OpenDog - Build Your Own Spot
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Saturday, 08 September 2018

If you have wanted to buy Boston Dynamics' Spot robot dog and just can't justify the price then perhaps OpenDog will satisfy your need.


OpenDog is a project by xRobots' James Bruton who has dreamed up a few interesting projects in his time - in particular an exoskeleton. The same actuators - ball screws -  are used for the dog's knee joints as used in the exoskeleton. The hips also pivot using ball screws.

You can see how the mechanics work and fit together in this first video:

The second and third videos go into detail about how the leg joint works. If you think it's too much detail then you are not cut out for this sort of work:

The fourth video shows the CNC metal parts being made. If you haven't done much metal work then this is a real education:

Video 5 shows the final assembly of the leg, complete with more CNC milling:

 Video 6 shows the final assembly of the mechanical parts:

The 7th and final, so far, video shows the fitting of the electronics, but it is also an opportunity to see the mechanics:

The while project is  open source licensed under GPL3, you can find CAD and code on the project's GitHub page.

There is clearly a lot of scope for software development and it would be good if a community of OpenDog programmers could create something that incorporated some intelligence. What is fascinating about this project beyond just the endeavour and planning needed is the way that 3D printing, CNC machines, electronics, microcontrollers and everything enable the project to exist at all. Just a few years ago it would have been much more difficult to get something like this off the ground.


More Information

OpenDog Hardware Construction

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 September 2018 )