Sexy six axis robotic arm is a work of art

We don’t know if it’s a mid-life crisis or just the result of way too many solder fumes, but [sparten11] on Instructables is building one of the coolest robotic arm we’ve ever seen, and we thank him for that.

The build began with a set of brushed DC motors running capable of running on 60 volts at up to 8 amps. These motors were attached rotary encoders that, with the gearing [sparten11] is using, provide 400,000 steps per revolution.Combined with a heavy duty motor controller, [sparten]‘s arm has more than enough power and control for just about any industrial process.

Of course muscles are useless without a skeleton or brain, so [sparten] milled the structural and mechanical members of his arm in his home machine shop. It’s an impressive bit of kit; the base of his robot tested the capacity of his lathe, and the waterjet-cut arms form a graceful skeleton of an absurdly powerful robotic arm. The electronics for the build consist of a Pico PC running Windows XP with servo control board etched from a copper clad board.

The build isn’t quite done yet, but judging from the videos after the break, [sparten] will have a fabulous robotic arm shuffling around his workshop in short order.


  1. Ren says:

    “Of course muscles are useless without a skeleton or brain,”…

    Tell that to a jellyfish, oh wait, they wouldn’t hear it anyway. B^)

  2. K10 says:

    “We don’t know if it’s a mid-life crisis”

    WTH is that supposed to mean ?

  3. Benjamin says:

    When I first saw this article’s head line and spied the pic, I thought wow a cool little robot arm for the top of my desk. And after seeing the footage and pics also reading the whole article on the instructables site, what I’m saying now is “Wow a cool robot arm I can build my desk around!” – yes we thank him!

  4. DainBramage1991 says:

    Very impressive!

  5. Dane says:

    Very awesome. Those are some excellent looking motor controllers,

  6. Mike says:

    Well done. not only practical, but graceful and artistic. Did you use any particular algorithms to smooth out the movement?

    Looking forward to the next video.

    what do you plan to do with this nice bot?

  7. sparten11 says:

    thanks for all the kind words. This arm is going to be used for pick and place as well as helping me cut some of my labor costs to compete with China and the large corp with deep pockets. it will also be used for pouring molten alum once i HAVE all the bugs worked out. I now have 3 full axis up and running and working on the end effector. please vote for my robot to win the instructables contest. I am also adding mind control using an epoc head set. i have it ready to test will be runnning first test on mon.

  8. evilspoons says:

    Looks nice. Do you have any estimates on top speed and payload capabilities? I’m just curious. This looks like fun to have on a desk!

    I work in automation and have personally programmed some ridiculously fast Yaskawa 20 kg robots in a dual-arm welding system and one of my coworkers did a project on a Kuka 500 kg robot that shook the floor when accelerating.

    • sparten11 says:

      It will handle I calculate about 11 kilograms maybe more depends on my end effector. I plan on remoting the end effector drive parts to lessen the weight at the end of the robot arm. this will dramatically increase my payload. speed is very fast, and frankly I am nervous about running at its full speeds. This will be part of future testing though. What you have seen so far is a small fraction of the capabilities. I am now running with Emotive Epoc mind control headset. this is awesome. more to come.

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