ABB Robot Built with LEGO Bricks and Mindstorms EV3

It is an already very well-known fact that LEGO has a huge amount of fans all over the world, including ourselves. Regardless of age or level of education, the Danish company has been fueling the world’s creativity for over eight decades. With advent of the original Mindstorms, and the later NXT and EV3 platforms, the company has properly established its presence in the fields of programmable controllers and robotics. A huge knowledge base is available, backed by online communities and enthusiasts, bringing endless possibilities for creating with LEGO bricks.

LEGO robot and ABB IRB 120 side by side

LEGO robot and ABB IRB 120 industrial robot | Photo: ABB/BrickIt

Today’s project is a perfect example of the above. The IRB 120 industrial robot, created by Swiss company ABB, a world leader in industrial robotics and automation solutions, has been replicated entirely, in both form and function, just by using LEGO bricks.

The LEGO robot has been built by two Danish engineers, Kenneth Madsen and Lasse Lauesen, founders of BrickIt, a user group focused on developing amazing projects using LEGO parts and controllers. Both are members of the Mindstorms Community Partner, a group of 70 adult enthusiasts created by LEGO.

The two engineers say they worked for about 8 months to build this amazing robot, using only their spare time. The inspiration came from Steffen Enemark, Vice President of ABB Robotics in Denmark, who is also a great fan of LEGO. He says that it came as a complete surprise when the two engineers told him what they have built, and that their project has generated a lot of enthusiasm not only in the company, but outside as well.

The LEGO robot reproduces the original ABB IRB 120 model in pretty fine detail and is an almost 1:1 scale replica. The ABB robot weights 25 kg, has an 18 square cm footprint, a height of 70 cm and has a maximum reach of 58 cm. The maximum payload is up to 4 kg.

While the LEGO robot replica does not match the original robot in terms of weight nor payload, it retains other functional characteristics. The LEGO robot has 6 degrees of freedom (DOF) and can reproduce movements similar to the original model with great precision, although at reduced speed. Joints are driven by motors and pneumatic actuators, similar to the original model as well.

The LEGO robot’s servo actuators are driven by 2 Mindstorms EV3 controller bricks, which are both remote controlled via an custom Android mobile device app, developed by the engineers for this purpose. The team says that they plan to also add autonomous functionality to the robot.

A superb presentation of the project as well as the robot in action can be seen in the following videos.

Source: ABB Conversations

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