For those that don’t know, tomorrow is the Silicon Valley Robotics Robot Block Party. Given that I didn’t have time to make business cards for tomorrow’s festivities, I just decided to take the robot arm logo and cut it out on the laser. I think it turned out pretty well… and I always like watching CNC videos.
I love it when I find open source components to start working from. This is a thoughtful 3 finger gripper from Kazakstan (I think). The source files are here
I happened upon this really nice robotic arm on Hackaday.io made by a student in Germany named Andreas Hoelldorfer. I really appreciate that he avoided the typical hobby servo path and that he printed the arm in orange. All designs are open source and should be a great reference for those of us building our own arms. I have also reached out to him to see if he is interested in joining the community.
One of my big desires for this community is that I get to hear what other people’s ideas are and benefit from the projects that everybody is working on. Since putting up this community (just a few days ago) I have been working feverishly to get guest blogging in place. I am pleased to say that this has happened and in fact, this post used this capability. Just click on the “Submit Blog Post” button. This enables any registered user to submit blog posts. After submitting them, I get an email and I can review and accept the posts. I would like the bar to be pretty low for these posts for now, so if you are worried that something is too trivial to post, don’t worry and just post it. When you find something interesting or want to show off something that you are building (commercial or open source), feel free to share.
One other note, some of you may have noticed me squashing spam. There are a pretty incredible the number of bots that have joined the site. If you see something odd, let me know and I will squash it.
Earlier last month Rethink Robotics announced their $29,000 robot Sawyer that is able to provide fine motor control in factories. Billed, like many of its competitors, as a robot that can work hand in hand with humans, offloading repetitive tasks. The Sawyer, however, is part of a trend by other robot manufacturers like ABB and Kuka to deliver a small scale $30,000 robot that can work next to humans.
So, why is $30,000 such a magic price? Well the truth behind this is a little less wholesome than the marketing message. $30,000 is the price at which there is a good ROI to replace a line worker in China. It goes without saying that there is a huge surge in robot business in China as the cost of labor goes up and slowdowns plague factory owners. A steady march down of robot prices changes the economics for the factory owners and workers.
Festo has built an amazing soft grip/suction manipulator. It works by hydrolically inverting a silicone bulb to grab onto delicate and difficult to grab objects.
Thanks to @tlalexander for the forward
When deciding what to do with my time between jobs, I had an opportunity to stoke a desire I have had for a long time- build an open source robotic arm and give the design to the world. Unlike other robots (drones, self driving cars, 3DPrinters) robot arms are delightfully general purpose. They can flip pancakes, draw a picture or assemble another robot. As I talked to people and thought about my plans, I realized that nobody wanted my open source arm… it would probably be hard for people to replicate and may have design errors that would frustrate future builders. As, I thought more about it, I decided that rather than just building an arm, I would attempt to build a community where we can share ideas and build a much better arm that can be replicated by anybody, anywhere… and build an arm for myself too. Welcome.