Questions and Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Open Source Hardware?

Open source hardware is an emerging concept. We’re following the recently established Open Source Hardware Statement of Principles and Definition v1.0. From that document:

"Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware's source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it....Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs."

What does Open Source mean for TurtleBot?

We’re publishing all the information that you need to build your own TurtleBot, including links to all the parts that you need. You’re free (and encouraged) to modify our initial design to create your own variations on TurtleBot.

What is

This site is a resource created by and for the TurtleBot community. It’s a portal for people to learn about TurtleBot, order components to build TurtleBots, and freely exchange information about how to make, modify, and extend TurtleBots.

Why did Willow Garage make the TurtleBot Open Source?

TurtleBot is about getting hackers involved in robotics. And hackers want maximum control over their hardware and software. Given the plans, parts list, assembly instructions, and links to suppliers, you have the ability to do whatever you want with TurtleBot. You can use components that you already have, substitute similar components, and generally mix and match to order only what you need to build exactly what you want. Of course, any component changes may entail other, as-yet-undocumented modifications to the design. Over time the community will contribute to a common body of documentation on their own TurtleBot variations, at

I’d like to supply parts for TurtleBots; how can I participate?

Great! More suppliers of TurtleBot parts means more choice for the TurtleBot community. Please visit this page.

What license will be applied to the TurtleBot documentation?

Just as for ROS software, we prefer permissive licenses that facilitate commercial use of code. The preferred license for TurtleBot hardware documentation is the FreeBSD Documentation License.

Can I apply the TurtleBot name to my modification of your design, or my own similar robot design?

The Open Source Robotics Foundation holds the TurtleBot trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If you want to use the TurtleBot name or mark, please send an email to