This Home-Made 6-Axis Robotic Arm Is Quite The Looker

With a background in software engineering, [Kris Temmerman] decided to make a physical demonstration of his knowledge in the form of a six axis robotic arm… the final product is a delicious display of mechanical eye candy.

Built from mostly aluminum stock, [Kris] machined the bulk of his parts with a CNC mill which he picked up for cheap from China. These custom pieces coupled with some hefty stepper motors ensure the arm’s accuracy as it twists freely and slides along the gantry it’s mounted to. Though the majority of the arm is metal, the hand at the end of his robot was built with 3D printed parts and can be switched out with the future attachments [Kris] plans to design. This classic gripper piece is driven separately with its own Arduino brain controlling the individual servos in the fingers. loadcels

Each finger includes some load bearing sensors which [Kris] harvested from an old scale so that the gripper can tell whether or not it has a hold of an object without crushing it. To orchestrate the robot’s movement, he wrote some nice looking software in C++ which visualizes the inverse kinematics at work in each point of articulation. For the sake of demonstrating his creation in action, he whipped up a basic demo that can locate and move colored blocks laid at random on a surface. A small camera mounted on the hand determines the orientation of the blocks relative to the machine so that the wrist can rotate itself in the proper alignment in order to pick them up.

[Kris] documented the build of his robot in a fascinating speed video which includes footage of the finished arm in action at the end:

41 thoughts on “This Home-Made 6-Axis Robotic Arm Is Quite The Looker

    1. So true, it seems like people are afraid of closing the loop. Granted it adds a layer of complexity but considering how complex this system already is its a minor overhead for significant reliability and control gains.

    2. even amongst my fellow control engineering students, i see a tendency to shy away from closing loops, which basically undermindes the entire purpose of calling it CONTROL engineering.

      my unique perspecctive comes due to the fact that because of personal reasons, i have not finished my studies in the usual time, and i am currently repeating my last 2 semesters for the third dime in the row.

      this allows me to notice trends across generations….

      there will be fewer and fewer people that will know how to tune simple long-tim-constant PID loops, let alone robot overlords.

      1. Hi,
        I too am a EE, whose grasp on closed loop control theory is very weak, how do you recommend I go about getting a better understanding of this subject.
        I want to learn fresh right form the beginning.

  1. If only we could all have a workshop like this!

    His experience with software really shows through.

    Does anyone know what code editor he was using that had the color syntax highlighting?

    1. Dam! It’s an Apple product and intended as a full SDK or IDE.

      I use Crimson Editor for HTML, PHP, Javascript, xxSQL.

      I need something for LUA, Verilog, VHDL, C++, C#, Micro assembly (ARM / AVR / CISC).

      Crimson Editor will probably do LUA but it’s more for web based code.

      Anyone know of a decent simple editor with good color highlighting for the above languages?

      I don’t want a full blow IDE like Eclipse, just something simple that I can use with Atmel Studio (Previously AVR Studio) and Xilinx ISE Design Suite.

          1. The same way a more expensive prostitute is better than a cheap one.

            Sublime is nagware, you can use it indefinitely without paying anything. And it’s so good you will consider paying money for it :)

      1. I’m a Notepad++ kind of guy when I just want an editor with some syntax highlighting and tree expanding/collapsing. You can define your own language if it isn’t in the extensive list too. It’s the first thing I install on any machine I have to spend more than two hours on these days.

      2. Sublime looks pretty awesome, hadn’t heard of it before. But tossing in a plug for Notepad++ as well. Color syntax in that one, and you can quite easily set up your own color scheme for personal file extensions.

      1. Same here. It is a brilliant little piece of engineering like you say. I ended up doing like the guy on yt on building the transmission out of legos and I definitely learned a trick or two. I doubt the same thing could/would be built today.

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