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5 DYNAMIXEL Projects Anyone Can Build

9th Jul 2024

Robotics is no longer the exclusive domain of scientists and engineers; with the availability of advanced yet user-friendly components like DYNAMIXEL actuators, it has made its way into our homes, classrooms and garages. Whether you're a seasoned tinkerer or a curious beginner, building your own robot can be an incredibly rewarding experience. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to five DYNAMIXEL-powered robotics projects that are fun to build, but also serve as an excellent way to improve your knowledge too. These projects cater to different levels of complexity, ensuring there’s something for everyone - from novices who are just starting their robotics journey to experienced hobbyists looking for their next challenge. So, roll up your sleeves and prepare to be inspired as we explore the engaging world of DIY robotics.


ZenBot: Musical Doorbell Drumbot

Let’s start off with my personal favorite: ZenBot, an Arduino-based device featuring seven mallet-wielding XL330 servos that play percussive tones on a meditation drum. Originally designed as a doorbell, the ZenBot is an excellent conversation piece with lots of room for customization. Detailed instructions are provided for building the ZenBot, including a complete bill of materials, and files for 3D printing the plastic components that make up the robot. The provided sketch file stores the music in a series of arrays, making it easy to swap out the music for something more to your personal liking. For more advanced makers, developing an interface to turn ZenBot into a MIDI instrument is an intriguing possibility to expand the functionality of the device.

Trash Bin Robot

The  "Giant Hungry Robot" by Eunchan Park is another simple but fun robotics project that can bring some charm to your home workshop. The project involves using various materials like baskets for the body and hands, and hot melt glue for assembly making the robot cheap to afford, and simple to assemble. The R+ Task software used by the original author is a great way to get used to the basics programming a robot to respond to sensor data and control servo motor movement based on predefined logic. For more experienced hobbyists, upgrading to a more capable Arduino based main controller opens up an infinite variety of options to take the project even farther.


The LEAP Hand is as a low-cost, anthropomorphic robotic hand designed for dexterous manipulation in machine learning research. It features a unique kinematic structure that enhances dexterity, and exhibits strength and robustness in a wide variety of complex manipulation movements. The hand's capabilities include side-to-side dexterity, strong gripping, reliability in repeated motions without overheating, and the ability to perform tasks like teleoperation and behavior cloning. The project offers a URDF model, CAD files, simulation environment, and APIs for development, emphasizing its real-world applicability and performance in various scenarios like sim2real learning and behavior cloning from internet videos. For first time robotics hobbyist, the hand can be a fun way to explore the limits of robotic manipulation and dexterity.

Mini-Bento Arm


The Mini Bento Arm is a 3D printable robotic arm originally designed for educational and rehabilitation purposes. Utilizing XL330-M288-T actuators, the Mini Bento Arm provides 4DO with joint feedback for sensory input or machine learning applications. Although this platform was originally designed as a low cost iteration of the Bento Arm prosthetics research device, it’s also a very well designed small scale robotic manipulator platform. If you’re interested in medical robotics technology, the Mini Bento platform is the perfect place to start.


The OpenMANIPULATOR friends is a series of manipulations platforms designed by ROBOTIS including SCARA, Link, Planar, Delta, Stewart, and Linear manipulators. All of the different hardware configurations are fully documented with 3D printed parts accessible on Onshape and Thingiverse, and provided software packages for control of the platforms using multiple different interfaces. Novice robotics users can focus on replicating the existing systems, while the platforms offer plenty of room for experimentation for more experienced individuals.

And there you have it, a journey into the world of DYNAMIXEL-powered robotics projects, a testament to how robotics is no longer confined to labs but has truly permeated our homes and classrooms. The beauty of these projects lies in their diversity and adaptability, offering something unique and challenging for everyone, from beginners to advanced hobbyists. Starting with the soothing rhythms of the ZenBot, moving on to the charming 'Giant Hungry Robot', to the scientific marvel that is the LEAP Hand, and the compact yet potent Mini Bento Arm, it is evident that the realm of home robotics is vast and truly limitless. Not to forget the OpenMANIPULATOR friends, showcasing the versatility of manipulative platforms that can be molded to cater to any robotics whim. All these projects serve not just as learning experiences but also as stepping stones to more sophisticated designs, sparking creativity and innovation even within the confines of our homes. Furthermore, they underscore the fact that with components like DYNAMIXEL actuators, and a little bit of passion, anyone can dive into the exciting world of robotics. Whether you're a novice looking to get your feet wet, or a seasoned hobbyist searching for your next grand project, we hope these projects have inspired you. Now, it's your turn to turn this inspiration into innovation. Happy building!