Reiner Schmidt, an engineering graduate from Hamilton, Ontario, has been working with robots of all kinds for the last ten years. His experience ranges across projects involving robotics for applications from HAZMAT to agriculture and everything in between. In March of 2015, together with fellow robot enthusiast and business development specialist Justin Policarpio, he opened Roboteurs, an educational robotics company developing products for students at all levels.
They offer a line of 3D printed robot projects known as Printabots designed to help students become familiar with the basics of robotics. The Printabots line currently consists of Grippy Bot, QuadraPed, Funny Feet, and Arty Bot. Each one of these quirky creations operates on the principle that a student who is enjoying making will learn more.
“I think it was just my fascination with walking robots that pushed me to it. This guy is part of a whole series the idea for which came from seeing students in schools always stuck on the same robotic platforms. We wanted them to be able to use a new platform whenever they wanted. After all, not all robots are robot arsm, students need diversity if they are to gain strong critical thinking skills.”
They have released the files for the 3D printed components of their robots for free online through Thingiverse. Alternately, you can have them print out the parts and send them too you as well if you don’t have access to a 3D printer. Ordering the kit gives you all of the electronics components you need to take the print from an inert plastic toy into a fully operational robot.
The robots are designed to snap together easily without the use of fasteners and this helps keep down the cost of building them and makes them more accessible. The QuadraPed is a rough and ready, four-legged creature that looks like something you might find scuttling about in the underbrush were it not for the fact that they chose to print it in traffic cone orange.
The 3D printed body is combined with motors, a battery, and a microcontroller, parts from the kit for sale on their website. In fact, all of their robots are designed around this kit of parts and so a single kit can be used to make a whole series of robots.
Once printed and assembled, the QuadraPed can tackle a wide variety of surface conditions. It not only walks, it can climb stairs, fall over and then right itself, and navigate a landscape via a smartphone. Despite the obvious temptation to create an army of these to over run the planet and therefore dominate the world, the partners at Roboteurs have decided instead to focus on customer satisfaction and working to develop ideas for new and interesting ways to engage students in the art and science of robotics.
Will you try out their designs for your own 3D printed robot…or four? Let us know how it goes for you, or your thoughts on this concept, in the Roboteurs’ Printabots forum thread over at 3DPB.com.