Jul 5, 2017 | By Julia

A Norwegian engineer by the name of Kåre Halvorsen (also known by his alias “Zenta”), is pioneering a 3D printed hexapod robot that can crawl over remarkably uneven ground. Featuring a unique spider-inspired design, the MX-Phoenix relies on 6 legs and a whopping 18 different motors.

While fairly new to 3D printing, Halvorsen has been experimenting with hexapod robot designs for some time now. At the end of 2014, the engineer made some considerable headway with with an initial hexapod project codenamed “BMX.” Though the project never came to fruition, Halvorsen says he learned some valuable lessons in the process. Beyond issues of perfecting algorithms and finding the best suited CAD software (Halvorsen recently settled on Fusion 360), the biggest breakthrough made by the Norwegian engineer was his newfound incorporation of 3D printing.

Whereas all of Halvorsen’s earlier robots were made using primarily customized, hand-made parts, the maker took it upon himself to learn more about additive manufacturing in the last year. “For a very long time I thought using a laser CNC cutter to make the parts would be the solution,” explains Halvorsen on his blog. “But after getting familiar with 3D design and 3D printing I realized that the optimal way to create unique 3 dimensional curved parts was to use 3D printed parts.”

The engineer says he was initially skeptical that the 3D printed plastic would be strong enough for a large robot, but was quickly proven wrong. Beginning with PLA material, Halvorsen soon made the switch to ABS for the MX-Phoenix, with future hopes for more sophisticated printing materials as well.

The body sections of his latest robot were 3D printed on an inexpensive Wanhao Duplicator i3 at 250 degrees Celsius, with a cabin heater set to 35 degrees. Halvorsen reports that, although his earlier experience with the included Cura slicer was mixed, for the MX-Phoenix the results came out perfectly, with no warping. After a three day printing process, Halvorsen then applied a Acetone Vapor treatment to strengthen the parts.

As for the conceptual side of things, Halvorsen decided that a “back to basics” approach was best: “I’m calling the robot MX-Phoenix simply because it’s a little inspired by my first hexapod robot I made 10 years ago,” he says. “It’s kinda ‘back to the basics’, but this time I’ll have more focus on my primary goals that I didn’t achieve on my first robots: A more dynamic gait engine and terrain adaptation.”

And as shown in Halvorsen’s project documents, that approach has proven overwhelmingly successful. Check out the MX-Phoenix handle some tricky terrain in the video below.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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out of my price range... wrote at 7/6/2017 12:33:43 AM:

Uses 6 * MX-64T and 12 * MX-106T thats 6 * 299.90 and 12 * 493.90 $1799.40 + $5926.80 = $7726.2USD just for the stepper motors!

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