How to build a hexapod robot

Written by matthew dehaven
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How to build a hexapod robot
Building a six-legged robot can be an exciting challenge for the robotics enthusiast. (spy bug image by Veniamin Kraskov from

Although legged robots can be more difficult to build than wheeled robots, there are methods by which anyone with modest robotics experience can build a six-legged robot. A robot with six legs will be able to move a quickly as possible without having to worry about balance. Inexpensive radio-controlled vehicle servos have plenty of power for a small six-legged robot, and most common robot controllers are specifically designed to connect to them.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Servos
  • Robot kit
  • Battery pack
  • Sensors
  • Controller

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  1. 1

    Build the body of your robot. There are a number of hexapod robot kits on the market that include structural parts and servos. Some of them will even include controllers and sample programs as well. You could also build the body from scratch, although it may still be worthwhile to look at some of the kits for design ideas.

  2. 2

    Install the controller and battery on your robot. Connect the power and ground wires of your servos to the robot's battery connector. Connect the signal wire of each servo to one of the output pins on your controller. Ideally, choose a controller with dedicated servo ports so that you can simply plug the servos in. Keep careful track of which servo is connected to which port.

  3. 3

    Install your robot's sensors. When mounting sensors, take into account the movement of your robot's legs. Be careful not to mount a sensor where it may detect a leg when it should be detecting obstacles. Connect each sensor to one of the input pins on your controller. Consult the documentation for your controller to ensure that the sensors are hooked up properly.

  4. 4

    Begin programming your robot. Write code to move the legs in sequence for walking forward and backward, and turning left and right. Work that code into your main robot program, having the robot move the way you want in response to sensor input.

Tips and warnings

  • After you have your robot walking around, try programming in some more advanced features. For example, you might have your robot adapt its gait for uneven terrain.
  • Be sure to choose a controller that will have enough ports for your robot. A robot with six legs can have as many as 18 servos.

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