July 30, 2021

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Don’t Worry, This Chainsaw-Equipped Robot Arm Is, Uh, Perfectly Safe. Yeah.

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Gif: YouTube

Raleigh-based engineer Shane Wighton was given a robotic arm to test, but instead of making it do normal activities like the YMCA dance, Wighton decided to strap a chainsaw to that sucker and make a low-polygon dog out of foam board.

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Shane, don’t you know this is how robot uprisings start? You give one robot a chainsaw and the rest of them will fall into formation. Chainsaw bot leads to a machine gun strapped to a Big Dog which, in turn, leads to an army of Atlas robots deciding who lives and dies based on their iron content. Nothing good ever comes of adding a chainsaw to anything.

Undeterred, Wighton used a Tormach robotic arm (which costs close to $20,000) and some CNC software to teach the arm how to carve in three dimensions. The process, which required programming the Tormach to know when to jab, slice, and trim the foam board, is quite intense and the resulting product is quite cool.

In this video, he also goes through a frustrating trial-and-error phase when the entire alignment was off, resulting in something that looked like an alien monolith.

With a few tweaks, however, he was finally about to produce the foam dog of his dreams. While it’s no chainsaw-carved dragoncycle, it’s definitely a good start. And the arm, as you can hear, is really loud, which is great—when it finally becomes self-aware and turns on its maker, he’ll hear it coming.

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