Sep 21, 2015 | By Kira

It’s a fantasy for many, children and adults alike: having your very own robotic buddy to follow you around and help you with your projects and daily chores. A humanoid assistant that would be more than just a tool, it would be your friend. While robots are still far from being able to talk or empathize, 3D printing is making it easier to build customizable, open-source humanoid robots that are cute and friendly-looking, if not actually friendly themselves. One of the latest versions of these humanoids is the MiniPlan V5.0, a compact, bipedal, Arduino-powered robot designed and 3D printed by George Chiou. Chiou told 3Ders.org that, like so many of us, he had dreamed of having a robot like this since he was little, and that it was 3D printing technology that finally allowed him to make his dream come true.

Using Rhinoceros to draw the mechanical parts and Adruino IDE to code the firmware, Chiou was able to design and program the wide-eyed bot in about a month’s worth of work. He then included 16 servo motors, each performing different tasks, and 3D printed it in about 24 hours on his Prusa i3 in PLA material. According to Chiou, the only parts that are not 3D printed are the axles for the servo motor.

While 3D printed humanoid robots already exist, such as the PLEN2, they can be quite costly—the standard PLEN2 costs $899 + shipping, an astonishingly high price for most of us. Contrarily, the hardware needed to build the MiniPlan V5.0 is much more accessible, and Chiou prices out the final robot at around $90—ten times cheaper than the PLEN2. In addition to screws, bearings, a Dualsky battery and the 3D printed parts, Chiou recommends a ToroBot USC-32 channel & Bluetooth UART control board unit, available for roughly $12, and 16 Emax ES08DE or Emax ES08MD servos, which, even at $15 each will still keep your costs way below the PLEN2. And, with all of the files available on Thingiverse, you can download, customize, and get to work on your very own in no time.

Chiou is an electronic engineer currently in charge of R&D for Become Technology Co. in Taiwan. “The MiniPlan has always been my dream, so when we finally got the 3D printer, I dug right into this during my spare time,” he told 3Ders.org. “Since we are capable of manufacturing and marketing products, and the product turned out better than my expectation, we are planning to transform this project to a production and put it on the market.”

Printing and assembling the MiniPlan V5.0

 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

 

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MiniPlan wrote at 11/23/2015 11:44:00 AM:

Hello everyone, thanks for showing your interest in the MiniPlan V5.0. We've created our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/miniPlanrobot/?ref=hl Please come and click Like so you can join the soon-to-be launched component kit that includes all parts except the 3D printed parts as a remarkable price that will never happen again. Only 100 sets are limited, so please make sure you track our Facebook.

MiniPlan wrote at 11/23/2015 9:24:22 AM:

Hello everyone, thanks for showing your interest in the MiniPlan V5.0. We've created our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/miniPlanrobot/?ref=hl Please come and click Like so you can join the soon-to-be launched component kit that includes all parts except the 3D printed parts as a remarkable price that will never happen again. Only 100 sets are limited, so please make sure you track our Facebook.

Tom McBaum wrote at 9/23/2015 4:25:33 PM:

I'd be willing to buy a kit (without the plastic parts, which I can print myself) if someone offers it at a reasonable price, with *all* the mechanical and electrical parts needed.

Bill Owens wrote at 9/21/2015 6:45:08 PM:

The servos are actually $15 for a set of four, not $15 each, which is why the $90 estimate is reasonable.



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