Forklift 1


My first attempt at creating a forklift with makeblock (advanced kit + Lego compatible kit). I have used almost every part to make this. It can probably be designed much simpler.

Here some pictures, below a link to a video. All manual, I have not programmed it yet.



I had to make some adjustments, but at least the intended design now works: the ultrasonic sensor measures the distance to the bottom, if below 8cm then we go up, if above 15cm then we go down.
I had to widen the distance between the arduino and the ultrasonic sensor, and put a plate in front of the arduino (see video below) because the ultrasonic beams were bouncing off of the arduino when the fork was up.

At least it works now:

Here is the source code:

#include <Me_BaseShield.h>
#include <Me_MotorDriver.h>
#include <Me_UltrasonicSensor.h>

Me_MotorDriver motorDriver1(PORT_1);
Me_UltrasonicSensor ultraSensor(4);

const int forkdown = 8; // lager willen we niet zakken
const int forkup = 15; // hoger gaan we niet heffen
uint8_t motorDownSpeed = 40;
uint8_t motorUpSpeed = 70;

void setup()

void loop()
        int afstand = ultraSensor.distanceCm();
        Serial.print("Distance : ");
        Serial.print( afstand );
        Serial.println(" cm");
        if ( afstand < forkdown ) {
        if ( afstand > forkup ) {

Next step, make it drive and remote controlled.


Great work. Looking forward for your next step Paul.

And we also buit a forklift as following pictures show:

A step by step user guide about this foklift will be uploaded soon.


Thanks, that was my first idea, but I don’t have that long cable that you use here, only short ones…


So, I finished programming the forklift…


  • infrared remote control for driving forward and reverse
  • infrared for turning left and right
  • infrared for moving fork up and down
  • ultrasonic to avoid fork going too far up or down
  • two motors for driving
  • one motor for fork

I had some issues with traction (resistance to the tires), switched to tracks, but still had to program some sense into the driving. I think the source code explains it all (listed below).

I also made a youtube movie (that shows I am a lousy driver). Some of the delays in the movie are because the infrared remote is not working properly, about one in three key-presses is ignored (maybe my fault…).

The source code. I am not a developer, so this can probably be improved a lot (please let me know how).

#include <Me_BaseShield.h>
#include <Me_MotorDriver.h>
#include <Me_BaseShieldMotorDriver.h>
#include <Me_UltrasonicSensor.h>
#include <Me_InfraredReceiver.h>

Me_BaseShieldMotorDriver baseShieldMotorDriver;
Me_MotorDriver motorDriver(PORT_1);   // port 1
Me_UltrasonicSensor ultraSensor(3);   // port 3
Me_InfraredReceiver infraredReceiver; // port 4

// moving fork up and down
// uses UltraSonic to avoid going too far up or down
const int i_forkDown = 8; // we don't drop the fork lower than 8cm
const int i_forkUp = 16;  // we don't lift the fork higher than 16cm
const int i_forkDownSpeed = 80; // speed for dropping the fork
const int i_forkUpSpeed = 120;  // speed for lifting the fork (requires more force than dropping)

// driving forward and backward
// sometimes it would not start driving (too much resistance)
// solution is to start with much higher motor speed for 100ms
const int i_accelSpeed = 120; // accelerate from 0
const int i_accelDelay = 100; // delay in ms until normal drive speed
const int i_driveSpeed = 60;  // normal driving speed

// turning left and right
// precision needed, but again slow speeds won't work (resistance)
// so high speed for very short time
const int i_turnSpeed = 170; // turn speed
const int i_turnDelay = 100; // milliseconds until full stop

void setup()
  baseShieldMotorDriver.begin();  // driving
  motorDriver.begin();  // fork
  ultraSensor.begin();  // fork
  infraredReceiver.begin();  // remote control
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(0,0);   // sometimes when uploading code, one motor spins very fast, this does not help;    // sometimes when uploading code, this motor also spins three/four seconds, this does not help

void loop()
 int key =;
    switch (key)  // about one in three key-presses is missed (unknown code in serial monitor like 4976 or 9824...)
      case IR_PLUS_BUTTON:f_forkUp();break;
      case IR_MINUS_BUTTON:f_forkDown();break;
      case IR_PLAY_BUTTON:f_driveForward();break;
      case IR_RETURN_BUTTON:f_driveReverse();break;
      case IR_NEXT_BUTTON:f_turnLeft();break;
      case IR_PREVIOUS_BUTTON:f_turnRight();break;
      case IR_CLR_BUTTON:f_stopAllMotors();break;

void f_forkUp()
  int i_distance = ultraSensor.distanceCm(); // how far up are we ?
  if ( i_distance < i_forkUp ) {; } // only move up when not too far up
  delay(900);; // stop going up

void f_forkDown()
  int i_distance = ultraSensor.distanceCm(); // how far down are we ?
  if ( i_distance > i_forkDown ) {; } // only move down when not too far down
  delay(700);; // stop going down

void f_stopAllMotors()  // emergency break ;-)
{; // stop fork movement
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(0,0); // stop driving

void f_driveForward()
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(i_accelSpeed,-i_accelSpeed); // high power
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(i_driveSpeed,-i_driveSpeed); // normal drive power (forever)

void f_driveReverse()
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(-i_accelSpeed,i_accelSpeed); // high power
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(-i_driveSpeed,i_driveSpeed); // normal drive power (forever)

void f_turnLeft()
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(i_turnSpeed,i_turnSpeed); // high power
  delay(i_turnDelay); // short delay
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(0,0); //stop now

void f_turnRight()
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(-i_turnSpeed,-i_turnSpeed); // high power
  delay(i_turnDelay); // short delay
  baseShieldMotorDriver.runMotors(0,0); // stop now

I am happy to know the basics of Makeblock, the next project could be a better forklift, or something completely different.


Hi Paul,
Our new infrared receive module may be more useful and the infrared remote may work properly by using the new module. All the new electronic modules have arrived from the factory last Sunday. And we will send the upgrade kit for the kickstarter backers soon. Looking forward for your next project…


Really cool results, guys! Have you been working on anything new recently?

Alexandra from new forklifts