PhantomX Pincher Robot Arm Assembly Guide

If you have not already set up your electronics and set your servo IDs, please go back to the PhantomX Pincher Arm Overview and do so.

This guide is for the newest version of the PhantomX Pincher Arm. If you have the PhantomX Pincher Robot Arm V1 with Plastic brackets, you can find the assembly guide here. If you have questions about upgrading an existing arm with the new brackets and delrin decks, please contact us

Tools Needed

  1. 1.5 mm Hex Driver (Included)
  2. 2.5 mm Hex Driver (Included)
  3. Small Flat Head Screw Driver
  4. Small Philips Head Screw Driver (For popping in nuts)
  5. Pliers (For holding bushings)

Kit Parts List

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AX-12A Servos
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Lower Deck
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Upper Deck
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AX Hub Bearing Mount
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AX Horn Thin Spacer
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Arm Spacer
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Reverse Bracket Top
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Reverse Bracket Bottom
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Thrust Bearing
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Steel Washer
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PhantomX Parallel Gripper Kit
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Metal F2 Bracket
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Metal F3 Bracket
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Metal F4 Bracket
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ArbotiX-M Board
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FTDI Cable
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12V 5A Power Supply
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3-Pin Dynamixel Cable 200mm
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3-Pin Dynamixel Cable 100mm
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Turbo Fuse

The following hardware is required to build the kit. You may have received extra parts with your kit.

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Hex Nut
24x bolt-m2-short.jpg
Hex Head Bolt
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Hex Head Bolt
16x bolt-m2-med.jpg
Hex Head Bolt
8x bolt-m2-long.jpg
Hex Head Bolt
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Hex Head Bolt
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Hex Head Bolt
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Standoff F-F
4x standoff-mf-med.jpg
Standoff M-F
4x standoff-ff-long.jpg
Standoff F-F
3x AXHubwithbolt.jpg
AX Hub w/2 Washers
and M3x10 Bolt
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Small Bumper
Rubber Feet

Build Steps

Pre Step: Peel Your Plastic

Some of your plastic pieces will have paper masking on one or both sides. Peel the masking paper off before getting started.

There also may be some dust on your parts. This is from the laser cutting manufacturing process. It is harmless and can be cleaned up by wiping with a rag or being washed with water.

Pre Step: Turbo Fuse

Your kit comes with Turbo Fuse. The type provided is non-permanent and plastic safe. Turbo Fuse is used to keep nuts and bolts in place on robots since they move and shake around a lot. To use your Turbo Lock, squirt a small amount into a plastic spoon. As you build, before screwing a bolt into your robot, dip the tip of each bolt into the Turbo Lock and brush the excess off onto the side of the spoon. See the video above for more details.

Pre Step: Nuts for AX-12A

ASSEMBLY TIPS: Seating the Nuts into the Nut Sockets

Pre Step: Servo Centering

AX-12/AX-18 DYNAMIXEL Servos can move up to 300° . When the servo is directly in the middle of this 300° range, it is considered to be 'centered'. You will be able to tell that the servo is centered when the single notch on the servo casing matches up with the single notch on the servo horn.

The instructions in this guide assume that all of your servos are 'centered'. If the servos are not centered when attached to the brackets as shown in this guide, your robot will not work correctly.

If your servo horn is not centered, you can move it by hand or use the DynaManager to center the servo.

Pre Step: Sand your Gripper Rails

For proper functionality of your gripper, please pay attention to this guide. The gripper rails are designed tightly, and you may cause irreversible damage to your gripper if you do not sand it in advance.

Getting Started

PhantomX Parallel Gripper Kit

In this assembly guide, you will be attaching the PhantomX Parallel Gripper to your Pincher Arm. The Gripper is available as a separate kit, and the instructions to build it are available independent of this assembly guide. You can find them here. You can use those instructions as reference after step 5, or follow the abridged gripper assembly instructions in step 6 after Servo ID #5 has been mounted to your PhantomX Pincher Robot Arm.


Servo Orientation and Layout

Make note of the servo IDs and their positions. Each servo has a # written on the back of it. Be sure you assemble the servos in the correct order so that your arm will work!


Step 1: Build the Upper Deck

10x bolt-m2-long.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 8
10x bolt-m2-long.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 10
16x nut-m2.jpg
Hex Nut M2
Nut M2

base1.jpg base2.jpg base3.jpg base4.jpg base5.jpg base6.jpg base7.jpg base8.jpg
  1. Prep Servo with the M2 Nuts on the bottom of Servo ID #1
  2. Put the M2 Nuts in the slots shown on BOTH sides of Servo ID #1
  3. Mount the Bearing Spacer Bracket to Servo ID #1 with 6 x M2*8 bolts.
  4. Mount Servo ID #1 to the top of the Upper Deck with 10 x M2*10 bolts.
  5. Place the Thrust Bearing and both steel washers around the servo horn, resting on the Bearing Spacer bracket, as shown.
  6. Place the Thin Spacer onto the Servo Horn.
  7. Mount the F3 Bracket to the servo horn with 4 x M2*8
  8. Wire from the bottom, as shown.

Step 2: Build the Base

4x bolt-m2-long.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 6
4x bolt-m3-med.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M3 x 8
4x bolt-m3-short.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M3 x 6
4x standoff-ff-short.jpg
F-F 10mm
4x standoff-ff-long.jpg
F-F 30mm
4x standoff-mf-med.jpg
M-F 15mm
4x nut-m2.jpg
Hex Nut M2
Nut M2

base1a.jpg base9.jpg base10.jpg base11.jpg base12.jpg base13.jpg base14.jpg
  1. Prep Servo ID #2 with 4 x M2 nuts as shown.
  2. Mount 4 x 10mm F-F Standoffs to the top of the Lower Deck with 4 x M3*8 bolts.
  3. Apply the rubber feet to the bottom of the Lower Deck
  4. Mount the Arbotix-M board to the standoffs with 4 x M3*6 bolts. Note the orientation, power jack at the back of the base.
  5. Assemble 4 x sets of a 30mm F-F Standoff and 15mm M-F Standoff
  6. Mount the Upper Deck to the Lower Deck using the standoff assemblies using 8 x M3*10 bolts.
  7. Mount Servo ID #2 to the F3 Bracket using 4 x M2*6 bolts, servo horn facing left, as shown.

Step 3: Prepare the Limbs

8x bolt-m2-long.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 18
8x nut-m2.jpg
Hex Nut M2
Nut M2

Build1.jpg Build6.jpg Build2.jpg Build3.jpg
  1. Gather 2 x Metal F4 Brackets, 8x Spacers, and 2x Metal F3 Brackets.
  2. Using 4 x Spacers between the F4 Bracket and the F3 Bracket, form 2 x Joint Sets, running 4 x M2*18 bolts from the F4 side to the threaded holes on the F3 bracket.
  3. Prep Servos ID #3 and #4 with M2 Nuts on the bottom as shown.

Step 4: Attach the Servos

1x AXHubwithbolt.jpg
AX Hub w/ M3 x 10mm bolt
2 Spacers
12x bolt-m2-short.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 6mm

Build4.jpg Build5.jpg washernote.jpg
  1. Mount Servos ID #3 and #4 to each of the joint sets on the F3 Bracket as shown using 4 x M2*6 Bolts per mount.
  2. Mount Servo ID #4's F4 Bracket to Servo ID #3 using the AX Hub Assembly with 2 x spacers, one on outside of joint, one on inside, and 4 x M2*6 Bolts.

Step 5: Assemble the Gripper Mount

4x nut-m2.jpg
Hex Nut M2
Nut M2
4x bolt-m2-med.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 8mm
6x bolt-m2-long.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 10mm

grip1.jpg grip2.jpg grip3.jpg
  1. Using 2 x M2*8 bolts attach the bottom bracket to servo ID #5 as shown.
  2. Attach the top bracket to the F2 bracket using 2 x M2*8 bolts and 2 x M2 nuts, as shown.
  3. Now Seat the top bracket on the bottom bracket. using 6 x M2*10 bolts and 2 x M2 nuts, attach the brackets to servo ID #5.

Step 6: Build your Gripper

8x bolt-m2-long.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 8
4x nut-m2.jpg
Hex Nut M2
Nut M2
4x plasticbushing-small.jpg
Plastic Bushing

servoprep1.jpg servoprep2.jpg bolt1.jpg bolt2.jpg grip1.jpg grip2.jpg grip3.jpg grip4.jpg grip4.jpg
    Note: These instructions can also be found in the stand-alone PhantomX Parallel Gripper Assembly Guide.
  1. Prep Servo ID #5 with 4 x M2 Nuts to the left and right of the horn, as shown.
  2. Mount the Gripper Rail to Servo ID #5 with 4x M2*8 Bolts
  3. Build 4 x Bushing Sets using 4 x Plastic Bushings and 4 x M2*8 Bolts
  4. To accomplish this, hold the bushing steady with pliers, making sure to not crush it. Using your driver, screw the bolt into the bushing carefully.
  5. Build 2 x Gripper Hand Assemblies by tapping into the hole on the bottom of a Gripper hand with a Bushing Set through one hole on one Gripper Arm.
  6. Do not tighten completely. Leave it loose enough to allow for the Bushing to sit in the arm and spin.
  7. Note the orientation of Gripper Arms to Hands. If you have them oriented incorrectly, this could result in improper function and breakage.
  8. Apply 1 x Foam Pad to each Gripper Hand.
  9. Slide both Gripper Hand Assemblies onto the Gripper Rail from each side and mount the Gripper Arms to the Servo Horn using the final 2 x Bushing Sets
  10. Remember not to tighten completely, just enough for the Bushing to sit in the Arm and spin.

Step 7: Attach the Arm Components

1x AXHubwithbolt.jpg
AX Hub w/ M3 x 10mm bolt
2 Spacers
8x bolt-m2-short.jpg
Hex Socket Head Bolt
M2 x 6mm

arm1.jpg arm2.jpg arm3.jpg
  1. Using 4 x M2*6 bolts and a Hub and washer assembly, attach the F2 bracket from your gripper to servo ID #4
  2. Using another 4 x M2*6 bolts and a Hub and washer assembly, attach the F4 bracket from the arm to Servo ID #2 at the base of the arm assembly.
  3. Take a moment to revel in how far you've come. Think about all the people who got you to where you are from where you came from. You've made it so far, and yet there is so far to go. Once you've completed this guide, you're going to dive headlong into a world of possibilities. Possibilities opened up to you by the existence of a grippy arm in your life. All you have to do is plug in some wires and start coding. Let's get to it.

Step 8: Wiring

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3-Pin Dynamixel Cable
3x 3p-cable-200-mm.jpg
3-Pin Dynamixel Cable

wire1.jpg wire2.jpg wire3.jpg wire4.jpg wire5.jpg wire6.jpg
  1. Run a 100mm dynamixel cable from servo ID #5 through the slot in the F2 bracket down to Servo ID #4.
  2. Run a 200mm dynamixel cable from servo ID #4 through the slot in the F4 bracket down to Servo ID #3.
  3. Run a 200mm dynamixel cable from servo ID #3 through the slot in the F4 bracket down to Servo ID #2.
  4. Run the 200mm dynamixel cable from Servo ID #1 through the slot in the upper deck up to Servo ID #2.
  5. Connect the 100mm dynamixel cable from Servo ID #1 to the ArbotiX-M board, as shown.
  6. Attach the FTDI cable to the board, minding the orientation, as shown.
  7. Plug your power supply into the barrel jack.

You are all finished! Continue on to the PhantomX Pincher Arm Build Check to test your robot.