A Friendly Spiderbot Named Chopsticks


After seeing his fair share of hexapod-style bots on the Internet, [Russell] decided he wanted to build one of his own. One of the downsides to building these robots is the cost. He often saw them constructed from laser cut parts and very expensive servos. Rather than blow hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on the bot, [Russell] decided he could a lightweight bot on the cheap using chopsticks and polymorph modeling plastic.

His octopod robot is aptly called “Chopsticks” and utilizes 28 different servos to control its motions. 24 servos are used for its legs, 3 more are reserved for head movements, while a single additional servo manipulates the robot’s mandibles. The robot’s legs and main structure are composed of chopsticks, while the polymorph is used for feet, servo mounts, and pretty much anywhere else chopsticks just wouldn’t do.

[Russell] even added a set of eye stalks to complete the spider theme, arming them with IR compound eyes for object tracking. The robot is quite interactive as you can see in the video below.

Keep reading to see a video of Chopsticks, or swing by his Let’s Make Robots site if you get a chance – he has a pretty detailed construction journal as well as plenty of videos showing his spider bot in action.


12 thoughts on “A Friendly Spiderbot Named Chopsticks

  1. A cool design idea but 24 servos must cost somewhere in the vicinity of 500 or 700 dollars at least plus electronics it’d be easily 1000 in costs. At that price why shy away from precission cut parts that would only cost an extra 100$?

  2. Nice to see a robot that isn’t just a remote control car with a saw or something else stuck on it. If you’re controlling something with 4 wheels and it can’t do anything autonomously, then it’s not a robot, it’s a radio control car. This was pretty cool.

  3. I think this is a great idea.
    Ive been playing with folded card and plastic card to make legs and joints but nothing would work properly for me. The polymorph and sticks are a great idea to make simple lightweight legs.
    Id like to try this with cheap micro servos.
    That would keep the prices down.


  4. @Hackius: You can get Mystery brand micro servos from DealExtreme for $3 each; they’re actually pretty decent. 24 of those and an Arduino Mega, and you’re still under $200.

  5. If you want extremely light and strong legs or other structures (which also happen to be free) find a sporting goods store that carries (or, ideally, specializes in) archery supplies. Ask them for some broken graphite arrow shafts or off-cuts. If they refuse, just wait for closing time and dive their dumpster ;)

  6. Spider theme? Eye stalks? Ever seen a spider up close?… Eye stalks would fit into a snail theme. Which, by the way, would also explain the speed of this thing ;)
    I wonder why nobody puts rubber feet under the legs of their (Hexa-/) Octopods? Would it jam up the servos? Those things always look like my cat doing one of those turning slides on smooth floors while chasing a rubberband.
    Besides that, great work.

  7. I’ll give him props. As I’m beginning to understand, it’s hard to do all of the following while mounting servos and easy to understand why people fall towards cnc or laser cut parts:

    1. Strong
    2. Cheap
    3. Light (as in weight)
    4. Small (doesn’t restrict servo range)
    5. Removable (no glue holding the servos on)
    6. Decent looking

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