There was a time when 3D printing and building robots seemed out of reach of regular civilians, reserved for experts in the technology field. Now top-end technical tools are readily available at the hobby level. BoxBotix is yet another open source software aimed at hobbyist in the field, AND WE LOVE IT.
Created by Coby Leuschke from Rocketship Systems, BoxBotix is an open source 3D printable robotics system that can be configured as a copter, plane, or rover. This makes the planes easy to build at home, with only some basic tools required – metric fasteners, aluminum, foam, and extruded carbon fiber shapes. The main Bbot modules can be printed with a desktop 3D printer.
The goal is to let people build robots for their specific needs and to keep them running with parts that are easily accessible. “Our vision is to form a global network of artisans who specialize in the design, manufacture and support of open source robots at the local level,” says Leuschke. “We get a lot of emails and phone calls from people trying to fly sensors but lack the robots to put them on. So we decided to see if we could design something that was easy to hack, make, use and sustain.”
Though Leuschke and his team want people to create their own custom configurations, there are currently three configurations available: BBCopter, BBPLane, and BBRover. Even within these limitations people are still encouraged to mix and match to come up with new designs. The Bbots are also meant to be durable. All Bbots can be built to be water and dust proof allowing your craft to fly outdoors in what Leuschke calls “worst case scenarios,” such as at night. in the rain. Such fun to be had.
BoxBotix was successfully funded on Kickstarter in March 2016 raising $17,558. To make sure everyone could get started right away building new creations, the company offered two kits: “Bring Your Own Printer” and “Full Frame.” Bring Your Own Printer kit lets users print their own ABS parts while the company supplies the hardware. The Full Frame package includes the services of the previous kit, plus all 3D printed ABS parts. Hobbyists eager to get started can visit Wevolver for projects.
With more and more developers dedicated to putting 3D printing and robotics technology into the hands of everyday hobbyists, it encourages more creators. It also encourages people to take on a new skill they otherwise may have felt was out of their reach. Before you know it, creating bots will be as common as setting up your own blog.