Picture of 3D Printed Robot Arm

This robot arm is made almost entirely of 3D printed parts that snap together. It has three servo-controlled joints, plus a rotating base and gripper. The arm is controlled by a series of buttons that connect to an Arduino Uno hidden in the base. A simple circuit makes connecting the servos and buttons to the Arduino easy and makes set-up and assembly very quick.


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Step 1: Print the parts

The arm is about 20 inches long, so it takes a lot of time and material to print. The parts are sized to fit on the bed of the Afinia H479 printer, and some can be printed together on the same platform to save time. I used a resolution of 0.25mm and hollow fill for all the parts (other settings were set to the defaults). In addition, I found that I needed to use a raft to both help the part adhere to the print platform and help the printer compensate for my table, which was not perfectly level.

The total estimated print time for the arm is about 32.5 hours, although as mentioned earlier some parts can be printed together (the estimate was done using the print preview function of Afinia's software - my actual print time was difficult to calculate because I was still iterating through designs). Including the raft material, it uses 842.8g of filament, which means it can be printed from one 1kg roll.

Most of the parts have "flat" sides that should face the platform (see images). Many of them also have fairly delicate tabs for holding the cables, so take care when you remove the raft and support material. Study the stl file first to get an idea of where the most delicate areas are.

EDIT: I forgot to include one of the parts in the zipfolder, so I added it separately.

iozenc2 months ago

Excellent work.

-Nate125-3 months ago
How much was the 3d printer? I love making stuff like this! Can the robot arm screw in a light bulb? Keep up the great work!
Beaconsfield (author)  -Nate125-2 months ago

The printer is about $1400 from Radioshack (

The arm can't turn a full 360 degrees, although if you were really good at operating it you could probably get it to re-grip and finish in a few turns. Maybe that will be the goal if I make a version 2...

pixel54 months ago

What software did you use that was shown on the video?

Beaconsfield (author)  pixel54 months ago

I used the software that is included in step 2 - just direct control of the servos using the buttons along the base.

Wow! If I had a 3D printer that would be the first thing that I would make. Would it work to install Sugru on the tips of the claws to enhance grip on objects?
Beaconsfield (author)  KyleTheCreator4 months ago

It definitely would! I spent a while picking up stuff (with varying degrees of success) and Sugru would have helped enormously.

3441851515 months ago

Can you provide source files? I want to make a bigger o'ne

Beaconsfield (author)  3441851514 months ago

There is a zip folder containing all the .stl files (meshes) for the parts at step 1. However, note that if you simply scale up the parts the servos and buttons won't fit. You also may run into issues where the servos aren't strong enough to move the arm anymore.

dka135 months ago
I so need to make this
treyes45 months ago

Just when can I win a 3D printer here in instructables I have created so many models waiting to be printed just like this

kenyer5 months ago

I love your design and color-sceme. Nice job!

It's so cool to see it in action!