3D printed robotic hand

A 3D printed robotic hand. The outer covering will be open so that anyone can change the appearance or add sensors to the hand


Who am I?

My name is Chris Chappell. I graduated from University several years ago and I am trying to make my stamp on the world. To this end I have spent a year trying out various manufacturing methods and different designs of robotic hands. The intention to create a low cost, highly functional robot hand, with open hardware elements and open software.

My campaign is to produce the next iteration of my 3d Printed robotic hands. The new hand is called the Mk3 (‘Mark 3’).

I feel that robotic hands are the best way to build a community that will in turn build the first practical android. By creating a low cost platform, it will enable many people to contribute to evolution of the platform. By having the covering elements of the hand open, a great variety of hands could develop nearly overnight. It would be a great platform for those experimenting in prosthetics, robotics, 3D printing and control systems.

Eventually I want to develop hands that are low cost enough that people don’t fear breaking it and will instead do their best to make it better. As designs progress I hope to make earlier designs completely open, as I have with the Mk1, over at thingiverse.

My Mk1 and Mk2 where featured on boingboing and designboom.

A video of the Mk1 moving is at my youtube channel.

So why do I want one of these hands?

3D printing + robotics + hackable… How can I not have one!?

Ok more specifically you may want:

a prosthetic hand for a costume?

to inspire some school children with a freakin’ robot hand?

to contribute to open source control software?

to test out some novel actuator e.g. artificial muscles?

to design your own appearance?

to test out some proximity and touch sensors?

to build an Artificial intelligence?

something cool to look at on your mantelpiece?

to build an army of unstoppable kil… Ok no wait this isn’t for you.

What We Need & What You Get

I need enough money to develop the Mk3. This process will involve designing the Mk3 and in turn receiving prototypes from Shapeways. This process hasn’t taken long with the Mk1 and Mk2, but I want to put more care into the Mk3 so that it can be what I envisioned when I started this process.

I expect the final Mk3 to be complete within 2 months of the end of the campaign. The more contributions the more prototypes I can justify getting and so the better the final product is more likely to be. To be clear the Mk3 will consist of four fingers with 4 degrees of freedom each. Also one thumb with at least 4 degrees of freedom. It will also consist of a wrist with 2 degrees of freedom. It will be designed to be fairly rugged and tough, but I am limited by Shapeways SWF material. I may offer higher rewards with tougher material, if they can be shown to print something this complex.  

Since I know that many of you may be excited about this project, but can’t justify the cost of the Mk3, I will have several rewards available at the lower end. Beginning with the thank you on my website for those who pitch in anything. I will also design 2 different A2 posters displaying the Mk3. One will be a futuristic display showing off the features of the Mk3. The second will be in the style of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical sketches. These posters will be sent with all larger rewards.

For those pledging larger amounts I will also create a smaller size hand sculpture based on the Mk3. Something that will go nicely on your desk or mantelpiece. This will be larger than the 100mm sculpture I've already made.

For those who wish to contribute more then I will offer 30% off any of my designs on my Shapeways shop. A number of designs are there and I have a few more planned and will be built whenever I want a break from designing the hand.

For those who can afford the hands I will offer several more rewards, including the basic hand from Shapeways. The hand plus the tendon components. Then finally the hand assembled with servos and Arduino for control.

If my target is not reached then I will still design the Mk3, although it will take longer as I will be rather demoralised and in search of other work!!


Other Ways You Can Help

Tell other people about this project. Blog it. Like it. Tweet it. Pin it. Whatever you can. Every bit will help.




Photo of the Mk1. The smooth curves are something I will replicate in the Mk3, except it will be even more stylish.

 Mk1 painted in steampunk colours

Photo of the Mk2. For the Mk3 I want to mimic how the basic hand was printed in one piece, as well as giving a larger range of movement to the Mk1.

 Mk2 with silver paint job

Here is an early design idea to give you a feel of the Mk3. However it will be sleeker and more organic.

early design mock up of fingers and palm

The covers can make it look however you want though.

Some mock covers in zbrush, to show variety achieved in a single afternoon.

For the posters, I've been experimenting with different effects. Here is an early Mk1 prototype in the Leonardo da Vinci style. The final poster will also have an exploded and cutaway style effect.

Leonardo Da Vinci style effect

Here is the Sci fi style effect.This is the Mk2 hand. I'll be going for a holographic/schematic effect.

Sci fi style effect.

Created By: