Israeli Engineer Creates ‘Charlie’, His Second 3D Printed Robotic Insect — Plans Crowdfunding Campaign

Share this Article

Jonathan Spitz

Jonathan Spitz

Robotics and 3D printing seem to be on a path of convergence. This can be seen in two different ways. On one hand, 3D printers are being used to customize and construct robots. On the other hand, robotics will eventually play a role in the development of more sophisticated 3D printers and perhaps even production facilities of numerous printers, all managed by robots.

If you recall, back in September 3DPrint.com covered a story about a Hexapod Robot named Billy. Billy was the creation of an Israeli engineer and PhD student named Jonathan Spitz. Spitz created Billy at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology.

Billy (left), Charlie (right)

Billy (left), Charlie (right)

Billy, although he was a sight to be seen (check him out in the image to the right), still was not perfect according to Spitz. As Billy was Spitz’s first real 3D printed robotic creation, he thought he could perhaps do even better, by creating a sleeker, faster, and more versatile robotic insect.

“Following the success that I had with creating Billy, the blue beetle, with 3D printing, I decided to take what I learned and create an improved version of the robot,” explained Spitz to 3DPrint.com. “That’s how Charlie the cricket was born.”

If Billy is a minivan, then Charlie would be the sports car. Charlie’s vital organs include four micro DC motors, of which two are used for walking, while the other two are meant for sprawling. Charlie’s brain consists of an Arduino Micro, which receives command signals from his central nervous system, represented by a Bluetooth module. These command signals are then relayed to the Pololu Baby Orangutan controllers which drive the motors. By using this setup Spitz was able to free up the Arduino to take care of processing data, letting the Baby Orangutans manage the closed loop motor control.

j3

As for the design improvements of Charlie versus Spitz’s original robot Billy, he explains:

“All of Charlie’s gears are now encased in a single housing with an easy to remove lid. This provides quick access to the gears and legs for swapping and at the same time protects the gears from dust, pebbles or other stuff that might get picked up on the way. Sprawling (rotating the legs sideways) allows him to use two locomotion modes: a fast mode for flat terrain and a slower mode for clearing obstacles. I built an obstacle course in my office, which Charlie cleared without problems. He can climb slopes of over 45 degrees and clear obstacles almost as tall as himself! Also, since he’s much slimmer than Billy, he can walk upside down, in case he falls over.

Charlie's Vital Organs

Charlie’s Vital Organs

Charlie was 3D printed on an UP2 machine from Easy3D using only ABS material. The design and contruction of this robot took Spitz about three months, as he had to figure out just how to fit all the components into such a tight space. When it came time to print the robot out, it only took him two attempts to get the parts just right. The entire robot was printed out in approximately 24 hours, which falls slightly under the time it took to print out Charlie’s brother, Billy.

Spitz is now turning his attention to a possible business model for his creations.

“Now that my robot building skills are more mature, I’m looking for the best way to bring these cute robots to market,” Spitz told us. “I’m working on some games that you can play with a single Charlie or many robots, and then I’ll prepare the whole idea for crowdfunding. 3D printing will definitely be involved but I’d rather keep those plans secret for now.”

We will be watching closely for Spitz’s next move, as his plans seem rather interesting. Stay tuned for updates regarding his possible crowdfunding campaign. Let’s hear your thoughts on Charlie in the 3D Printed Robotic Insect forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out Charlie in action in the video below:


ch

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Recent News

Researchers Rely on 3D Printed Models & Surgical Guides for Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery

Sandia National Laboratories 3D Printing Tamper-Indicating Enclosures



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Featured

Digilab: On the State of Bioprinting Today

In a recent interview with Digilab‘s CEO Sidney Braginsky, Senior Applications Manager Igor Zlatkin, and John Moore, President and COO, 3DPrint.com got a glimpse of the focus, future, and advances...

Wikifactory’s Docubot Challenge Creates a Hardware Solution for Documentation

International startup Wikifactory, established in Hong Kong last June, is a social platform for collaborative product development. Co-founded by four makers, and until recently counting 3DPrint.com Editor-in-Chief Joris Peels as a member...

Kickstarter Campaign Continues for High-Resolution Jewelry 3D Scanner

Ukrainian company D3D-s was founded four years ago by father and son team Leonid and Denys Nazarenko, and last year they successfully raised $250,000 through Kickstarter for their first desktop 3D...

Interview with Formalloy’s Melanie Lang on Directed Energy Deposition

When I met Melanie Lang at RAPID a lot of the buzz on the show floor was directed at her startup Formalloy. Formalloy has developed a metal deposition head that...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!