Blog Home

Roving Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots make the perfect Secret Santa gift

Arduino TeamDecember 24th, 2022

As part of what has become an annual holiday tradition, several YouTube makers coordinated their efforts this year for a Secret Santa exchange. Returning participant James Bruton drew Emily the Engineer and found inspiration for his gift from an automatic boxing glove that she built. Taking that idea and running with it, he created a pair of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots that can drive around and compete in real-life bouts.

The two 3D-printed robots, which are obviously red and blue, roam around on two driven wheels and punch with massive fists. That fists attach magnetically to automatic reciprocating punching mechanisms very similar to the one Emily the Engineer designed. If one robot pilot is able to punch the fist off of the opposing robot, they win the round. To kick off another round, all the players have to do is snap the fist back onto the magnetic mount.

Arduino Nano boards control both robots as well as both RC transmitters, for a total of four Arduino boards. Bruton paired each Arduino with an nRF24L01 radio transceiver module, which facilitates the communication between the robots and their RC transmitters. Each robot has three DC motors: two for the drive wheels and one for the reciprocating punching mechanism. The onboard Arduino controls the motors through IBT-4 motor drivers. Finally, the transmitters contain joysticks for moving the robots and triggers for activating the punching mechanism.

Now Emily the Engineer can duke it out on a grand scale whenever she wants, throwing punches via a mechanism that she devised.