Arctos Robotics Aims to Design a 3D-Printable Robot Arm as Easy as Building LEGO
Buildable for, its creator claims, around $400, the Arctos arm offers six degrees of freedom, a 23.6" reach, and nearly 18lbs payload.
One-man startup Arctos Robotics is looking to put a six-axis robot arm on everyone's desk — by releasing files to 3D print and build your very own, using easily-sourceable parts and an impressively detailed assembly guide.
"Arctos is a 3D-printed robotic arm," the company writes of its eponymous creation. "This robot is not perfect, and has some issues that comes with all products that are in the early development phase. Most of the parts are standardized and can be found worldwide. Total cost [is] about $400 in parts, sourced mostly from Ali[Express] and local [vendors]."
The robot arm itself is a swish-looking design using primarily 3D-printed parts, printed — in the creator's own prototypes — in PLA using a 30 per cent infill. The parts that can't easily be 3D-printed — bearings, motors, fasteners, and the electronics including an Arduino Mega 2560 development board — are readily available and affordable, which ties into the project's aim to allow people to "build a robotic arm like you build LEGOs."
Creating your own Arctos isn't quite that easy, admittedly, but the anonymous mind behind the project is working hard to make it as easy as possible. The CAD files are provided in multiple formats as a single download, while the assembly manual includes detailed step-by-step diagrams to ease you on your way. On the software side, the arm supports GRBL control through a six-axis GRBL port and comes with the files required for use with the Robot Operating System (ROS) and a MATLAB-based forward kinematics controller.
While Arctos Robotics is hoping to build a community around the arm, it's not doing so entirely without a profit motive: the company makes the CAD files required to print the arm available commercially for a €50 (around $55) charge — discounted, at the time of writing, to €39.95 (around $44). This gets the buyer a personal license which allows for "personal, non-commercial" uses only. A commercial license is also available, at an unspecified upcharge.
More information on the Arctos arm is available on the Arctos Robotics website.