Would you like a robot arm? Of course you would, however, there’s this pesky problem of either paying thousands of dollars for an industrial model, or spending hundreds of hours designing and building your own. And even if you do manage to build your own, it
probably undoubtedly won’t work as well as the FANUC or ABB model you’d really like to have.
There have been a few hobby-level robot arms to hit the market in recent years. One that comes to mind is the MeArm, a small offering built from acrylic and powered by tiny 9g hobby servos. Those servos are just passable for functional robotics, what you really want is a motor upgrade.
Check out the 3 degree-of-freedom (DOF) arm kits from I-Make-Robots. It moves away from the direct-drive hobby servos and brings out gearing and NEMA17 stepper motors. These are the type of motors used in many 3D printers and make this quite robust for a hobby level ‘bot. As shown in the video below, it’s able to write “HELLO WORLD” in the same place three times, showing off this wooden bot’s repeatability. On the other hand, when the speed is turned up too high at 1:55, things become entertainingly unstable.
If this seller looks familiar, we featured their Makelangelo Polar Plotter, another build that utilized the NEMA17 motors.