Two robot arm and some 3D printed parts

Robotics is said to be the very promising area of both science and industry that has gained growing interest thanks to its rapid development. As the history of robotics is seen as a rather 20-th century phenomenon, in fact it roots back to the times of Aristotle, who planted the idea of automated machines. Its visible and rapid development can be observed most recently. Being the leading producer in the additive manufacturing field we couldn’t not take the chance to contribute to this and create a model that shows that creating highly functional models of robots is possible if we have a Zortrax M200 3D printer and some electronics.

Industrial Increase

The industry is undoubtedly the field where robots can bring many benefits. The automated machines seem to be perfect for helping people with tasks that are dangerous, monotonous or too dirty to perform. Manufacturers may choose from the machines dedicated to welding, palletizing, milling, mounting, cleaning, picking and other that, by proper programming, could be adjusted to their needs. Some of them are really good choice when it comes to space limitations, as they do not require big working area or even protective barriers, so they can be placed right next to the production line. The device can be programmed to dispense accurate amounts of substances like e.g. glue so it doesn’t waste the sources and help to save them. But the main thing here is that robots are fully automatized devices capable of performing repetitive tasks over the long period with great precision and with small failure parameter.

Robots that bring ROI

Robotics is a fast-developing branch not only due to the fact, that it brings technological advancement and efficiency to the processes within the company, but also thanks to the financial matters. By their productivity and ability to work long hours without pauses, robots can lead to the production increase within short time, which in practice translates to the faster return of the invested capital. It should be also highlighted here that robots doesn’t require any implementation period and they can work with the constant efficiency, as it doesn’t depend on the conditions.

Medicine at the Forefront 

As dr Feliga, a surgeon with great experience in performing varicose veins surgeries says, in one of our previous posts, “The human factor is unreliable’’. This fact basically explains many attempts to use automated machines in various methods of treatment. Most obviously, to obtain more precision in highly complex surgeries and help in reaching the poorly accessible parts of patients’ bodies. Incorporating medical robots in the field of medicine can also shrink the recuperation time after the surgery due to the fact that the cuts on patient’s body are smaller and the whole procedure is less invasive. The core value here is basically the patient, the lesser amount of his or her suffering together with quicker health improvement – and that’s the argument that prevails when considering incorporating robotics in the field of medicine.

A Multitask Tool

However, robots involved in medical surgeries or other branches that require great precision and steadiness of movement need to be tested thoroughly. That creates the room for additive manufacturing technology providing affordable materials and numerous possibilities for utilizing. Mainly as a great source to provide physicians with cheap prototypes they can evaluate and learn on. The Robotic Arm, a model available to download in Zortrax Model Library is an example that shows, that creating such device is not only a matter of a great invention, but also the materials from which the robot is produced. The project shows that incorporating the 3D printer is vital, when we want to obtain high quality and functionality of a model fast and cost-effectively. Thanks to the strong and resistant materials from the Zortrax offer like Z-ULTRAT or Z-HIPS, creating models for testing and displays is entirely possible. Zortrax Robotic Arm is presented as an example how a highly functional prototype that can as well serve as an end use product, could be obtained with low expenses and labor (all the data concerning the use of materials, cost and electronics is provided in the last paragraph). It is a matter to consider that before having a robot in our workplace, we could try having a desktop 3D printer.

Customizable Parts – You’ve Got the Basis

The example prepared by the Zortrax engineer shows, that the robot may be helpful in moving elements from one place to another thanks to the grasper mounted at the end of the arm. However, the area of development is really broad here as anyone can print their own part according to the individual needs and tasks that are to be finished. Thanks to the huge variety of uses, we can end with plenty of different mounting parts and have proper help with our works just by changing the parts each time it is necessary. The core of the robot is the mechanism, which allows the robot to work, although other parameters like size, shape and the ergonomics of the robot can be adjustable and may vary according to one’s preferences. In our Zortrax Model Library we give you the complete set of files and the manual of the Zortrax Robotic Arm – to serve as the basis for you to work on at minimum costs and with the ability to add various modifications. For those extra focused on the looks of the robot, we showed how to post-process the model to get the surfaces extra polished and smooth. As we strongly believe in the creativity of our users, we expect to receive many great versions and modifications applied to our robotic arm in the Zortrax Model Library.

The Helping Hand of the Future – Zortrax Robotic Arm

 

 

The Robotic Arm was 3D printed on Zortrax M200 3D printer with its main body created with Z-ULTRAT to guarantee the model is rock-solid, durable and will resist performing multiple actions. The decorative elements were printed with blue Z-ABS which is the most basic printing material from the Zortrax offer. The total usage of the materials is approx. 0,8 kg (700g of gray Z-ULTRAT and 100g of blue Z-ABS). The complete model consists of 23 printed pieces. The suggested infill of the arm is LIGHT – it will guarantee the arm is light and because of that easy to maneouvre. The additional advantage of choosing this infill is that it will be printed much faster and the total cost of the print will be lower.

The whole mechanism is based on three motors that allow the robot to produce the sequence of movements, so it all results in automatized actions. The size of the motors is also linked with the lifting capacity of the device, in case of the Zortrax Robotic Arm having Nema17 stepper motors, it is able to lift objects that weigh up to 0,1 kg. The number of motors is yet another thing, as this is directly responsible for the arm degree of freedom. To put it simple – the more motors the arm has, the more diversity of movement (performing moves on more axes) it will have. However, the number and size of motors is a matter of the preferences, so if there is a necessity to lift heavier objects, or move in more directions we just have to mount different motors .

Parts of 3D printer

The robot moves on five axes, which allow the device to rotate and to move in translational directions. By increasing the number of axes we can provide more precision and accessibility as the device has the capacity to reach and grab elements under different angles and fit them into the particular place or pattern. If the arm is able to rotate around its vertical axe it can pick objects from its working area.

The Robotic Arm has a grasper mounted on its end, but it can be replaced with an electromagnet, drill, sucker or other according to the needs. The approximate cost of the print is 42 USD. The printing time of each part vary between 1 to 20 hours.

Man working with a 3D printed robot

The model could be used as a fully functional prototype that simulates the features of the original, or an end-use product thanks to its quality and durability.

The parts of the Robotic Arm undergone post-processing to improve their looks. To obtain results such as these presented in the pictures, the engineer used wet and dry sand paper with various grit, primer, spray spackling, heat gun, paint and varnish. Sanding was the process that appeared most frequently, as it is the most common way of polishing bigger or finer residue on a model (according to the size of grit), what is more, before the pen-ultimate polishing, the paper could be damped in water to reduce the friction while rubbing against the surface and obtain ultra polished finish. After the surface was polished with the sand paper the thin layers of primer and sparkling paste were put to fill out the micro holes and make the surface even and smooth. the main body of the robotic arm was also covered withe the black paint, the designer decided to use the spray formula to get thinner layers of paint and avoid damp patches. To make the arm shiny and resistant to scratches, it was covered with spray varnish. Another simple method used to post-process the poorly-accessible places of small objects is flaming, where you just have to put the particular element close to the flame of the heat gun and see the tiny imperfections disappear under the heat. As usual, we advice to perform the activity in protective gloves to avoid burns and be extra careful not to destroy the model. The complete step-by-step manuals covering various post-processing techniques for 3D prints can be found on our Support Center.

53 comments

  • Gianluca posted Oct 05, 2015 - 18:07

    Hi, I’m printing the arm, but I don’t know where I can find the firmware and if exist the software to move the arm!
    nice job!!!

    Br
    Gianluca

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Oct 06, 2015 - 15:48

      Hey @Gianluca, all the necessary info concerning firmware and software can be found in point 3 of the Zortrax Robotic Arm Electronics Manual (included in the Robotic Arm Manual)- start from downloading the Audrino Mega driver and follow all the steps from the manual to get the firmware and software properly installed.

      Reply
      • John Barnes posted Oct 30, 2015 - 21:15

        Has anyone had issues with the weight of the arm? I am having issues with the shoulder (y stepper) moving the arm from a rest position. Where there specifications for the nema17 motors you used so I can compare with what I have?

        Reply
        • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Nov 02, 2015 - 14:23

          @JohnBarnes, Motor should have at least 50 Ncm torque. Arms should be printed on light infill. Also stepper motor drivers have a potentiometer to steer amount of current going to the motor. Try to increase the current. Remember about good cooling of stepper motor driver. You should have a 40×40 or 50×50 mm fan blowing directly on stepper motor driver and it should have a radiator mounted on it.

          Reply
        • hed posted Jan 01, 2016 - 02:00

          “John Barnes added on 30 October 2015 at 21:15
          Has anyone had issues with the weight of the arm? I am having issues with the shoulder (y stepper) moving the arm from a rest position.”

          Seems to be a compatibility issue with the “small gear” not lining up with the “base gear”. Someone would have to redesign either the base gear or the small gear in order for it to line up corectly.

          I wonder if anyone was successfully built this project yet. I plan to convert this model into my 1st 3d printer but since I don’t own a printer I have to have someone print it and ship it to me from North America to South America and I have to make sure it works before they ship it to me. I found this on the Zortrax Library from member Starsys and wanted to get in contact with him to see if he has solved the problem but I don’t know how.

          “starsys 2 months 1 day ago
          Hello Zortrax team.

          We’ve almost finished to assemble and print your robotic arm.

          We’ve noticed many small corrections that should be updated in your model. (orientation, thickness…).
          We would be happy to share with you and help future customer who want to print this project.

          But we still have an unsolved problem :

          Movement of arm 1 is very “scratchy” whereas arm 2 runs very fluently.
          We’ve noticed that the same “small gear” is used for arm 1 and arm 2 while the teeth cog of “base gear” and “arm-1” gear are completely different.

          Would it be please possible to get an updated model of “small gear” compatible with “arm-1” (that run so fluently as “arm-2”) ?

          Thanks in advance.

          Reply
          • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Jan 12, 2016 - 10:24

            @hed, First of all, all the parts should be 3D printed with LIGHT infill.
            For Arm 1 (Y axis) use : Nema 17 60Ncm(85oz.in) 0.64A Bipolar Stepper Motor (>0,6Nm)
            Arm 2 (X Axis) : Nema 17 Bipolar Stepper 5.4V 0.85A 36Ncm(51oz.in) (0,35 – 0,4 Nm)
            Z Axis : Double Shaft Nema 17 Stepper 34mm 12V 0.4A 26Ncm (>0,2 Nm)
            You can also try to resize the small gear for arm-1 up to 95%
            Check also these files as they might be helpful for you: http://www.zortrax.com/downloads/ROBOTIC_ARM.zip

  • Nikolaus Foidl posted Oct 05, 2015 - 18:27

    still in the printing, what is the diameter of the 36 steel balls?
    What stronger stepper motors would you recommend?
    BR Nikolaus

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Oct 06, 2015 - 11:13

      Hello @NikolausFoldi, that’s a good question. The steel balls should have 8mm diameter and the motors that our engineer recommends are nema 17 at least 35mm long. Remember that you can edit files in Zortrax Model Library, so you can upload your own version of the Robotic Arm.

      Reply
  • Tavares Ford posted Oct 12, 2015 - 21:01

    Quick question – is the steel rod 8×80 mm? Trying to source the necessary parts and I had questions about the steel ball diameter and the steel rod and the former has been answered.

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Oct 13, 2015 - 10:55

      Hey @TavaresFord, you’re right, the dimensions of the steel rod are 8×80 mm. Don’t forget to show the results of your work in Zortrax Model Library.

      Reply
      • Tavares Ford posted Oct 19, 2015 - 22:08

        I definitely will! I have one more question, however. What are the specs on the springs? I’m guessing they are 6mm outside diameter, 20mm compressed length compression springs, but I’m not sure. What are the inside diameter, wire diameter, compressed and free lengths of the springs Zortrax uses? I’ve purchased all of the other parts already!

        Thanks so much,
        Tavares

        Reply
        • Tavares Ford posted Oct 20, 2015 - 21:12

          I definitely will! Right now I’m printing a doll for my daughter for Christmas. I want the robot arm next!

          Reply
          • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Oct 21, 2015 - 11:36

            @Tavares, That’s a cool idea! Check our Library for more inspiration and our user’s versions of robotic arms.

  • Alessandro posted Nov 01, 2015 - 23:37

    I bought all the electronic/robotic parts but I still don’t find the steel rod 8x80mm. Can you advise where I could find it?

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Nov 02, 2015 - 13:52

      @Alessandro, you can find steel guide rods in most of CNC or 3D printer DIY shops.

      Reply
  • Brandon posted Nov 21, 2015 - 02:24

    I started this project tonight. My Zortrax is 2 weeks old and I’m loving it. I figured I would build this arm for fun! I have been able to find all the needed parts to put it together but the springs! My google skills must be lacking tonight 🙁 Could someone please help me out?

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Nov 24, 2015 - 13:26

      @Brandn, Springs are not necessary in the robotic arm, as they are placed in the grasper. In this model various types of graspers can be used. If you really need the springs, you can use these from an average ball pen,after the proper shaping they should fit and be installed in the grasper part. I you still need any help, feel free to ask for some more info. Don’t forget to show your results in our Model Library.

      Reply
  • David posted Nov 30, 2015 - 03:21

    Thanks, I have got STL files for this arm. I am wondering that do we need to add support in order to print? Do we need to print the base upside down in order to save filament?

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Nov 30, 2015 - 13:14

      @David, in case of the Robotic Arm it is necessary to 3D print the elements with the support. When it comes to the position of the base, you are right – after turning this element upside down you will save the printing material. If you still have any doubts concerning the model, feel free to ask.

      Reply
      • g2david posted Dec 08, 2015 - 09:05

        Thanks. I printed the base and arms with support. 35% in-fill. I have another question. Are we supposed to glue parts together? No one mentions how to join them together? Or just snap it in?

        Reply
        • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Dec 08, 2015 - 09:43

          @g2david, You’re right, the parts should be snapped, you can also use glue to connect them, but it’s optional.

          Reply
  • Brian Wetzel posted Dec 17, 2015 - 19:32

    I am having issues with sending commands to the motors. I have uploaded the firmware to the RAMPS, but it seems that the RAMPS is not receiving the communication. When I am in Pronterface, I can click on the manual movement buttons, but nothing really happens on the arm. I see a blinking light underneath on the the Arduino Mega which indicates to me that it is receiving the communication, but it doesn’t seem to transfer up to the motors.

    Are there modifications that need to be made to the Marlin firmware prior to uploading? Also are there supposed to be any jumpers installed on the RAMPS?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Dec 22, 2015 - 09:29

      @BrianWetzel, Please check all the connections and also the speed of data transfer in pronterface and firmware (using 25000). If you still have any problems, please contact Zortrax Support.

      Reply
  • Fatmir Prekupi posted Dec 25, 2015 - 22:31

    Dear, is it possible to print this robotic arm in your company?

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Dec 28, 2015 - 10:50

      @FatmirPrekupi, In case of this model our aim was to provide the users with all the necessary knowledge that allows to build the model by themselves. We encourage you to try and of course, you can always contact our Support Center in case of any doubts.

      Reply
  • Mario posted Jan 11, 2016 - 22:39

    I made one but I have problem with the stepper. The arm is not move propertly.
    Which is the value of Vref for the driver on the Ramps? I set 0.6V as suggest for Nema17 but the arm (expecially the Y axis) don’t have the right torque

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Jan 12, 2016 - 10:40

      @Mario, I can advise you to print all the arm parts with the LIGHT infill and try to resize the small gear for arm 1 up to 95%. When it comes to the parameters, here are the details: For Arm 1 (Y axis) use : Nema 17 60Ncm(85oz.in) 0.64A Bipolar Stepper Motor (>0,6Nm)
      Arm 2 (X Axis) : Nema 17 Bipolar Stepper 5.4V 0.85A 36Ncm(51oz.in) (0,35 – 0,4 Nm)
      Z Axis : Double Shaft Nema 17 Stepper 34mm 12V 0.4A 26Ncm (>0,2 Nm)

      Reply
      • Phil M posted Feb 02, 2016 - 17:23

        what complete rubish, Why doie sthe Z need a double shaft . Nema 17 has no relevance to the voltage ever. If you dont know what youre talking about then its often best not to speak !!!

        Reply
        • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Feb 03, 2016 - 10:34

          @phil, you’re right, there’s a mistake here. It should be only Nema 17 Stepper Motor 34mm 12V 0.4A 26Ncm(37oz.in).

          Reply
  • Phil M posted Feb 02, 2016 - 17:29

    Ive started a grab cad item for my edits of the model for those interested
    https://grabcad.com/library/zortrax-robotic-arm-3d-printable-1
    Zortrax seem quite positive in promoting editing their version of the original model of a Kuka robot.
    Its a good start but as many people have noticed doesn’t really work so well . Certainly not with the limitations of a Ramps 1.4 control board . Its not a bad start but to get decent motion you need to be looking at Trinamic stepper drivers to get the full potential and subtle control

    Reply
    • QuintenDW posted Feb 29, 2016 - 20:32

      What would you’re setup of electronics be than, from power supply to stepper motors and control board to steppers type per axis.

      I’ve printed the arm and want to order all the electronics.

      Kind regards

      Reply
      • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Mar 02, 2016 - 09:27

        @QuintenDW,For Arm 1 (Y axis) use : Nema 17 60Ncm(85oz.in) 0.64A Bipolar Stepper Motor (>0,6Nm)
        Arm 2 (X Axis) : Nema 17 Bipolar Stepper 5.4V 0.85A 36Ncm(51oz.in) (0,35 – 0,4 Nm)
        Z Axis : Nema 17 Stepper Motor 34mm 12V 0.4A 26Ncm(37oz.in). The power supply should be 12V. Thumbs up for successful assembly!

        Reply
        • QuintenDW posted Mar 03, 2016 - 18:46

          Hi Phil,

          Is it possible to just take the highest amperage stepper to be safe for every other axis the 0.85A.

          Because ordering those different stepper thru Shenzen is a little bit cumbersome.
          Or do you have a reseller for trustable stepper motors?

          Kindest Regards

          Reply
        • de wilde quinten posted Mar 15, 2016 - 16:35

          Hi Ludmila,

          I spoke to the delivery shop for my steppers and they could give me a similar one with 1.3 amps instead of the 0.85 one. Could this also work?

          The others I found and are on their way to me.
          Kindest regards,

          Reply
          • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Mar 16, 2016 - 11:51

            Hello @dewildequinten, 1.3 amps will also work for the robotic arm model, feel free to use them.

  • Bob posted Feb 09, 2016 - 16:06

    Are the W, V axis, and grasper not operational? After reviewing the .pdf file included with the .stl files it looks like you don’t have control over these things. Looks like you can only move the x,y,and z axis since there’s only 3 stepper motors.

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Feb 11, 2016 - 12:05

      Bob, To be precise, the X, Y and Z axes are the movable ones.

      Reply
  • Andy Loru posted Feb 17, 2016 - 23:02

    que pegamento recomiendan para unir las piezas?

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Feb 19, 2016 - 12:41

      @Andy, You can use any glue that is dedicated for plastics.

      Reply
  • giovanni posted Feb 23, 2016 - 09:37

    Hi everyone!

    i’ve got a problem to connect pronterface to the RAMPS.

    When I press connect in pronter face the console simply says “connecting…” and nothing else happens. Any idea what the problem might be?

    thanks in advance

    Giovanni

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Feb 23, 2016 - 11:26

      @Giovanni, For any help, please contact the Zortrax Support Center

      Reply
  • Wojek posted May 08, 2016 - 20:35

    Hi,
    I have an issue with adjusting proper parameters in pronterface. Can anyone upload a screenshot. Thanks for help in advance .

    Reply
  • Wojtek posted Jun 13, 2016 - 21:50

    @Ludmiła, I have a problem with finding appropriate stepper motor with torque 60Ncm for Y-axis. Can you give me a specified model? I have bought a model Nema 17 ” KS Motor KS42STH48-1684A” but it seems to be not strong enough.

    Reply
    • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Jun 15, 2016 - 09:49

      @Wojtek, our Support team recommends the 17HS24-0644S model.

      Reply
      • Wojtek posted Jun 20, 2016 - 17:19

        @Ludmiła, maybe do you know any distributor of this model in Poland as I cannot find it anywhere?

        Reply
        • Ludmiła Rafalska posted Jun 21, 2016 - 09:41

          Sorry @Wojtek, we also had difficulties with finding this model in Poland. We recommend buying them on e-bay.

          Reply
  • lorenzo posted Aug 09, 2016 - 03:02

    Scusate ma dove è possibile scaricare i file di stampa del braccio robotico zortrax originale?

    Reply
  • wojtek posted Sep 13, 2016 - 11:17

    @Ludmiła, Is it possible to get *.sldprt files of all 23 elements? As in the files you published some assembly is already done.

    Reply