NES game pad guided robotic arm


Instructables user [Bruno] sent in his most recent creation, a robotic arm controlled using an old NES game pad. He scavenged the majority of his parts from a pair of old HP printers, including motors pulleys, belts and more. In fact, most of the metal and plastic components that he used come from the old printer chassis as well. He has included copies of the templates he used when manufacturing both the plastic and metal components, which should come in handy should anyone try to replicate his work.

[Bruno] also included all of the source code for the robotic arm and mentions that the project required two PICs due to pinout requirements. He ultimately decided to use two cheaper models over a single more expensive unit that would have supplied all of the pins he needed. His cost conscious build is impressive and undoubtedly demonstrates just how many old components can be reused in new projects if you really put some thought into it. Great job with this build, keep up the good work!

Be sure to keep reading to see some video of the arm in action.


  1. nes says:

    That’s amazing! The perfect build. Recycled printer parts, the cheapest PICs and a NES gamepad to top it off. Beautiful!

  2. Really great project! I was waiting for him to knock over the blocks at the end!!! :)

  3. zeropointmodule says:

    10/10 for creative recycling.

    I always save dead HP printers if I see them at scavenging yards etc. Get laughed at but try finding those parts elsewhere at any price.

    Its getting hard enough to find them that buying *new* printers just to gut them like the LPF folks were doing with Bluray writers is feasible.

  4. woutervddn says:


  5. joepastafari says:

    anyone else find it odd that he took the time to etch a protoboard? you think he would have etched in some of the traces he needed.

  6. svofski says:

    Very nice! It’s funny though that such an insignificant detail as a NES controller makes a title for a rather sophisticated project.

  7. Bob says:

    Why do you need PICs if it is only manually controlled?

  8. Bob says:

    I miss the analog days.

  9. rasz says:

    @ Bob

    He implemented stepper motor drivers in PICs, otherwise he would have to use $10 stepper driver chips PER motor.

  10. Bob says:

    You can accomplish the same with a cheap H-bridge, a couple of transistors, and a 555 timer. Total cost per motor driver ~$2-3. The benefit is that no programing is required.

  11. Frogz says:

    where’d the x and y buttons come from on a NES pad?

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