Intro: Make Your Own 3D Printed Robot
*Update January 2017 - Printabots @ Roboteurs is going to have decreased focus as we focus on our larger robots - Thanks so much for your interest. STL design files are still free to download @ http://roboteurs.com/collections/printabots and you can get our WiFi servo motor driver @ http://roboteurs.com/collections/printabots/products/wifinch-wifi-servo-controller
*Update August 2016* - Printabots has returned! We have new tutorials and our kit here: http://roboteurs.com/products/printabots-maker-kit
*Update June 2016* - You can now go to http://roboteurs.com/pages/design-files to download the STL files for all of our Printabots if you have access to your own 3D Printer
*Update June 2016* - We're designing our own motor driver and board to run the Printabots and we'll update this page as soon as they're ready.
We (Roboteurs) are a startup company in Canada making robots for schools (K-12) as well as university / college.
We've started creating 3D Printed robots that we think will be good for schools that have invested in 3D Printers and are looking for ways to teach with them.
The first model we've made is a 4 axis ARM with a gripper. We have some other designs but will release those later.
Step 1: Go to Www.roboteurs.com and Purchase a Printabots Kit
*Update* - You can now go to http://roboteurs.com/pages/design-files to download the STL files for all of our Printabots if you have access to your own 3D Printer. You can also use your own servos and motor drivers too!
Step 2: Get All Your 3D Printed Parts Together With Motors for Assembly
If you have decided to join us on the adventure of building a Printabot you are in for a fun time. Before we begin you will need to decide which robot you are going to build first. Here is a summary of the robots we have currently.
Arty Bot - Motors x 3 - Difficulty x 1 - Print Time 3 Hours
Funny Feet - Motors x 4 - Difficulty x 2 - Print Time 4.5 Hours
Robot Arm - Motors x 5 - Difficulty x 2 - Print Time 6.5 Hours
QuadraBot - Motors x 8 - Difficulty x 3 - Print Time 9 Hours
If this is your first robotic experience we recommend that you start with either Arty Bot or Funny Feet. Funny Feet is a personal favorite here at Roboteurs, its fun to program it to dance every time someone tweets us.
Step 3: Printing the Robot
This part is going to depend a lot on the type of 3D printer that you have. Each printer is different and uses different software. Most printers are very simple to use, they only concern is how we setup the parts in the 3D printer. For this instructional we are going to use the Robot Arm as an example. So first things first, download the parts you will need here.
Once you have downloaded the parts you will need to import them into the 3D printing software. You will need to check the website for your 3D printer for how to do this. In this example we are printing all the parts at once. If you are still learning about robots and 3D printing you can print one part at a time for practice.
The next thing we need to do is enable support, support is material that is used to hold up overhangs. In the image above you will notice all the support that is being used to hold up parts where they overhang. Almost all 3D printing software will do this for you automatically, just make sure it is turned on. When you are finished its time to send your parts to the printer to print.
Step 4: Assembling Your 3D Printed Robot (Funny Feet)
This is a quick tutorial on how to assemble the Funny Feet Robot. This is a fun robot to build and you will have fun making him walk around and do all kinds of silly things.
For a tutorial on Arty Bot, you can go to our website here: http://roboteurs.com/pages/arty-bot-assembly
Funny Feet Kit Requirements
- 4 servo motors
- 1 body, 2 feet, 2 legs
Step 1 - Mount the first servo on the foot
In this first step we will mount the servo motors to the robot feet. This is done by putting the servo in place and then screwing in the two screws that hold the feet firmly in place.
Step 2 - Have both servos mounted on the feet
Do this for both feet. It's kind of hard for the robot to walk with one foot. We tried and all he can do is tip over [^_^]
Step 3 - Mount servo inside the body
This step is a bit tricky because we have to get some small screws into some tight places. First insert the servo into place. Then put the screw driver through the hole in the top of the body and tighten the screw.
Step 4 - Mount both servos to the body
Do this for both servos. Step 5 - Install the servo swings in the feet
Place the pastic servo swings into the feet. These should just sit there lightley for now, they will be fastened in later with screws. These platic parts are designed to lock onto the servo motor.
Step 6 - Attach the feet to the body
Install the feet to the servos you mounted on the body in step 4. A small screw holds the feet in place, you may now be able to move the leg around.
Step 7 - Place plastic servo swings on the legs
Now we will mount the servo swings on the other side of the leg in the same way as step 5. These will be used to hold the servos in place. You can cut the ends of the swings if you want for a cleaner look.
Step 8 - Install the feet
Last step! Press the feet onto the plastic servo swings, then use the small screw to fasten them together. Finished Arty Bot
- Check that all servo are turned to the zero position before assembling any robot
- If your 3D printer is over extruding the parts may not fit together well. You can file off extra material to make things fit. Or just be creative!
- If your parts broke when you where assembling try printing with a higher density or gluing them back together (super glue works great!)
Step 5: Getting Started With WiFinch & Printabots
With Printabots you can use your own servos and also your own motor driver if you've got one.
The WiFinch servo controller (http://roboteurs.com/collections/wifinch/products/wifinch-wifi-servo-controller) comes pre-loaded with a program that allows you to easily control servos over WiFi. The board creates its own network and can be connected to a phone, tablet or PC. Before we start controlling anything, we need to setup some hardware first.
Adding Power and a Servo to the WiFinch
When you open up your WiFinch board it already has a program on it waiting to control servos. All you need to do is add power and a servo. The power can come from a number of different sources.
- 3 or 4 AA Batteries (School safe option)
- A 1C, 2C, or 3C Lithium Ion Battery
- A wall power supply (5v - 14v DC)
- Even a car battery will work
The power can be connected to the black terminal blocks on the WiFinch board. Make sure the power is connected in the right direction. Usually black goes to the negative and red goes to positive.
Once the power is connected you can test power the board by flipping the toggle switch. A red light should come on. This indicates that everything is wired up correctly. Once the power has been added its time to connect some servos. The WiFinch is compatible with almost all digital type servos.
Servo wires come in all kinds of different colors. As you can see above the first two servos I grabbed out of the box are completely different. Usually the darkest wire represents ground. This wire needs to be towards the outside of the board. If you hook it up wrong it wont hurt anything so just turn it around. Now you can power on the board.
Controlling Servos over WiFi from the app
To control the servos we need to install the WiFinch controller first. Unfortunately its not available in the playstore yet but you can download it from this link
With the board powered on, first we need to connect to the network that is created by the WiFinch board. Go to your WiFi settings and look for the network (WiFinch).
- The default network password is 12345678
Once you are connected to the network you can open up the WiFinch Controller app. On the start screen you will see an IP address and a Port. These numbers are the information your device needs to find the WiFinch controller on the new network. You wont need to change them so just click Connect!. A blue light on your board should turn on if you successfully connected. Now you can go to the servo page and start controlling servos!
The Sliders that are on the WiFinch servo control page control the servo over 180 degrees. You can control more than one servo at a time, and the App is multi-touch! You can also connect ESC motor controllers to drive a remote control car or some other moving device.