Artisan’s Asylum is happy to announce that Project Hexapod, the Asylum class about how to build giant robots from scratch, has launched its fundraising campaign. The class (taught by James Whong, Dan Cody, and Asylum president Gui Cavalcanti) has spent the past four months designing, prototyping, simulating, and debugging in an effort to develop a 4,000 pound, 18-foot-wide, 135 horsepower, 6-legged robot named Stompy that seats two. When the robot is finished, it will be able to walk at 2-3 mph, carry 1,000 pounds of payload, travel over broken ground like rubble and rock piles, and ford water up to 6 feet deep.
The team is looking to raise $65,000, all of which will go towards purchasing the raw materials and components needed to make the final robot. The class used its initial budget from student tuition to fund the development of the hydraulic powerplant, and both half-scale and full-scale prototype legs (which you may have seen in the social area if you’ve been by the Asylum in the past few months). Additionally, the class has developed a hydraulic robot simulator to demonstrate control of a full-scale system:
The robot is being developed as an open source hardware project. At the completion of the project, the class will release all of its software, plans and schematics so that other groups can build large, hydraulic robots of their own. Any hackerspace or makerspace with a welder, CNC plasma cutter or waterjet should be able to build a Stompy of their very own! With any luck, this newfound knowledge will revolutionize the amateur robotics ecosystem, as hydraulic systems have typically not been explored by amateurs due to a significant lack of reference material or prior art.
If you’re interested in supporting this effort, we encourage you to check out their Kickstarter campaign. They’re offering bumper stickers, shirts, signed photos, rides, drives, and more in return for your support!