MakerFaire K.C.: Hexy, the $200 hexapod project

I’ve always loved hexapods. Unfortunately, the cost to play with them can be rather daunting. Hexy is seeking to make a decent impact on that by being only $200. Yep, that $200 includes everything but the computer. You get the entire chassis, micro controller, servos, sensors, batteries, etc.

I ran into [Joe] from arcbotics showing off a hexy at the maker faire and had a few moments to check it out. He showed off some slick motion and explained some future upgrades. It looks like they are intending to go to metal gears in the commercial version which might push the cost to around $250. At this cost, this robot is comparable to the Lego NXT systems.

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Cheap wooden hexapod frame greatly reduces cost

[Balline] really wanted to play with a hexapod but found the cost to be prohibitive. Being a mechanical engineer, he was able to fairly quickly come up with a stable 3 servo design that would allow him to experiment with the platform. He chose to use wood as the construction material to help reduce costs even more.  As you can see in the video after the break, his design gets around fairly well.  His cost for the whole thing, including the 3 servos, the basic stamp hobby board, the recycled batteries, and the frame, was under $100.

This is a great system to start with, though he unfairly compares the cost to the dancing ones he had seen in the past. C’mon, your bot ain’t no [Lou Vega]. It is still pretty cool though.

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[Jaimie’s] Giant Hexapod project

Warning, this may be a duplicate post. We all agree we’ve seen this before, but can’t find it in our archive. If it is, sorry. If it isn’t enjoy one of the most awesome projects we’ve seen in a long time.

Meet [Jaimie Mantzel] an eccentric, and very hyper, individual. He’s done many projects, but this one in particular stands out as being quite ambitious. [Jaimie] is building a giant hexapodal walker that he can ride in. Dubbed simply “Giant Robot”, the 12 foot tall and 18 foot wide robot began construction in 2007. This individual is so full of energy, you’ll get tired just watching his videos. We’ve included, below, his introduction video as well as the video where his giant robot takes its first steps. Note that there are 67 videos of the build process. Unfortunately, as of the last video in January 2011, the robot is unfinished.

Don’t worry though, we know [Jaimie] is still alive. We saw him recently coming up with cool toy ideas.

If this has left you with an insatiable craving for a video of a fully functional giant walking hexapod octopod, don’t forget about mondo spider.

[Thanks Kamil]

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Cardboard hexapod gets around with three motors

Here’s a lesson in doing a lot with very little. [Oldrobot] built this hexapod using cardboard for most of the pieces. He still had the box from his vacuum clear and it just happened to have a large black area the makes the top of the beetle look like it’s been painted.

The control board is from an old radio controlled airplane. Since RC airplanes used servos for flight control, it was a snap to hook up the three that make the bug go. One controls the set of middle legs which lift the body and change which of the propulsion legs are in contact with the ground. The other two servers move pairs of the front or back legs. It uses the same concept as this other RC controller hexapod, but much less time went into crafting the chassis and legs.

As you can see in the video after the break, the control scheme isn’t the most intuitive. But once you get a hang of which stick orientation affects each leg movement the bot ends up having fairly precise steering.

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Morphing hexapod has us drooling

morphex_morphing_hexabot

Hexapod robots seem to be a dime a dozen lately, but we think you will be hard pressed to not be wowed by [Zenta’s] latest creation. He’s built a bunch of hex and octopods before, but hasn’t tried building anything quite like this.

His MorpHex bot might look like your standard hexapod, but once it gets moving, you can see that it’s quite unique. Utilizing over 25 servos driven by a single ARC-32 controller, MorpHex moves in smooth, fluid-like motions, making it almost seem like it’s alive. The inner portion of the body can fan out, extending the overall length of the bot, though it’s more meant to allow the bot to morph into a ball and back, rather than increase its size.

In the teaser video below, you can see MorpHex in action, with its parts flowing together more like a jellyfish than any sort of land animal. While [Zenta] is continuing to work on MorpHex’s sphere-morphing capabilities, we think it would make for an awesome and creepy spiderbot!

[Thanks, weaz]

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An “Earthcore” Hexapod with Minimal Mechanical Parts

Although hexapod robots have been featured on [HAD] many times, this one features a really cool minimalistic design. With few mechanical parts to support the three servos, the “Earthcore Hexapod Robot” has a unique gait, tending to quickly slide the driving legs rather than picking the whole robot up. Although it would probably have trouble on rough terrain, for use on a smooth floor or counter, this ‘bot is perfectly suited.  Check out the video of it after the break.

Another thing that really stands out on this bot is the blue LED “eyes” and it’s tubing “hat.”  The “hat” hides the wiring for the three servos, while most of the circuitry looks to be in between the eyes. The main controller is a PICAXE 18M2 micro-controller. 3 AAA batteries seen behind the tubing power the unit.

As for the name “Earthcore”, it’s based on a book by [Scott Sigler]. If there is a movie version in the works, we hope he calls [onefivefour] to help with the special effects! Continue reading “An “Earthcore” Hexapod with Minimal Mechanical Parts”

Obstacle avoiding hexapod from reused parts

 

[Rob] built this hexapod one day when he had some free time after work. Just like the last hexapod we saw, he based the build on the Pololu design which uses three servo motors for surprisingly reliable movement.

The hardware is very straight forward. A Dorkboard serves as the brain. It’s a PCB that is wider on each side by the width of one female pin-header than a standard AVR 28-pin microcontroller. This gives easy access to all of the pins on the Arduino chip while making it small and light. You can see that a four-pack of batteries hangs below the servo motors to provide power.

Protruding above the 6-legger is a PING ultrasonic rangefinder. This adds autonomy to the little robot, which you can see running some obstacle avoidance routines in the video after the break. We’ve asked [Rob] if is able to share his code and will update this post if we hear back from him.

Update: Here’s a link to the sketch, and we’ve updated the picture with one that [Rob] sent to us.

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