We always enjoy the interesting 3D printed robots that John Choi, founder of advanced robotics startup Choitek and Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science and Arts major, posts about on his website, and the latest project he has shared with us keeps up the momentum of innovative design. Choi recently released a nearly 100-page Instructable on how to build a full-size, 3D printed humanoid robot that he’s dubbed ASPIR, for Autonomous Support and Positive Inspiration Robot.
The open source robot, which is the “spiritual successor” to his Halley Ambassador robot, stands 4’3″ tall; Choi tells us that “anyone can build [it] with enough drive and determination.”
The massive Instructable is divided up into ten chapters, ranging from arms and legs, head and chest, to merging, wiring, and shells, for a grand total of 80 steps. As the software for the ASPIR is still under development, the Instructable only covers the hardware construction.
According to the Instructable, “This is a very advanced and large Instructables project! We recommend you have significant 3D-printing experience before attempting this project. Expected build time will be several months with an estimated build cost of roughly $2500 (this cost may be lower or higher depending on which suppliers you use and which parts you already have).”
After creating and showcasing the humanoid Halley robot in 2015, the members of Choitek, who are “passionate members of the open-source community,” decided to merge small, affordable humanoid robots and expensive research-grade ones, in order to make something entirely new.
“We wanted to bring the best of both worlds together with an affordable, open-source full-size humanoid robot,” Choi notes in the Instructable. “And thus the ASPIR project was born.”
Carnegie Mellon’s Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, a flexible laboratory for new and different modes of arts presentation, production, and research, supported the ASPIR project. Choitek is additionally “currently doing research in seeing how humanoid robots like ASPIR can be used to inspire more girls into STEM,” which is becoming a bigger focus for many in expanding the tech community; anyone interested in collaborating is invited to contact the team.
Each of the ASPIR’s legs requires six super-size mega servomotors, along with four standard high-torque servos per arm, five metal-gear micro servos for each hand, and two standard servos to make the robot’s head pan and tilt – all of these servos mean that ASPIR has a total of 33 degrees of freedom. To build the robot, you’ll also need over 70 different electronic components, such as a four-port USB hub and webcam, power adapters, an Arduino Mega Servo Shield and an Arduino Mega 2560 R3, aluminum hex rods, and 50 servo extension cables.
The Instructable includes files for all 90 3D printable parts – each leg has 12 files and each arm has nine, while the body has eight, the head has six, and the neck has three. There are nearly 20 separate files for the shells that cover all of the robot’s body parts and exposed electronics, but only two files per foot and two per hand.
The Instructable notes, “With over 90 parts to print, total estimated print time using standard 3D filament extrusion, infill and layer height settings is expected to be somewhere in the ballpark of 300 hours. This will likely consume 5 rolls of 1 kg (2.2lb) filament, not including printing failures and retries (We used Robo3D PLA rolls for all our 3D printing needs). Also note that you will need a large 3D printer with a minimum build plate size of 10x10x10in (250x250x250mm), such as the Lulzbot TAZ 6 for some of the larger 3D printed pieces of the ASPIR robot.”
If you attempt this time-consuming and expensive, but really cool, 3D printed robot Instructable, Choi writes that you can use the humanoid ASPIR robot as a study-buddy, a friend, or even a weapon to take over the world, though he notes that it would need “quite a few improvements before being ready for military field deployments.” So you should probably leave well enough alone and just revel in the fact that you have a life-sized robot hanging around the house.
Will you try building the ASPIR Full-Size 3D Printed Humanoid Robot? Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Images: John Choi]