Top Open-Source 3D-Printed Robot Projects
With the rise of 3D printing in the last decade, one’s imagination is limited by what one can achieve with this beautiful piece of equipment. However, the open-source community in the technology field has produced notable projects for tech enthusiasts and hobbyists, allowing them to replicate and modify the original designs.
Open-source 3D printed robots are more popular in the tech communities as they provide them with all the necessary instructions and design files to start building their robot. Furthermore, hobbyists can share and modify the designs according to their linking and can also program the robot as they like.
OpenCat DIY Robots
Petoi’s Nybble is a palm-sized cat robot running on open source robot framework OpenCat. This robot kit is like the cat version of Boston Dynamic’s quadruped robot Spot Mini. But it targeting kids aged 13+ interested in STEM or anyone interested in building and programming their own robot pets.
This DIY version of Nybble, designed by hackoholic on thingiverse.com, allows users to 3D print the parts for the robot. In addition, this robot is compatible with the electronic hardware designed and sold by Petoi. The robot cat uses 11 servo motors to move around and perform different poses. The robot also features an ultrasonic sensor enabling it to avoid objects in front of it.
You can use Petoi’s Nyboard V1 microcontroller, a customized Arduino board that supports C++ and Python programming languages or other compatible boards. Users need to use the OpenCat software from Petoi as the brain for the DIY robot. The Petoi mobile app is compatible with any OpenCat-powered robot. The robot can be controlled by the mobile app with BlueTooth if the robot is eqiupped with Bluetooth.
OpenBot is a 3D-printed robot designed by Intel. The robot uses your smartphone and can navigate autonomously. It can also track and follow people using the Mobilenet SSD detection model that computes the output bounding box and class of an object from an input image. The performance of OpenBot may be limited as the robot uses a smartphone as its CPU.
Poppy provides an open source platform for the creation, use, and sharing of interactive 3d printed robots. The hardware(3D-printed parts), software(library, simulator, controller), and mechanical(actuator) parts of the Poppy robot are available to the public via open source, so it's easy for everyone to create their own robot. Poppy robots can be 3D-printed, or you can modify the 3D-printed files to hack to suit your needs. Its target audience includes computer science/robotics educators, artists, scientists, and hackers.
ODRI’s Robot Dog
The Open Dynamic Robot Initiative is an open-source 3D printed robot designed to look like MIT’s Cheetah and cost a fraction of it. This robot is specifically designed for research purposes and uses custom-designed brushless actuators for moving the legs of the robot.
The robot uses a custom board designed by ODRI with an embedded esp32 chip, allowing users to control this robot over WIFI. Users can also write custom programs to operate this robot, making it perform different functions.
Otto develops cute little DIY robots that can be 3D printed. These robots are great STEM kits for parenting and school education. Otto can dance, walk, make sounds, and avoid obstacles. The robots support an Arduino microcontroller, and users can use the Otto mobile app to control it. The robots can be programmed using the Otto Blocky coding app, which is beginner-friendly and easy to learn. Users can also design their own Otto robots using the Tinker CAD website. Otto DIY robots also comes with different expansion packs with varying levels of difficulty.
3D-print for open source robots has provided a great way for anyone to start their own robot building project.
This project list provides you with a starting point to get yourselves started in the world of robotics or to inspire young minds to create their very own first robots.
If you are a beginner, it'd be much easier to start with Nybble and Otto as they are very beginner friendly. Otherwise, all the projects are great to tinker with.