Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Keep up to date with Maplins latest offers, deals and bargains

Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby Michael » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:00 pm

http://www.maplin.co.uk/robotic-arm-kit ... ace-266257

* Exclusive to Maplin Electronics!
* Construct a working robotic arm and control it from your PC via USB!
* Includes software for controlling the arm supplied on CD-Rom
* Use your keyboard and mouse to have real time control over the robot
* Programming option to save or load pre-programmed user files for a series of movements
* Maximum lift 100g
* A fun and exciting way to explore robotics via a PC

Was £44.99
Save £15.00

only £29.99
Professionalism....it's not for amateurs
User avatar
Michael
Site Admin
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:10 pm
Location: Maplin Headquarters
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 2 times in 2 posts

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby pendulum » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:29 pm

Now i can build my own terminator arms :D
CAPS LOCK – Preventing Login Since 1980.

Core i7-2600k @ 3.8ghz
Corsair Vengeance DDR3 16GB @ 1600mhz
ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z
GeForce GTX 260 FreezerX2
OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD
Seagate Barracuda 2TB
User avatar
pendulum
Technical
 
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:44 am
Location: Maplin HQ
Thanks: 14
Thanked: 36 times in 36 posts

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby pgpaulgio22 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:03 pm

There's a cool bunch of videos showing the arm being put together at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r4ZoNprt5Q
"I may be established but I’ll never be establishment."
User avatar
pgpaulgio22
Peon
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:42 am
Location: at the bar
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby YourGeekFriend » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:51 pm

Doh, is it back up to £44.99 now then? :(


Michael wrote:http://www.maplin.co.uk/robotic-arm-kit-with-usb-pc-interface-266257

* Exclusive to Maplin Electronics!
* Construct a working robotic arm and control it from your PC via USB!
* Includes software for controlling the arm supplied on CD-Rom
* Use your keyboard and mouse to have real time control over the robot
* Programming option to save or load pre-programmed user files for a series of movements
* Maximum lift 100g
* A fun and exciting way to explore robotics via a PC

Was £44.99
Save £15.00

only £29.99
YourGeekFriend
Peon
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:44 pm
Location: Gloucester, UK
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby stebrig76 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:37 pm

Looks like it YGF :( Was a bargain at the sale price too
You read it, you cannot unread it...
User avatar
stebrig76
Peon
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:53 am
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby Ian » Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:23 pm

These Robotic Arms are quite a challenge but when built are ultimately very satisfying. I built the same model but the one that is controlled by a seperate box rather than a USB interface and it took about six hours. They'd be really great as a father/son bonding thing as my nephew (4) played with it for about 2 hours when he saw it.

The electrical principles are not especially advanced but the mechanical ones involved are. If marketing is not selling these around schools then I think they ought to, as the mechanical technology involved would be ideal for Physics or Design and Technology teaching. It is a highly useful introduction to elementary cybernetics and encompasses gear trains, electric motor technology and the principles of turning rotary into linear motion. A good teacher could always expand on the principles of the electrical side too, adapting the wiring so that it is possible to measure the current taken as any action is performed and thereby work out the electrical power. It could be a great teaching aid.
How many electronic engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?... What kind is it? What's the voltage? We'll look at it on Tuesday.
User avatar
Ian
Apprentice
 
Posts: 330
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:50 pm
Thanks: 26
Thanked: 27 times in 24 posts

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby John Doe » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:15 am

Because I'm such a child I bought 2 while they were cheap. I've written a .net c# library to drive the arm, and written an application with it to control the arm with a standard 3 axis joystick :) Its cool and works realy well, a lot slicker than that terrible software that comes on the CD. Next I'm going to add potentiometers to the joints on my second arm and using a low pin count PIC USB dev board to connect the potentiometers to my PC I should be able to use absolute positioning for some realy impressive robot dancing.

BTW there is two really huge failings in these arms.

A) robots joints are driven by servo's, i.e. you tell the joint a position and it moves to it if it can. This arm uses plain DC motors hence has no positional feedback hence crashes all the time and has no fixed starting position.

B) The CD does not include any development library which limits its use as an educational tool. Writing your own library is not for the faint hearted as it requires a vast amount of technical know how to make it work (it requires comunincating to the arms USB at a raw level). Fortunatly I know someone with just that such knowhow who helped me get my code to work. Even then it took us a week or so of fiddling, and snooping on the USB and windows API.
John Doe
Peon
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:06 am
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

dont post URIs in subjects :)

Postby stephenfleming » Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:09 am

Nicely narrated information. I could know a lot from this. Thanks for the sharing.
stephenfleming
Peon
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:34 am
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby Ian » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:06 pm

These kits are originally a Velleman design and were for teleoperation from a control box, hence there was no need for a servo as a human operator responds accordingly and the expense of a servo was unnecessary. I do agree that a servo would be better for computer interfacing but perhaps a work around might be to write in a routine that moves the arm to the limits of each joint to start with. It could be an object driven interface thing, with a button for moving to start, a general stop and stop/start for fine tuning each joint. I'm sure if you did a tutorial on this you'd get a big following.
How many electronic engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?... What kind is it? What's the voltage? We'll look at it on Tuesday.
User avatar
Ian
Apprentice
 
Posts: 330
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:50 pm
Thanks: 26
Thanked: 27 times in 24 posts

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby heyyerbarred » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:17 pm

John Doe - are you able to provide some source code or help me build myself a custom app for this robot arm please? I am a VB programmer and have searched everywhere online for something and I have yet to find a single thing!
heyyerbarred
Peon
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:15 pm
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby Tbj » Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:34 am

Have just got one of these and am intending to do something similar to another poster and add linear slide pots to the joints for positional feedback. Eventual plan is to use it in a 3D printer, though I have no idea how well that will go or whether my maths skills will be up to the huge amount of trig required :D

Heyyerbanned - lots of good info here:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/programming-9/c-code-for-maplin-usb-robot-arm-851033/

All in C but should be fairly easy to convert, or at least give you an idea of what you need to do.
Tbj
Peon
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:29 am
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby bajannana » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:16 am

Could this be adapted for a child with very limited mobility to use with his computers eye gaze system. Is it possible to programme in a range of .movements for him to activate using icons. He could have a lot of fun but our technical knowledge is limited
bajannana
Peon
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:02 am
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby pendulum » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:39 pm

I don't see why not - Some really great things have been done with this robotic arm using a Raspberry Pi. I couldn't begin to explain how this might be done however. I'm sure some on here might be able to help though.
CAPS LOCK – Preventing Login Since 1980.

Core i7-2600k @ 3.8ghz
Corsair Vengeance DDR3 16GB @ 1600mhz
ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z
GeForce GTX 260 FreezerX2
OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD
Seagate Barracuda 2TB
User avatar
pendulum
Technical
 
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:44 am
Location: Maplin HQ
Thanks: 14
Thanked: 36 times in 36 posts

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby moog10538 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:43 pm

On Christmas morning I had a very happy teenage daughter, and we gleefully spent hours building the robot arm from the excellent instructions. However, when she went to install the software on her laptop (Windows 8.1 -- I know, I know!) things hit a bit of a sticky patch...

(I suspect that the recent price drop is probably connected to Maplin's recent "Windows XP only" disclaimer on the product. However, muggins here had already purchased it back in September.)

After a few hours of trawling the web I got the thing working fine. Thought I'd share this info with anyone else who's struggling with the same issue.


Getting the Maplin Robot Arm with USB (OWI-535) to work with Windows 8 x64

Maplin sets sold in late 2013 appear to include 64-bit (x64) drivers on the enclosed installation CD. Otherwise, you can download them from manufacturer OWI directly. (Unfortunately due to board rules I can't post the direct link, but a quick search for "OWI downloads" will yield the website.)

By the way, for Windows 8 installation you can use the Windows 7 drivers but must DISABLE "driver signature verification". Microsoft have made this unimaginably awkward.

  • Bring up the Charms bar (mouse bottom right of screen) & select Settings
  • Change PC Settings
  • Update & recovery
  • Recovery
  • Advanced startup -- restart now
  • After restart, choose Troubleshoot
  • Advanced Options
  • Startup settings
  • Restart
  • After restart, choose "7" Disable driver signature enforcement
  • You should now be able to install the robot arm driver without problem.

(For a screen-by-screen guide, search for "disable windows 8 driver signature verification".)

Many thanks to Lewis Benge whose website proved invaluable in solving this problem.
moog10538
Peon
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:21 pm
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

The following user would like to thank moog10538 for this post
pendulum

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby pendulum » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:55 pm

This is great info, thank you for this.
CAPS LOCK – Preventing Login Since 1980.

Core i7-2600k @ 3.8ghz
Corsair Vengeance DDR3 16GB @ 1600mhz
ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z
GeForce GTX 260 FreezerX2
OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD
Seagate Barracuda 2TB
User avatar
pendulum
Technical
 
Posts: 693
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:44 am
Location: Maplin HQ
Thanks: 14
Thanked: 36 times in 36 posts

Re: Robotic Arm Kit with USB PC Interface

Postby nickyc53 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:30 pm

Brilliant help - thanks, tho didn't QUITE work.

Am getting a driver is unavailable comment.

The first time I did it I wasn't online - could that have upset it? Can I start again? I tried removing the device and it goes, but still doesn't work properly.

Grateful for any advice.

UPDATE - GOT IT WORKING

Thought that with windows driver auto install overridden it would just install but it doesn't.

Have to go in and do it by running the 64 bit installer off the CD ROM. THEN install the program.

Have to say I found the build frustrating (as I first used instructions off the web - rubbish - not those supplied - excellent) and really doubted it would work but it does, very well.

Follow instructions religioulsy (esp re screw sizes)

Highly recommended but not for one without nimble fingers Tho is fragile and I'm sure will easily be (irreparably) broken.

Get much more than you pay for,, esp at £30.
nickyc53
Peon
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:25 pm
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post


Return to Promotions and Offers

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests