How to get Started: Where do I begin my micromouse design?

Hi everyone,

So welcome to the @moramouseproject, we are thrilled to have a passionate and enthusiastic person like you reading this article!

First of all, lets think about something… Where do i begin? How do i start making my own micromouse?

Don’t worry if you have this question, because we had the exact same question when we started building our own micromouse. It was because of the website of a legend in the micro mouse arena, that we were able to learn the concepts and secrets behind this! He has helped alot of micromouse developers out there: He is Green Ye - Website.

This is Green Ye’s most famous Micromouse design - Green Giant!

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Now, for you - A simple internet search will give you access to many open source document and webinars on micromouse design, such as the one below from IEEE.

16Feb18_Micromouse_Webinar.pdf (3.4 MB)

Source - http://ewh.ieee.org/reg/1/sac/assets/Documents/2016/16Feb18_Micromouse_Webinar.pdf

Take a look at this document. It has a nice overview.

I decided to write a simple procedure on how to start your micromouse project in a set of few simple steps. This was how i did it, and I think it will be quite useful for you, regardless of your current experience or knowledge. Important thing is to keep learning and asking questions you need to know about!

Step 1 - Look at example designs of micro mouse available out there!

There are many different types such as

  • Two wheel or Four wheel (or even 6 wheel)
  • Shaped circular/like a car/rectangular
  • No of motors can be 2 or more
  • Mechanical dimensions of your micromouse - (Recommended: smaller than 10cm by 10cm)

Many many considerations can be taken when choosing your design. If you check Green Ye’s website, you will find Project Futura as one of the most simplest and ideal designs you could try making. Focus on that for now.

Special Note - I know most of the components are SMD (Surface Mount) - You may not have this experience right now - and neither did we. But don’t fear - We will be providing you the knowledge on how to start SMD soldering and we will help you with everything (even resources) if you want to do SMD soldering, you don’t have to limit yourself!

Step 2 - Look at schematic designs of micromouse on the internet!

Here are a few i have used! (Source - Green Ye’s website)

Futura-V1.1-Schematic.pdf (82.4 KB)
Green Giant V3.0 Lite sch.pdf (69.1 KB)
GG519_sch.pdf (220.3 KB)

You can ask for designs made by our teams as well if you are interested in checking them!

Step 3 - Start drawing your own micromouse circuit! Take your time and do it carefully!

This is an important and time-consuming step.

Start your own design, and to do that you will need to manage a few sub tasks as well

  1. Learn about tools like Altium Designer and Eagle - and use the knowledge to start drawing your circuit design - Ask questions if you get a problem!

  2. Learn about different components you are using by reading the datasheet and other forums of components. Collect all the datasheets of the components you use and keep them in a folder!
    Components also include the motors, batteries and wheels you will need for the micromouse.
    eg: -
    STM32F405 - Datasheet
    TEFT4300 - Datasheet
    Pololu micro metal gear motors - Link

  3. Take your time and design, choose the components you want to use for your design from the websites and make a BOM. I will attach an example here! BOM.pdf (119.6 KB)

  4. In addition to electronics - you need to think about the shape of the PCB, the position of your components, the dimensions of the motors you plan to use!

Step 4 - After you have reached a satisfactory level in your schematic design, start to develop your micromouse PCB layout! (Recommended: smaller than 10cm by 10cm)

Draw a rough sketch of your micromouse - its mechanical dimensions and how it would look like!

Use a pen and paper! or Autodesk AutoCAD!

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And if you want to do it the real engineering way, then you can even do it with solidworks!

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Challenging but fun!!

Here are some example pictures of how it would progress like!

1 - Finish Placements and Outer shape of the micromouse!

2- Route your design using different trace widths - Keep a rule of thumb!
Link - https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-determine-the-traces-width-when-designing-a-PCB

3 - Fill copper in your design according to recommended specifications!

TOP

BOTTOM

Once you have finalized your design, you can use an online Gerber viewer to check your design

Step 5 - This is where you send your design to get fabricated in China, but we have time for that! Its time to spend all the time you have at home these days to reach up to step 5! Start working and you will finish in no time!

And remember - Always ask questions!

Cheers!
@themoramouseproject

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