Hexbot is a robotic arm that was designed to fit on a desktop, work in conjunction with a computer, and be affordable on most budgets.
Below, we will discuss and review the campaign so you will know if this robotic arm really worth-a-buy.
Hexbot has a number of cool features. It has a variety of tool and attachment options that allow the arm to do 3D printing, laser printing, draw and even play games with you.
The software that the Hexbot uses is easy to use, and there’s even an option to buy a touch screen pad to make controlling the arm even easier. If you think this sounds like a cool idea, you’re not alone: the campaign was funded in around 5 minutes.
But, as intriguing as it is to have a literal robot arm in your home or office, there are several design flaws and drawbacks that you should know about the Hexbot before you make your decision.
Review and Debunk — Worth it or not?
Although it does have 3D printing module attachments, don’t think of this as buying a decent 3D printer.
You may find yourself frustrated with the 3D printer’s capabilities and the quality of the work it produces. The “hot end”, or the tube through which the plastic is melted and pushed through, requires a heatsink with a fan, and then another fan further down the mechanism that helps to prevent strings.
The Hexbot’s 3D printer module doesn’t have that second fan, which might result in you having to figure out how to deal with the stringiness.
This is because the company didn’t actually produce the module that does 3D printing, but chose to purchase and refurbish modules instead, and the refurbished modules came this way.
One of the things that’s advertised about the Hexbot is that it’s designed so that you can build and use custom-built module attachments on the arm.
However, as one would imagine, it takes skill, practice and talent to be able to teach yourself robotics along with software programming and computer coding, which is why most engineers go to college to learn it.
The company provides you with an adapter, detailed connection dimensions and circuit connections, and communication protocols. You attach the module that you designed to the adapter and then to the Hexbot. This gets pretty complicated, but thankfully the company seems willing to help people navigate through the bevy of “will ____ work with _____” questions.
However, their answers tend to basically say “It depends on how you do it and which parts you use”. This is also because the software they use isn’t open source.
This means that because the company owns the rights to the software, you can’t change it to add your custom-built modules.
You can use other software with the arm, but it’s not guaranteed to be compatible with it. So, maybe don’t go into this purchase thinking that you can easily swap out and build robotics parts if you have no experience with doing so.
There’s no collision detection on the arm, which is a major oversight. There are hot, moving machine parts on this contraption, and if someone puts an obstacle in the Hexbot’s workspace, it’s likely just to keep going and try to go through the obstacle, or get tangled up with it and jam.
In the event that the obstacle is something inanimate, like a pencil, chance of injury from this seems minimal. But, if the obstacle happens to be someone’s hand, this problem gets upgraded from “design flaw” to “safety hazard”. The company recommends that you simply keep the workspace free of obstacles.
Although there are many details about the Hexbot that set it apart from its competitors, there are also a lot of design flaws. The company did a good job of bringing robotics to our households at a price we can afford, but as the old adage goes, “you get what you pay for.”