How to Make a Simple Robotic Arm

Written by palmer owyoung
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How to Make a Simple Robotic Arm
Learn about robots by making your own robotic arm. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

About 1.2 million robots should be in use around in the world by now if a 2007 prediction by the International Federation of Robotics was correct. Robots operate in the military, in medicine and in manufacturing, among other areas. A robot is a mechanical device used to artificially manipulate the environment. With a few inexpensive items, you can build your own robotic arm for a science project or as a means to learn about robotics. Once you complete it, you can use it to scoop up lightweight items and move them around.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • DC motor
  • 12-inch PVC pipe
  • Electric saw
  • Power drill with drill bit
  • Bolt and nuts
  • Tape measure
  • Marker pen
  • Clamp
  • Plastic scoop
  • Tape
  • Twine
  • Scraps of paper

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  1. 1

    Cut your PVC pipe into two equal halves using an electric saw or other cutting device.

  2. 2

    Measure 1 inch from the end of each PVC pipe and make a mark using a pen. Clamp down the pipe and drill a hole in each pipe big enough to fit the bolt.

  3. 3

    Align the holes and attach the two pipes together by using the bolts and nuts. Tighten the bolt enough so that it binds the two pieces of pipe together, but not so tightly that the arm can't rotate.

  4. 4

    Secure the DC motor to the end of the pipe with the bolt using the clamp. However, make sure it does not interfere with the movement of the bolt.

  5. 5

    Tape the piece of string to the DC motor shaft. This is the part that rotates when you turn it on. Then drill a hole at the other end of the PVC pipe and tie the string to it. When the motor is turned on, the shaft will turn causing the string to become taut and the arm to lift.

  6. 6

    Tape the plastic scoop to the end of the PVC pipe. Turn the motor on; this will cause the arm to rise. Position the scoop so it can pick up some light material such as scraps of paper.

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