Category Archives: 3D printed robot

Building a 3D Printed Mini Rescue Robot (based on OARK)

Most robot kits available in the market, such as : LEGO Mindstorm, Fischer Technic, Bioloid, are limited in flexibility and durability. There may be no available parts that suitable for particular need. Those robots will also not be able to traverse on irregular and cluttered terrain which is common, for example, in rescue area.  Open Academic Robot Kit (OARK) is an open source robot kit that exploits the advent of 3D printer technology. It is created by Dr. Raymond Sheh (Curtin University) to lower the barrier for everyone who wants to enter robotics research field, particularly rescue robot. The robot also has a nick name: Emu Mini 2, as it is a mini version of the Emu, an autonomous rescue robot in school of Computer Science and Engineering , UNSW.  The official webpage of OARK is

Here is the compilation of Emu Mini 2 which I demonstrate on a mini rescue arena at RoboCup 2015 in Hefei, China.

I will describe the main components of the robot that we build here at CSE – UNSW based on OARK:

  • 7 servo motors Dynamixel AX-12 from Robotis
    • 4 motors to move the mobile base and 3 others to move the arm
  • USB2Dynamixel from Robotis
    • It is utilised to connect the motors to RaspberryPi via its USB port (not its GPIO pins as usual)
    • OpenCM 9.04 board is also can be used, see here
  • RaspberryPi 2 and a Micro SD card
    • Although the first version can be used, RaspberryPi 2 have much faster processor and it has 4 USB ports which is useful in our system
  • RaspberryPi Camera and a long camera cable (50 cm)
    • A long cable is needed as the camera is located in an articulated arm
  •  Wi-Pi dongle from Element 14
    • A wi-fi dongle for Raspberry Pi
  • Wireless Gamepad Logitech F710
    • A PS3 dualshock controller is also can be used, see here
  • Rechargeable LiPo battery (output : 12V, 1750 mA)
    • To supply the servo motors
  • Power bank (output 5V, 1 A) or attach a voltage regulator to convert 12 V (from battery) to 5V
    • To supply the Pi

Here is the not-so-complete list of the robot’s materials and where to get them.

There are 7 steps to build this robot.

  1. Preparing the mechanical robot parts
  2. Preparing the RaspberryPi 2
  3. Preparing connection between RaspberryPi and Dynamixel AX12 motor
  4.  Controlling Dynamixel AX12 using PyDynamixel Library
  5.  Interfacing a wireless joystick and RaspberryPi
  6.  Intuitive motor control using a wireless joystick
  7.  Video streaming via PiCamera

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