In the 1980s, there was Armatron. It was the robotic arm toy offered by Tandy electronics that started it all. Today, it’s a whole new world.
You can control robotic arm kits with an Arduino, programming it via USB, or even with a hydraulic remote. While many robotic arm kits are expensive, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have some fun.
The following robotic arm kits will cost you less than $100.
The Best Arduino Robotic Arms
The Arduino is probably the single most popular programmable controllers used by makers around the world. Robotics is also one of the most popular projects for Arduino enthusiasts. So it stands to reason that Arduino-controlled robotic arm kits would also be popular.
Payload: 4 9-g servomotors
3D printable: Yes
The MeArm is among the most popular Arduino robot arms around, and for good reason. The MeArm has a solidly built 4DOF construction, and can be made from almost any flat 1/8th inch material, for instance Acrylic, plywood, or sheet metal.
The parts can be cut by hand or by laser, and now there are even files available to allow the parts to be 3D printed. The arm uses small 9-g hobby servos, making it perfect for Arduino, but at the same time limiting the payload.
Due to its extreme popularity and open source nature, several spin-offs exist, each with a few differences in size, shape, and lifting power, but all using the same mechanical setup. Two examples are the EEZYbotARM (which is lower down on this list) and the popular uArm robots.
Kits can be bought containing all the required MeArm parts for both Arduino and Raspberry Pi powered variations, or even just the precut parts and hardware without any electronics. Alternatively, you can build your own using the open source files the designers have distributed.
evive Robotic Arm Kit
The Robotic Arm kit enables a multitude of possibilities- make your personal pick-and-place system or a sketching robot to draw your favorite cartoon character or make a candy sorter. Try to assemble the module yourself or take help of the instructions inside. Use evive’s menu based interface to control your creation or program it to automate the task.
Dagu Robot Arm
Although it’s not a cheap robot arm kit, it is my favorite one among the list. It is a 5 degrees of freedom robot arm (not counting the servo of the gribber), that is very stable when assembled, and it’s a long one! 390 mm.
I personally used it before when creating the tutorial for the Orientation shield of 1Sheeld, check out the video below to see it in action 😉
Payload: 4 9-g servomotors
3D printable: Yes
Developed by Slant Concepts, the LittleArm is a very small, simple Arduino robot arm. The fully 3D printed 3DOF construction is specifically intended for educational purposes, and as far as education goes, not much can beat an Arduino for an easily configured control board, which is exactly what this arm is designed for.
Using four 9-g servos to actuate the arm and gripper, this arm has one of the simplest possible designs, allowing for effortless construction by almost anyone, partially thanks to the easy-to-follow instructions on Hackaday.io. The creators didn’t stop there, either.
Recognising the possibilities opened by having an Arduino board for the core processing and control unit, they developed an application that allows control of the LittleArm through a connected device or computer, with an impressively easy to use graphic interface.
OWI Robot Arm Edge
OWI has made robot arm technology more affordable without compromising quality. The arm has a lifting capacity of 100g and you can command the gripper to open and close.
RobotGeek Snapper V3
Payload: 5 50-g servomotors
3D printable: No
This is the second most expensive Arduino robot arm kit on this list, and for good reason. The RobotGeek Snapper V3 is not an arm to be messed with, having a full metal 4DOF design, featuring custom built servos for a payload of over 50 grams, and a reach of around 29 cm from the shoulder to the gripper.
The arm comes with everything you need to get started, including the Geekduino/Arduino board, ships in one kit, and even includes a 3-joystick control panel. The claw uses a parallel grip system for actuation, giving this arm a firm handshake, which is to say, it has a really strong grip.
Its movement features are:
· Wrist motion of 120 degrees.
· An extensive elbow range of 300 degrees.
· Base rotation of 270 degrees.
· Base motion of 180 degrees.
· Vertical reach of 15 inches.
· Horizontal reach of 12.6 inches.