Printable Appendage With Two Joints And Integrated Motors

[Kris Reed] developed this robotic appendage as a follow-up to his original prototype. He printed it using Alumide which is a printable material with aluminum dust mixed into it. [Kris’] design utilizes three gear types; large gear, small gear, and worm gear. The motors are mounted on the middle portion of the assembly and offer an elbow and shoulder type of setup that both rotate along the same plane. We’ve got video of the testing after the break. He makes note that the movement is a bit jerky but can be cleaned up with better motor control using PWM.


15 thoughts on “Printable Appendage With Two Joints And Integrated Motors

  1. Things are going to become really interesting once 3D printers are capable of producing full robots. Just imagine what 3D printer viruses of the future would be like, you arrive at the workshop the next day and find a bunch of little robots running around attacking things that move.

  2. I wonder what it would take to take the same lay out and increase the size to something that could support a person? Or better yet a sensor platform. you could use carbon fiber for the frame/appendage and aluminum for the gears.

  3. interesting.
    i still want to see someone “print” a motor, now that would be cool.
    surely it can’t be that hard to print iron dust instead of aluminium dust, then print the conductive layers using silver/graphite and interconnects using the same?
    the conductivity might end up being better than copper if the geometry and density of the particles is right…

  4. @bothersaidpooh you’re going to be waiting awhile for that printed motor. None of the 3D printing systems so far invented have anything like the resolution necessary to print a bearing, nor the ability to print two surfaces that are in contact yet not bonded together.

  5. the problem of increaing complexity is a bit of a problem, but in a developed von neumann universal constructor the robots that “print things” work in concert from a base set with a decent knowledge of its surroundings.

    ostensibly the little guys would go about their work like humans, build tools that build better tools from stuff thats nearby.

  6. >A $1.75 a cc? I’ll pass on that.
    (Does it help that shipping is included?)
    That makes my robot arm cost $16. I suppose one would consider it expensive, compared to a similar mass of injection-molded plastic from walmart. I just think of the hours/days I saved from having to hand fabricate little gears and a housing at a 0.4mm detail level. On top of that, the ability to dream up anything, draw it up on the computer, and have it in your hand in 10-14 days makes it so worth it. There are some tips and techniques (like hollowing out a model, or making holes in large surfaces) that can make even large models affordable. Take a gander through the model gallery or the shops on the Shapeways website to see what can be done, and what it costs.

    Personally I think it could be quite useful in the hacker community where so many projects are one-time, custom-made affairs. A lot of projects could look really slick with a designed assembly base to hold the components in just the right locations without resorting to glue or ducttape, or a project box with precise port holes and an imprinted logo.

  7. No mention of how to break in the gears, I would think that a printed surface would have a high friction.

    If you used a belt (toothed or V-belt) it wouldn’t matter as much.

    Neat idea, it could be used as the assembly case in a lot of projects. Or for prototyping purposes, as this shows.

  8. NEAT, I made a Walking Mech Robo awhile ago that I always wanted to motorize. It was stationary but I think It looked nice on my desk. It was made with the Heaviest Card Stock I could find (110# pound).

    If I where to motorize it I would use one of my Old ZIPZAP Clones (remote control, 6mm pager, finished gearbox, and an actuator for 2 ch.)

    Here is the walking Mech Robot Papercraft on instructables.
    If I where to make it again I might take it to Mail& copy And print it out 2-4X + as big on there heavy glossy big water proof paper.

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