A little more than a year ago, we were introduced to the Dobot, a low-cost, precision desktop robotic arm with multiple toolheads. The Kickstarter campaign raised an incredible $615,000, shattering a goal of only $36,000, and now the Dobot team is back on the crowdfunding platform with the Dobot M1, a new and enhanced version of the multifunctional robot arm that does just about everything.
“Everything” includes 3D printing, laser engraving, soldering, drawing, writing, filing papers, picking up and sorting items, and anything else you ask it to do – it’s easy to customize. With its easy-to-use interchangeable toolheads and multiple ports, it’s a highly extendable and machine – and a smart one. It recognizes colors and moving objects, is easily programmable with integrated APIs, and has an embedded visual programming environment for those who aren’t skilled in coding.
The Dobot M1 has both wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, and can be controlled via an app or mouse. Several machines can also be wirelessly connected and simultaneously controlled, and it also has a handheld teaching feature that allows the user to easily set tasks.
The Dobot M1 was designed for a slightly different audience than the original Dobot, which was geared mostly towards makers. The M1 is still maker-friendly, but it’s more industrial than its predecessor, making it ideal for factory and workplace settings, particularly with tasks like inventory management, light manufacturing and repetitive assembly line work.
“Dobot M1 is made to reverse one simple fact: industrial robotic arms are toooo expensive,” the Dobot team explains. “With 0.02mm precision, velocity of 200 degrees per second, 1.5kg workload and 400mm maximum reach, Dobot M1 makes a perfect essence for a professional workspace…Unlike Dobot 1.0, Dobot M1 is designed for a different group of people, who need a more powerful, professional robotic arm that’s affordable, something in between a toy-like model and a high end industrial one.”
Backers have responded with just as much enthusiasm with which they met the initial Kickstarter campaign. This time around, Dobot set a goal of $100,000, which was met in less than 24 hours. With more than a month left in the campaign, the total funds have already surpassed $250,000. It’s no surprise, given that the Dobot 1.0 and subsequent Dobot Magician have proven themselves so well in the year since the 1.0 was first introduced. The affordability factor is big, too: the Dobot M1 is expected to retail for under $2,000, which is insanely inexpensive for an industrial robot arm.
If you want to jump on this bandwagon, there are still plenty of rewards left for backers. Early bird rewards, unsurprisingly, are long gone, but you can still get a standard M1 unit with two basic toolheads of your choice for $1,599. There is one early bird reward left, actually – for $1,799, you can get an extension kit along with your M1. There’s only two of those remaining at this time, however, so hurry up if you want to take advantage. Higher pledge amounts will get you additional features such as a full set of toolheads and extensions, a 3D mouse controller, and a mobility platform that allows the Dobot to move around the factory or office on its own.
The Dobot company, which is based in China, also offers a helpful community support forum for users to ask for advice, share their work, and more. Check out the Dobot M1 in more detail below