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Mechanical Tentacle

by Misguided, published

Mechanical Tentacle by Misguided Jul 25, 2011

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I'm trying to make a mind controlled tentacle and this is where I'm at so far.
Right now, the ball and socket joints are a little too loose, and the movement isn't very good (partly due to the weight of the parts).
Also the sockets are a little stiff and fragile when printed with PLA
Once all that is sorted, I'll hook it up to some servos and the obligatory Arduino.
Video of it "working": http://youtu.be/EVMatHNgC6s


Print one end and as many segments as you want. Break off the supports on the segments. String some cord through the holes. You need a minimum of 3.

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Personally, I think being able to control it with some sort of connected hand device would be pretty cool (not to mention easier). maybe that'd be a good starting point.

Wow, this project has a lot of potential and is very interesting. If anything you could put a control system by adding a base with the an Arduino and a few stepper motors to control the system.

The base would pretty much act as the brains of the entire system and would essential control the mechanical tentacle, I don't know how strong the tentacle would be though.

I think that I am going to try printing a few of these and mounting them on my respirator. Then run some little cables to a neck piece. Its not mind control but it should be hands free puppetry. What do you think?

By any chance, have you done this project? I would be interested in a picture or two :)

I wonder if adding soft springs in between the joints would give more fine control.

i wonder if ninjaflex would help cut down on weight and maybe give you more of a flexible joint.
awesome concept btw

You could axe the plastic ball and shaft of the ball joint and mount ball bearings on a short piece of threaded rod screwed into the base of each one. You would need to drill and tap each ball bearing to the size of your threaded rod (M4 or M5 perhaps) or just drill and super glue, and find a ball bearing to match the inside size of the cup would be sweet as... I would like to try this and post results as I have plenty of ball bearings, cheers!!

Festo's robotic creation "Bionic Handling Assistant" Just like Doctor Octopus' Robot Arms. http://www.festo.com/cms/en_corp/9655.htmhttp://www.festo.com/cms/en_co.... Go to the "Film" tab in0 the middle of the page!

I can only imagine having 4 of these controlled by an arduino or something, maybe even having it submersible or something and letting it walk underwater. 8-) Fuck yeah.

Instead of the ball and socket you should use just have a hole. Then you can use tubing in the middle and run a string through the tube to control opening and closing a claw or gripper.

Yeah, the ball joint hasn't been working that well for me. But I didn't have anything handy for the centre.

For the next iteration, I was thinking maybe something like a fibreglass rod (something that'll bend and but have some "spring" to aid the motion when it "relaxes") and then maybe some pieces of flexible hose as spacers.

Haven't thought about claws or gripper. Figured that if I can't control it w
ell enough, a gripper at the end would be moot.

Maybe you could use the tubing people are using for their filament guides?


I would use that with some small springs around it...

Last I checked, Mcmaster doesn't ship down under.

However I'm not sure if it's got the right balance of spring and bendiness (yay technical terms).

Although, I could just omit the centre all together and use springs around each cord between segments to help the tentacle straighten out. I The Festo tentacle appears to do something like that with air cushions or flexible material (not enough info).

What brain control interface are you using with this? I have a Neurosky mindset already and I'd love to recreate this...

Yup, I was thinking of a Neurosky, but problem with buying one is that it was US$99 if you're within the States, but if you're not, it's 99 euros. Which I think is a rip.

However, I think there's enough documentation around with the Neurosky that if I used it, it'd be pretty easy to get it going.

Otherwise there's OpenEEG.

What infill did you print those at?

30% lined infill.

just as long as it's a head-mounted mind controlled tentacle I am totally OK with this. :-$

Oh my god. I am all over this.

Keep it as lightweight as possible.

The required forces to move it get extremely high very fast.

Yeah this one is way too heavy. I need to rethink the segments. It was form over function at the time (was designing it to be more of a prop than a properly functioning mechanical piece).

And I don't think the ball joints are helping either...

Actually, the way Nature handles it is by placing muscles all along its length, thus avoiding the leverage.

Yes and natural muscles are very lightweight. Mechanical ones are not.

Dr. Octopus would approve. :)

There is a similar concept by Festo that mimics an elephant's trunk. Their scheme groups several of the segments together for control. Adding more control lines to your design will give it finer control, and grater strength.

I initially had the thought to put in 2 control lines per channel, but i lacked the space.

Looking at the Feisto video, it makes me realise that I don't actually have to have a solid centre. Also, I just found out that their tentacle is 3D printed as well.