Tag Archives: robotic arm

This robot may soon 3D print objects as large as 100 cubic meters

Artis Engineering has created a robotic arm that will soon revolutionize architecture. 

While 3D printers tend to be bound by available materials, build volume and nozzle size, one Germany company is looking to change all that. In fact, a team from Artis Engineering recently conceived an idea after toying around with the concept of 3D printing: Why not use a big robot to print out even bigger objects?


Already having a gigantic CNC machine in their possession, the team’s current KUKA Quantec arm boasts a build envelope of 150 cubic meters, a 7-axis system, as well as a tool changer on its “hand” that is capable of milling, sanding, polishing, hot wire cutting, and now, 3D printing. Using the industrial gadget, Artis Engineering believes one day it will even be able to construct 3D-printed objects as large as 100 cubic meters in size.


The robot is based on an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) and RAMPS 1.4. On the software side, the team used Rhinoceros 5, Grasshopper, KUKA|prc to make this all possible. The nozzle is equipped with two 40w heat cartridges and pair of 100k resistors, while an LCD control panel is tasked with monitoring temperatures and speed settings. Simon Lullin of Artis Engineering tells 3DPrint.com that employing a E3D v6 modified nozzle allows the team to print at high speeds, with a 0.5mm, 1.0mm and 2.5mm nozzles avoiding jamming and other problems.


“Our next goal is to perfectly synchronize the robot movements with the extruder (mainly the speed), which will require a mountain of new hardware, since we are already to the limits in terms of ‘extensions’ quantity. This is the equivalent of adding an 8th axis to our robot. This will be done in the upcoming months,” Lullin adds.

Interested? Head over to Artis Engineering’s official page here, or watch it in action below!

MeArm is a pocket-sized robotic arm for the masses

Developed by Benjamin Gray and Jack Howard, MeArm aims to bring a simple robotic arm well within the reach (and budget) of everyday educators, students, young Makers and parents alike.


The project — which recently made its Kickstarter debut — was conceived in order to make robotics, electronics and programing easier and more accessible to everyone. The ultimate goal? “To make something low-cost that you can build with nothing but a screwdriver and enthusiasm,” says Gray.

Powered by an Arduino Leonardo (ATmega32U4) or Uno (ATmega328), the MeArm is essentially a shrunken-down version of an ordinary industrial robot arm. The extremely portable, pocket-sized gizmo is also open-source, meaning that its entire design and code files are readily available for download so that Makers can view, update and learn from all of the work that has been put into the project thus far. As its Hackaday project log notes, there are already “well over 250 MeArms in the wild.”

According to its creators, it can be cut entirely from an A4 (or more accurately 300x200mm) sheet of acrylic and built with standard low-cost servo motors. In an effort to achieve its aforementioned “screwdriver and enthusiasm” goal, the team has unveiled a new platform they call MeBrain.


Based on an ATmega32U4 MCU — which is the same chip used in the Arduino Leonardo — the MeBrain’s two joysticks are responsible for commanding the MeArm. By simply plugging the robot arm into the board and the board into a power supply, Makers can control the robotic contraption as well as a few movements to play back.

“There are already some excellent code examples available for the MeBrain – provided by the amazing Bob Stone and there are even 30 tutorials to help you learn to code on the MeArm from one of our open source collaborators from Taiwan,” Gray notes.

Those interested in the easy-to-afford, even easier-to-use robotic arm should head on over to its official Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking £5,000.

Video: Robotic arm measures magnetic fields

Stanley Lio has created a magnetometer-equipped robotic arm with three degrees of freedom to accurately measure magnetic fields.

According to HackADay’s Nick Con, the arm itself was built with standard servos and aluminum mounting hardware purchased from eBay.

“He then hooked an HMC5883L magnetometer to the robotic arm, using [Atmel’s] ATmega32U4 microcontroller (MCU) and the LUFA USB library to interface with this sensor since it has a high data rate,” Con explained.

“The results were plotted in MATLAB, a very powerful mathematical based scripting language. The plots almost perfectly match the field patterns learned in introductory classes on magnetism.”

So, what’s up for version two of the magnetometer-equipped robotic arm? Well, Stanley says he has a few tweaks in mind, including:

  • Adding extra redundant DOF
  • Having fun with math
  • Measuring positioning accuracy, precision and repeatability
  • Auto calibration using the IMU (when new servos are installed)
  • Light painting
  • Controlling the arm by real-time input devices with a camera and/or 
  • Parallel robots
  • Improving positioning accuracy

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.

Neko is a Color Field robotic oil painter

Color Field describes a style of abstract painting that first emerged in New York City during the 1940s. The style – inspired by European modernism – is closely related to Abstract Expressionism.

Indeed, Color Field paintings typically feature large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas – thereby creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. This allows color to be free from objective context and becomes the subject itself.

Up until now, all notable Color Field painters have (understandably) been human. However, a robotic arm named Neko is about to shake up the status quo. Designed by Laura Lippincott, Neko was brought to life with an Arduino Mega (Atmel ATmega 1280), hobby parts and a 3D printer. The ‘bot is currently being primed with color data in an attempt to make him more creative.

“I hope to give Neko a brain. The thing all Machine Learning algorithms need is lots and lots of data. I can go through text books and online museum archives on my own, but what I want are individual responses for individual colors,” Lippincott explained in Kickstarter blog post.

“Once all the donations are pledged, Neko will begin at the first tier and work his way up. The higher the donation, the more intelligent Neko will be by the time he gets to it. I’ll also work reverse-chronologically, so that earlier donors get the more informed paintings.”

According to Lippincott, robots are actually “natural painters,” as they are patient, immune to toxins and steady handed. Plus, a robot’s ability to process massive amounts of data allow for new insight into patterns of beauty and symbolism.

“I think the emergence of a non-human standard of taste would have a beneficial impact on the art world. I’ve been building painting robots since 2008,” she said. “I take my work slowly and seriously, only considering one small aspect of painting at a time.”

Although Neko first began painting in late 2012, he has already showcased his work at various events in San Francisco and New York.

“In his first iteration, he painted gradients of whatever two site-specific colors I put on his palette. Right now he only knows the pattern of dipping and applying to create a gradient. He’s more like an old-fashioned automaton than a robot,” Lippincott continued.

“[That is why] Neko needs a learning algorithm. He makes paintings for specific people, in a type of portraiture. Right now I’m doing all the data collection for him: interviewing the sitter, reading books on pigments and color symbolism, testing different pigment blends. I’m collecting all my findings in a comprehensive database. Soon, Neko will be able to consult this database and incorporate his own findings.”

Lippincott also noted that she wanted Neko to be capable of both supervised and unsupervised learning.

“I want him to teach me some novel color associations, so I’ll work on a clustering algorithm to go through art history texts and look for frequently paired words and pigments. That’s unsupervised learning. When Neko proposes a color for someone’s portrait, I’ll ask them to supervise his learning by honestly answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when he asks if they like it,” she added.

Want to help fund Neko? You can check out Neko’s official Kickstarter page here.