Magician Chassis

The Magician Chassis is our latest robot platform from Dagu. It features two gearmotors with 65mm wheels and a rear caster. The chassis plates are cut from acrylic with a wide variety of mounting holes for sensors, controllers, power, etc. Simply bolt the two pre-cut platforms together, attach the motors and caster and add your favorite robotics controller. This kit includes all of the parts needed to assemble the chassis as well as a 4xAA battery holder with barrel jack termination.

This new version comes with new hardware that matches what the instructions actually say is in the kit. No more confusing mix-ups or inconsistencies!

Note: The chassis requires assembly but has detailed instructions.

Note: We've released a new kit to replace the Magician, it is called the Shadow Chassis and it can be found here.

  • Max Motor Voltage: 6VDC
  • No Load Speed: 90±10rpm
  • No Load Current:190mA(max.250mA)
  • Torque:
  • Stall Current: ~1A
  • 65mm Diameter Wheels (30mm Wide)
  • Plastic Rims with Solid Rubber Tires
  • Dual Output Shafts
  • Wheel Encoder Slotted Discs Included
  • 110 x 174mm

Magician Chassis Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Robotics

This skill concerns mechanical and robotics knowledge. You may need to know how mechanical parts interact, how motors work, or how to use motor drivers and controllers.

2 Robotics

Skill Level: Rookie - You will be required to know some basics about motors, basic motor drivers and how simple robotic motion can be accomplished.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: DIY

Whether it's for assembling a kit, hacking an enclosure, or creating your own parts; the DIY skill is all about knowing how to use tools and the techniques associated with them.


Skill Level: Noob - Basic assembly is required. You may need to provide your own basic tools like a screwdriver, hammer or scissors. Power tools or custom parts are not required. Instructions will be included and easy to follow. Sewing may be required, but only with included patterns.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • bd2357 / about 10 years ago / 2

    dumb question but am I suppose to glue the encoder boards on? One of them is very loose. Same question for the wheels as they are only slightly snug.

  • opensourcerer / about 10 years ago / 2

    Did you guys fix the issue where one motor is faster than the other?

    • ctdahle / about 10 years ago / 1

      I don't think yo can call that an "issue". It's just the way little permanent magnet motors are, they nearly all turn faster in one direction than the other. With a fresh battery, you can run some trials and work out a table of PWM values that make your robot travel straight. But that falls apart as soon as the battery begins to drain. The real solution is to set up encoders for each wheel and write code to keep the wheels turning at the same rate for a straight line, or in specific ratios for various rates of turn. This kit does come with the toothed encoder wheels that you need to do this, but you will have to buy the sensors.

  • Member #652413 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Are you able to use this encoder kit with the gearmotors included in this Magician chassis?

  • Member #439214 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Are the two speed boards (the two plastic gears) needed to operate with the RaspiRobot board? One of them refuses to stay on. Also, on the motor orientation: do I just go with what the assembly instructions have? I have the flat sides (looking at the rear of the motors) facing each other. I'm assuming this is the correct orientation.

    • How long does it take for it to come to your house? I live in NY and I'm wondering if it will come before march 1. I ordered it Feb 1.

      • M-Short / about 9 years ago / 2

        It depends on your shipping method. As long as these are in stock they should ship same day, but unless you choose an untracked shipping method and they loose your package it should be there well before a month.

  • Member #141097 / about 10 years ago * / 1

    I have purchased several of these to evaluate for a class on robotics I plan to teach at my local maker space. While I did manage to crack one of the boards when someone knocked it off my workbench, I successfully glued it back together with super glue. I had originally commented that the torque was not sufficient. After I replaced the motor control chip on a prototyping board with a motor shield, everything is working great. I will be using this platform in my class.

  • Member #621235 / about 10 years ago / 1

    one of my encoder disk came broken. What can i do?

    • Sorry to hear that! Email techsupport@sparkfun with your order number and the problem, and they'll help you out.

  • Member #621108 / about 10 years ago / 1

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  • Ted M / about 10 years ago / 1

    It appears that this chassis is very similar to the one in the Redbot kit, but maybe very slightly different. Specifically, the item labeled "Speed Board Holder" in the assembly instructions -- possibly also known as "Wheel Encoder boards" in the features list -- are different than the ones in the Redbot? At least they look different in the assembly guide pictures. Or are the Redbot boards included in this kit?

    • Ted M / about 10 years ago / 1

      Yes, they are the same chassis. Answering my own question, I just watched the product video and it clearly shows that the encoders are the new ones. That would explain the comment about updated hardware in the description.

  • Member #581218 / about 10 years ago / 1

    My Order Number is 1356899. Magician Chassis was on your stock when I placed the order but when I was going to pay for the order I found out that there was no magician chassis left on your stock.

    Now your site says more of magician chassis will be on your stock at 24 November.

    I would like to know that when my order will be processed and items will be shipped?

    P.S : I ticked the option on which it says ship complete order.

  • Member #154215 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Am I reading this correct...This revision of the chassis includes the Wheel Encoder Boards? Is this the SEN-12617 RedBot Sensor Wheel Encoder Board?

    • M-Short / about 10 years ago / 1

      Nope, the chassis includes the gear like pieces of acrylic that board reads. I believe they are both technically encoder boards though.

  • Member #602968 / about 10 years ago / 1

    I just purchased the Inventor's Kit and I would like to get rolling!

    Do I need any other components (that aren't already included in the Inventor's Kit) to get the Magician Chassis to function (e.g. motor drivers, bridges, shields, diodes, transistors, etc.)?

    If someone could help me, that would be awesome. I would really like to purchase this.

    • M-Short / about 10 years ago / 1

      You will need a motor driver of some sort. You may also want to look at out Redbot board which we bundle with this chassis for the Redbot kit. Its basically an Arduino with built in motor drivers. Or you can just go with plain motor drivers. If you have any other questions feel free to email and they should be able to help.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5

Based on 16 ratings:

Currently viewing all customer reviews.

1 of 1 found this helpful:

Great chassis and very affordable

Very easy to put together, and works well, though I've only just started out with it. At this price point even beginners can justify getting one to play around with simple robots. I offer the following constructive criticism: 1) the assembly instructions are ambiguous about how to orient the motors and route the wires from the motors to the battery; 2) you have to remove the top plate (which involves removing 5 screws) to change the batteries, and 3) the battery plug is too large to be routed through the cutouts in the upper frame, so it has to be run up and around the edge of the robot.

4 of 4 found this helpful:

Works, but quality control is low and design is flawed

This does work - don't get me wrong. But even the picture of it shows the battery case being on the lower platform, where changing batteries is impossible - you would have to take off the top level every time, which is essentially every time you want to use the robot. The posts that hold up the motors in place have a large variance, so about 20% of my kids (I bought 24 of these for a class) had a lot of trouble getting the bolt to fit through two posts and the motor; 1 person could not make it work no matter what we did and we ended up just duct taping it together. Looks like crap....

There are a ton of holes on the top layer (see picture) which should make it really easy to find a way to bolt something on just about anywhere - I like this idea a lot! - but oddly it just doesn't work. The Raspberry Pi B+ could only be bolted on with all 4 bolts in about 2-3 places on the entire board. And with the need to put the battery case up with the Pi on top, this made configurations really awkward or impractical. Again, Duct Tape to the rescue, which is fine but I really prefer the "bolt on" approach and know that the thing will stay - not that this robot will be experiencing big g-forces or anything.

With the battery case, the screws provided stick out of the bottom of the battery case enough to make it difficult to put the batteries in. A different screw or a better battery case would solve this easily. And, like the Pi, it was actually difficult, despite the seemingly endless combinations of the holes, to find good spot for the case where the screws could go straight down rather than at an angle to "force" the screw into the hole.

Lastly, the wires from the motor were too short. With a Raspberry Pi and a RaspiRobot Board V2 as the motor controller, you really want all that up front so the sonar is unobstructed and in front. When you do this, the wires from the motor almost but don't quite work. By duct taping the Pi a little farther back, you can make the wires stretch, but again you are compromising where you really want something because of a limit of the chassis design. Another solution would be to run the robot with the roller ball in the front (then the wires reach just fine) but now you are pushing the ball rather than pulling the ball, and the robot will not be able to clear obstacles as easily.

In short - good cost and great concept, but for a Pi, the details are just not worked out. Still functional - with one exception we were able to make everything work - but with a little thought this could be a much more convenient and sharper looking chassis for a Raspberry Pi. Maybe it works better with other electronics?

1 of 1 found this helpful:

one more time :)

the price is nice.. easy assembly, compatible with Arduino and others.

2 of 5 found this helpful:

Bottom plate arrived completely cracked

I placed an order of over 200 dollars with sparkfun and everything but the magician chassis (and backordered parts that I don't yet have) arrived fine.

The bottom plate arrived cracked in multiple places both radially and longitudinally for substantial distances (in one place half the width where the motors mount). I'm sure it won't work correctly once powered and I plan to use acetate solvent and reinforcement strips so the robot reacts correctly.

It's very cold here on the east coast and the chassis was at the bottom of the box, so I believe this was not a manufacturing defect but a case of careless packaging which led to cold plastic cracking in shipment.

Since this was for a robotics class and shipping time to the east coast is substantial, I did not have time to go through the process of trying to get a replacement.

I am extremely disappointed.

Very sorry about this issue. We would be more than happy to help you if something gets damaged in delivery. Please contact our returns team for more assistance.

Spiffy looking! But: challenges with battery case and motor orientation

During our Northeast Blizzard today I found some down time to put the chassis together. Looking very spiffy! I also had some challenges with the battery case. And I also had a question on the orientation of the motors. I just went with what the pictures in the assembly instructions had. Basically (looking at the rear of the motors ) the flat sides of the motors are facing each other. That's how I mounted mine, anyway. The result is one motor having the sticker showing. I'm assuming this is the correct orientation. Guess I'll find out when I test!

One of the best things I ever ordered

I am a very new costumer and I'm 11 years old, and I order this with breadboards and battery pack and diodes and the ac adapter, not knowing it came with two of those, But it came in 4 days, and it works very well. One of the motors are faster than the other an one of the axles wont stay on.

Great service

Sparkfun is a company that I know I will frequent more often. They were very helpful and attentive to my son's project needs.

a box of awesome for a cheap price

just add arduino and take over the world

Very satisfied with only one minor issue

We are very satisfied with the chassis. The only little things is that we would like some more space between the 2 boards.


Great for Teachers

I've been using this product for almost three years to give clases, its the best for its Price, great deal for teachers.

Like some people comment here, some chasises have a Little issue with the motor support somethimes the part doesent fit well, and that causes in rare cases to the student to break that part.

Other that that the Price, the quality its amazing very reccomended and as long as Sparkfun holds this product i will continiu to buy it.

to the date 27/02/2015, I'be bought 171 Chasises so far and only like 6~8 have presented the failure.

Now i have a laser cutter and i can make some spares.

Self going car

Hi guy's! It is working fine right now. At the moment it is running back and here there and everywere, on my floor, as a self going two wheeler. I am using an Uno and a distance sensor, right now.

Happy Easter!! BR// Hans-G.Jacobsson,Sweden

Great starter platform

Simple and easy to assemble this basic chassis can carry several boards for a variety of projects. The motors have gearboxes already attached, and the screws and spacers make it easy to assemble and disassemble as needed. With a motor controller you can change the speed and direction of each wheel, allowing you to control turning radius at various speeds, without dealing with steering linkages. This is the best starter chassis I've been able to find.

Awesome product

Really having fun with this chassis, along with my arduino board, motor shield and ultrasonic rangefinder. I plan to try out more sensors and programs in the future.