Instructables
Picture of Control an OWI Robotic Arm with Arduino
The OWI Robotic Edge Arm is a cheap and terrific 5-degree-of-freedom robotic arm that just costs $37. It's a great kit to build with a kid and won't take more than a couple hours to finish. Out of the box, it can only be controlled manually with a remote control. You can buy a USB control interface for it, but it's a waste of $27. It just lets you add a series of timed moves, but it's not really scriptable, you can't have it loop and because it just uses timing, there's no reliable repeatability.

What you want is real computer control, with closed-loop feedback for precision. Good news: it's super easy to connect an Arduino board to the OWI arm and let it do all the work! You won't even have to take the OWI arm apart or damage it.

Here's a video showing it in action, under fully autonomous Arduino control:


Here's what you'll need.

1) OWI Robot Edge Arm ($37)
2) An Arduino Uno board ($30)
3) An Adafruit Motor Shield ($19.50)
4) One potentiometer and at least three little trimpots ($5)
5) Some perfboard to mount the pots ($5)
6) Some jumper wires ($6) and pin headers ($7.50)

The total should be around $100. But you may have some of this already, and if not, you'll be able to reuse these boards and other parts for countless other projects.
 
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Hi,

We are from Robofission Labs Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. We have an Arduino Robotic Hand kit for hobbyists. The cost of the DIY kit is Rs 6,000/- or 100USD (including courier charges). The robotic hand can be made PC controlled as well as remote controlled. The kit has all of the items necessary to build an Arduino Robotic Hand. The entire kit can be purchased on ebay.in at the following url

http://www.ebay.in/itm/5-DOF-Arduino-Robotic-Hand-/161469871351?pt=IN_Toys_Games_School_Stuff&hash=item25985ab4f7

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further queries or comments.

Regards

Krishna Bhargava A

Email - info@robofissionlabs.in

Contact - +919845175788

www.robofissionlabs.in

Hi,

We are from Robofission Labs Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. We have an Arduino Robotic Hand kit for hobbyists. The cost of the DIY kit is Rs 6,000/- or 100USD (including courier charges). The robotic hand can be made PC controlled as well as remote controlled. The kit has all of the items necessary to build an Arduino Robotic Hand. The entire kit can be purchased on ebay.in at the following url

http://www.ebay.in/itm/5-DOF-Arduino-Robotic-Hand-/161469871351?pt=IN_Toys_Games_School_Stuff&hash=item25985ab4f7

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further queries or comments.

Regards

Krishna Bhargava A

Email - info@robofissionlabs.in

Contact - +919845175788

www.robofissionlabs.in

Hi,

We are from Robofission Labs Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. We have an Arduino Robotic Hand kit for hobbyists. The cost of the DIY kit is Rs 6,000/- or 100USD (including courier charges). The robotic hand can be made PC controlled as well as remote controlled. The kit has all of the items necessary to build an Arduino Robotic Hand. The entire kit can be purchased on ebay.in at the following url

http://www.ebay.in/itm/5-DOF-Arduino-Robotic-Hand-/161469871351?pt=IN_Toys_Games_School_Stuff&hash=item25985ab4f7

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further queries or comments.

Regards

Krishna Bhargava A

Email - info@robofissionlabs.in

Contact - +919845175788

www.robofissionlabs.in

Hi,

We are from Robofission Labs Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. We have an Arduino Robotic Hand kit for hobbyists. The cost of the DIY kit is Rs 6,000/- or 100USD (including courier charges). The robotic hand can be made PC controlled as well as remote controlled. The kit has all of the items necessary to build an Arduino Robotic Hand. The entire kit can be purchased on ebay.in at the following url

http://www.ebay.in/itm/5-DOF-Arduino-Robotic-Hand-/161469871351?pt=IN_Toys_Games_School_Stuff&hash=item25985ab4f7

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further queries or comments.

Regards

Krishna Bhargava A

Email - info@robofissionlabs.in

Contact - +919845175788

www.robofissionlabs.in

Hi,

We are from Robofission Labs Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. We have an Arduino Robotic Hand kit for hobbyists. The cost of the DIY kit is Rs 6,000/- or 100USD (including courier charges). The robotic hand can be made PC controlled as well as remote controlled. The kit has all of the items necessary to build an Arduino Robotic Hand. The entire kit can be purchased on ebay.in at the following url

http://www.ebay.in/itm/5-DOF-Arduino-Robotic-Hand-/161469871351?pt=IN_Toys_Games_School_Stuff&hash=item25985ab4f7

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further queries or comments.

Regards

Krishna Bhargava A

Email - info@robofissionlabs.in

Contact - +919845175788

www.robofissionlabs.in

Hi,

We are from Robofission Labs Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. We have an Arduino Robotic Hand kit for hobbyists. The cost of the DIY kit is Rs 6,000/- or 100USD (including courier charges). The robotic hand can be made PC controlled as well as remote controlled. The kit has all of the items necessary to build an Arduino Robotic Hand. The entire kit can be purchased on ebay.in at the following url

http://www.ebay.in/itm/5-DOF-Arduino-Robotic-Hand-/161469871351?pt=IN_Toys_Games_School_Stuff&hash=item25985ab4f7

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further queries or comments.

Regards

Krishna Bhargava A

Email - info@robofissionlabs.in

Contact - +919845175788

www.robofissionlabs.in

Hi,

We are from Robofission Labs Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. We have an Arduino Robotic Hand kit for hobbyists. The cost of the DIY kit is Rs 6,000/- or 100USD (including courier charges). The robotic hand can be made PC controlled as well as remote controlled. The kit has all of the items necessary to build an Arduino Robotic Hand. The entire kit can be purchased on ebay.in at the following url

http://www.ebay.in/itm/5-DOF-Arduino-Robotic-Hand-/161469871351?pt=IN_Toys_Games_School_Stuff&hash=item25985ab4f7

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further queries or comments.

Regards

Krishna Bhargava A

Email - info@robofissionlabs.in

Contact - +919845175788

www.robofissionlabs.in

Hi,

We are from Robofission Labs Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. We have an Arduino Robotic Hand kit for hobbyists. The cost of the DIY kit is Rs 6,000/- or 100USD (including courier charges). The robotic hand can be made PC controlled as well as remote controlled. The kit has all of the items necessary to build an Arduino Robotic Hand. The entire kit can be purchased on ebay.in at the following url

http://www.ebay.in/itm/5-DOF-Arduino-Robotic-Hand-/161469871351?pt=IN_Toys_Games_School_Stuff&hash=item25985ab4f7

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further queries or comments.

Regards

Krishna Bhargava A

Email - info@robofissionlabs.in

Contact - +919845175788

www.robofissionlabs.in

Hi,

We are from Robofission Labs Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. We have an Arduino Robotic Hand kit for hobbyists. The cost of the DIY kit is Rs 6,000/- or 100USD (including courier charges). The robotic hand can be made PC controlled as well as remote controlled. The kit has all of the items necessary to build an Arduino Robotic Hand. The entire kit can be purchased on ebay.in at the following url

http://www.ebay.in/itm/5-DOF-Arduino-Robotic-Hand-/161469871351?pt=IN_Toys_Games_School_Stuff&hash=item25985ab4f7

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further queries or comments.

Regards

Krishna Bhargava A

Email - info@robofissionlabs.in

Contact - +919845175788

www.robofissionlabs.in

Datawolf2 years ago
Does a shield exist that would enable the control of the 5 motors ?
I would love to program an arduino for the arm to pick up a light, or something like that.
@Datawolf could u program an arduino for my robotic arm to pick up objects with a gripper.?? plz rply soon
Gasp. I wish I had enough time for my own projects !
Good luck
Unfortunately I didn't found a shield to drive 5 motors.
And even that, I don't have time enough for my own arduino, which is gathering dust in its drawer...

The AVR328P has 6 PWM outputs and 6 Analog inputs (if you don't use the I2C bus), you possibly just want to wire your motor driver yourself instead of using shields.

zlite (author)  Datawolf2 years ago
Datawolf: I don't know of a 5-motor shield, but you can add a single motor shield (stacked) to the Adafruit one to get five total.

Here's one:
http://www.robotshop.com/dfrobot-arduino-compatiable-motor-shield-1.html
froibo zlite2 years ago
Just to clarify, by fingers you are referring to the vise, correct? I have yet to get my arm yet, but I would think it would be disappointing if it was not able to grab anything.
photoace128 months ago

hello, i was wondering how i could do this without paying for all the shields, all i have is an Arduino UNO, a breadboard, wires and the robot arm, is there any idea as to how i can make it work with those components

The simplest is still to use an Arduino Mini/Nano clone (with USB included) that sell for about $2 (shipping included), and plug it into your homemade motor driver (basically, relays activated by transistors), and you're free to design your motor drivers the way you want. That's the base design I use for servos and step motors.

joesinstructables made it!5 months ago

Clever idea. Thanks for sharing it.

image.jpg
Is the link for "potentiometer" is good?? I think it's a trimpots and doesn't match to the potientiometer that you use on photographies. Is the good link is that: http://www.adafruit.com/products/562 ???
very good tutorial for OWI Robotic Arm. I'm looking forward to find tutorials for other robotic arm kits 
WVvan1 year ago
A big THANK YOU for the idea about how to mount the pot to sense position. I've been beating my head for the last couple days trying to figure out a similar problem. I'll be using your design. Much better than what I had in mind. Kudos!
Is it possible to use External DC Power 6v ?
i tried to do it but it going one side only ,
i connected the possiteve signal to the + and the possiteve to GND and -
but it not working .
can help please ????
Hi there, i am just wondering if it would be possible to control the arm without the potentiometer and trim pots? I have got the Arm going with a basic loop BACKWARD, FORWARD , and only one motor at a time (using adafruit DC test) i was hoping to be able to use the serial monitor like you have done as well, is this possible without modification to the arm?
nmered2 years ago
Great instructions! I got a sensor-less version of this set-up running. Now I'm looking to control the fingers. You mentioned adding relays and microswitches to the digital outputs. Do you have any hardware specs on these parts? I'm new to electronics in general and am using this project to get in to the basics.
Check this one out on youtube. The dude attached a freakin' cam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_v7zDarCcM
What voltage do you supply to the motors using this shield? I thought they run on ~3V but the h-bridge you're using seems to have a min of 4.5V. Do the motors seem to cope ok with this?
zlite (author)  Dainbramaged2 years ago
Yes, they're fine with that voltage. The stock OWI kit uses four 1.5v batteries in series, so that's 6v. We're running them at somewhat lower voltage (4.5-5v) out of the shield, but there's no noticeable performance difference.
nhecht zlite2 years ago
Actually, the circuit is set up so that only two of the batteries supply power to a motor at the same time, so the motor only sees 3 V. The circuit's "ground" is the middle of the battery string, which is connected to one side of each motor. The hand controller will connect the other motor pin to the pair above the ground for forward motion, and the other pair for backward motion.

I'm running my own Arduino-controlled OWI arm using a 5V supply for the motors, and it seems to be working fine, for now. We'll see how the motors hold up as time goes on.
What kind of motors are in the arm as-shipped? If they're servos, as I assume, they already have pots in them. I wonder if it's possible to use the existing pots (if they do actually exist) and something like the OpenServo board from Sparkfun (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9014) with the Arduino for control, and avoid the additional wiring. Thoughts?
zlite (author)  dustynrobots3 years ago
Dusty: They're not servos. Just standard toy brushed motors with gears. No pots or any other feedback.
oh okay got it - thanks for clarifying!
I have one but...the motors are two slow.
mrrepel3 years ago
Looks nice ! Still waiting for my robot arm to arrive. Nice coding,i want to use an old PS2 mouse with rotary encoders. I'll use some of your code :)