The robot hands engineered with fingers and thumbs able to replicate human movement are now no longer a vision. Designed in mind for a specific platform, commercially available robotic hands are often too expensive, with a complex structure and difficult to modify. An alternative to a commercial hand is to use an open-source platform or rapid prototyping to build from scratch at home or in a laboratory a robotic hand.
When you start a new project, it’s understandable that the main focus is to develop an innovative product with impressive features and intended to solve the needs in better ways. Using simple materials, a 3D printer and a set of handyman tools, you can build at home robotic hands able to grasp and handle objects, as well as hands with haptic feedback and controlled with unique and technologically advanced glows.
Today, robotics is a rapidly growing field and it’s almost impossible to keep up with the demands. An open source platform designed for experimentation and with simple components is the perfect alternative to complex and expensive robotic hands available in stores.
If you’re ready to start building a robot hand, I put together a list of the best homemade projects that I think are more useful and inspirational for you, as well as open-source projects that you should get if you are able to experiment in different ways.
Homemade Robotic Hands
What happens when the DIY method meets the imagination? The typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture create challenging things and a database with all kinds of robotic hand projects on display. Challenging or not, I want to share with you interesting projects aiming to build the cheapest and at the same time the best homemade hands able to pick up and handle an object.
All the projects below come bundled with specifications, programming code, and a series of diagrams and how to build instructions.
PICAXE 18M2 Robotic Hand
PICAXE 18M2 is a project with the worthy ultimate aim of making new anthropomorphic parts with stuff around the house. This mechanical hand host five servos, a few resistors, and the PICAXE-18M2 microcontroller.
DIY $200 Robotic Hand – Arduino Project
If you’re looking to use servos and a lot of imagination to build a robot hand, then you should definitely check out this project with a total cost of $200.
How to Build a Robotic Hand with Haptic Feedback
Looking for a decent robot hand on a budget? With a total cost of $150-$200, you can build at home this robot hand with haptic feedback and controlled with an Arduino Mega. With this project you can enter in the science area and study the effect of feeling transmitted by the robot to human.
Arduino Wireless Animatronic Hand
Arduino is again in the center of the project and it works better than ever. In this project, the Arduino is attached to a glove surrounded by flex sensors able to detect the movement of the human hand. All these movements are interpreted by the Arduino microcontroller and are transformed into commands for an animatronic hand.
Hand of PI
Almost nothing stops the designer to link everything with … everything. In the age of Internet of Things, this project demonstrates once again how to link a Raspberry Pi computer with a mechanical device and how to read the input from a social network, in our case is Twitter. Nothing is weird in our days, especially when we talk about robots and a powerful device such as RPi.
3D Printed Robot Hand
With 3D printing technology we’re building a whole new industry and now we’re desperate to engage almost any robotic project with this way of making new products.
Using plastic and an accurate 3D printer, you can start playing with the spirit of tinkering, and start building and duplicate at home all the below hands.
In this guide you can find resources to build a simple robot gripper with two fingers and powered by one actuator. The gripper is designed for simple tasks and is an excellent option for a micro robot arm. The digital model of the gripper is available here.
DIY Robotic Hand Controlled by a Glove and Arduino
It could be an idea borrow from a science fiction movie, but I’m glad to show you in this post. An Arduino microcontroller is the link between the printed robotic hand and the controller. In this project, the controller is a glow customized with several flex sensors that change their value under the input of the user’s hand.
Opposable Thumbs….. 3D Printed Robot Hand
This project demonstrates how easy is to build a functional robot hand using a 3D printer and a series of servos. The five-finger hand is flexible and is powered by five servos. Characteristic of primates, the opposable thumbs allow the hand to grasp and handle objects.
3d Print An Artificial Muscle Robot Hand
Apparently fragile, the printable robot hand is accessorized with silicone rubber artificial muscles and covered by artificial skin. The hand is very dexterous and can grasp and handle a wide range of objects.
Open-source Robot Hands
To work with any of below robot hands you don’t need to be a company and you don’t need permission. All you need is a 3D printer and several skills to link all the components and write some code to control the hand.
Hand robot InMoov
InMoov is an open-source project aiming to develop a fully customizable platform for a humanoid robot. You can duplicate the hand of the InMoov at home using simple actuators, a power source and a 3D printer. All STL files are attached to the project and can be downloaded free.
Four adjustable fingers able to grasp almost any object and a simple structure delivered with a 3D printer and an innovative lever system. The hand is designed in mind for rapid-prototyping techniques and it is open to anyone able to contribute and share its improvements.