Featured Project – Daisy The Robot

Daisy in the garden

Working with electronics means we know just how cool robotics are. Being able to turn your code into a functioning bit of tech is truly a labour of love and maybe some tears and choice words as well.  What makes robotics even more accessible to current Makers is the ability to combine electronics with 3D Printing. Being able to print your own parts makes it far easier and cheaper to prototype the various parts required. In this post we will be interviewing community member Gryff David and taking a look at their robotics project called Daisy.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Gryff David and I’m a game developer based in Mpumalanga but working remotely. I’ve loved robots (and video games) for as long as I can remember and I’ve always been fascinated with them. My first ever robot was a solar BEAM Symet I made from a kit when I was about 10.

My day job is game developer, so my background is in programming, although I’m completely self-taught (I don’t have any tertiary education), so the code and maths side of the project came quite naturally to me. Both inverse kinematics and trigonometry are very common tools in game development!

Was this the first time you have done a project like this?

I’ve made Arduino based hardware projects before, but nothing of this complexity.

How long did it take to design/make it?

Realistically if I’d focused on the project instead of working on it intermittently it would have maybe been 3 or 4 months of tinkering on the weekends.

I had the idea for the project in late 2013 but I only intermittently tried a couple tests every few months to see what the project would entail. These tests involved a couple small servos, an Arduino Uno and some cardboard.

My original plan was to make it out of laser cut acrylic, but that was going to be expensive to iterate on so in 2017 I got a Tevo Tarantula 3D printer so I could make as many iterations as I wanted.

I eventually started to take the project seriously in 2018 when I printed a design I found on Thingiverse for a robot that had 2 degrees of freedom per leg instead of 3. After that I had a better idea of what would be involved and so I finally moved onto making a version with 3 degrees of freedom per leg. I found and heavily modified a design from Thingiverse for that iteration.

I put it on hold for a while and ended up revisiting the project during lockdown in 2020. By that time I had learned to use Fusion 360 which I used to redesign the base, body and tibias. I then used inverse kinematics which gave the stability I was looking for.

designing the chassis of Daisy

Then just recently I kitbashed together some armour pieces and greebles to give her some personality, gave her a solid paint job, cleaned up the code and decided to show people at work what I’d done. The feedback I got there was so positive so I decided to share it on my socials too!

Preparing and painting robotics parts

Can you provide links to the products and resources you used

12x Servos  (Although if I were to re-do the project I’d use servos with metal gears.)
Arduino Nano:
PCA9685 Servo driver
Ultrasonic distance sensor
Voltage regulator
18650 Battery holder
3.7v 18650 Batteries
18650 Battery Charger:
MPU 6060 6 DOF Accelerometer/Gyro
2.4Ghz Wireless Transceiver (Currently installed but not actively used in the project):
Black CCTREE PLA Filament

What did you learn during the process?

I learned a LOT during the process. For one thing games are software and so if you set an angle to 90 degrees then it’s a perfect 90 degrees in the software, but the physical world things aren’t so neat and manufacturing tolerances have to be accounted for. So it was a nasty shock for me to find that servo angles aren’t perfect and need to be accounted for with some calibration. 

I also had to learn to do inverse kinematics from scratch too, which was a cool process and useful because it might actually come up in my day job! I also learned a bunch about electronics. The reason I first ever bought an Arduino in the first place was for this project and with that comes learning about MOSFETs, voltage dividers, how to use an ultrasonic distance sensor etc. I obviously also learned a lot about design in general and how to use CAD software too!

What are your thoughts about the end result?

I’m extremely happy with the end result! The fact that she can walk while carrying her own weight including that of two 18650 batteries and all the other electronics and 3D printed armour is still kind of incredible to me. And giving her some armour, a paint job and a back story seems to have really made her resonate with people.

I want to do more at some point though. I recently saw a video about “Giving Personality to Procedural Animations using Math” and I’d love to apply some of the things in that to give her a bit more personality. She also has an inertial measurement unit that gives readings from a gyro and an accelerometer but the code isn’t actually using that data at the moment. I’d love to use that to be able to give her a “sense of balance” and be able to adjust her legs to stand level even if standing on an incline. But for the moment I’m probably going to put the project aside for a bit so I can work on some of my other side projects.


We would like to thank Gryff David for taking to the time to answer our questions and allowing us to feature Daisy the robot on our blog. If you are interested in keeping up to date with Gryff then you can find him on Twitter and Instagram.

If you have a project or story that you would like to share, then join the DIY Community Forum or Discord. We are always looking for more Makers to feature on our blog. Check out the rest of our blog for other interesting topics and posts. Keep up to date with all things DIYElectronics by checking out our social media, FacebookInstagramTikTok, and Twitter. If you want to check out our store, click this link.

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