Makeblock mBot Ultimate Robot Kit Review

Makeblock mBot Ultimate Robot Kit Review

Makeblock mBot

Makeblock mBot 10-in-1Robot Kit

A little over a month ago, the company Makeblock provided me their Makeblock mBot Ultimate 2.0, 10-in-1 robotics kit ($366.99) to review.  Originally, I was a bit trepidatious since the kit is designed to teach coding to teenagers or young adults.  While I am a techie, I am not a coder.

But I do love a challenge.  I have finally begun making some great progress with this kit.

Before I Begin

Before I dig in to this review I need to state something.  When I was about the age relevant to the kit recommendations I was exposed to electronics kits such as depicted below.

I nicked the photo from

150 in One Electronic Project Kit; Radio Shack Tandy, (ID = 329524) Kit

This and many similar other electronic kit offerings catapulted me into a career in electronics. I was paid well and traveled the world fixing things.

I cannot stress to you enough how much of an impact a kit such as the Makeblock mBot Ultimate kit could have on your child.

Radio Shack in the US created a generation of kids like me.  I lived and worked in Japan for about 16 years and noticed a similar phenomenon with a company named Elekit.  They also made electronic project kits.

Given the right approach and enthusiasm I firmly believe that providing your children kits like these could be pivotal in their development.  I really think it is that important.

Before We Start

Makeblock mBot

Makeblock mBot Ultimate Kit

As soon as you open the box you can see you are in for a challenge.  This is a cross between an erector set and, well, a robotics kit.

While tools are provided in the kit I’d be remiss in not pointing out that having a set of BETTER TOOLS on hand will improve your Makeblock mBot experience considerably.

I used a set of T handle Allen wrenches and an iFixit tool kit.   You don’t have to have that tool kit, but it is what John’s Tech Blog uses for everything.  Additionally, you’ll find a set of metric sockets or even better, metric nut drivers to be extremely helpful.

The last thing I’ll say about tools is my kit didn’t seem to have an allen wrench small enough to tighten the small set screws contained within the kit.

Another ESSENTIAL component to successfully building any of the 10 illustrated robot kits is having a metric ruler or metric tape measure.   In the picture just above in the bottom center are various length “slide beams”. For example, the two longest ones are 176 mm long and another is 192 mm long.

There are two ways of grabbing the correct part during the build:

  • Compare the parts breakdown drawing in the guides and count the holes or observe the hole patterns, or:
  • Measure the part with a metric tape measure
Makeblock mBot

Individual Parts

Some of the parts look similar and measurement is the surest way to ensure you grab the correct part.  The illustrations are extremely accurate and easy to discern but give me a metric tape measure all day long.

Lastly, while the parts are nicely bagged, the bags aren’t marked and in a couple instances it was hard to tell what part was correct.  For example, there are 3 bags of plastic rings and it sure would have helped to have them individually marked on the bags themselves.   You’ll figure it out, but part number markings would sure help.

Makeblock mBot Assembly

The kit includes directions for 10 specific projects.  I chose to build the Beverage Robot for my first attempt.   Because who doesn’t want a robot to drive a beer to them and pour it for you?

These builds are no joke and require patience and being somewhat methodical in your assembly approach.  It took me 4 sessions of about 30-45 minutes each to complete the beverage robot.   And to be quite honest it was a bit tedious.  Getting the right part sometimes took a moment or two to verify.  Then getting the screws in the right hole with the parts turned the right way also took a moment or two.

Makeblock mBot


Slowly but surely it all starts coming together.   While that is only a small section of the beverage robot build, there is a lot going on there.

A motor, gears, shafts, axles, bearing surfaces.  Wow.  A lot going on.  Before you know it, the beverage robot starts to take shape and come alive.

Robot Buildup (click pics to enlarge)

Electronics Assembly

The main board of the project is called the “Mega Pi” which is based on the Arduino MEGA 2560.  I’ve played around with tons of Arduino projects in my time so it wasn’t a huge learning curve for me.   Also included are encoder/motor drivers.  On my build a bluetooth module and RJ25 module was also required.   The kit also has the appropriate wiring harnesses for connecting modules to the Mega Pi.

6 AA Batteries are required and are not included in the kit.  To be totally honest the electronics assembly was the easiest part of the build.

Makeblock App

Once your project is built simply download the Makeblock App for IOS or Android and select your appropriate project.  I did a quick screen recording showing opening and connection of the  app to the robot kit.  Sorry about the orientation of the video.  I played with rotating it in editing and it was best just giving you the raw footage.

Does It Work

You betcha.  Watch this:

Everyone I showed this video to thought it was the bomb dot com.  In fact I was the talk of my town for a day or two.

Final Thoughts

I’m still dabbling with the coding end of this project and thought it might be best to just do an overview blog and then post a blog on programming the robotics kit at a later date.  It’s been just a little bit since they provided me the kit to review and I felt I needed to post something sooner, rather than later.

I firmly stand behind my earlier statements of how influential this could be in the life of your children.  Not everyone will be a robotics engineer………but some might.  Yet others might get interested in computer science or programming.  Or it may just light up your child’s life while they let their imagination and creative side loose.

Similar electronics kits greatly influenced my life.  In fact I can state that without hesitation.  I have led a very good life because I had a career in technology born from kits like this.




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