A recent graduate from the Newport News campus of the ECPI (East Coast Polytechnic Institute) University, Eric Moroge, spent the last two years building a robotic arm all by himself.
The arm is made out of 3D printed material consisting of colorful plastic parts. He printed out many of the parts using a personal printer that he built at home. Every single one required 12 to 36 hours to print and was cut, wired, and programmed by Moroge, without the help of anybody else.
He first tried his hand at programming at his university, when he decided to take an after-class electronic club. The majority of the skill and knowledge he displayed in creating the robot was from his mechatronics major, basically, mechanical and electronic engineering combined. He also used hydraulics, pneumatics, and computer systems in creating his first work.
Using the computer systems knowledge he learned in class, he was able to figure out the right way to program the arm so that it could move. At first, it was only able to move in jerking motions, but now the robotic arm is able to move almost seamlessly.
ECPI’s Newport News mechatronics program plans to keep using the robotic arm in order to be used as a learning tool for current students, especially since the parts and circuitry can be reworked and updated.