The journey of Dr.Make making his InMoov Robot, printed with Innofil3D Black and White PLA filament.
I have always been fascinated by robots. I probably was one of the first buying a vacuum cleaner robot and one for mowing the lawn. When I read about the InMoov Open Source Robot in a magazine, I got immediately hooked by the idea to build my life-size humanoid robot. By this time in 2014, I was already looking for a reason to get a 3d printer, with InMoov I did find it.
Back then I knew nothing about robotics or 3d printing. But with the help of the InMoov community and Google I could find all the information needed.
First, I had to master 3d printing. Back then in 2014, it was not so easy to reliably print one piece after another. Inmoov sometimes requires large parts that take more then 15+ hours to print and when they fail, this is always annoying. You lose a lot of material and time.
With my first printer, it was a frustrating experience, and I only finished one arm of the robot within the first six months. I almost gave up the whole project but then decided to buy a new printer and find a reliable filament that doesn’t require a lot of post-processing.
My search ended with the Ultimaker 2, a new slicer with Simplify3d and Innofil PLA black and white. The Ultimaker proved to be a real workhorse. In combination with Simplify3d and Innofil PLA, I get a successful print rate of more than 95%. I choose Innofil PLA at first because the price at my merchant of choice was excellent and PLA as such is easy to print. I was a bit scared if PLA would be sufficient for a project of this size.
The general recommendation at this time was ABS for such projects, but until today I don’t regret my choice.
The Innofil PLA proved to be reliable, and with conservative settings in the slicer, it worked perfectly. I printed almost all the parts with four top and bottom layer and three outer walls at 30% infill and 0.1 layer height. As the robot is typically only used for demo and presentation purposes right now, this was enough reliability. I might switch to more robust materials for gears and other parts that could wear off when the current ones break. I already have a spool of Innofil PRO1 on the shelf ready.
After all, printing is not the only challenge you will face when building an InMoov. There are more than 30+ servos in my current setup and some of them you need to hack and then put back together. So learning to solder, wiring electronics and programming the servos with Arduino was another area to master.
For the full robot, there is an open source software MyRobotLab (http://myrobotlab.org/) that most builders use to control the robot.
After having the full robot printed by the end of last year, I hope to contribute here in the future and help improve the intelligence of the robot.
If I had to describe the robot today with just one sentence, it would be this one: It’s an expensive Amazon Alexa Speaker with arms and legs that still needs to learn to walk. I think software is currently the area where robotics will have to find new ways to improve. The way how the robot can learn useful knowledge and do interactions with the environment is still a very very long one.