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”

Retrotechtacular: A 1983 walking robot called ODEX-1


ODEX-1 is called the first commercial walking robot in this video from 1983. Of course you will quickly recognize this as a hexapod. It’s hard to get over the fact that what was so advanced at the time can now be built at home relatively inexpensively.

As with most of these retrotectacular posts the presentation is a big part of the fun. The audio track right at the beginning of the video expresses the shock at seeing such an advanced robot walking through the building (it’s coming right for us?!). The trends in engineer garb are also on display. ODEX-1 is being heralded as the solution to mechanized travel in an environment full of ladders and stairways. Apparently it can get traverse the stairs, but you’d better be ready to wait a while for it to get anywhere. See for yourself in the video after the break.

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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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A Large Hexapod Made of Wood and PVC Pipe

pvc hexapod rc tests with Evie the dog

Although not the biggest hexapod walker we’ve seen by any means, this one is nonetheless worth a mention. Made with windshield wiper motors, PVC pipe, and lots of wood, it’s still a good size ‘bot. It’s a work in progress, but check out the video of it’s legs being tested as well as one of it’s preliminary assembly after the break.

Control is similar to this little hexapod that we’ve featured before in the the front and back legs are driven by a motor and linked together using threaded rod.  In this case though, the rod is 1/4 – 20, much larger than the 4-40 rod used by it’s little predecessor. Also unlike little PegLeg, the middle legs are independently actuated, not linked together. This should allow for some different modes of locomotion.

Different modes of locomotion, that is, if it’s able to walk. Although able to pick itself up, the middle legs are barely strong enough to support the large battery and powerful, but heavy, automotive motors. This is an introductory post to this project, and everything will hopefully be worked out and explained in time. Be sure to check back and see how this robot progresses, and the details of the different elements of this ‘bot. Continue reading “A Large Hexapod Made of Wood and PVC Pipe”

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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