Hello all. Recently I have been working on a lot of robotic design and simulation at work. I needed a method of taking my work home with me, and seeing as I can’t carry a large six axis arm home in my briefcase; a solution had to be found. The following set of instructions is my initial design for a small three axis robot that can be used for simulation, small tasks, or just looking cool. This project uses a regular microcontroller, some small stepper motors, and some transistors. This project does not require any advanced equipment or in depth knowledge in robotics, all you need are some basic tools and a bit of work ethic.
The robot featured in the above picture is our final product. It is capable of rotating on three separate axis; rotation about its base, rotation at the base of the first arm, and rotation at the base of the second arm link. There are two levels of this robot, the first has a very basic controller, the second has a wireless controller and some more advanced controls. We will begin with the first design and then once that is finished it can be easily upgraded to the wireless version. The six buttons on the breadboard are use to control which joint is moving and in what direction is it moving. The robot can also be controlled using something called R-code. This code is similar to G-code for CNC, you specify which joint you are moving, the direction, and at what speed it is to move. This code is entered on the computer through a windows application included in these instructions.
So if I have captured your interest (which i hope i have) then I suggest you make every attempt to follow this Instructable and build this robot. Not only will you be able to automate the boring tasks in life but you will also emerge with a greater understanding of micro-Controllers and robotics.
There are several items that you will need to build this robot. All of them can be obtained at either a hardware store or some electronics supplier online.
3 -Small Gear head Steppers – Robot Shop – 6.99$
2 Square feet of plexi glass – salvaged
Bread board and electrical components - Digikey – 15.00$
16F877A controller - DigiKey – 5.00$
USB RS232 adapter – Ebay – 2.99$
Some screws - Anywhere
Netbook – Priceless
Wire strippers and needle nose pliers (always a must)
P.I.C. Programmer (Cana Kit is excellent)
Scroll saw or something to cut plexi or hard board (even an exacto knife if you are carful)
Wood glue and epoxy
Printer or a pencil and ruler
Drill (Doesn’t have to be a drill press, could be an old hand drill)
The details of the circuit work will be outlined in the circuit assembly section.