From the assembly line of automobile manufacturing industries to the telesurgery robots in space, Robotic Arms are to be found everywhere. The mechanisms of these robots are similar to a human which can be programmed for similar function and increased capabilities. They can be used to perform repeated actions faster and accurate than humans or can be used in harsh environments without risking human life. We have already built a Record and Play Robotic Arm using Arduino which could be trained to do a particular task and made to repeat forever.
In this tutorial, we will use the industry standard PIC16F877A 8-bit Microcontroller to control the same robotic arm with potentiometers. The challenge with this project is that PIC16F877A has only two PWN capable pins, but we need to control about 5 servo motors for our robot which requires 5 individual PWM pins. So we have to utilize the GPIO pins and generate PWM signals on PIC GPIO pins using the timer interrupts. Now, of course, we could upgrade to a better microcontroller or use a de-multiplexer IC to make things a lot easier here. But still, it is worth giving this project a try for the learning experience.
The mechanical structure of the robotic arm that I am using in this project was completely 3D printed for my previous project; you can find the complete design files and assembling procedure here. Alternatively, if you do not have a 3D printer you can also build a simple Robotic Arm using cardboards as show in the link. Assuming that you have somehow got hold of your robotic Arm lets proceed into the project.”


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