Owi Arm

I have both models that OWI makes. The OWI-535 Robotic Arm is a hobby level robotic arm kit with 5 DOF. It is the successor to the popular OWI-007 Robotic Arm Trainer. It comes with a wired controller but a USB controller can be purchased to control the arm from a computer. There was a parallel port interface awhile back as well, not sure if its still around though.

They both contain simple DC motors with no sensors or other types of feedback. The 535 model gives up the rotating wrist feature of the 007 so that it can have a wrist that bends instead. It's hard to say whats better, just depends on how they will be used, best would be if the arm could do both. I do like the visual design of the 535 better and the addition of a light to illuminate objects in front of the gripper is nice. The 007 had lights inside next to each motor, but I felt this was pointless and ate up batteries that much faster.

Both units have safety clutches in all joints to prevent breaking gears or burning out motors. But the 007 had better a better clutch type using felt pads sandwiched between plates that were adjustable. This resulted in a clutch that could give without jerking at a resistance point you could set.

Both units a very reasonably priced at less than $50 most places (although the 007 model is harder to find).

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