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Options for a first industrial robot


Cast Iron
Apr 19, 2021
I have been browsing eBay for some new CNC machines and along the way I noticed a lot of listings for used industrial robots which were surprisingly inexpensive. That got me thinking about just picking one up to experiment with in my home shop. Does anyone have any recommendations for a specific brand for a "starter" robot?
My only robot arm experience is with a Fanuc LR mate at my work which was included in a used machine purchase. After some tinkering and guesswork I managed to get that arm running some simple pick and place ops, but the control is...Fanuc-y, I'd prefer something friendlier but I also known the Fanuc arms are known for their durability/longevity so maybe that's the safest bet when going used? What else is out there? Anyone have something they're looking to get rid of?
Keep in mind, that for industrial robot you need full clearance for playing around. otherwhise you may unlock following achievemnts:
"Paint em walls red" get smashed by out of control glitching old robot arm
"Unscheduled workshop deconstruction" get workshop smashed by out of control glitching old robot arm
Robots do just what they are told. They never glitch or do bad things. :D
Should do the safety talk but will not bother.
Just know that these like any cnc machine tool will break your arm, tear off your head and not think twice about it.

Plenty of good robots out there. How many axis do you need for your job requirements? Accuracy needed? Dual grip for fast unload and load?
Part weight? Speed?
Programming is always a learning curve no matter the make.
Once running they are so fun to watch. Getting them running right can be a lot of long hours.

Maybe just pick one and go for it. Even as just an experiment you will learn a lot.
Perhaps a crash helmet and chest protector at first if a big guy. Sometimes the program is not what you expected :)
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I mostly want it to experiment in programming and interfacing with other components. I see plenty of kooky no-name models around but I'm not sure if the hobby grade ones are intended to communicate with other devices, they look like they should come with one of those RC car remotes with a huge antenna...

A 7kg 200iD like the one at work would be great but I also know the smaller ones are more popular and thus more expensive.
A little 2-3kg cobot would be even better but the chance of finding one of those for pennies is precisely 0.