Open Source Robot Arm Community

The fashion of building world saving open source robot arms is in full swing.  This arm however has a pretty specific mission and it seems to be built properly to do it.  It is designed to hold a pair of tool heads vertically.  It is a SCARA style arm which means it dispenses with the complicated wrist and shoulder actuators  but has fewer degrees of freedom.  .  However compared to a classic gantry style CNC this has the benefit of being smaller, but has the disadvantage of being far less rigid.  I wish them luck and hope to see another entrant into the world of open source.

There have been two more robotic arms on Kickstarter in the last month or so.  The Niryo it appears has been successful, as was theHaddington Dynamics Kickstarter.  Is this the new 3D printing for Kickstarter?

uFactory, is releasing their 3rd generation arm, the Swift which looks to be a nice improvement on their previous arm the uArm metal (Note: I own a uArm Metal and reviewed ithere).   The uArm was traditionally a servo based arm, which, if you read this blog, know that I am not the biggest fan of.  However, this time around they are delivering a Pro version which has both steppers and encoders.  This can provide a series of benefits:

Improved accuracy, linearity and repeatability even when bumped or overloaded

The ability to manage acceleration, deceleration

Allows a training mode where the arm can record the position you put it in (this is done with the encoders, not the steppers)

In addition it looks like they have added a few more nice capabilities to the uArm including:

Improved Software (the software in the first version was already pretty nice.)

Different end-effectors including a claw and a laser marking head.

I wish them luck, the product looks like a winner and has already exceeded the funding goals.  The link the the Indiegogo site ishere.

Another open source robot arm has cropped up on Kickstarter, It seems to have 6 DoF which is nice.  Surprisingly it uses brushless DC motors and Hypocycloidal gearboxes that they claim are backdriveable.  This is a serious step up from the hobby servos many arms use but there are lots of tradeoffs with hypocycloids which need to be overcome.   The motion looks a bit jerky right now as well, so I suspect some more work needs to be done either on software or hardware.  All said though, the ambitiousness of the design and price point has me intrigued.

Bart Dring, whom I have followed for a while, in fact ever since I built an ordbot, one of his 3D printer designs.  Has started working on a Robot Arm and did what I thought to be nigh impossible, 3D Printing a harmonic drive. has attracted another nice robotic arm project to its site.  This is arm is a very nice, open source design that makes clever use of a differential to combine 2 degrees of motion into a single joint.  I also appreciate that he was good enough to go through the inverse kinematic model that defines this arm.  Inverse kinematics is a mathmatical method to figure out arm angles required for the end effector (the gripper in this case) to be in a certain location.  More at thislink

I have added some long overdue security enhancements to  First is that the site now supports HTTPS, for those that dont know, this provides for the authentication and encryption of the packets that travel between your browser and our servers to prevent an observer in the middle from seeing your traffic.  For those who are curious, I am using a free certificate from Lets Encrypt.   Second is that I have added a security question for new sign-ins is likely most cannot be answered without research. While I expect this second one to slow down adoption of this community, ultimately I think those who do choose to sign up will see less spam and enjoy the community more.  If you have any questions, please put them in the comments below.

A very cool drawbot.  I am typically not a fan of servo based robots, however this appears to be dynamixels or something like that rather than hobby servos.  Overall the results are excellent.

I am here because I just began my journey into robotic arms recently. Although I have a bit of a long history with robotics, specifically last year april 2015 I designed an arm. I dont know much about programming or electronics, but I do know a bit about cad and fabrication.

So this year, on march 2016 I was finally able to afford the cost of waterjet cutting some of the parts as well as buying most of the components I needed. Im not yet ready to start programming since I am still missing about half the arm.

In any case, Id like to start discussing several topics related to my project. Specifically, my main objective is to install a cutting/milling tool on the end of the arm to cut through at least 1/4 thick aluminum.

One friend of mine commented that in machining there are alot of vibrations and thus the robot arm wont handle it too well. Since Im just starting out I think first I need to finish the arm, then learn to program it, then learn to interface it with cam software, then start cutting, and lastly start improving it.

So yeah, thats my first question, what should I do about programming the arm ?

I have arduino on my laptop, have an uno board with a grbl shield, and 4 steppers. Any advice ?

I ran across this today and thought it looked interesting:

BCN3D MOVEO A fully Open Source 3D printed robot arm

All of the files are apparently available here:

Inverse Kinematics and Control Systems

Linearisation of robot arm dynamics

new in the field need help where to start

onSecurity Enhancements to

onNot Just another Robot Arm on Kickstarter

onNot Just another Robot Arm on Kickstarter