Want to see a 3D printed robot scorpion? This modular hexapod from Ghent University is sure to grab your attention.
A team at Ghent University in Belgium was tasked with updating a project from 2011, the Stigmergic Ant Hexapod Robot — a long name for a particularly scorpion-like robot. Just to sweeten the project, they used 3D printing and other digital tools to give it some serious upgrades.
The hexapod can walk and wiggle, and even stab visitors with its tail (although it’s relatively slow, so no need to worry… yet). A graphical user interface (GUI) can give users real-time control. However, it also comes with a range of pre-determined moves and interactions that allow it to function autonomously, specifically at expos.
Digitally produced, the robot was made primarily using 3D printing, laser cutting and thermoforming. This mode of production makes the modular scorpion robot easy to replicate. All you need are the right files.
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Unlike the original hexapod designed in 2011, this version uses far lighter and more durable materials, making it easier to repair.
The robot is largely inspired by nature, the tail and general structure in particular. The principle of antagonistic muscles was also applied, which helped remedy several problems, including burning motors, gravitational separation, and high energy consumption.
The video above provides a glimpse into the production process. Once the pieces are printed, the team gets to work assembling its many moving parts and programming it.
While the scorpion’s movements are limited, the interactivity make it seem almost like a robotic pet or terrifying dystopian monster, depending on its mood. They showcase the robot’s pre-determined movements as well as his use with the GUI.
The scorpion hexapod isn’t just a cool 3D printed design — it’s positively infectious. Be sure to check out the video, or read the team’s notes and explanations here.
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