Nunchuk Controlled Robotic Arm (with Arduino)

Robot arms are awesome! In this tutorial we explore how to control one of them using a Nunchuk and an Arduino Mega.

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Robotic arms are awesome! Factories all over the world have them, where they paint, solder and carry stuff with precision. They can also be found in space exploration, subsea remote operated vehicles, and even in medical applications!

And now you can have a cheaper version of them at your own home, office or lab! Tired of doing a repetitive job? Program your own robot to help you... or to mess things up! :D

In this tutorial I show you how to mount a robotic arm, and how to program it using an Arduino Mega. For this project I also wanted to experience a different method for controlling a robotic arm: using a Nintendo Nunchuk! They are cheap, easy to find, and have a bunch of sensors.

The following tools and materials were used in this project:

Tools and materials:

  • Solder iron and wire. I had to solder some terminals to Nunchuk's wires in order to connect it to the Arduino;
  • Shrinking tube. Some pieces of shrinking tube were used for a better isolation of the conductors;
  • Screwdriver. The structure is mounted using some bolts and nuts;
  • 6-axis mechanical desktop robotic arm (link). This awesome kit already comes with several components as described bellow. It's reliable and easy to assemble;
  • 12V power supply (2A or more);
  • Nunchuk controller (link). It interfaces to the Arduino board, and it's used to control the robotic arm;
  • Male jumper wires (4 wires);
  • Arduino Mega (link / link / link). Notice that the robotic arm kit I've used also has a board and controller bundle that already comes with this Arduino board. If you you're not using on of those kits, you might use other Arduino boards as well;

I was informed later that there's a Nunchuk adapter that makes the connection to a breadboad easier (link / link). It's a good option if you want to same some time on soldering and doesn't want to destroy the original connector as described on Step 9.

Sain Smart 6-axis mechanical desktop arm already comes with the following components:

  • Arduino Mega 2560 R3 (link)
  • Control board shield (link)
  • NRF24L01+ Wireless Transceiver Module (link)
  • MPU6050 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer (link)
  • 71 x M3X8 screw
  • 47 x M3 nut
  • 2 x U bracket
  • 5 x servo bracket
  • 4 x 9kg servo (link)
  • 2 x 20kg servo (link)
  • 6 x metal servo tray
  • 3 x U bracket
  • 21 x right-angled bracket
  • 3 x flange bearing
  • 1 x gripper

You might find other robotic arm kits online, or even design your own. There are some awesome projects you can 3D print, for instance.


Arduino sketch

ino - 5.83 kB - 03/03/2018 at 18:57


View project log

  • 1
    Assembling the Robotic Arm Pt1 - Base

    Picture of Assembling the Robotic Arm Pt1 - Base

    The first part to be assembled is the base of the robot.

    It's made of two U shaped brackets, joined back to back using four M3 bolts and nuts, as shown in the pictures. This is propably the easiest part to be mounted.

  • 2
    Assembling the Robotic Arm Pt2 - Servo #1

    Picture of Assembling the Robotic Arm Pt2 - Servo #1Picture of Assembling the Robotic Arm Pt2 - Servo #1

    The first servomotor is mounted perpendicular to the base, using a servo bracket. This profile is attached to the base using four M3 bolts and nuts, as it's shown in the pictures. Servo #1 is place on it's top, and attached using four M3 bolts and nuts.

    A circular metal horn is attached to the servo axis. The kit comes with several plastic horns. They won't be used for assembling the robot.

  • 3
    Assembling the Robotic Arm Pt3 - Servo #2

    Picture of Assembling the Robotic Arm Pt3 - Servo #2Picture of Assembling the Robotic Arm Pt3 - Servo #2

    Another servo bracket is mounted perpendicular to the previous one. It's connected to servo #1 horn using four M3 bolts. Servo #2 is installed with four M3 bolts and nuts, and also uses a circular metal horn.

    An U bracket is then attached to the horn using four bolts. Notice that a M3 bolt is used oposite the servo axis. It gives stability to the structure. A bearing fits on this bolt, and it's locked in position using another M3 nut. This way the U bracket is tightly attached to servo #2 center axis.

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