us to read and send orders to different sensors or actuators using pulse sequences.
  3. 6 can be used as PWM outputs
    They are used to modulate the pulse sequences that are delivered, this allows to control the intensity of LEDs or control a motor to move faster.
  4. 6 analog inputs
    They allow us to read measurements of different sensors or actuators, through their voltage variations.
  5. Reset button
    We will use it to restart the program that has been given to the microcontroller.
  1.  A quartz crystal of 16 MHz
    Known as a crystal oscillator, it is installed outside the microcontroller and is used to generate a clock signal and stabilize the frequency.
  2. USB Connection
    It is a data transmission protocol, we will use it to communicate between our PC or device and the Arduino board.
  3. Energy connection
    It is responsible for powering the different components of the board.
  4. ICSP
    It is in charge of the communication on the board, our interpreter, that will help us to program the Arduino UNO, sending and receiving data of what we connect to the board, generating control signals and allowing us to use the USB communication.
Do not worry if you do not understand some of these terms, little by little you will begin to familiarize yourself with them.

version: 3.1

We could use the Arduino board in robotics alone, but to make good use of several components, it is necessary to add some more functions. To do this and to simplify aspects that commonly make initiation difficult in the field, we develop a “Shield” for the Arduino UNO board.

A Shield is an electronic board, which expands the capabilities of another through various components, in particular the “MARK Shield” gives access to:

  1. 18650 rechargeable battery 2500 mAh (3.7 V)
    The robots will work in different scenarios and that is why we must give them autonomy, so they can be used without having to be connected. We incorporate it into the shield so you do not have to worry about it.
    With these batteries you can use your robots for approximately 2 hours.
  2. Battery charger (micro USB) with LED indicator
    When using a dedicated battery, it is necessary to incorporate a charger and we use a micro USB connector that is very simple to get.
  3. Control of up to 6 sensors (5 V) and 6 actuators (5 V) with RJ25 connectors
    We split the input and output pins, so you can start creating robots in a simple way, using cables and connectors like the ones on line-phones and avoiding connection problems.
  1.  Control up to 2 DC motors (12 V) with LED indicators
    The motors will probably be your most used components and to control them it is necessary to have a motor controller, since they use higher voltages (12 V) than the Arduino board can deliver.
  2. IMU gyroscope and accelerometer (Inertial Measurement Unit) MPU 6050
    We addes these sensors to the board, so you can measure the angular velocity and the X, Y and Z components of the acceleration. This allows you to know the orientation of the brain, if it is moving and in what direction.
  3. USB A port to program the Arduino board
    To program the robots we will use the USB port of the Arduino.
  4.  ON / OFF button with LED indicator
    The power button replaces the Arduino reset and allows you to turn on and off MARK when you have a battery.

electronic modules

The sensors allow you to take information from the physical world, to make decisions and command the robot.

Each sensor has its own 3D printed enclorure and can be connected using the MARK building modules.

The kit includes 3 types of sensors external to the brain:

Distance sensor

Quantity: 1

Sensor: HC-SR04

This sensor uses an ultrasound emitter and a receiver to measure the distance between the sensor and an object.

Contrast sensor

Quantity: 2

Sensor: Infrared TCRT5000

They are infrared sensors that work by emitting a light and a receiver can detect and measure the intensity of its reflexion.

Contact sensor

Quantity: 1

Sensor: FSM104

They are switches that are activated or deactivated if they are in contact with an object.

Electronic modules

The actuators are the components that will allow you to give movement to your creations.

Each actuator has its 3D printed enclosure and can be connected using the MARK building modules.

The kit includes 3 types of actuators:

Motor DC Actuators

Quantity: 2

Actuator: 12V 90 RPM (Ratio 298:1)

DC motors convert electrical energy into mechanical, through a magnetic field. They are one of the most used components in robotics and will help you give movement to your creations by controlling the speed at which they work.

Servomotor actuators

Quantity: 2

Actuator: SG90 180° (5 V)

They are special motors, since you can move them very precisely and maintain their position.

LED actuator

Quantity: 1

A light-emitting diode that you can configure for various uses.

Electronic modules

Cables

With the cables you will make the connections of sensors and actuators.

We use standard connectors, which are used in telephones and several other kits for their ease of use and reliability.

6-wire cables with easy-to-connect RJ25 connectors:

  • 3 x 150 mm
  • 3 x 200 mm
  • 3 x 300 mm

Building modules

The building modules allow to create different shapes, position and guide the sensors and actuators of the kit, so you can create various robots only by joining the pieces with screws and nuts included in the kit.

They are designed to be 3D printed and are based on a pattern that is repeated or incorporated into the different components.

We think of them as a simple way to generate structures and allow people to design around the solution, you just need to incorporate a base form to be compatible with the other parts of the system.
The modules have 2 faces:
In one of them you will find a hole with a conical entrance, where you can place the screws.
While on the opposite there are holes with hexagonal shape to place nuts that allow you to strongly join the components of the robot.

The patterns have 15 free and 1 fixed positions that allow you, along with the screws and nuts, to fix the different pieces at angles of 22.5 °, so that it is easier for you to position sensors, actuators or whatever you want.

Some modules also have a “channel” where you can use a nut and slide it to the position you want.
The fixed position of the patterns will allow you to place them only at 90 ° intervals.

ADAPTABLE

We designed the pattern of the building modules so that they can be used with Lego and Makeblock components, in case you already have one of these robotics kits.

In any case, it is possible to make it compatible with other building systems by designing adapter pieces or use other materials such as cardboard or even metal, making holes of at least 5 mm.

Makeblock – In the case of using componets from the Chinese manufacturer, M4 screws and nuts should be used instead of M5.

Joint pieces

Quantity: 50

We use M5 screws and nuts, which are widely used and is a standard measurement.

With them you can join the building modules with other parts of the kit.

The sensors and actuators as well as the brain have nuts inside their enclosures ready to use.

Building modules

They are all pieces that allow you to create different structures for your robots.

They are based on our pattern that you can use to create different versions or design your own pieces, using the possibilities of 3D printing.

Basic Module

Quantity:

  • 6 x Independents

Connection possibilities

  •  Angles at 22.5 ° on each side
  • Adjustment of width in the middle zone (16 – 40 mm)

2 pattern module

Quantity:

  • 6 x Independents

Connection possibilities

  •  Angles at 22.5 ° on each side

3 pattern module

Quantity:

  • 6 x Independents

Connection possibilities

  •  Angles at 22.5 ° on each side
  •  Perpendicular angles in the middle zone

90° module

Quantity:

  • 6 x Independents

Connection possibilities

  •  Angles at 22.5 ° on each side
  •  90° direction change between modules

Wheel module

Quantity:

  • 2 x Independents
  • 2 x Rubber bands
  • 3 x M3 nuts
  • 3 x M3 x 10 mm screws

Connection possibilities

  • Connection to the “motors” actuators by means of 3 M3 screws that hold the motor shaft
  • Angles at 22.5 ° in the middle connector (nut inserted)
  • Union with width adjustment on the 3 spokes of the wheels
  • Adjustable width connections in the 3 beams that join the center with the perimeter

Omni wheel module

Quantity:

  • 1 x Independents
  • 1 x Ping pong ball

Connection possibilities

  • Adjustable height of the omni wheel (47 – 97 mm)

programming modules

PROGRAMMING with BLOCKS

If you have not yet programmed a robot, it is something that we will do little by little.

Our recommendation is to start using a block software, which will help you to know the code little by little and will allow you to create robots with ease. For this we use mBlock, an Open Source software that you can use with MARK..

But if you already know some programming with Arduino, do not hesitate to use the Arduino IDE

First we will configure mBlock to use the MARK blocks Follow these steps to do it …

  • First download the mBlock software and install it on your system
  1.  Then you must open the program and select the language of your preference
    We will use English during this guide.
  2. Now go to Edit / Arduino Mode
    In this mode you will be able to use the blocks and on the right you will immediately see the changes that this makes in the programming.
  1. We will install the palette of MARK blocks. Go to Extensions / Manage extensions. There you will find a file “MARK extension”, press download to install it
  2. In the programs tab you will see a section called “robots” and you will find the MARK blocks in the lower area.

All set !!

 Now you know the different modules of MARK !!

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