A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
About this project
Here at PiBorg, we love robots, we love rovers, we love controlling motors and we love the Raspberry Pi! This Kickstarter is for a powerful 5 Amp motor controller that you can use with the Raspberry Pi to make bigger and more awesome robots. We’ve also made a chunky metal rover robot to push it to its limits.
Introducing the ThunderBorg motor controller and the MonsterBorg robot.
Making robots is hugely educational, and the ThunderBorg controller and MonsterBorg robot have been built to suit all skill levels. The ThunderBorg controller is supplied with an array of software to interface to the Raspberry Pi and to control the MonsterBorg robot. It can be used via game controllers and joysticks like a remote control car, through a web-based browser like a spy-bot to creep up on your friends, and it can also be controlled autonomously using self-driving code. The robotic possibilities are endless!
Rover robots are becoming extremely popular in education and the maker community. They can be used for all sorts of applications.
We’re no strangers to making robots as you may know from our DoodleBorg robot, or from our Formula Pi standard robot – the YetiBorg.
Getting your robot running in RC mode is the first step and this is loads of fun, but then it’s only a bit more complicated to control it from another room or even from the other side of the world. Once you have mastered that, you can investigate the world of autonomous robotics and make your robot do something really special.
Included with the robot is access to several examples for this including ball following code and self-driving robot race code. From there who knows? Perhaps add GPS/GSM to deliver a pizza to a friends’ house? The sky is the limit!
We thought an apt name for our new robot was MonsterBorg. We chose this
name as the robot has really powerful and super robust motors, huge 10.5cm
(4”) diameter wheels and a very impressive battery life – we recorded 3
The MonsterBorg can be programmed as a self-driving robot,
used for education about self-driving systems, or raced around the
garden as an RC off-roader. It also makes a great platform for hacking
about with robots by adding extra sensors or servos.
Up to three hours runtime!
Designed for the Raspberry Pi 3, Pi 2, B+ or Pi Zero.
4x 300 RPM Zhengke 37mm motors (pre soldered)
A 3mm thick Aluminium chassis
105mm / 4 inch diameter off road wheels
ThunderBorg 5A motor controller
ThunderBorg Lid for 10xAA batteries
Mount for the Raspberry Pi camera
No soldering required
The MonsterBorg kit comes with the wires, screws, motors, hubs and wheels that you need to get it running. You need just add a Raspberry Pi, a micro SD card, 10 AA batteries, and an optional Pi camera. A Phillips (cross head) screwdriver is needed for assembly.
We’ve improved it by adding on-board voltage monitoring, an RGB LED, a built in DCDC converter, and all this in a format just larger than a Raspberry Pi Zero.
It mounts directly on to your Raspberry Pi. The ThunderBorg allows controlling of speed in forward and in reverse via its PWM output. You can daisy chain them with optional cables to control up to 100 motors.
It controls 2 DC motors per board and has a powerful 5 amp per motor continuous rating. Each board will alternatively control a 4 wire stepper. You can drive more than 2 motors by connecting motors in parallel or adding more ThunderBorgs in a daisy chain.
It has protection features including over-current protection, short circuit protection, over temperature protection and under-voltage lockout. That makes it the perfect Raspberry Pi motor controller for most DC motors – whether they are tiny or huge.
Just plug the ThunderBorg into your Raspberry Pi, motors and connect a battery supply or DC source (from 7-36V), and you are ready to control motors.
Easily connect an external battery pack via the power connectors
The ThunderBorg has a built in DCDC regulator which powers the Raspberry Pi from your battery source (7-36V)
Controlling DC motors from your Raspberry Pi is made very simple with the ThunderBorg! You can use the RGB LED for endless indications such as voltage monitoring, CPU load level or even displaying ping times.
ThunderBorg is easily daisy-chainable to add on extra motors. One controller has a Raspberry Pi Zero mounted on top of it. All three motor controllers are separately addressable from this Pi, so you can easily control individual motor outputs.
The ThunderBorg works with all Raspberry Pi’s.
ThunderBorg is controlled via I2C pins, so you can control it from any device that supports I2C and 3.3V logic levels.
A 10xAA battery pack is a common way to power your robot, and we’ve designed an additional lid to allow batteries to neatly be attached to the ThunderBorg
This specially designed lid comes with a 10xAA battery pack, a switch and an additional RGB LED to sit on top of your ThunderBorg.
It comes with a battery holder for 10xAA batteries (batteries not included) and provides ample power for most projects. This powered the MonsterBorg driving on our track for over 3 hours!
It comes with an on/off switch, a second RGB LED and a soldered connector to the ThunderBorg. In all rewards which include a ThunderBorg Lid, you will be given the option of having these unsoldered if you wish.
Raspberry Pi Zero, ThunderBorg and ThunderBorg Lid
We’re trying to ship both the ThunderBorg and ThunderBorg lids out as quickly as possible after the Kickstarter ends, so it’s likely these will be available before the MonsterBorg robot kits ship. The MonsterBorg kits we will ship as soon as possible, but with chassis laser cutting, assembling kits and ordering parts from all over the world, we expect that these won’t ship until June. We will ship them earlier if we can.
The MonsterBorg, ThunderBorg and ThunderBorg Lid are subject to slight changes – for example, component colours, mounting post lengths etc. This is because at the time when we go to purchase parts for them, some things might be unavailable in the quantities we need.
Please note Raspberry Pi, Pi camera, SD card and batteries are NOT INCLUDED in any of the rewards.
The MonsterBorg, ThunderBorg and ThunderBorg Lid were all designed by us here at PiBorg. Designing robots and circuit boards is our "bread and butter".
Originally we designed the MonsterBorg robot with our PTC-Creo CAD system, and the ThunderBorg with our Altium designer package.
Milling out one of the several prototypes we made to develop MonsterBorg
We have a considerable amount of software which will help you get started with the ThunderBorg and MonsterBorg.
With simple GUI software for driving motors and also libraries to control from Python, you can get controlling motors and flashing LEDs quickly.
The inbuilt voltage monitoring and LED makes a great battery level indicator – this is the default configuration.
You can set the LED how you like via an easy to use GUI or using our verbose software library.
Easily control the ultra-bright RGB LED on ThunderBorg which is great for status information or robot underlighting :)
You might have seen our two previous Kickstarters.
ZeroBorg - a robot controller for the RaspberryPi Zero which had 340 backers and was 714% funded!
Formula Pi – An autonomous race series for the Raspberry Pi using the Pi Zero, the ZeroBorg and a YetiBorg 4 wheeled autonomous robot. This was 347% funded by 106 backers!
In both of these projects, we managed to make the shipping dates, and we’re confident we can do this again.
If you saw our previous Kickstarter for Formula Pi – Self driving robot racing with the Raspberry Pi, you probably know we run a race series for self-driving robots.
The first race series was fantastic! We had competitors ranging from parents and children, a Scout group from Germany, professional programmers and even a team who met working in Formula One.
We’d love to use the MonsterBorg and Pi3 in a Formula Pi series, and if this Kickstarter is successful, we will do so. It would also allow us to buy more cameras (we’d love to have 2 more viewing angles) and keep supplying great race footage live.
Upgrading the Robots will make the competition faster, more flexible and more competitive.
We want the ability to run much longer races, and thanks to the extended battery life we can!
More processing power from the Pi 3 will help to make neural networks and self-learning code easier to use.
Formula Pi, MonsterBorg and ThunderBorg make an excellent platform to get started with self-driving vehicles. As the standard code and tutorials use OpenCV, they are an excellent resource to learn about how computers see the world.
The competitive nature encourages continuous experimenting with the code, and this makes the learning exciting. The feedback from trying your code is very visual and it’s easy to become hooked. The code can easily be adapted to more complicated control and AI software such as ROS and TensorFlow, and this is perfect to progress toward real world autonomous vehicles.
We are in talks with educational institutions about using Formula Pi as part of their self-driving course curriculum. If you or your school/University are interested in this, please contact us. We’d also like to run a separate event for education. Again, please get in contact if you are interested.
Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation
Availability. When we design products, we check the availability and cost, and we make sure these work well within our plans. By the time production is ready to start, sometimes the products have changed, are no longer available or costs increase. To get around these problems, where possible we use parts which are interchangeable with other parts.
Component sourcing problems. To reduce the risk of this happening, we've chosen components that are widely available from reputable resellers such as Digikey and Farnell. Should a component become unavailable we will substitute a component with a similar one. This should have no effect on the functionality of the board thanks to initial design choices we have made.
Assembly mistakes. Although we take great care in developing very easy to follow assembly instructions, mistakes can be made when the boards are away from our premises. We have made prototype runs to minimise the risk of assembly mistakes. We have the ability to rework small problems in house, minimising delays. But if a larger assembly problem occurs, a re-run would have to be called. This should mean a worst case delay of 6 weeks.
If unforeseen circumstances prevent us from completing production of the board, a full refund would of course be offered.
Two half-days of our help and advice (via email/phone/skype) for getting your team/class/code started underway as you need. This could be our time coding, designing electronics, robot testing on the circuit, or other similar work. This reward is great for educational institutions, businesses and clubs.
FIVE MonsterBorg Robots,
FIVE spare ThunderBorg controllers
FIVE spare ThunderBorg Lids
FIVE Thankyou picture cards
FIVE Formula Pi entries
Formula Pi Team allocations as you like.
A TEAM entry of five robots into the Formula Pi MonsterBorg round (choose either Summer or Winter). Team allocations as you like