An Easy and Cheap Way on How To Create A Hydraulic Robotic Arm

An Easy and Cheap Way on How To Create A Hydraulic Robotic Arm

If you’re on the hunt for your next science project, we’ve got something for you! Using only cardboard and syringe, you can recreate the interesting hydraulic robotic arm equipment. How exciting is that?

This project will level up your creative mind and enhance your hand skills. There is no need to buy machines and whatnots because all the materials for this project can easily be found at home.

Let’s get you started!

Materials Needed For This Project

  • Cardboard
  • Unused Syringe
  • 7 pieces of 10 ml Syringe with Rubber Piston (These will be the ‘hydraulic’ mechanism for the arm.)
  • Bamboo Barbecue Stick
  • Thin Clear Hose
  • Zip Ties
  • Tie Wire
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Old battery
  • Food Coloring or Dye (in four colors)

The Tools

  • Pencil Or Any Markers
  • Ruler
  • Cutter
  • Long Nose Pliers
  • Drill
  • Glue Gun with Glue Sticks
  • Super Glue
  • Side Cutter

Step-By-Step Procedures

1. Making the Trunk and Arms

Step 1: Make 4 figure sets using the cardboard (2 pieces for each set).

1.1 For Figure Set 1, make two long thick strips of cardboard.

Drill small holes. One hole on the tip of the strip and the other hole, a few inches from the other tip. See rounded image above.

1.2 For Figure Set 2, cut two smaller strips of cardboard.

Drill holes on both ends of the strips.

1.3 Create two small square sheet.

1.4 Cut two halves of a triangle and cut the tip to make it flat as seen on Figure Set 4 above.

Drill holes on the flat upper tip of the figures.

Step 2: Working on Figure Set 1, insert the bamboo sticks on the holes of the strip and stack the strips together. This will be the upper arm of the equipment.

Step 3: Insert two syringe in the middle of the two strips and add superglue on the two holes, where the bamboo sticks are inserted. Flip it over and do it on the holes from the other side.

This will help glue the stick and prevent movements.

Step 4: Grab the two small strips (Figure Set 2) and stack one side of the small strip by inserting it on the bamboo stick of the long strip. Make sure that you inserted it on the hole that is farther from the edge.

4.1 Insert the other small strip on the other side of the stacked long strip.

4.2 Use another bamboo stick on to connect the other end of the small strips. Be sure to glue this end together.

See the image for your reference.

Step 5: On the other free tip of the small strips (Step 4.2), insert the Figure Set 4 on both sides. It should look like this:

Step 6: Once done, glue small square sheets on top of the two joints on both ends of the small strip. See the rounded areas on the image.

Step 7: Glue the figures you’ve built on the two square sheets (Figure Set 3).

Set it aside first and work on the hydraulics.

2. Working on the Hydraulic

Step 8: Get one syringe and drill a hole on its plunger.

Step 9: Grab two zip ties and tie them together. BUT! Don’t lock it yet.

Step 10: Tie and lock one zip tie on the tip of the barrel. Tie and lock the other tie on the bamboo stick. Remove the bamboo stick after locking the tie. This step should look like this:

Step 11: Cut the extra ends of the zip ties and should make something like the image.

Make another set of this zip tied syringe as these will serve as the hydraulic for the upper and lower arm.

3. Putting on the Hydraulics

Step 12: Get the trunk and body from Part 1. Position on syringe lying diagonally on the upper arm of equipment and mark the areas, where the syringe will be inserted or installed later on.

These marks will be holed.

Step 13: Insert a bamboo stick on the hole of the lower arm of the equipment (Check Step 2). Once holes are created remove the stick and insert the syringe with the drilled plunger from Step 8.

Step 14: Install the other end of the syringe by inserting the bamboo stick on the marks made from Step 12 and the extra hole on the zip tie from Step 10 and Step 11.

Step 15: Using the other zip tied syringe insert it on the trunk and the lower arm using the same procedure from Step 12 to Step 14.

Put it on the side and start working on the arms.

4. Making the Arms

Step 16: For the arm, make 5 Figure Sets as found on the image.

Figure A

Figure B

For Figure Set 5, sketch an incomplete hexagon on the cardboard. Once done, cut it and make two figures.For your reference, see the Image A. This will be the hand of the arm.

Drill three holes on each bend of the figure. Refer to Figure Set 5 on Image B.

Step 17: Make two small strips for Figure Set 6.

Step 18: Cut for small square sheet like as seen on Figure Set 7.

Create a hole in the center of each sheet (Figure Set 7 on Image B).

Step 19: Cut a scalene-like triangle, but both long sides side should be of the same length. Cut the two lower sides of the triangle.

Open holes on both the lower ends of the triangle (Figure Set 8 Image B).

Step 20: Create a “Z” figure using two tie wires of the same length.

Step 21: Prepare 4 cut pieces of bamboo sticks.

Step 22: You are now ready to put the pieces together.

Grab on of the bamboo sticks and pierce the left hand (Figure Set 5) on the second hole and one of the square sheets from Figure Set 7.

Step 23: Grab one of the Z tie wire and insert it one the first hole of the arm, which you were working on Step 22.

Step 24: Pierce the left hole of the triangle (Figure Set 8) using the bamboo stick with the hand and the square sheet.

Step 23 and Step 24 should like this:

Step 25: Repeat Steps 22 to Steps 24 for the right hand of the arm. This should look like the image below:

Step 26: Bend the ends of the tie wire.

Step 27: Drop superglue on the bamboo stick so keep the hands in place.

Step 28: Flip the completed arm on the back side and superglue the bamboo sticks on the holes.

5. Creating the Tip of the Hand

Step 29: Cut a short strip of cardboard and wrap it around the popsicle stick to serve as the molder.

Remove the popsicle stick without dismantling the figure you’ve created from above. See image for reference:

Step 30: Create a hole with the two joined edges of the strip and pierce it with a bamboo stick with the arm on its center.

Step 31: Repeat Steps 29 to Step 30 on the other hand.

Step 32: Once done, superglue all the bamboo sticks and cut the excess sticks using the side cutter.

Step 33: Place the completed hand on the upper portion of the upper arm of the equipment.

6. Making the Controls

Step 34: Grabbing one syringe, cut the flat tip of the plunger into a hexagon figure.

Step 35: Insert another zip tied syringe in the center of the upper arm with the adapter facing upwards. Make sure you removed the extra ends and superglue the stick. This will be connected with the controls later.

7. Creating the Moving Leg and Foundation of the Arm

Step 36: Cut two big square sheets of cardboard of the same size and glue them together.

Step 37: Drill a hole in the center of the foundation and insert an old battery. Make sure that you superglue the battery.

Step 38: Cut two small square sheet of cardboard and stack them together.

Step 39: Glue the stacked sheets on the center of the leg of this equipment.

Step 40: Drill a hole in the foundation of the leg, where the old battery will fit. Once was done. Insert the holed foundation on the old battery.

Step 41: To make the moving leg of the equipment, prepare these materials and figures: (See image)

Make a hole on the edge of the popsicle stick.

Drill an opening on the tip of the plunger similar to that of Step 8. The tip of the barrel should also be wrapped with zip ties like the one you made from Step 11.

Step 42: Stack the two cardboard strips from Figure Set 10 and one of the popsicle stick from Figure Set 11.

Step 43: Insert the bamboo stick into the drilled hole of the plunger.

Step 44: Now, insert the tip of the bamboo stick with the syringe on the holed tips of the popsicle stick. Make sure you inserted the popsicles on both tips of the stick.

Step 45: To secure the stick, glue the top popsicle on the cardboard strip.

Step 46: Glue the popsicle stick with the syringe on one leg of the arm. It should look like this:

Step 47: Secure the syringe in place by placing a cut bamboo stick on the extra hole made from zip ties.

8. Creating the Controller

Step 48: In four glasses of water, mix the food color or dye.

Step 49: Extract the dyed glasses of water using 4 different syringes.

Place them aside for now.

Step 50: Create the holder of the or stand of the controls. See image for your reference.

50.1: Cut a big square sheet of cardboard.

50.2: Glue two stacked strips of the cardboard on the edge of the square sheet from Step 50.1 (Figure 12 on the image)

50.3: Install or insert bent tie wires that form a concave (Figure 13). Make four it and place it equally apart.

50.4: Cut the tips of the popsicle sticks and create an opening on the tip that can fit in bamboo sticks. Glue it upwards with the curved end on top (Figures 13). Make 2 pairs.

50.5: Insert bamboo sticks in the middle of the two pairs of glued popsicle sticks (See Figures 13).

Step 51: With the 4 syringe from Step 49, drill holes on the tip of the plunger and zip tie the tip of the barrel. Use the same procedure as Step 8 to Step 11.

Step 52: Create the gears for a joystick for the controls using two popsicle sticks with two stacked square sheets on each end of the popsicle.

52.1: On the center of the stick insert a bamboo stick with the plunger of the syringe in the middle.

52.2: Create a hole on the tip of the two stacked popsicle sticks and insert it on the bamboo stick (Figures 14 of Step 50).

Step 52 should resemble this:

Step 53: Connect the controls to each of the syringes on made from Part 1 to Part 9. The flow of the liquid will cause the movement of the arm.

Step 54: Connect the other tip of the Z figure tie wire on the syringe on the upper arm.

Check the video tutorial here:

Final Thought

Viola! Upping your science game has never been more easy and cheap. Now, you have something to “brag about” for the next science fair.

We hope you did because we had so much fun sharing this with you. Let us know what you think of this project and share with us how you recreated it on the comments below. If you want to share this with family and friends, just hit the share button.

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  1. definitely know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!