€20 Robot Arm Controlled by Arduino




In this intrsuctable I am going to show you how to make a simple robot arm. The credits for the robot arm goes to this guy: www.instructables.com/id/EEZYbotARM/ There you can see how to assemble the robot arm, unfortunaly he uses a €25,- polulu driver to control his robot arm wich makes it very expensive. I am going to show you how to control this thing with an arduino and some joysticks. To control the arm I am using some cheap joysticks from aliexpress, the part list wil be shown in step 1.

Step 1: Getting the Parts

To make this robot arm you need some parts:

  • arduino, you can get them dirt cheap from http://goo.gl/q8HIXZ
  • arduino shied: http://goo.gl/68BXPz
  • 4 servo's: I chose metal geared oned because the are much more sturdier than pastic ones but also 3 times as expenive http://goo.gl/zm9KoY BE AWARE!! these are fake tower pro's, they work but are not as good as the real tower pro's.
  • 2 joysticks: http://goo.gl/w34Tzm.
  • LED, just for fancy lighting, you can find them everywhere and they are really cheap
  • battery box for 4 battery's, or some other 5v power source. (usb power is too weak!!)
  • electrical wires
  • all the 3d printed parts
  • small plate of triplex, around 35/15 cm to mount the whole thing on.

You can find the 3d files down below in the .zip file

And those are all the parts you have to buy. the total cost of all these parts are around ‎€20,-. If you don't have a 3d printer you can use one from a friend or something. Or you can search for a fablab near the place you live, I printed my parts at the fablab in Rotterdam. If you are a student they only charge you for the materials you use.

Of course you also need some tools. I recommend having at least a screwdriver and a sharp knive, these are essential for making this project. A rotary tool would also come in handy as you can use it so smoothen the objects you printed. If you have a 3d printer yourself you can ofcourse use it for printing your own parts. Here is a list of all the tools you need:

  • Screwdriver
  • knive
  • rotary tool
  • superglue
  • 3d printer
  • lasercutter (optional, I only used it for cutting the wood for the little control box)

Here is also a MoSCow list for this project (completely useless but I am still making one, because school u know ;-)) For the people who don't know what MoSCoW is: it's a way of sorting things in order of importance, company's use this method for planning large projects in a very short period of time.

Must have:

To make this project, you have to make atleast the arm with all the servo's. This is nessesarily to even make a robot arm

Should have:

To control the servo's and thus making the robot arm do things, you must get a arduino. If you don't mind spending €25,- on a motor driver you should consider getting a polullu driver. With this driver you can directly connect the arm to you pc via usb, and control them with the included software. Of course this is not as cool as coding everything yourself, but if you're not into coding, this is a great alternative to consider.

If you decide to go the hardcore way, you should also buy an arduino to control the servo's.

Could have:

without some sort of button thingy you can't physically control the robot arm, I recommended buying 2 simple joysticks to control the whole thing.

Would have:

A very awesome feature would be some spotlight on the arm. you can simply program that with the unused button of the joysticks (the push button).

Step 2: Assembling

Most of the assembling is shown in this https://www.instructables.com/id/EEZYbotARM/. A little tip: the guy used some sort of brass pipe to make the lower hinge. If you can't find such a tube, you can also use u screw with a sawed off head. Make sure the tube is around 26 mm long.

Next on the list is the little box for all the electronics. On the bottom you have the arduino, on top of that the shield. I planned on making the battery box inside the case, but it would look very bulky and you can't replace the battery's that easy. I also cut out some holes where the usb cable goes into the arduino, and where the power lines and the servo wires come out. I added some fancy instructions on top of the case. You can find the plans for the case down below.

Step 3: Coding

I added a lot of comments in the code, so everything is explained in the code.

Step 4: You Did It!!

You did it!! you made your first(?) robot arm. Let me know in the comments if there are any questions or improvements. And if you made it, show us the pictures we'd love to see them!!!



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13 Discussions


1 year ago

This code isn't very well documented .... for instance which servo is which? What does Vservo even mean?


3 years ago

What shield did you use? I didnt see it in the fritzig drawing. Also, what did you use to power the arm?

4 replies

Reply 3 years ago

sensor shield v5.0, link is in the part list. To power the whole thing I used a battery block with 4 AA battery's I connected them directly to the shield. I recommend using 5 battery's because 4 don't deliver enough power.


Reply 3 years ago

Thanks. Do you have a drawing of the connections to the sensor shield? I ordered the board and am excited to make this work.


Reply 3 years ago

Sure, I will make a drawing of all the connections to the sensor shield. I will add them to the instructable


Reply 2 years ago

Hi! Can ask You for drawing how to connect all staff with shield ? It's will be very helpful :)


3 years ago

Do I have to use exact same type servos or any similar size would fit into the 3rd printed parts?


Reply 3 years ago

Wow that's awesome! Did you program the app yourself?


Reply 3 years ago

I use MIT app inventor mainly for making custom calculation app that I use for work. Unfortunately I do not have a deep knwledge of arduino so I follow a great tutorial here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiKDHbBrFrU&feature=youtu.be