Open source technology platform Wevolver was honored as an outstanding innovator at SXSW this year, and for good reason. The network, which was developed by makers with backgrounds in design and engineering and a shared enthusiasm for open source technology, has grown into a fascinating and useful resource featuring innovative projects in the fields of robotics, drones, and more. The site has caught our attention several times for some fantastic 3D printing-related projects, such as the Ultrascope, the Precious Plastic filament recycling system, and, of course, the InMoov Robot.
We like to keep an eye on Wevolver to see what kind of new projects are showing up on the platform, and recently several interesting designs, which combine 3D printing and robotics in ingenious ways, appeared on our radar. Let’s take a look at a few of the 3D printable robots that Wevolver decided to share with us:
GITS Hexapod Tank, by Paulius Liekis
Liekis is a big fan of the 1995 movie Ghost in the Shell, based on a manga series and drawing a solid cult following. He was entranced by the T08A2/R3000 spider tank from the final battle scene, and decided that he needed to create his own version, which has caught our eye before.
“Ghost In The Shell movie left a long lasting impression on me,” explains Liekis. “The tank from the final battle captivated my mind. It has such a rigid shape, but then moves in a very fluid way which makes it seem more like an animal, and then it becomes completely static making it purely mechanical again.”
The biggest challenge was capturing the animalistic/mechanical movement of the robot, which he managed over a course of about two and a half years of tweaking the design, though he states that it took about four months of full-time work, including 250 hours of 3D printing on a da Vinci 1.0, to build the robot. The final product is a functional hexapod, controlled via Raspberry Pi and a PlayStation 3 joystick, that shoots lasers and can recognize and track human faces. You can learn more about Liekis’ project here, and the design files and assembly guide will be available shortly.
Ai.Frame Miniature Humanoid Robots by Zebo Sun and Jaiqi Hu
Sun and Hu began the Ai.Frame project in 2012, and have thus far uploaded three different versions of their miniature robots to Wevolver. Their latest, the Apollo, was added just a week ago.
“Apollo is equipped with 16 metal microactuators, the body skeleton is made of acrylic sheet material, using a laser cutting process, and the Fuselage is made using 3D printing,” the designers state. “Makers can also customise their favourite shell and add their name or logo to the robot. Control part adopts 32 servo control board and is equipped with intelligent mobile phone remote control software to remote control robot.”
The open-source robot can be easily upgraded and programmed with customizable commands, which it instantly executes. While the Apollo comes with ten pre-programmed commands, users can program up to 300 distinct motions and thousands of combinations with other devices. You can read more about the Ai.Frame project here.
IMA Juno by Explore Making
Canadian Explore Making was started by Catherine Anderson and Noah Li-Leger, whose mission is to create easy “intro” projects in electronics, coding and 3D printing for new makers. The IMA Juno is a nice introduction into all of those technologies, as well as to making in general. No prior experience in electronics or 3D printing is necessary.
“Follow Juno’s step-by-step instructions and you will learn about basic wiring, LEDs, Servo motors, and introductory Arduino code,” Explore Making states. “Juno’s 3D printable parts are well designed and optimised for success on any desktop 3D printer. If you’re looking for an in-depth 3D printing project, Juno is a great place to start!”
Juno offers a continuous learning experience; once you’ve built the robot there are plenty of opportunities for upgrades and changes, such as adding electronics and sensors, adapting the 3D printed cards, or changing the code. Explore Making’s philosophy of “learning through doing” is a popular one, and this colorful project is appealing both for kids and for adults just getting into the 3D printing or coding world. Discuss further in the Wevolver Honored in 3D Printing Industry forum over at 3DPB.com.