Small, inexpensive robots are an exciting way for people to initially come into contact with robotics. Because of this, several others and I have developed the Miicrodinkel and organized a workshop in which each participant has built a Microdinkel during just one evening.
It was particularly important that the robot consists of only a few parts and that it can be built on one night only by an untrained person. Furthermore, it was necessary to keep the costs per robot so small that also a poor student could afford one.
A different member of the association had the idea for the mechanical, six-legged locomotion and developed a simple prototype. I have developed this prototype further, decreased the number of necessary parts significantly and simplified the parts mechanically to speed up production.
I took care of the purchase of the necessary parts and ordered, for example, the servos from China to take advantage of economies of scale and to keep prices low. The PCBs were also contract manufactured in China according to my order. The electronic components were purchased from two different German dealers.
The robot has six legs, but only three servos. The front and rear legs can only move forward and back. Those are controlled by only one servo per side, that moves both legs simultaneously. The middle pair of legs can push the robot up on either the left or on the right side so that the front and rear leg float freely on the lifted side.
While the legs are off the ground, the legs on the raised side can be moved forward by the servo. If the middle leg pair is in neutral position and both outer leg pairs are moved forward, the middle pair of legs does not touch the ground. Now the robot can move all four outer legs backwards, which makes the robot move forward.
The Costs for one of these robots was 30 €. These costs have been covered by each participant. In total, about 10 of these Robots were made on that evening and in the following weeks.
3D Printed Robot
After the successful workshop I remodelled the design and created an entirely new version of the Robot that can be 3D-printed. I published this Design on Thingiverse as Thing No. 5156