InMoov: A 3d Printed Animatronic Hand You Can Download

[Hairygael] has been hard at work designing and building this robot structure that can be completely 3d printed. He’s admittedly not a big electronics person, so most of his focus has been on the design and construction of the bot frame. So far, he as a fully 3d printable (and available for download) hand that you can see in action after the break. Once printed, you’ll have to drill it for your own servos and add your own control system.

You can see the action is quite nice and sturdy in the video. [Hairygael] laments his lack of electronics knowledge when you see him hit roadblocks like multiple finger control. But, just as he points out in the video, we’re positive that some of you who are more familiar with that end of things will undoubtedly make this work well.

[via HackedGadgets]

20 thoughts on “InMoov: A 3d Printed Animatronic Hand You Can Download

  1. Excellent work. Keyboards usually can only press 1-2 keys at once due to their nature. Maybe he could map a closed hand grip to one key, and release grip to another key. Wish I had a 3D printer!

    1. This is due to the silicone pad tech used in most keyboards. Mechanical keyboards can pretty much take unlimited amount of keypresses. I have one, here’s a sample: fdasgj. Mine can take 6 characters at once due to it being connected by USB. If it was connected via PS/2 then it could take much more.

      1. i use an ancient silicone pad ps/2 keyboard because i like how it feels asdfghjkl; < was one keypress. did not realise modern keyboards had this limitation, good to know, and just convinced me to hang on to this ancient keyboard a little longer :)

  2. Howard: It’s a robot arm.
    Nurse: Where’s the rest of the robot?
    Howard: I only built the arm.
    Nurse: Because that’s all you needed, right?

    Nice work on the design man! :)

  3. very nice!

    my keyboard cant repeat 2 or 3 keys at the same time either.. perhaps it would be easier to control it using a visual interface with the mouse or whit some electrodes connected to your arm?

  4. Excellent work, and I suspect clones of this are going to start popping up like dandelions, even if you never upload your 3D files. Speaking of which, I didn’t see a link to the files…

    What a beautiful hand! It’s similar to a number of prototype robot hands, and needs a couple of major and minor tweaks to be commercially viable, but this is absolutely excellent work.

    And it photographs very, very well. Fluorescent lights and white plastic – I am so inspired.

    You just showed the world it can be done cheaply with style. Your arm isn’t going to swing a hammer or cook a meal any time soon, but you deserve a medal, or at the very least a huge collective pat on the back for this thing.
    Dean Kamen, look out!

  5. I’ve also been working on trying to 3d-print hands, that I’ve made available at

    The Mk2 is fully 3d printed with all the hinges printed in place. Only the tendons need to be added.
    I’ve put the Mk1 prototype on thingiverse at

    I’m working on crowdfunding my Mk3 hand. Also I’m going to make the covering open so that anyone can design their own version and use their own printer to make one. Hopefully 3d printing electronics will move along alot in the next couple of years so that coverings with sensors will become possible!

    1. When I was a kid, I built a wooden hand and arm that used dental floss and drinking straws for the tendons. It only had three fingers, and the wrist didn’t rotate, the forearm did. I didn’t understand torque or leverage at the time and so my crappy robot could only pick up empty boxes and cans.

      Let me show you the state of the art at the time:

      This wasn’t that much like mine, as I was trying to build something that sorta looked like R2D2 out of an orange crate and all the junked B-52 parts I could lay hands on. I have no pictures (I regret this, but no one else found my science hobbies to be interesting or worthy of film), but it was pretty crude. I didn’t even know what a timer circuit was, and I didn’t even know there were hobbyists that did things like this.

      Plans for light seeking robot bugs were available in hobbyist magazines, so the designs were all pretty simple – relays, cadmium photo cells, and whatever else you could find to rig up motors to respond.

      Many potentially valuable toy trains died to provide motion, and the erector set was never quite the same again. I had a solar cell that I somehow assumed would magically charge the 6V lantern batteries that drove it. It did not.

      A mate of mine actually built his own switches out of copper wire and nails, which led to feelings of inadequacy, even though I’d just figured out how to reverse polarity with a dpdt switch on my own!

      So basically, it could just move forward and back, and the arm could raise, rotate ~90 degrees and open and close. It was slow, and absolutely awful. It couldn’t even turn.

      No one was impressed, but I was 8 and still daydreamed that I was building a robot that would be able to clean my room. Eventually some neighborhood kids deliberately pushed it over and broke it, and I moved on to dreaming of building space suits,life support systems and rockets.

      It’s easy to sit on these pages and talk about the past, and live vicariously through other people’s projects, but seeing this inspires me to believe that I really should try to build a couple of robot arm mechanisms along human prosthetic lines. I actually have a base platform already, gathering dust.

      Part of me wants to nitpick over all the little details and flaws that should be addressed in your prototypes, but at the same time – it’s just so damn cool that you put this together.

      I hope that Mark XXI will be able to make omelets hand wash socks. Cause it’s totally on!

      1. PS – “available in hobbyist magazines”, I wish to reiterate that I did not see any of these magazines until I was 12. All I read were library books and Comics… It didn’t even occur to me that one might find books about electronics in the library, or that I might ask an adult about how to go about all of this.

        Had the internet been available, I have no doubt that my interests would have turned from Robots and space to youtube, 4chan and WOW within days. I think I dodged a bullet there…

    1. That looks very cool. Your approach to community and the electronics are very similar to mine, although I’m approaching it from a 3d printing approach. Hope your kickstarter campaign goes well.

  6. Hello all, I didn’t post this article on “hack a day”, but just happened to stumble on it through google. But if you feel like following the progress of my work, go to:
    And thanks for all the nice comments and amazing stories about robots.

  7. I can help you contact me asap. check out my 6 axis arm here

    I have software and servo controls that will solve your problems.

    I also ave a solido 3d printer. I am going to build this arm and a left one and then a leg or two. you have inspired me to build a complete robot via my 3d printer and to mass produce it.

    I also have just ordered a Emotiv mind control head set this will allow me to program the arm so a soldier whom has lost one can control via this headset and have a much cheaper solution


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