Let's Make Robots!

Popsicle Stick Hexapod R.I.P.

Barely walks on a tether.

Seeing OddBot's Chopsticks robot on YouTube was a revelation to me. I all of a sudden realized one didn't need to spend a lot of money making a walking robot.

Not having many chopsticks on hand I turned to another inexpensive building materiial craft sticks. I like calling them Popsicle sticks since that's what I called them as a child. Of course Popsicle sticks are technically used to hold Popsicle brand frozen treats, but I'm hoping I wont get in too much trouble using the term loosely here.

To provide a second pivot point and reduce the stress on the servos, I used 2x2 (studs) Lego turn tables.

Everything is held together with Polymorph, Gorilla Tape and a few nuts and bolts.

The Popsicle sticks are much too long for these servos. My earlier walking attempts didn't work at all. It was only after raising the bot's stance did it have a chance to carry its own weight. It was still too weak to carry the microcontroller board or the batteries.

I wrote the walking code myself. While the gait looks like it's doing what it's supposed to do, I'm not sure I had all my IK equations worked out correctly.

I obviously didn't know what I was doing but that was kind of the point. I just wanted to try it. It was a fun failure.

I've since reused the servos in my other hexapod.

Thanks OddBot for the inspiration.

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I agree, I learned a lot from my less successful efforts. The gait looks fine to me, lots of work getting that going I'm sure. Thanks for sharing this!

That's a nice one, that long legs are really some eye catcher :-)

Thanks. The long legs looked cool but they were also the robot's weakness. The little servos didn't have nearly enough power to move such long levers.

I still plan to rebuild the robot with larger metal gear servos.

Have you considered shortening the legs instead? Looks like half the length would work already.

I've considered shortening the legs but then the pieces of wood aren't "Popsicle" sticks. They would just be small pieces of wood. Not that there's anything wrong with a robot made from small pieces of wood but a smaller wood bot didn't fit the image I had in my mind.

I may have gone the smaller pieces route if someone hadn't taken pity on me and given me a small hexapod kit. Out of the blue, some guy (Paul K) asks if I want a hexapod kit to use with my servos. The small kit was beautiful and I'm still working on the code to control the robot.

I love the fact the Popsicle stick robot didn't require much as far as tools went. It's just Polymorph, craft sticks, Gorilla Tape, a few pieces of Lego and some small nuts and bolts. Nothing laser cut or CNC milled. It didn't come out as organic looking as OddBot's Chopsticks robot but I still think the Popsicle Stick Robot was one of my favorite failures.

I think Lumi did it correctly. He kept the limbs nice and short, particularly the horizontal sections.

My bot did better when I raised it up since it reduced the torque on the servos.

I looked through all the old robots on LMR recently and saw several Chopsticks inspired robots. I don't think the other robot builders had the required ignorance to produce anything nearly as ridiculous a my bot.

Fortunately someone saw my efforts and sent me a real hexapod kit. While I like my little metal hexapod, it doesn't have the same charm as Chopsticks or Chopsticks Jr..

The only thing ridiculous is when people are afraid to try because of what other might think.

I tell my friends here In China, "I am not smarter, I have simply made more mistakes than anyone else."

Great 1st attempt. I'm sure you've learned a few things from this. As you mentioned in your third video, the legs are too long for those servos.

My Chopsticks robot started with 6Kg/cm servos with plastic gears but because of the length of my legs I had to replace them with 13Kg/cm servos with metal gears. Despite the lightweight bamboo chopstick frame the robot still ended up weighing around 5Kg. Over half of that was all the brass gears in the servos and the NiMh battery.

Check out Lumi's "Chopsticks Junior". He did make a successful quadruped using the popsicle sticks and miniature servos.