Building robots is fun, but it’s even more fun when you can build yourself all the parts. With a precious tool like a 3D printer and a great free collection of designs, you can build your custom robot for a minimum cost.
A robot arm is a fascinating point for learning and engineering skills. When you turn an idea into a physical product, you must design, assemble and program the robot. The 3D printing process is part of the assembly and requires a bit of patience and attention.
In this article, I will share some of the most practical free robot arm designs with fixed position or attached to a mobile platform. Most of the projects with fixed position reproduce the design of industrial arms, collective arms or just an educational platform.
Robot Arm with Fixed Position
There are some different and special designs to build robot arms with fixed position. Many designers tend to clone industrial robot arms or leave them inspired by simple versions of these.
Industrial arms, collaborative robot arms and educational arms are typical designs for printing area.
1. Industrial Arms
A printed industrial arm is ideal for repetitive tasks. They are efficient in lifting and moving objects. Here are quite good examples that you can replicate at home.
- Printable Robot Arm (download and demo) and probably the best-printed robot arm from DIY area. It is a robot arm with embedded Nema17 motors and at least 5 degrees of freedom.
- Home Industrial Robot Arm (download) clone of the IRB-460 industrial robot arm.
- Fanuc ArcMate 100iB (download) is a robot capable of high-speed welding and cutting. The FANUC ArcMate 100iB is also precise enough to lift and handle objects. But this is just a printable clone of the six axes 100iB.
- Robot Arm (download) with a quite interesting design.
- Robot Arm (download) that offers a simple design for an industrial robot.
- Lite Arm_Open Source Robotic Arm (download) designed as a good demonstration of what Google Sketchup can do for the 3D printing world. It is a robot arm based on the Arduino ecosystem and compatible with the uArm software.
- A 4 DOF 3D Printed Robotic Arm (download) if you need big robots. This one is a good example how to build massive printed robot arms.
- Robot Arm For AX-12A Dynamixel Actuators (download) with a design inspired by the Turtlebot_arm. This project has 6 degrees of freedom and uses the powerful AX-12A Dynamixel actuators to move its parts.
- Micro Robot arm (download and demo). This is one of the small and inexpensive robot arms built with a 3D printer. It is designed with 4 degrees of freedom plus gripper.
- Very colorful Robotic arm with 6 DOF (download and demo). This printed arm provides the freedom to move forward/back, up/down, left/right, pitch, yaw, roll.
- Robot Arm (download and demo) with an industrial-like special design that provides 6 degrees of freedom.
- Roboticarm V1 (download and demo). Take a look at this printed robot arm controlled with an Arduino MEGA.
- A Robot arm (download) with four degrees of freedom and a very simple design.
2. Collaborative Robot Arms
The well-known stiff industrial robotic arms become more flexible, accessible and easy to use. Here are a few projects with collaborative robots.
- Kuka LWR 4+ Arm (download) is an arm sensitive to touch and designed to feel the objects. It is a collaborative robot extremely agile and with abilities to guide the human operator through complex movements. But this is just a clone of this arm.
- Arm Robot (download and demo). You need in total five servos and an Arduino UNO to put this robot arm at work.
- Simple Robotic Arm – Airbrush (download). Since the main functions of a robotic arm are to lift and place objects, this minimal design can complete these tasks.
- Chess Robot (download) is a robot arm designed for fun. Well, designed to play chess with it.
3. Educational Robot Arms
An educational robot arm is characterized by simplicity and belong to an early stage of technical development. If you need simplicity, here are few printed arms with minimal functionality and very easy to build.
- Educational robot arm with 6DOF (download and instructions) that uses an Arduino microcontroller and cheap servos to move the arm and the gripper.
- 3D Printed Robot Arm (download, demo, instructions) intended for beginners in robotics. The arm is controlled via a series of buttons connected to a microcontroller.
- Robot Arm RA80 (download). This educational robot arm combines 3D printed parts with aluminum rods.
- A 3d printed, Arduino controlled robot arm (download, resources) with a design that fits perfectly for an unusual educational project.
- Robot Arm without end effector (download). I don’t have too many words to describe this project. It’s simple and good for introduction into the printing world.
Robot Arm Attached to a Mobile Platform
A mobile platform with a robot arm attached to it provides better mobility and extend the workspace. These are ideal platforms in performing tasks at a distance away from the user.
- Arm for Arduino 3d printed modular tank chassis (download) it is an all-in-one platform. A tank platform with a robot arm attached to grasp and move objects.
- Autonomous-Webserved-Tanktrack-Robot (download, demo) part of the Internet of Things. It is too much if you use a Raspberry Pi to control this printed mobile platform with a printed robot arm attached to it? No.
- Small Utility Vehicle (download) with a wheeled platform and a simple robot arm with an end effector attached at the end of the arm.
- Robot Arm Tank (download) with LEGO style components. Inspired by the LEGO kits, this printed robot tank with a robotic arm is a completely different way to build robots.