[Easton’s] robot arm takes 2nd place in the International Science and Engineering Fair

Here we see [Easton LaChappelle] getting a congratulatory handshake from the robotic arm he built. This project is aimed at human prosthetics, and we’re happy to report that [Easton] won second place in Electrical and Mechanical engineering division of this year’s International Science and Engineering Fair (PDF listing the winners).

In the video he gives us a great look of the state of the project. Since we checked in with him last he’s added a body for the arm to mount to. The arm now has shoulder movement, which uses geared DC motors along with some potentiometers for orientation feedback. For the elbow he wanted to have the same setup but ran into trouble mounting the potentiometer. His solution was to use some shapelock to mold a bracket (shapelock is the plastic you melt in water to form any shape). In addition to the aforementioned joints, the wrist, fingers, and hand have all seen improvements in how they are supported and in their performance.

We think this is amazing work for anyone, especially a 16-year-old High School student. Great job [Easton]!

13 thoughts on “[Easton’s] robot arm takes 2nd place in the International Science and Engineering Fair

  1. That’s pretty damned cool. I didn’t know it was so easy to program for controlling a DC motor with position feedback.

    As an aside: there’s so many different suppliers out there, it might be time to start calling it by its generic ‘Polycaprolactone’ or ‘PCL’ instead of ‘Shapelock’.

    I’ve got a big plastic jar of the raw pellets, didn’t even have a brand.

      1. Sounds like a great idea, and the more code samples the better! :D

        Sad thing about the constant march of technology; nowadays lots of things we used to count on for salvaging steppers from, use DC motors with some manner of feedback instead. Like printers (Even fairly high-end ones) using DC motors and optical encoders!

      2. I call that tutorial haha! But DC are way cheaper and for the right things like my arm they worked really well. Steppers would heat up way fast be noisy and be a lot harder to drive. Again they are way way way cheaper and you get way more torque.

      3. I call making that tutorial! haha but yeah for my case DC’s worked awesome! They are way way cheaper and easier to drive than steppers. With the ones i have i got an insane amount of torque for cheap. Steppers are noisy and heat up like crazy and are harder to drive in some cases. For smaller things i love them but i had to look around for a bit to find the right kind of motor to use.

  2. This is amazing!! Easton you are so smart you have so much going for you! Email me sometime I would like to met up with you and talk about all this

  3. I think you should put a delay after you push the button so you don’t have to jump out of the way. I love the idea of putting a pot on the DC motor.

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