Superstructs is a rod and connector based building system made with durable ABS plastic and EVA foam. Most rod and connector building systems are based on the Pythagorean theorem of triangles, which allow for the creation of lightweight and sturdy constructions that make these systems ideal, as a platform, for many robotics projects.
In this project, we will build a remote-control car using Superstructs toy parts, some 3D printed parts (to hold our electronics), an Arduino UNO, and a Bluetooth LE module. The complete kit can be ordered online here: Superstructs Bluetooth Car Kit (including electronics) for $129.99
What You Will Need — the parts!
WABA Fun manufactures Superstructs building toys and it’s possible, especially if you have kids, that you already own a set or two. Superstructs have been available for over ten years and have earned numerous toy industry awards. Here are the Superstructs parts you’ll need:
|1001p||4||12 socket connector (yellow or pink!)|
|1002p||2||10 socket connector (wheel)|
|1074p||2||dual-arm connector plug|
|1034p||2||foam tire (red or blue)|
WABA Fun also sells these components as a set from their website at: http://superstructs.com/catalog/
This project in based on the Arduino UNO micro controller. Hopefully you have one of these (or a clone) around, but if you don’t, here’s everything you’ll need:
|SparkFun Motor Driver https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9457||$8.95|
|DC Hobby Motor (x2)
|1.5V AAA Battery Holder
|UNO R3 Development Board
|Breadboard Jumper Wires
|Bluetooth 4.0 HM-10 Module
Total cost for the electronics $54.91
3D Printed Part Files
As cool and flexible as Superstructs are for building whatever you dream, they’re not ready-made for housing or holding our electronics. Here is a link to a zipped file with ready-to-print STL files to hold our electronics:
In the event you do not have access to a 3D printer, then you can purchase the parts needed for this project here:
Here is a link to the Arduino Sketch you’ll need. The code here interprets signals received over Bluetooth from your iOS device to control each motor independently.
If you do not already have the Arduino IDE (software), you’ll want to download this as well and install it. Here’s a link to download the Arduino IDE:
iOS Superstructs Driving App
Superduino is an app written by WABA Fun specifically for this project. You will use this app on iPhone to communication and drive your car. Download and install the Superduino app by search the app store for “Superduino” or follow this link.
Step 1: Build the Superstructs Car Frame
Step 2: Solder Break-away Headers to the DC Motor Controller
This is the only step that requires an adult. So please find one (preferably one who knows a little bit about soldering) and have them prepare and solder headers to the SparkFun DC motor controller as is shown here:
Step 3: Connect the Motor Controller to the Arduino and Power
Step 4: Connect the Bluetooth Module to the Arduino
Step 5: Connect the Motors to the Motor Controller
Step 6: Load the Arduino Sketch
Download and uncompress the Arduino sketch file. The sketch file for this project is named, bluetoothController.ino. Connect the USB cable to your Arduino and your computer. Fire up the Arduino IDE, open bluetoothController.ino, and load the sketch onto your Arduino.
Step 7: Connect 9v and 6v Batteries to the Circuit
Add 4 AAA batteries to the holder holder and connect it to the circuit as shown below. You will want to disconnect the power when not using your car. Do this by unplugging the ground wire from the breadboard. Next, connect the 9-volt connector to your 9v battery and add to your car.
Step 8: Launch the Superduino iPhone app
Once the app is loaded, click the “menu” button (which looks like three lines near the upper-right hand corner) and select “HMSoft” from the list to connect to your car.
Model: Cricket Pump
Description: Here’s a fun build! This is a pump, commonly called a “cricket pump”, is used in oil fields around the world. Send us a note and/or image when you build yours!