Retrotechtacular: A 1983 walking robot called ODEX-1

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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[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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Meet Stompy, your new robotic overlord

In case you weren’t already depressed about not starting a summer project already, a couple of guys are building a gigantic rideable hexapod they call Stompy.

The project leaders, [Gui Cavalcanti], [Dan Cody], and [James Whong] have worked on a few crazy robotics projects before like PETMAN and BigDog. Stompy won’t be a military-backed project like the others (we sincerely hope), so they’re enlisting the help of fellow makers at Artisan’s Asylum to complete a 15-foot diameter, 1-2 ton rideable hexapod before the end of August.

Right now, the team is still in the planning and preliminary testing stages. So far, they’ve built a 1/2 scale model of one leg to figure out the control systems, and getting the repurposed forklift motor up and running. It may not look like much now, but we’re sure the team is going to have a very fun time building Stompy.

You can check out the updates and progress of Stompy on the Project Hexapod blog