Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and don't miss any updates

5 Axis Robot Arm

Building an open source robot arm for makers and small businesses

Similar projects worth following

This project was created on 04/28/2014 and last updated 14 days ago.

In September of 2015, a five axis industrial robot arm able to lift a kilo started at $10,000 USD.
In October of 2015 Marginally Clever introduced the Evil Minion and brought the starting price down to $2000.

I see an opportunity for low cost arms to serve small industry, hobbyists, and schools. I want to drive the cost down even more by making an arm that others can tinker with, improve on, and build community around. I'd like to see two arms assemble a third.

Tell SpaceX and RocketLabUSA I need their rockets - lets put Marginally Clever Robots to work building a lunar colony.

Like what you see? Support me on Patreon.

  • 2 × linear actuators + controllers and just a soupçon of joy
  • 3 × NEMA17 stepper motors + controllers
  • 1 × MEGA 2560
  • 1 × Custom controller PCB shield for MEGA
  • 10 × bearings of various types
  • 20 × 3d printed parts
  • 35 × laser cut parts
  • 6 × touchless continuous hall effect angle sensors
  • 2 × metal brackets
  • 1 × PC power supply slim profile, 500W

See all components

Project logs
  • Second Evil Minion

    11/16/2015 at 15:09 0 comments

    Going from zero to one of something is challenging.

    Going from 1 to 2 is still challenging, even if you're planning ahead for it. The bill of materials was wrong, the assembly instructions weren't written down, and there were design choices that didn't matter for "just getting it done" that made doing it again a pain in the ass. Already I'm thinking "all this here, this over here, and those bits should be changed for easier manufacturing".

    I've ordered enough parts for five machines, and I've begun assembling them. The documentation will be smoothed out by then.

    Because of the high difficulty assembling the machine I'm only offering to ship fully assembled arms:

    I've only had one robot go to >1000 units. I look forward to having an arm do the same.

  • Robot Overlord v2 Demo Video

    10/27/2015 at 04:13 0 comments

  • Evil Minion on Intel's instagram

    10/15/2015 at 16:59 0 comments

    Picture was taken at Makerfair NY 2015. Curiously, the photo didn't include attribution and the arm doesn't include an intel chipset AND the fair they are promoting is not one to which I have been invited. If you are in Rome for the fair, ask the intel booth "where is the arm?" Maybe if we make enough noise they'll fly me to other EU fairs to set it up and bring it to you.

View all 64 project logs

Build instructions
  • 1


See all instructions

Enjoy this project?

Peter wrote 09/25/2015 at 19:12 point

Do you have any STL or STP files for this Project? 

Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Royer wrote 09/26/2015 at 02:27 point

they're in a zip in the Evil Overlord project so the arm can the rendered in 3D

Are you sure? yes | no

chetan wrote 09/02/2015 at 12:11 point

Nice project dan. I am regular visitor to your marginally clever website to learn CNC basics and when i was looking for DIY robotic arm then i found you again here.. :) 

Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Royer wrote 09/02/2015 at 15:31 point

Do you think I should post this stuff to the MC blog?

Are you sure? yes | no

chetan wrote 09/03/2015 at 11:41 point

Yes, It would be great if you post it to MC blog and link it to MC tutorials page. 

Are you sure? yes | no

Andrew Becker wrote 06/17/2014 at 10:50 point
Hi Dan, sorry for the long delay, I took my family on holiday and decided to leave the hobbies behind. I have already had a good look at your project and it looks great, I would be more than happy to share my work with you, I'm also very curious as to what control system you're using.

Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Royer wrote 06/17/2014 at 15:57 point
The software is home-grown. The electronics are a RUMBA controller - think an Arduino MEGA and a super sized RAMPS board put together.

Are you sure? yes | no

Andrew Becker wrote 06/17/2014 at 21:02 point
So you are doing all of the forward and inverse kinematics from first principles? I've managed to logic out the geometric relationships for my arm because the axis pairs intersect which simplifies the maths. I've then moved all of that into excel to visualise it and plan on using that to implement it in Linux CNC. It works out fairly simple because the alpha, beta and gamma angles fix the position of the 3rd link in space, thereafter it's a matter of working back through each joint position. Because of the geometry I chose there is only one solution to the set of equations and it's not necessary to use matrices to solve. How are you handling it?

I have a Reprap Ormerod and initially I had some trouble with the software. It turned out that the PSU supplied was not supplying a stable voltage to the controller and when the heated bed switched on it would freeze. I went for an industrial PSU with a much higher rated amperage and the problem disappeared. It did however put me off using an arduino based controller considering how easily my first Linux CNC set-up went.

Are you sure? yes | no

Kevin Harrington wrote 06/05/2014 at 04:51 point
I had a random thought:
If you take that whole arm section and put it in a 2 axis gambol, centered around the elbow joint (with the elbow being the outside joint), you could get a true R-R-R spherical wrist, without twisting the belts. The entire section you have now would rotate around the center axis. With a circular track around the edge the track race could then form the elbow joint on the out side. You could actuate it with a third counterbalance motor and a gear interface to the outer track.

Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Royer wrote 06/05/2014 at 05:30 point
That's the first thought I had. I've skipped it for now to ... Work my way up? Also as the gimbal turns the wrist motors could collide with the shoulder assembly. I'm looking for a method closer to what existing arms do where the ulna rotation is between the elbow and wrist. I have some drawings and I'm saving them for later.

Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Royer wrote 06/03/2014 at 14:35 point
One of the things that drives my business most is customer feedback. You asked for it and I can do it, so I'll start posting here more. Given how busy I am it will probably be a copy/paste from my website, which may hurt my SEO.

Are you sure? yes | no

zakqwy wrote 06/03/2014 at 18:15 point
Thanks Dan. Great work so far, it's been fun to watch your progress as you develop the 4th and 5th axes.

Are you sure? yes | no

zakqwy wrote 06/03/2014 at 12:11 point
What are your thoughts on putting more info on I'm less likely to click through for project logs or other updates, it's easier to read everything in one place (and comment on it here, too).

Are you sure? yes | no

Similar projects