I have often mentioned the wisdom of robot maker and Make: contributor I-Wei Huang who says that you can get away with a lot in a robot creation if you make it cute, characterful, and funny. This comes across in spades with Vorpal, a 3D-printable hexapod with real character and presence. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall in love.


Vorpal was devolved via a Kickstarter project. You can now buy a full kit with all of the parts or you can put together your own parts and 3D print all of the body components. The project is fully open source. As “Maker Noob Joe” points out in the video, you may have a bunch of the parts already. Vorpal requires 12 servos and 2 Arduino Nanos. If you have that kind of hardware just laying around, you’re a bigger nerd than I. Joe says that, if you spec and buy the parts yourself, it shouldn’t cost you more than $60. Then, of course, there’s the time and expense of 3D printing all of the body parts. But even with that expense, given what Vorpal can do, the cost is actually quite low.

I love projects like this that have a thoughtful and fun design, lots of buy and build options, a passionate user community, and that are designed as gateway projects for teaching both kids and adults the joys of coding and building robots. And, come on, check out this little guy. Vorpal can bust some serious moves!