Although there are a number of commercialized 7-DoF robotic arms that are suitable for industrial applications and project research use, the high cost of such robotic arms has impeded the hands-on sessions constructed in the undergraduate and postgraduate level courses/modules for the purpose of studying, understanding and investigating of the redundant 7-DoF robotic arm for the education in mechanisms and robotics. In order to provide an affordable solution, this paper presents the development of a low-cost module-based 7-DoF robotic arm. Structure design of the robot arm is introduced and its kinematics is formulated based on product of exponentials representation. By using 3D printing system, the proposed robotic arm is then fabricated and assembled, and integrated with servo motors and Arduino low-level control kits, a functionally feasible prototype is developed. Tests are subsequently carried out so as to check the performance of the proposed robotic arm and to identify errors and defects for improving and optimizing the design. Integrating with MATLAB Robotic Toolbox and Arduino low-cost control platform, the robotic arm presented in this paper can be used for the purpose of mechanisms and robotics education in the courses such as robotic kinematics, automation and control, and robotic programming and planning.

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