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An Arduino Leonardo-powered, 3D-printed robotic arm designed from scratch

Arduino TeamApril 25th, 2023

Getting started in the world of robotics can be a very challenging task, even for more experienced hobbyists, due to how difficult it can be to achieve smooth and precise motion through programming. Frustrated by the lack of accessible options, the YouTuber known as “Build Some Stuff” decided to not only design his own, but to do it using as few prefabricated parts as possible and while keeping the total cost under $60.

The premise of the arm project was to utilize a total of five servo motors for manipulating each degree of freedom, as well as an Arduino Leonardo and a PCA9685 driver for controlling them. Once the components had been selected, Build Some Stuff then moved onto the next step of creating 3D models of each of the robot arm’s joints in Fusion 360 before 3D printing them. He also made a scaled-down version of the larger arm assembly and replaced the servo motors with potentiometers, therefore allowing him to translate the model’s position into degrees for the motors.

Although simple, the code running on the Leonardo was still responsive enough to move the servos in nearly perfect synchronization compared to the model. To see more about how Build Some Stuff was able to make this compact robotic system from scratch and some of the problems he ran into, watch the video below!