The software will be written differently from my previous automated robotic arm build in that it will not be using the “for loops”, but rather “If-Then” statements in order to function better with the joysticks.  Although the programming does work well, the use of the joysticks along with the type of code implemented in the software does result in a more jerky type of movement among the servos.  In other words, although the servo movements are fast, they are not as smooth or fully controllable as in the automated version.  Also, the programming code used was taken from another source since I had been only familiar with the “for loop” design used in the automated robotic arm design.  This particular code was rather tricky and needed frequent tweaking just to get it to work just right.

Click on link below to view video:  Robotic arm using thumb joysticks

Note: The robotic arm servos will be set up in the code and on the Arduino as follows:

servo1.attach (8);           // servo1 attached pin - Rotating Base

servo2.attach (9);           // servo2 attached pin - Shoulder

servo3.attach (12);           // servo3 attached pin - Elbow

servo4.attach (11);           // servo4 attached pin - Wrist

servo5.attach (10);           // servo5 attached pin – Claw

// -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

int joystick_x = A0;        // horizontal joystick movement & control of Rotating Base            

int joystick_y = A3;        // vertical joystick movement and control Shoulder      

int joystick_z = A4;        // vertical joystick movement and control of Elbow

int joystick_a = A5;        // horizontal joystick movement and control of Wrist

int joystick_b = A1;        // vertical joystick movement and control of Claw

       Interestingly enough, this build only required just one 12V DC regulated power supply as opposed to two.  Here the 6 - 7 volts supplied to the 5 servos were sufficient enough to power all of them without any discernible issues.  And it is very important to connect the servo negative wires to both the Arduino ground and the 12V DC regulated power supply.  I emphasize the use of a regulated DC power supply since regular batteries drain rather quickly and using a DC power supply adapter did not work.

       Please note the documentation for the Arduino software program used as well as the Arduino circuit diagrams; one for the servos and one for the thumb joysticks. 

       For those interested in working with robotics, the use of the digital servo full metal gear high torque style servo is a good place to start, but your more advanced robotics use stepper motors which are far more robust, flexible and precise.  I myself hope at some point to transition to using stepper motors to build more industrial strength and versatile robotic arms.  Any comments or recommendations would be much appreciated and helpful.