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Every cloud of a failed project has the silver lining on a new idea, right? And it’s good to learn this early.

13-year-old Aidan Leitch, who goes by XYZAidan and has already proven to be an award-winning designer, was working on a project that went wrong, but he got something very cool out of his own failure: a 3D printed robotic gripper. This small-scale gripper can be controlled to accurately pick up small scale objects — like a marshmallow — and there seems to be no end to the fun you can have using this nifty gadget in larger projects or just around the house.

Women often complain about their husbands leaving their dirty socks and rob2underwear on the floor. Wonder if they’d be more inclined to pick those items up if they could use a robotic gripper? The gripper was inspired by Soft Robotic Toolkit’s fingers, and is activated using string connected to a servo motor. XYZAidan has been kind enough to share how he made this on Instructables, and he also plans to enter this design in the ‘Instructables Move It and 3D Printing’ contest.

Like so many 3D printed projects, this is a little time-consuming — but worth it! Think about it: you too can have our own cool mini gripper that you can control.

To make it, XYZAidan didn’t need much — as he described the project as “simple.” He used Ecoflex Silicone (5 or 00-50 is recommended); continuous rotation micro servo; nylon thread; screwdriver; scissors; cup; spoon; tablespoon scooper; hot glue gun/hot glue.

The print files are available for downloading and were printed using “0.1mm layer height and decent infill”: 1 base, 3 ends,  6 middles, and 1 mold.rob4

To make the gripper, XYZAidan mixed and poured the silicones in the printed mold, and attached and screwed the servo into the printed base. Next, the fingers were assembled, the assembled parts were threaded together with nylon, and then the nylon was glued to the assembled fingers.

If you follow these simple instructions, before you know it, you’ll have an operating robotic gripper, too!

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What an accomplishment, especially considering that XYZAidan did not start off with the intention of making a robotic gripper. Think about all of the fun you can have, as you search for ways around the house to use it. “Did I drop my socks on the floor again? No problem, honey! I can pick them up!”

You can also watch the gripper in action below for more inspiration. Let us know if you’ll make your own in the Robotic Gripper forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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