Faze4 robotic arm - 3D printed cycloidal drives in robotics

Faze4 robotic arm - 3D printed cycloidal drives in robotics

Faze4 is medium sized fully 3d printable Open source 6 axis robotic arm. It is functionally and esthetically similar to robotic arms in industry but is aimed for research, education and anyone interested in making his own robot arm. It was created by Petar Crnjak as part of its bachelors thesis. At the same time robot was made open source and recreated by hundreds of people around the world.

Cycloidal Drives: backbone of Faze4

One of the reasons why Faze4 works is its use of cycloidal gearboxes. The entire design of the robot started with experimentation on 3D-printed cycloidal gearboxes. After confirming their effectiveness and ease of fabrication, the entire robot arm was designed around them.

Motor Configuration and Dynamics

At the core of FAZE4's mechanics are six carefully positioned stepper motors — three NEMA 23, two NEMA 17, and one NEMA 14. Joints 1-5 leverage cycloidal gearboxes and belts for efficient torque transmission, while joint 6 operates with a planetary gearbox.

Weight Distribution Optimization: Motor Positioning and Belt Mechanism

To optimize weight distribution, a special care was taken during the design stage to position all motors as close as possible to the base of the arm. The design choice to employ belts in joints 1, 4, and 5 serves a dual purpose — it offsets the rotational axis for cable routing convenience and augments the overall reduction ratio. Joint 1, for instance, combines a 15:1 cycloidal reduction with a belt to achieve a 25:1 reduction ratio.

Control System: Brains of Faze4

FAZE4's low-level control is was done by a Teensy 3.5 microcontroller, ensuring seamless and precise execution of commands. Currently, the high-level control, involving tasks like inverse kinematics and simulations, is implemented in MATLAB. However, the roadmap includes a transition to ROS for enhanced versatility and code porting to Python.

Spherical Wrist Configuration: Simplifying Kinematics

One of FAZE4's standout features is its utilization of a spherical wrist configuration, where the axes of rotation for joints 4, 5, and 6 intersect. This complex mechanical arrangement simplifies the process of solving inverse kinematics, a configuration commonly found in industrial robotic arms.


Aesthetic Appeal and Wire Concealment

Taking design cues from FANUC's LR Mate 200iD, FAZE4 was designed to look slick. The aesthetic design aims to emulate industrial arms, with all internal wires cleverly concealed. Only the wires for the gripper are visible, resulting in a clean and professional appearance.

Future of Faze4

Faze4 will get a much needed update in terms on software control and electronics. With its mechanical design being mature and reproduced by people around the world it will leverage software and electronics of its younger brother PAROL6, latest in line of our open-source robotic arms.


Learn more about Faze4

Github project link





Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.