Wood Shines in this SCARA Robotic Arm Project

[igarrido] has shared a project that’s been in the works for a long time now; a wooden desktop robotic arm, named Virk I. The wood is Australian Blackwood and looks gorgeous. [igarrido] is clear that it is a side project, but has decided to try producing a small run of eight units to try to gauge interest in the design. He has been busy cutting the parts and assembling in his spare time.

Besides the beautifully finished wood, some of the interesting elements include hollow rotary joints, which mean less cable clutter and a much tidier assembly. 3D printer drivers are a common go-to for CNC designs, and the Virk I is no different. The prototype is driven by a RAMPS 1.4 board, but [igarrido] explains that while this does the job for moving the joints, it’s not ideal. To be truly useful, a driver would need to have SCARA kinematic support, which he says that to his knowledge is something no open source 3D printer driver offers. Without such a driver, the software has no concept of how the joints physically relate to one another, which is needed to make unified and coherent movements. As a result, users must control motors and joints individually, instead of being able to direct the arm as a whole to move to specific coordinates. Still, Virk I might be what’s needed to get that development going. A video of some test movements is embedded below, showing how everything works so far.

We do recall another SCARA robot arm project, Evezor, which was brilliantly set up to engrave and stack 400 individually numbered coasters as a proof of function, but whose Kickstarter campaign needed a high goal and was ultimately unsuccessful. [igarrido] has his sights set on a much more attainable set of eight private prototypes, and has a few more specs and a Q&A online should you be interested in joining the development party.

8 thoughts on “Wood Shines in this SCARA Robotic Arm Project

  1. Nice design, if you go mechanically more complex you might be able to move a lot of mass towards the stationary base by using concentric shafts and a belt to drive the upper and lower arms (Another belt in the lower arm can also keep a wrist joint pointing in the radial direction). The Z axis can be done by moving the whole arm assembly up and down. Having all that weight out all the way at the end of the arm makes it much harder to get accurate control.

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