Stompy, the 18-foot, 2-ton hexapod is ready for production


Over at the Artisan’s Asylum hackerspace in Somerville, MA, something terrifically awesome is happening. They’re building an 18-foot diameter, 2-ton ridable hexapod that can walk over a car. It’s called Project Hexapod and they need your help.

Over the last year or so, the team behind Project Hexapod has developed an amazingly inexpensive hydraulic control system for each of the six legs and created a 1:1 model of the leg fastened to a wheeled cart to get the kinematics down pat. Now, with thousands of pounds of steel already watercut for the legs, they’re turning to the community for a little help with the welding.

The Project Hexapod team estimates they have about 1100 hours of welding time in front of them. They’re looking for a few people around the Boston area that are familiar with steel fabrication and are willing to work on a two-ton robot that can walk over a Volkswagen Beetle.

The guys have put up a little application form if you meet those basic requirements. You can also check out their Facebook page for any announcements and a whole lot of pictures.

Leap motion controls hexapod with hand signals


Moving your hand makes this hexapod dance like a stringless marionette. Okay, so there’s obviously one string which is actually a wire but you know what we mean. The device on the floor is a Leap Motion sensor which is monitoring [Queron Williams’] hand gestures. This is done using a Processing library which leverages the Leap Motion API.

Right now the hand signals only affect pitch, roll, and yaw of the hexapod’s body. But [Queron] does plan to add support for monitoring both hands to add more control. We look at the demo after the break and think this is getting pretty close to the manipulations shown by [Tom Cruise] in Minority Report. Add Google Glass for a Heads Up Display and you could have auxiliary controls rendered on the periphery.

While you’re looking at [Queron’s] project post click on his ‘hexapod’ tag to catch a glimpse the build process for the robot.

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Charlotte, the hexapod with 3D vision


Charlotte’s chassis comes from as a kit, but the stock electronics are based on an Arduino – not something for a robot that needs to run computer vision apps. [Kevin] ended up using a Raspi for the controller and gave Charlotte eyes with an Asus XTION. Edit: or a PrimeSense sensor These sensors are structured light depth cameras just like the kinect, only about smaller, lighter, and have a better color output.

Hardware is only one half of the equation, so [Kevin] tossed the Arduino-based stock electronics and replaced them with a Raspberry Pi. This allowed him to hone his C++ skills and add one very cool peripheral – the XTION depth camera.

To the surprise of many, we’re sure, [Kevin] is running OpenNI on his Raspberry Pi, allowing Charlotte to take readings from her depth camera and keep from colliding into any objects. The Raspberry Pi is overclocked, of course, and the CPU usage is hovering around 90%, but if you’re looking for a project that uses a depth sensor with a Pi, there you go.

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3d printed hexapod robot


This hexapod was made almost entirely via 3d printing (translated). The parts that you need to supply include a few fasteners to make connections, twelve servo motors, and a method of driving them. As you can see in the video after the break, all those parts come together into a little robot that functions quite well. The only thing that we think is missing are some grippy feet to help prevent slipping.

[Hugo] calls the project Bleuette. It is completely open source, with the cad files and source code available on his Github repository. There is additional information in the wiki page of that repo. This gives us a good look at the electronic design. He’s controlling the legs with an Arduino, but it’s all dependent on his own shield which features a PIC 18F452 to take care of the signals used to drive all of the servo motors. The board also has some peripherals to monitor the current draw and regulate the incoming power.

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The Hexapod Hexacopter

Hexapod Hexacopter

Over at Mad Lab Industries, they had the idea of building a quadcopter that could walk and fly. By combining a hexapod with a hexacopter, they ended up with this creation.

The hexapod part started off with PhantomX Hexapod Kit, but it was far too heavy to fly. To reduce weight, they manufactured carbon fibre parts for the frame and legs. Even with the weight reductions, they still needed to six rotors to keep it stable.

The hexacopter part of the build uses more custom carbon fibre parts to mount the motors. The booms and mounts are also custom built out of aluminium. They used six E-Flite motors, propellers, and ESCs to provide lift.

A variety of controllers are used to run the robot. Two Arbotix devices handle the hexapod control, and a Hoverfly flight controller keeps it in the air. It’s controlled remotely using a Spektrum controller.

They have some ambitious next steps, including a mechanism that disconnects and reconnects the hexacopter and the base. After the break, check out a video of this impressive build in action.

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A Hexapod Robot Made from Scrap


Many if not most good hacks come from scrap or unused parts, but this hexapod robot takes it to a new level. [Helmut] wrote in to tell us about his ‘bot built from discarded electronics. As with most of the little walkers that we’ve featured here, this robot features some basic obstacle avoidance with a sensor array on the head unit.

The way the head controls this robot is really the interesting thing about this setup.Rather than send a signal to tell servo motors to walk in a certain gait, the head physically tilts in the direction that it should go. Although it’s somewhat hard to tell, it appears that a driving motor in the head assembly pushes a sort of camshaft down into the body. This is then mechanically coupled to the legs causing it to walk in the correct direction.

Be sure to check out the videos after the break, featuring narration by a computer in English, or by a human in German if you happen to sprechen sie Deutsch. Continue reading “A Hexapod Robot Made from Scrap”

Steam-powered hexapod

This all-mechanical hexapod (translated) was meticulously planned and beautifully constructed. It’s not craning its neck to see what’s ahead. That’s a smoke stack for the steam engine which propels the machine.

Mechanically the legs were the hardest part. That’s only because the steam engine was not built from scratch. It’s a Wilesco D14 which is powered by solid fuel tablets. It puts out high RPM but low power so the gear ratio was set at 286:1 to make the most of its output.

The legs themselves are made of brass rods. These are anchored on one side of a larger gear, with a pivot point that allows the leg to slide vertically. The result is best seen in the clip after the break. As the drive wheel rotates, the pivot point moves the body forward until the foot is lifted by the sliding motion of the rod. It ends up looking more elegant than some of the more dexterous hexapods, but it lacks the ability to turn.

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