How to Do a Project on a Robotic Arm

Written by joanne robitaille
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How to Do a Project on a Robotic Arm
Some form of hydraulics will likely be needed to manipulate your robotic arm. (arm image by dinostock from

You don't need to have advanced engineering knowledge in order to do a project involving a robotic arm. A robotic arm can be built out of just about anything, including wood and plastic straws. It is the purpose of the project that's the main deciding factor on just how your arm will be designed and built. You can try to make improvements on an already constructed arm or build your own that must be able to accomplish specific tasks. There will likely be a lot of trial and error until you find a construction method that meets your needs.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Project outline
  • Building materials
  • Testing equipment

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  1. 1

    Decide on the purpose of your project. Building an operating arm is the most common project plan, but not the only one. If you have access to an already working robotic arm (either electronic or a more basic model), you could attempt to reverse engineer the arm and make improvements to its operation. Choose a project plan that best suits your knowledge of robotics.

  2. 2

    Create a project outline, including a hypothesis. If you're building your own robotic arm, create a design and theorise what you'll be able to accomplish with it. For projects involving the remodelling of an already existing robotic arm, examine the arm and hypothesise what improvements you'll be able to make to its design.

  3. 3

    Make a list of construction materials and tools that you'll need for your project. This list will vary greatly depending on the type of robotic arm you're constructing (or deconstructing) and the scope of your project. When creating your list, it's better to have extra material than to run out halfway through the construction period.

  4. 4

    Construct (or deconstruct) the robotic arm. Use your plans, but don't be afraid to deviate from them if you find an alternative method of reaching your goals. Test the arm throughout the construction/deconstruction process to ensure that it works the way you want it to. Depending on how much the realities of the construction process differ from your plans, you may end up having to redesign aspects of your robotic arm.

  5. 5

    Test your robotic arm's capabilities. Following your project outline, run your robotic arm through a series of tests. This may mean testing its agility by having it pick up a series of smaller and oddly shaped objects. Alternatively, you can use a variety of different sized weights to test its strength. Record all of your results in detail.

  6. 6

    Write up a final report. Compare your results with your original hypothesis to evaluate the success of your project.

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