[Alejandro] and his friends recently finished a first prototype of scratch-built robotic arm. They’ve got some nice electronics bench equipment for use with a project like this, but for the actual fabrication work it’s off to the kitchen.
As you can see in the video after the break, they’re using PVC as the stock material in this build. Flat sheets are produced by slitting a PVC pipe down the middle, warming it in oven until soft, then compressing it between two floor tiles with a big jug of water used as a weight for the makeshift press. Mounting holes for the servo motors that make up the joints are drilled with a hand drill, and the assembly was affixed to an old CD as a base.
Once assembled they wired it to the control circuitry and build a set of sensors that you wear on your arm. Now your elbow, wrist, and pointer finger are in control of the servos. A demonstration of this functionality starts around two minutes into the video.
We’ve seen other examples of robot arms built without the use of machine tools. This arm made out of ShapeLock plastic is one of the most interesting examples.