Fidget Pyramid with Help From a 2500 Pound Robot

Depending on whom you ask, fidgeting is an unsightly habit or a necessity for free-form ideation. Fan of the latter hypothesis? Well, why aren’t you making yourself a fidget pyramid?

[lignum] sculpted his fidget toy out of a chunk of 2000 year old bog-oak using hand tools and a little precision help from a Kuka KR 150 industrial robot arm. A push button, a toggle switch, a ball-bearing, and a smooth side provide mindless distraction on this piece.

Two plates of 1.5mm aluminium — also cut using the robot arm — are used to attach the button and toggle to the tetrahedron, while the ball bearing is pushed onto a cylindrical protrusion left during the cutting process for the purpose. The build video makes it look easy.

Inspired? Here’s the thing, you could make your own fidget toy from any number of spare parts or gadgets you may have around the shop if aimlessly twirling wires isn’t cutting it anymore. If you stick with [lignum]’s design, it may help you code like an Egypian.

[Thanks for the tip, nbmoretto!]

17 thoughts on “Fidget Pyramid with Help From a 2500 Pound Robot

  1. >” The build video makes it look easy.”

    To me it makes it look incredibly complicated and time-consuming just to cut a pyramid with a tab.

    I would cut the pyramid on a compound miter saw, or make a simple box jig to cut it by hand because theres really only one angle you need. Instead of leaving a tab, you’d drill a hole and glue in a dowel, and the aluminium insets are just a few minutes of work with a chisel.

    1. Yeah I don’t see the hack here. Unless it’s “guy with limited fabrication skills uses sophisticated robot arm to produce wooden pyramid”. I agree the finished product looks easy, his method of construction seems anything but easy.

      1. I watched all the videos from their channel and to my untrained eye they look like skilled craftsmen. Although I agree that the arm is way overkill for this, it would have been way simpler to just do it by hand.

      1. I did it like this because I didn’t have that small milling bit measured up in tool database and I haven’t mastered axes for a few months now (I really should do it more often). Also, pyramid is quite small and I would have to prepare a higher platform for it because without it, spindle motor and holder would hit the table when working at angle on at least one side. So i figured it would be faster just to avoid mastering, tool measuring and making a platform (I really didn’t feel like doing it all). Instead just glue it up, use 2 and a half axes machining and rotate the part.

    1. His cam software may be limiting him to 3 axis.. It’s very complex to export to a 4+ axis machine. Even after the tool paths are generated, exporting to a machine can be one hell of a task.

    2. Back in toe 1970’s I had a toy called ‘Space Fidgit’ (google it).
      A super cool thingy that had liquid crystal in it (I think) and you pressed the back to make all sorts of oily patterns, just like in 1960s music clips.
      It stopped working after I left it in the sun one day, and it went black :(

  2. Personally, I am not a huge fan of seeing him use a robot arm for this. It’s very much the wrong tool, considering it’s supposedly a “Light alloy frame” robot, which means there’s little to damp the vibrations from the milling head other than applying further servo power or brakes (Thus wearing out whichever you use at an accelerated rate). A proper CNC tool would be designed with less axis stacking to increase rigidity (X,Y,A table, and Z,B tilt spindle is one config, although Haas machines tend towards XYAB and Z on the spindle.), as well as using something beyond hot-snot to hold the part to the table.

    I’m also bothered by this guy having multiple robot arms, and not even a simple benchtop belt/disc sander. Both the sanders he uses on the video are hand models, he doesn’t appear to have a proper light curtain or barrier around the working envelopes of the robots, and there doesn’t look to be positive retention on the spindle motor lengthwise. At least he has an actual collet for the endmills.

    This guy has cool toys, and obviously knows how to use them, but I saw very little demonstration of practical basic woodworking skills in this video.

    1. ” he doesn’t appear to have a proper light curtain or barrier around the working envelopes of the robots”

      Care to place a bet on whether he’s been struck by the arm yet? It’s only a matter of time, let’s hope it doesn’t badly injure him when it happens…

  3. There should be a contest based on this, make a pyramid in the most complex and/or expensive way possible, and post a video.
    It could be a worldwide university challenge.

    Winner gets to run their government or city for a day ;)

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