For the last year and a half French artist Gael Langevin has been working on producing a life-size animatronic robot with 3D printed parts. When he started the project Langevin didn't have any robotics experience, so his initial goal was simple: to produce a robotic hand. That worked out so well that Langevin kept right on going. He's got the head, arms and part of the upper torso completed. The best news is, his work is all open source so you can jump in and join the team.
Langevin called his project InMoov and he's uploaded the plans for his 3D printed parts to Thingiverse. He also has assembly instructions on his website along with a forum where you can ask questions.
The InMoov project became so popular over the last year that Protospace and Ground3D hosted a "Printing Party." There were fifty-five 3D printers working all at once to create parts for the InMoov robots.
"What a day!" Langevin said on his site. "I was there and I saw all those Ultimaker printers running against the clock. Protospace and Ground3D had organized the world record of 3D printers in a pretty short time and I was surprised so many people came to participate and watch the event. It is very interesting to see a community of people working all together for one purpose."
People all over the world have been contributing to InMoov and the open source nature of the project has prompted a number of adaptations.
"What is interesting is that, they transform it to do something else with it," Langevin said. "The French guy is building some kind of a bartender that serves drinks… The Russian used it to trigger weapons. The Chinese guy is making hands for his stepfather, who has lost them. The Polish has done other robotics projects before; he also wants to build a complete robot. The hand has been presented by DesktopFab to the United States Congress to demonstrate the use of 3D printers in universities."
I guess the only question that remains is: What will you build?