3D-Printed Servo Motor Has 360 Degrees Of Rotation

Hobby servos are nifty and useful for a wide range of projects. There’s nothing stopping you from building your own servos though, and you can even give them nifty features like 360-degree rotation In fact, that’s exactly what [Aaed Musa] did!

The servo relies on 3D printed gears in a 3D printed housing. The design makes prodigious use of threaded inserts to hold everything together nice and tight. A DC motor is charged with driving the assembly, as with any regular servo motor. However, in the place of a potentiometer, this design instead uses an AS5600 magnetic rotary position sensor to read the servo’s angle, via a magnet mounted in the servo’s gear. An Arduino is used to determine the servo’s current position versus the desired position, and it turns the motor accordingly with a BTS7960 motor driver.

The result is a sizeable and capable servo with an easily-customizable output, given it’s all 3D printed. If you’d rather just mod some servos instead, we’ve covered some great work in that area, too. Video after the break.

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Robot Collects Ping Pong Balls For You

If you’ve ever played ping pong, table tennis, or beer pong, you know that it’s a struggle to hang on to the balls. [MaximeMonsieur] has designed a robot to handle picking them up so you don’t have to.

The robot is specifically designed to pick up ultra-light ping pong balls. To that end, it has a large spinning paddle that simply wafts the balls into its collector basket at the rear. The robot gets around with a simple two-motor drive system, relying on skid-steering with a castor wheel at the rear. An Arduino Uno runs the show, and navigates the robot around with the aid of ultrasonic sensors to avoid crashing into walls.

Overall, the robot shows the benefits of designing for a specific purpose. Such a design would likely be far less successful with other types of heavier balls, but for ping pong balls, the spinning paddle collector works great. We can imagine the robot being put to good use between sets to pick up all the lost balls around a table tennis court.

We’ve seen other ball collecting robots before, too.

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One-Piece Tank Chassis Pushes Print-in-Place To New Heights

What’s better than 3D printing a tank chassis with working tracks? How about 3D printing the entire thing, moving parts and all, as a single piece? That’s [3D Honza]’s PiPBOT-1, and it’s the culmination of a whole lot of design work.

The design prints flat, then folds up into its final form.

[3D Honza] has been sharing progress pictures and videos on his Twitter account, and just recently released the first version of his design. Version 1.0 is just the mechanics, but he’s already at work on version 2.0 which includes the ability to attach servos to drive the treads. At this writing, the design is currently downloadable directly from his site and includes CAD files, which is great to see.

One part of the design we’d like to draw your attention to is the chunky hinge that doubles as a kind of axial structure making up the body. This allows the tank to print in an unfolded state with the treads and wheels flat on the print bed. After printing, the tank gets folded up a bit like a taco to attain its final form. It’s a clever layout that allows the unit to be printed according to a filament-based 3D printer’s strengths, printing as a single piece that transforms into a small tank chassis, complete with working treads, in a few seconds.

When it comes to vehicles and bots, whether to choose wheels or tracks is a serious question our own Lewin Day has explained thoroughly. And for those of you who choose tracks, this design is great for small devices but don’t forget it’s always possible to go bigger when it comes to 3D-printed tanks.

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A man sits in a chair atop a hexagonal platform. From the platform there are six hydraulically-actuated legs supporting the hexapod above a grassy field. The field is filled with fog, giving the shot a mysterious, otherworldly look.

Megahex Will Give You Robo-Arachnophobia

Some projects start with a relatively simple idea that quickly turns into a bit of a nightmare when you get to the actual implementation. [Hacksmith Industries] found this to be the case when they decided to build a giant rideable hexapod, Megahex. [YouTube]

After seeing a video of a small excavator that could move itself small distances with its bucket, the team thought they could simply weld six of them together and hook them to a controller. What started as a three month project quickly spiraled into a year and a half of incremental improvements that gave them just enough hope to keep going forward. Given how many parts had to be swapped out before they got the mech walking, one might be tempted to call this Theseus’ Hexapod.

Despite all the issues getting to the final product, the Megahex is an impressive build. Forward motion and rotation on something with legs this massive is a truly impressive feat. Does the machine last long in this workable, epic state? Spoilers: no. But, the crew learned a lot and sometimes that’s still a good outcome from a project.

If you’re looking for more hexapod fun, checkout Stompy, another rideable hexapod, or Megapod, a significantly smaller 3D-printed machine.

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Supercon 2022: All Aboard The SS MAPR With Sherry Chen

How do you figure out what is in a moving body of water over a mile wide? For those in charge of assessing the water quality of the Delaware river, this is a real problem. Collecting the data required to evaluate the water quality was expensive and time-consuming, taking over six years. Even then, the data was relatively sparse, with just a few water quality stations and only one surface sample for every six miles of river.

Sherry Chen, Quinn Wu, Vanessa Howell, Eunice Lee, Mia Mansour, and Frank Fan teamed up to create a solution, and the SS MAPR was the result. At Hackaday Supercon 2022, Sherry outlined the mission, why it was necessary, and their journey toward an autonomous robot boat. What follows is a fantastic guide and story of a massive project coming together. There are plans, evaluations, and tests for each component.

Sherry and the team first started by defining what was needed. It needed to be cheap, easy to use, and able to sample from various depths in a well-confined bounding box. It needed to run for four hours, be operated by a single person, and take ten samples across a 1-mile (2 km) section of the river. Some of the commercial solutions were evaluated, but they found none of them met the requirements, even ignoring their high costs. They selected a multi-hull style boat with off-the-shelf pontoons for stability and cost reasons.
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Flappy Bird Drone Edition

Ornithopters have been — mostly — the realm of science fiction. However, a paper in Advanced Intelligent Systems by researchers at Lund University┬áproposes that flapping wings may well power the drones of the future. The wing even has mock feathers.

Birds, after all, do a great job of flying, and researchers think that part of it is because birds fold their wings during the upstroke. Mimicking this action in a robot wing has advantages. For example, changing the angle of a flapping wing can help a bird or a drone fly more slowly.

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Robotic Acrobot Aces The Moves

[Daniel Simu] is a performance artist, among many other things, and does acrobatic shows, quite often with a partner “flyer”. Training for his acts gets interrupted if his flyer partner is not available due to travel, injury or other reasons. This prompted him to build Acrobotics — a robotic assistant to make sure he can continue training uninterrupted.

He has some electronics and coding chops, but had to teach himself CAD so that he could do all of the design, assembly and programming himself. Acrobotics was developed as part of a Summer Sessions residency at V2_ (Lab for the Unstable Media) at Rotterdam in 2022.

The design is built around a mannequin body and things are quite simple at the moment. There are only two rotational joints for the arms at the shoulder, and no other articulations. Two car wiper motors rotate the two arms 360 deg in either direction. Continuous rotation potentiometers attached to the motors provide position feedback.

An ESP32 controls the whole thing, and the motors get juice via a pair of BTS7960 motor drivers. All of this is housed in a cage built from 15 mm aluminium extrusion and embedded in the torso of the mannequin. [Daniel] doesn’t enlighten us how the motor movements are synchronized with the music, but we do see a trailing cable attached to the mannequin. It’s likely the cable could be for power delivery, as well as some form of data or timing signals.

He’s working on the next version of the prototype, so we hope to see improved performances soon. There’s definitely scope for adding a suite of sensors – an IMU would help a lot to determine spatial orientation, maybe some ultrasonic sensors, or a LiDAR for object detection or mapping, or additional articulated joints at the elbows and wrists. We gotta love “feature creep”, right ?

Check out the two videos after the break – in the first one, he does an overview of the Acrobotics, and the second one is the actual performance that he did. Robot or not, it’s quite an amazing project and performance.
CAVEAT : We know calling this a “robot” is stretching the definition, by a lot, but we’re going to let it slip through.

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