Watch the Snappy, Insect-like Moves of this DIY Quadruped Robot

Some legged robots end up moving with ponderous deliberation, or wavering in unstable-looking jerks. A few unfortunates manage to do both at once. [MusaW]’s 3D Printed Quadruped Robot, on the other hand, moves in rapid motions that manage to look sharp and insect-like instead of unstable. Based on an earlier design he made for a 3D printable quadruped frame, [MusaW] has now released this step-by-step guide for building your own version. All that’s needed is the STL files and roughly $50 in parts from the usual Chinese resellers to have the makings of a great weekend project.

The robot uses twelve SG90 servos and an Arduino nano with a servo driver board to control them all, but there’s one additional feature: Wi-Fi control is provided thanks to a Wemos D1 Mini (which uses an ESP-8266EX) acting as a wireless access point to serve up a simple web interface through which the robot can be controlled with any web browser.

Embedded below is a brief video. The first half is assembly, and the second half demonstrates the robot’s fast, sharp movements.

We love it when robots show some personality, like this adorable little quadruped robot that can make small jumps.

Thanks to [Baldpower] for the tip!

28 thoughts on “Watch the Snappy, Insect-like Moves of this DIY Quadruped Robot

    1. It honestly had not occurred to me that there might be something else (something not part of the build instructions, I mean) responsible for how good the motions look. I suppose one way to find out would be to build the thing and see for myself, and another would be to ask the author. I think I’ll try both.

      1. Now that sounds a bit harsh.
        Based on the video I would not say that! And I must say that the video looks very explanatory regarding the construction, so regarding that it is a job well done. Sure the ESP8266 could easily replace the arduino but I’m sure that there is a very easy.logical explanation for the fact that he didn’t choose that path.

        When we see something we are always judging from “hey, why didn’t you do that”, a pitfall of commenters around the world. Yet what the commenters don’t know is that a project evolves. It starts with one thing and that is being expanded into something else. Creating strange combinations of parts that sometimes could have been easily combined. Yet those insights always come at a moment in time when the project has taken to long and the builder is no longer interested in doing a complete redesign in order to save one part. I think we’ve all been there.

        I think this is a very nice build, thanks for posting.
        The movements looks very nice, even if the video is sped up, it does look very natural, speed or no speed, the movement are excellent.

      2. I think, maybe, he wanted to mantain the two basic functions separate: inverse cinematic servo control on one side, and communications on another side. It is true that the esp8266 can perform pretty well with all robot functions, but is still cheap use two processors for dedicate tasks.

      3. Hey Deshipu,

        I’ve been a fan of your work for awhile. You’re good mix of artistic and hardware pro. The fact we both seem to prefer SMD makes you nifty in my book.

        But there are many reasons for redundancies. Most likely, the builder started with a PCA9685 and an AVR board, then, at some point thought adding WiFi ability would be great. Often, a hacker’s time is fairly precious–I’ve been in the position where I must decide, “Do I go back and do this best? Or continue with redundancies to a finished product?” I’ve learned to accept imperfections a part of completion. In fact, as I’ve moved into the world of professional software development I’ve learned–perfection is the enemy of complete.

        As an important citizen of the hardware community, you might take notice of Linus Torvalds personal realization:

        “…My flippant attacks in emails have been
        both unprofessional and uncalled for. Especially at times when I made
        it personal. In my quest for a better patch, this made sense to me.
        I know now this was not OK and I am truly sorry.

        The above is basically a long-winded way to get to the somewhat
        painful personal admission that hey, I need to change some of my
        behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal
        behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development
        entirely.”

        https://lkml.org/lkml/2018/9/16/167

        He’s a pretty smart guy. And so are you.

        –Ladvien

        1. It is a very impressive build, and it’s also very well programmed. It’s also much better than anything I have built myself, even after so many attempts.

          I was merely referring to this one part of the design. Whatever the reason, whether it’s the result of lack of knowledge or a vestige of previous design, it is a design mistake that adds to the cost of the robot, to its weight, and complicates debugging.

      1. “But For this project i choose Arduino Nano, because don’t need much of pin i used, it’s small and don’t need FTDI to program it.”

        Although $22 may seem a bit much for what’s being used. The PCA9685 does the heavy-lifting as it were.

  1. Someone needs to check the suggested 50$ BOM. Pretty close but unless filament and printing free somewhere.. Shipping … Othewise pretty cool. I use Amazon to cut down some BS and slow boat. Vid does seem to be sped up a bit. At least none of my cheapo SG90 run that fast especially under any load. Ignore cranks about using ESP8266 and NANO and 9685. I do it as well.

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