Giant Computer-Controlled Robotic Arm Made of Old Cardboard Boxes

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Picture of Giant Computer-Controlled Robotic Arm Made of Old Cardboard Boxes
intro - camera crane photo.jpg
intro - dimension-of-cbrobot.jpg
The Cardboard Robot is a HUGE Computer Controlled Robot Arm With A Reach Just Shy of 6 Feet.  It has two configurations:

1. The Claw – Three fingered claw that enables you to pick up stuffed animals and dirty socks from the floor without having to bend down. The ability to save the path of the arm enables users to take the same moving camera shot with precision and repeat-ability.
2. Camera Crane - Has a smart phone camera attachment to take fantastic sweeping and swooping time lapse and video shots.

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Step 1: Get the Materials:

Picture of Get the Materials:
1. Lots of C-flute cardboard – large moving boxes, refrigerator boxes, etc
2. Some new and very sharp box cutting knives
3. Glue gun or duct tape
4. String
5. Lazy susan from Ikea (for swivel plate on bottom)
6. 1x4 wood
7. 12x12 inch piece of wood (approximate)
8. 3 NEMA stepper motors
9. Motor controller board
10. 3 inch nuts and bolts
11. x8 6mm M3 machine screws to attach stepper motors

Step 2:

Picture of
Download the engineering drawings (password is CBRobot) in pdf format
Take to Staples. 
Print out on a black and white plan printer at 1:1 scale on A0 paper.
Use this as a template to cut out the cardboard and wood pieces.   Hint:  use an awl or knitting needle to transfer the drawings to the cardboard.   Place the paper over the cardboard, and punch holes at the corners and intersections.   Use a box cutter knife and a long straight edge to cut the cardboard.   Before you bend the cardboard, score the cardboard with a dull butter knife.

Step 3: Wooden Base

Picture of Wooden Base
Cut rectangular pieces of wood as per engineering drawings
Align holes of small square with vertical base.   Screw together with 1 5/8 screws.   This creates a stand that is shaped like the letter “L”
Mount turntable with 4 3/4″ screws to the main base FIRST.  If you do not, you will have difficulty attaching the main base to the “L”.
Then connect main base to the “L” using the hole in the main base to access the screws.

jappan4 months ago


pravinwj1 year ago

ya its great

what is the motor?
britantyo2 years ago
could you tell me what is the motor?
kunfufaresi2 years ago
Thanks for this great instructable, this is a very good design and looks very capable, could you tell what the drive pins are made of? Hot glue gun sticks? candles? ..
gbrandt2 years ago
Great!!! Looking forward to adapting this for my students in my introductory to robotics class at Northwest Indian College.
Gilius2 years ago
What is the precision you can get on it?
hviaene2 years ago
This looks fantastic! I want to make it!
Treknology2 years ago
One improvement necessary: Make sure that it drops everything just like a "skill tester".
rickharris2 years ago
Neat :-)
Tomdf2 years ago
First off, this is awesome! Fantastic way to cut down the cost barrier usually involved in something like this.
Second, did you design the CBRobotConsole program yourself? I would really like to learn how to create a very similar program with my own tweaks, but I'm just a novice programmer and am not sure where to even start. Got any quick tips that might point me in the right direction?
M.C. Langer2 years ago
maximaal2 years ago
cool instructable
I will start right now to him too