Ever wished you can have a robot arm that you can program to do your bidding? Now you can with the Hexbot, a modular and programmable robot arm that can be equipped and coded to perform a whole load of cool stuff.
No, it’s not exactly the first of its kind, as we’ve already seen similar automatons in the form of the uArm Swift Pro and the Z-Arm. Equipped with a longer reach and four times the precision of those other robot arms, this thing lets you perform even more accurate movements, whether you’re using it to 3D print an object, engrave an iPhone case, or perform some goofy action for your YouTube channel.
The Hexbot has a reach of 380mm (nearly 15 inches) with the arm outstretched, while a four-axis movement gives it a really large build area, allowing it to access the near-15 inches across a 220-degree angle. It has a modular head that allows you to swap in heads without the use of tools (no screws), with each head clicking in securely with just a simple push. Available heads include a soft gripper, a suction cup, a pen holder, a 3D printer, and a laser engraver, so you can program it to assemble items like a factory robot, draw illustrations, and even fabricate a whole load of objects.
A multi-function button at the base of the robot arm allows you to train it without any programming (just drag the arm to your desired positions), as it can remember any movement sequences you make and repeat it later as many times as you want it to. There’s also an optional touchscreen that can be connected via USB-C, making it even more convenient to train the robot with just a few taps onscreen.
If you want an easier way to teach the Hexbot movements, you can do it using the companion desktop software, where you can set it to perform complex movements with just a few button clicks. Of course, it’s perfectly programmable via an API, allowing you to write custom code for the robot in either Python, Processing, or G-Code. Seriously, you can probably make this thing do a whole load of cool stuff if you put in the necessary work. To make it accessible to kids, it’s also compatible with Blockly, so younger coders can make it perform actions by simply dragging and dropping code blocks onscreen.
Aside from the swappable heads, the outfit is also selling optional compatible accessories, namely a conveyor belt and linear rails. The former can be used to put together an assembly line staffed by the robot arms, while the rails can be used to allow the robot to move across a straight line, instantly expanding its effective build area. The robot arm, by the way, can support a payload of up to 500 grams (1.1 pounds), so you should make a point of limiting its use to relatively light objects, in case you’re planning to design custom heads or make it pick up items.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the Hexbot. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at an impressively affordable $299.