Well I finally did it. I finally pulled the trigger and started to build a 5/6 axis robotic arm. This is an ongoing project so please check back from time to time to look at the progress and offer any ideas you might have who knows I just might include the changes. I have alot done so far. I will try to make this a step by step. If any of you need clarification or just more info on how i did that or where do i find that bit of software or that part etc. just drop me an email. So with that said lets get started. Please forgive any grammatical or spelling errors I am in a rush to finish this project please let me know if you see any.

If I win the Laser cutting machine. I will use it to produce more robots. After all even robots need skin. Not to mention all the projects I can make with such an awsome too. I use a larger one like it before and it was amazing the speed and quality of the finished parts.

So to begin with any robotic project no mater how complex you must plan, plan, plan, and then finally figure out or layout how you will go about it.. or "PLAN"...

Use your head when building anything. Use safety glasses when running mills drills or any power tool Your eye's are just little water balloons and can pop like a grape so protect them. I don't have time to create an instructable on how to replace your eye.

You're fingers hands and other appendages will lose any battle you engage in with a cnc, lathe or most power tools. Don't take them for granted. I have 30 years experience with machine tools and the building of robots I will try to make this easy. If you have a good design you can send out the drawings to have the major part fabricated fairly cheaply. If you don't know how to use a tool then learn, take a class, ask me or learn the trade. These types of machines have a mind of their own and must be respected, Safety first.

Now That the safety brief is out of the way lets get on with the show.

This picture is my last concept before i began. I created this layout with solidworks. that way i could test for any interference from moving parts in order to make sure they would all fit together just right. I also wanted to test for load bearing and lateral forces, as well as motor torque and loads. This information though not needed right away is a must for later on.

The mechanical layout is just a small piece of the design you must also consider all the programing that will be part of any robot you build especially a 6 axis robotic arm with inverse kenimetrics. More on that later. Once i had the basic layout I needed to make sure i cold afford the parts necessary to build this monster. I had to source the motors and find a supplier, as well as the gear/ drive train for each axis.

The motors i settled on were found on Ebay for 30.00 each. I bought 10 because i want to build more that one robot arm.

Step 1: Motor and Gear Choice

This picture shows two of my motors with a controller. The motors as mention above were bought on ebay for 30.00 each. They are brushed DC motors and run on 60 volts peak. up to 8 amps. these are strong stable motors perfect for the job. A few things you need to be aware of when building any electrically powered device driven by motors. one is the voltage you plan on using this gets into available power sources. You have to be able to power your creation once you build it. I choose 60 volt dc because I could easily find a DC power supply for them, or if necessary build one myself. I will show you the power supply later on. You also need to consider the shaft size of the motor. This is important because you need to be able to find a suitable and low cost yet capable gear reduction system for the robot.

I chose to use a 10 to one reduction encapsulated in a planetary arrangement. this gives me great space savings as well as an efficient power out with good torque characteristics. These pictured were found on the internet and brand new cost me 150.00 apiece. Choose wisely when selecting your gear reduction or drive system. I made a mistake when i chose these units they should have been 30 to 1 not 10 to 1 as a result I will need to add a bellows system to help counteract the extra weight to avoid wearing out the motors and burning up the power supply. I will show you how I was able to fix this issue with very little effort though, sometimes you have to roll with the punches to get the job done. My solution was simple yet elegant and effective. I will install the Bellow system once I receive the parts i ordered should be here next week or so.

The last item you need to be aware of when picking a drive system is not only the motor and the transmission but the feedback system needs to be addressed. All robotic mobile systems need feedback otherwise they will not know where they are in relation to a known point, this is key to control of each axis. I have a 5000 count quadrature encoder on each axis this give me with the 10 to one gear reduction over 400000 counts per axis revolution, and as you may know the more resolution you have in your feedback loop the more accurate the robot is going to be. You can see the encoders mounted here in this pic they are located on the end of each motor with the grey cap. Renco makes these encoders.

I am so very, very interested in this bad boy. I would love to build one of these to complement the home shop!
let me know what your budget is once I finish this bad boy and get him tested and ready for the market, perhaps we can build you a custom unit. Let me know. <br> <br> <br>Oh ya and please vote for my robot arm to win the contest the button to vote is at the top of the page.. <br> <br>thanks <br>Warren
Hey Warren can u email me at jpdudley12@Gmail.com I'm 35 and just starting I have few years in college and a disabled vet and wanted someone who might can guide me maybe if u ain't busy I'm fresh so clean slate
Hi Warren, can I buy the kits from you?<br>
Hi Warren, can I buy the kits from you?<br>
Hi Warren, can I buy the kits from you?<br>
Hi Warren, can I buy the kits from you?<br>
wow this is to good for words..... i wish i could make one. <br>you should post this on letsmakerobots.com
Major updates come take a look at this baby now
Wow that thing is incredible!
I am very impressed by this project.
This Instructable is on another level. I'm just now getting into robotics and I can barely get a little toy rover to work properly. I've done some work for a lab in my university machine shop, but nothing remotely comparable to this complexity. Someday I hope to have the resources to get my own milling machine, lathe and laser cutter, but that day is so far in the future it's ludicrous. I will definitely be checking back.
That day will come sooner than you think. just keep your goals on a list place that list where you will see it every day every hour every minute etc. you will find the when opportunities present themselves you will move without even knowing your doing it, towards the accomplishment of your dreams. The complexity is only in the details &quot;I can't see the forest because of the trees&quot; if you break all of this down piece by piece and avoid getting overwhelmed you CAN do complex things. Just take each piece/part as it comes. think in terms of bottom up. one piece at a time. <br> <br>Not too long ago I Was where you are. Just took a positive attitude and a strong work ethic, Oh an no sleep... <br> <br>Warren
Major updates come check them out.
Thank you I am glad you like it.
<br> ABSOLUTELY ! HAVE BEEN IN MANUFACTURING FOR 25 YEARS and <br>I can think of many uses for this, do you think this can drill change tool then tap <br>say up to 1/2 inch. sure would free up the cnc a whole lot, I would talk to the <br>robot from solidworks if possible
even easier than that. for programing. Currently working on a inverse kenemetrics program for solidworks and auto cad to make incorporating into your shop even easier.
yes it could very easily just needs to be slightly modified with stronger gear reduction for the torque. If we were to add a tapping head it would work wonders.
<p>Hi There, I am also interested in a kit, is there anything available?</p>
<p>Dear sir,</p><p>con you tell me the rough estimate and the dimensions that you used for your robot</p>
<p>Wow, great instructables! Any plans for a kickstarter/indiegogo?</p>
<p>I am very impressed by this project how can download it</p>
Very nicely done! I cant wait to see where this will lead me.
<p>Is there any way that this electronic technology can be adapted to control the arm of a backhoe? I will be building a shed and house in 2 years - it would be really helpful to have a &quot;strong arm&quot; that can lift and hold in place, with a greater degree of accuracy.</p>
<p>Well done! I am very interested in the topic of robotic arms. I will be building a garage and possibly a house soon and it would be very useful to have a robotic arm to help me lift heavy things and hold them in place. Can the electronics used to make your robotic arm be applied to a backhoe? </p>
<p>Cool project! Are you still working on this robot arm? Did you ever consider using brushless motors? Someone mentioned those Holmes Revolver S Stubby 520 are good low-rpm high torque motors.</p>
<p>And that was the last anybody had ever heard of poor sparten11.</p><p>The authorities would later be quoted with &quot;maybe mixing the brain control with the robot wasn't the best idea&quot;.</p>
<p>haha , any idea how the project going? it's been many days since he appeared</p>
<p>OMG that's awesome!!!! I could never ever make anything like that!!!</p>
<p>I am a huge fan of robotic, but Mr. Warren this mind control robot arm is way beyond my imagination. Would you please give me some advice how did you get started with electronics and software. I am a machinist but in electronic field i am totally a novice. </p>
Call me if you like...<br><br><br>314 971 4122
Simply fantastic. I&acute;m amazed. Its a incredible instructabe. Thankyou very much for sharing. <br>You told about 7136 aluminium. Where do you got it from ? Is it possible to melt / cast this type of aluminium with a home furnace ? <br>Sorry if I&acute;m dreaming toooo much. <br> <br>And congrats for such a wonderfull work !
<p>Not possible to make at home. This kind of aluminum has a highly controlled chemistry and is specially processed.</p><p>If you are looking for a cheaper option, your best bet is to go with simple cold rolled sheet/plate. It has a lower strength to weight ratio, but your bearing surfaces will last MUCH longer, and you can reduce thicknesses of some sections to still keep the weight only about 30% higher than the aluminum parts (in theory).</p>
<p>what brand motors were these?</p>
Amazing Work.. !! <br> <br>Nothing more to Say.. !!
Are you done with testing this unit yet. i was thinking about a pick and place application i have at work. How much would a robot like this cost if i where to build one for us? i currently have about $6K budget to work with.
Yes I have finished it it runs very well. Cost will be based mainly on resources if you can find the motors snd controlers. Then yes you can build for that or less. I will be making s major update soon once I have time.
Very nice work, got to love the sexy bearings! My friend deals with <a href="http://www.nationaltransmission.ca/manual_transmission.htm" rel="nofollow">bearing and transmission in Calgary</a> and loves working with that kind of stuff. Yours kind of reminds me of some of the things he would make.
that kinda machining and design is crazy....i wish i had your experience. - Mechanical engg grad (Masters in da making...)
Outstanding! I'm relatively new to electrons and automation; however, I can tell that this is an awesome Instructables and an awesome post! Keep up the great work! I look forward to reading more when you get it posted.
Kudos to you! I love what you have done, I wish I had the wonderful shop you have with all those great tools. Of course the best tool you have is imagination and it's sidekick creativity, with these tools you can create anything. Times are truly changing and we must also. What do you think you will be able to sell these for, make a profit, and still make it affordable to the little guy? I love your approach to simplify the programing, move the arm from point A to point B, record the path, repeat to the next point, easy peazy. Now the real fun coming up with solutions to all the applications that will pour-in. Keep-up with all the good work.
What kind of 3d printer did you use?
Go to my web site you can see a video of it there <br> <br>WWW.phantasm1.com <br> <br>
I have a Solido printer <br>
&quot;Please for give any grammatical or spelling errors I am in a rush to finish this project please let me know if you see any&quot;. <br> <br>Ok, lets start with &quot;for give&quot; you have something in favor of giving! <br> <br>You want &quot;forgive&quot;. <br> <br>Great instructable sort of out of the the do it yourself at home project but nevertheless very informative. <br> <br>Ralph
Great post. As per your request, I found a typo - &quot;Pair it down&quot; should be &quot;pare it down&quot; as in whittle it down. <br>fascinated to see what you do with this item. I'm a surgeon and I'm toying with the idea of building an artistic and anatomically accurate copy of the human hand and arm in brass, copper and bone ( beef - when bleached it's a great material to work with) . <br>Ideally, I'd like to motorize it and this seems to be what I've been looking for to do that, but I have to say that it's a big step up for me as my programming skills are rudimentary at best. Still, your exposition's really clear, so who knows.maybe I'll give it a go.... <br>Well done sir. <br>
Thanks for catching all those typo's I just don't have anyone available to help with any kind of peer review here. <br> <br>your arm sound fascinating. send me the specs I will build it for you.. <br> <br>I will get to the errors you found i hope today. <br> <br>please vote for my robot and tell your freinds about it. I need all the help I can get. <br> <br>thanks <br>Warren
it takes a lot of skill and effort to put something like this together and make it work. hope you win. <br> <br>can you please post motor and gearbox part numbers? <br> <br>btw. how is the robot arm behaving so far? it looks cool, and i like the fact that it can fold but will it be stiff enough when end effector encounters side load? <br> <br>and what is the name of the software running on the PC and controlling the arm? <br>
working great. i just received the bellows components over the week end. now to mount them. I have also wired and mounted the second motor control. I will be programing this today and hope to have the motor/arm 3d axis up and running. still waiting on the last two axis parts to arrive. they may take some time. <br> <br>the software I am using is Servo Commander. written by Olly. at HVLABS check it out. also this software works via the controller this is important to understand. that the controller actually is the brains of the particular axis. it controls how the arm get to the commanded position and how it behaves. this is kind of like a neural network. the primary pc only issues the commands. I hope to move all the programing functions to the motor controllers. they more than have enough power to handle the job. <br> <br>as far as programing. none is needed that is the beauty of the system. I build this to be easy enough for a 6th grader to drive and program. I will post further update with a video to show just what i mean in my next update. <br> <br>in the mean time tell you friends to vote for this robot I really need that laser to help me in my work and robotics research. <br> <br> <br> <br> <br>please vote for my project to win. <br> <br>Thanks for the kind words.

About This Instructable


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Bio: Former recon marine, did time in the Navy as well. build robots for a living, engineer as a trade. Inventor, Black belt TKD. battle bots ... More »
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