Printable modular robot: an application of rapid prototyping for flexible robot design

Dennis Krupke, Florens Wasserfall, Norman Hendrich, Jianwei Zhang
Industrial Robot: An International Journal, Volume 42, Number 2, page 149-155 - Feb 2015
Purpose – This paper aims to present the design of a modular robot with 3D-printing technology. Design/methodology/approach – The robot consists of a number of autonomous modules coupled by magnetic interfaces. Each module combines 3D-printed mechanical parts with widely available standard electronic components, including a microcontroller and a single servo actuator. The mechanical and electrical connection is provided by a single set of magnets which apply the physical force between the modules and at the same time serve as wires for power and communication. Findings – The PMR is a full-featured robotic device, well integrated into a simulation framework, capable to execute common locomotion patterns but still extremely affordable (approximately 25/module). Furthermore, the design is easy to extend and replicate for other research and education groups. Originality/value – This paper explores a novel approach of connecting devices in a complex way by utilizing very simple magnetic parts. A second focus lies on the concept of closely integrating simulation and hardware development, blurring the edge between digital and physical word.

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BibTex references

  author       = "Krupke, Dennis and Wasserfall, Florens and Hendrich, Norman and Zhang, Jianwei",
  title        = "Printable modular robot: an application of rapid prototyping for flexible robot design",
  journal      = "Industrial Robot: An International Journal",
  number       = "2",
  volume       = "42",
  pages        = "149-155",
  month        = "Feb",
  year         = "2015",
  keywords     = "modular robot, rapid prototyping, 3D printing, low-cost design, arduino",
  url          = ""

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» Dennis Krupke
» Florens Wasserfall
» Norman Hendrich
» Jianwei Zhang