How to Build a Simple Arduino-Based Robot At Home For Under $50

Building your own robot is an exciting and educational project that can be done on a budget using an Arduino microcontroller and common hardware store materials. With just a little bit of elbow grease and some basic electronics skills, you can build a simple bot for well under $50.

Selecting the Right Arduino Board

The Arduino is an open-source microcontroller that serves as the "brains" of your robot. There are several different Arduino boards to choose from, but the Arduino Uno is a good starter model. Some key features of the Arduino Uno:

The Arduino Uno provides a great balance of capability and affordability for around $20-$25.

Sourcing the Basic Electronic Components

In addition to the Arduino itself, you'll need a variety of electronic components to build your robot:


Motors allow your robot to move around. Small DC hobby motors are inexpensive and easy to control with an Arduino. Get 2 motors for $2-$5 each.

Motor Driver

The Arduino can't supply enough power to drive motors directly, so you need a motor driver. The L298N dual motor driver module costs $5-$10 and can control 2 DC motors.


A pair of small plastic wheels for the motors will cost $5-$10. Make sure the inner diameter fits your motor shafts.

Battery Pack

A 4xAA battery holder with a switch provides a 6V power source for $2-$5. Rechargeable AAs are recommended.

Jumper Wires

Get both male-to-male and male-to-female jumper wires to make all the electrical connections for $5-$10.


Screws, nuts and bolts, spacers, and a small sheet of plywood or acrylic to mount everything costs $10-$15.

Assembling the Hardware

With all the parts sourced, it's time to assemble the robot. Here are the basic steps:

Take your time to make neat, secure connections. Refer to Arduino motor shield tutorials as needed.

Programming the Arduino

Once the hardware is assembled, you need to upload a program to the Arduino to command the motors. Some key steps:

There are many sample sketches online for controlling DC motors to use as a starting point.

Testing and Refining Your Bot

With the electronics wired up and code uploaded, it's time to test out your robot!

Gradually refine and upgrade your bot to add more capabilities!


Building a simple Arduino robot is a rewarding, educational project. With around $50 worth of readily available electronic components and materials, plus free software and sample code, you can get started in Arduino robotics on a budget. The hands-on process of assembling the hardware and programming the Arduino is excellent experience. Let your creativity run wild to make a unique bot!