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Maximo Robot Arm – for kids and even big kids

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Posted September 22, 2015

Wish to discover robotics? The Maximo Robot Arm is one of the greatest ways to accomplish that. Accessible, fun and affordable, Maximo is designed for everyone.

Maximo Robot Arm comes with a laser-cut acrylic body. It was designed to offer the highest quality while remaining one of the most affordable robotic arms on the market. Its 5-axis range of motion allows for movements similar to assembly line robots.

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“Maximo is our second generation of robotic arms. Three years ago, we created MandleBot, a 5-axis aluminum robotic arm currently being used in schools, robotics clubs, summer camps and even factories. We have enjoyed sharing our passion for robotics with a lot of people and it has inspired us to now do it on a larger scale”, says the Maximo author on their crowdfunding campaign page on Kickstarter.

“My team and I wanted to create a robotics experience that would be available to anyone interested in this hot and futuristic subject, whether just starting out or already quite experienced. Our goal has been to create a robot that meets our exacting quality standards while remaining affordable”.

According to the team, another goal was to create a robot that could be used in schools to motivate students to learn more about science, engineering and robotics. Such a robot needs to be highly functional, configurable and visually appealing. It took a full year of research to produce the prototype of Maximo.

What do you get when you order the Maximo Robot Arm kit?

The kit includes: a black and clear acrylic body with a set of screws, nuts and standoffs, six high torque servomotors, a bearing base, Arduino with Servo Shield, wiring, USB cable and a power supply. You also get the standard gripper head module, a Robotic Studio license and the Assembly Manual.

Everyone who orders a robot will receive a free Robotic Studio license. Robotic Studio functions with Microsoft Windows only. This software is the result of thousands of hours of development by the development team. It enhances what you can achieve with the robot by executing complex automations that would otherwise be impossible to do manually. Robotic Studio allows you to move the robot with a game controller and execute different series of recorded steps. You can connect up to 10 robots at the same time in Robotic Studio to create amazing automations.

There is a wide selection of add-ons you can choose from to add to your bundle. Several head modules are available such as the pen, the advanced gripper, and the palletizer head. They can be added to your Maximo individually if they are not included in the reward you choose.

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Assembling the 225 parts of the arm is an easy process. In fact, the only thing required to build the robot is a Phillips-head screwdriver. Developers also provide a simple step-by-step guide to help you build Maximo. They say even a beginner can put Maximo together and get it to work in less than three hours.

In order to bring more features to Maximo, several modular heads were created. These heads can be changed within seconds. They were designed to be easy to install and remove.

 

The Standard gripper head module is the head included with every Maximo kit. It works like a pair of pliers, with the jaws opening and closing to grab all kinds of objects.

The Advanced gripper head module is more sophisticated than the standard claw and allows Maximo to grab objects by applying balanced pressure to the object. Very useful for grabbing small and rounded objects.

The Palletizer head module is a miniature reproduction of the ones used in factories and warehouses. A must-have to raise small wood pallets and other stuff.

The Pen-holder head module allows you to put various objects on Maximo’s head. You can use Maximo to draw, paint and even play music!

All parts of Maximo are engineered to allow customization. Part sizes are meant to be compatible to allow different configurations. It’s simple to add more features to the arm by fixing additional components to its surfaces. For example, a webcam can easily be attached to Maximo to capture some cool footage from the perspective of the robot.

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Maximo as an Educational Tool is a great way to introduce children to robotics and help them discover technologies that are currently used on assembly lines. The team also prepared two curriculums created by an Educational Adviser for middle and high school students. Each curriculum includes 15 exercises to carry out using Maximo. Anyone interested should contact the developers for more info about the curriculums.

How does it work?

The arm is controlled by an Arduino board combined with a servo shield. The additional connectors on the board make it possible to operate way more than the servomotors. You can connect sensors, LED lights and even wheels to make Maximo mobile. The Arduino board is also available in the Add-On with Bluetooth compatibility which opens several interesting features such as wireless control from your computer. The possibilities are simply endless.

Controlling Maximo

When you use the robotic arm in combination with Robotic Studio, you can control the arm with a gamepad. Each button activates one of the servomotors. You can record the current position of the robotic arm with the press of a button. The software allows you to play those recorded steps and then edit, delete or change the order in which the steps are executed. By using these Robotic Studio features, Maximo can execute complex and accurate movements that cannot be achieved manually.

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Changing the head of Maximo

The head of the arm can easily be changed within seconds for one of the other modules. You only have to disconnect the cable, loosen the screws holding the head, remove it and put the other one in place. This system allows you to switch Maximo’s functionalities painlessly. You can let the robot hold a pen, a light, or switch the regular gripper head module for a more advanced and accurate one.

Adding attachments to the robot

The acrylic parts of the robotic arm have additional holes to allow some customization. It is up to you to figure how and what you want to add to Maximo. There are countless possible configurations using a spare acrylic plate.  Infrared, motion and sound sensors are some of the components you can add to Maximo to enhance its functionalities. You can use the inputs from the sensors to activate advanced automations. By using these you can create a system in which multiple robots interact together.

Color variations

The basic Maximo kit comes with a black acrylic body. Red and blue acrylic are available for an extra charge.

Arduino

The Arduino shield has spare connectors that can be used to connect more components. For instance, you could mount motor wheels on the base of Maximo and use them to move the arm around.

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Stabilizer Legs

Maximo has four stabilizer legs allowing the arm to reach its fullest extent without destabilizing the robot. This allows the robot to do wide and fast movements.

Removable base

The base of Maximo has been designed so that it would be possible to detach it and mount the arm on any other surface: Maximo can be placed on a table, mobile base or just about anything else.

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First prototypes are already fully working and were developed as a result of the R&D done prior to the current Kickstarter campaign. The design is close to final, but the team hopes to improve some aspects of the arm before they could start with the shipping.

Source: Kickstarter

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