Oct 27, 2017 | By Tess

Robotics startup Choitek has released a tutorial for building a full-size 3D printed humanoid robot named ASPIR. The robot, which consists of over 90 3D printed parts and costs roughly $2,500 to construct, is an ambitious project probably not intended for the faint of heart.

The 3D printed ASPIR robot, which looks like a sort of humanoid-vintage TV hybrid, was designed and developed by John Choi, founder of Pennsylvania-based Choitek and a Computer Science and Arts student at Carnegie Mellon University.

The goal of the ASPIR robot, as well as Choitek’s overall mission, is to inspire students to get involved in STEAM subjects through building robots. As robots combine knowledge in 3D printing, electronics, programming, construction, and creativity, they have the potential to offer a well-rounded educational experience.

Still, as we said before, the ASPIR robot project is not for the faint of heart, and Choi recommends the build to more advanced makers with a flexible budget.

“This is a very advanced and large Instructables project,” he warns. “We recommend you have significant 3D printing experience before attempting this project. Expected build time will be several months with an estimated build cost of roughly $2,500.”

Standing at 4.3 feet in height, the ASPIR robot (which stands for Autonomous Support and Positive Inspiration Robot) is an impressive combination of 3D printed parts, open source electronics, and programming.

The bot is a follow-up project or “spiritual successor” to Choi’s earlier Halley Ambassafor Robot 001, a 2.6-foot-tall laser-cut robot. As the maker explains: “Over the course of showcasing the Halley Robot, we've found that humanoid robots are awesome at looking human and eliciting social-emotional responses from human viewers.

“There are plenty of humanoid robots out there for sale, but they all really fall into just two categories: affordable toy hobbyist robots that are less than two feet tall, and full-size and research-grade humanoid robots that cost more than new sports cars. We wanted to bring the best of both worlds together with an affordable, open source, full-size humanoid robot.”

To make the ambitious build a bit more manageable, Choi has split the instructions into ten separate chapters which go through 3D printed parts, assembly of the robot’s separate body parts, merging, wiring, shells, and final steps.

Obviously, we won’t be going through the entire tutorial, but you can find the step-by-step instructions here.

We will, however, take a look at what you can expect from the project in terms of 3D printing. All of the robot’s outer body parts are made from 3D printed components, which makes sense considering you will need to print over 90 individual parts to put ASPIR together.

Choi estimates the total 3D printing time for the project to be about 300 hours, and it will require about 5 kg of filament to complete (not including any failed prints that may occur). In terms of what 3D printer to use, the maker does mention that the project requires a build volume of at least 250 x 250 x 250 mm. If none of these aspects are a deterrent for you, then perhaps the ASPIR project is for you!

The robot’s head is perhaps the simplest aspect of ASPIR, as it simply consists of a smartphone (5.5” Android or an iPhone of similar dimensions), which is slid into the 3D printed “face holder.”

With STEM education in mind, the ASPIR humanoid robot seems like a good option for classrooms looking for a long-term robotics project, as the work could feasibly be divided into separate body parts—one team could work on the hand, while another could set up the legs, for instance.

In terms of software, Choi says it is still a work in progress. “My current software to get the robot doing these things is currently in the works, and it's certainly going to be a while before it becomes fully ready to go,” he says.

He adds: “Due to it's prototypical nature, note that the current design of ASPIR is highly limited in its capabilities; it's certainly not perfect as it is now and it probably never will be. But this is ultimately a good thing [because it] leaves plenty of room to improve, make modifications, and develop advancements in the field of robotics with research you may truly call your own.”



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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