The TurtleBot mobile robot is designed for both academic and hobbyist researchers. The open-source hardware design provides excellent documentation for adding modifications and extending the capabilities of the robot in hardware or software. The robot is available for purchase as a kit or, if your research budget is limited, this guide will help you build some of the aluminum parts necessary to build your own.

Project Steps

The goal of this guide is to show you how to convert round aluminum stock into a 2″ standoff. There are many ways to achieve this, but this is probably the simplest and requires the least expensive tools. This method, however, is not the most accurate.

Start with 7/16″ rod aluminum stock (1/2″ also works) and measure a 2″ length.

Next, cut the part to length using a hacksaw.

A file can be used to clean up the rough end and a bit of emery paper can be used to remove the burrs on the edge.

The center head of a combination square set can be used to mark the center of the rod.

A center punch can be used to help start the drill bit.

A center drill is a short drill bit that can be used to start the hole. Drill in about 3-5mm or about halfway down the the conical portion.

Use a #36 (0.1065″) drill bit to make a hole about 0.7″ deep.

Once the hole is finished, turn it upside down and knock it against the table to remove chips.

Using a #6-32 tap and cutting fluid, tap the hole 0.5″ deep. Keep the tap straight and turn the tap one full turn forwards and a quarter turn backwards and repeat until finished. Do not force the tap and don’t break the tap or you will spoil the work and have to start over.

Repeat the same procedure for the other end.

Once both ends are tapped a 1″ threaded stud will be used to create the male threads.

Apply a “red” permanent-strength thread locker to a 0.5″ length of the stud and screw it into one end of the spacer.

Wipe off the excess thread locker with a paper towel and you have now finished one spacer.

The TurtleBot will require eight 2″ standoffs, so you may want to make them all at once.


After completing this project you will have built most of the aluminum parts required for the TurtleBot.