23 April 2019

If you bought one of those cheap (£30) robot arms from Maplin a few years back (when there still was a Maplin) or find yourself in possession of one now, changes to Windows have made it feel like a bit of a paperweight.

I’ve put together setup scripts, along with a video guide on using a Raspberry Pi (Zero W, but any Pi will do, especially best are those with WiFi) to drive it.

Once you are on the Pi, most of the magic is done with a one liner command:

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/orionrobots/python_usb_robot_arm/master/setup_arm.sh | sudo bash

I am assisted by my brilliant lab helper Helena, demonstrating this setup and showing the arm in action in the following video. Enjoy!

The Headless Pi Setup

The Raspberry Pi used is headless, a technique I’ve used extensively in Learn Robotics Programming, my book on the subject. The Bonjour/mDNS/Zeroconf system is used to find the Raspberry Pi on a local network without needing to know it’s IP address.