I had been meaning to build a robotic arm and the open-source MeArm looked like the perfect project.
The MeArm is an Open Source 4DOF robot arm. It is intended to be a low cost and accessible robotics project for STEAM education.
The hardware is released under Creative Commons Share-alike 3.0.
As a result, there are a lot of versions out there and finding one that has enough documentation is tricky. V1 looked well documented and it is the version I chose.
From sourcing—and tweaking—vector files, to assembling, calibrating, and programming the arm, this project was really fun.
Vectors files were available online and the only issue that I encountered was a scaling problem when working with Ponoko’s templates.
To be safe, I duplicated a couple of pieces that I felt could break during assembly.
I love the neon green 0.118 inches acrylic that I used to laser cut the parts.
It was also soft enough to screw directly into it, without having to tap the holes.
Recyclability is limited, though, and I might consider laser cutting wood instead of acrylic in the future.
It felt like a good idea to operate the arm with joysticks.
Movements were way too jerky and this is one thing I’d work on if I spent more time on this project.
In the code that came with the meArm version I used, to go from point A to point B, the position would be accessed by activating one servo at a time.
I was not satisfied by this and coded an interpolation so two servos could be activated at once.
This resulted in a much smoother motion and faster time to destination.
If I were to spend more time on this project, I would:
I send a bi-monthly newsletter. If you’ve enjoyed learning about this project, I think you’ll be inspired to make stuff.
Which is also the name of my newsletter!