Engineer builds Apex Legends loot robot that actually works


In a world where most games deliver loot in some sort of six-sided box, Apex Legends stands out with its quirky “loot tick” bots. Little spider-legged pyramids are nervous dudes who squirm around the screen before exploding into loot, and for good reason. Who likes having their face slumped down so a moron can get a new stat tracker or a new gun skin? YouTuber Graham Watson (aka 3D printing space) built an actual loot tick and captured its creepy moves in its latest build video, which you can watch above.

The video above is primarily a timelapse of eight months of designing, building and programming Watson, who stands about 2.5 feet tall, judging from his position on his kitchen counter. Watson works as a software engineer and has a degree in mechanical engineering, but says it was his first suitable robotics project.

(Image credit: The3DPrintSpace)

The robot itself has everything you hope for. There are independently movable spider legs that allow it to walk slowly, kick or squat. Then, of course, there’s the pyramid-shaped head, which has three LED lights on each side to mimic the loot box opening animation. The loot tick even has the ability to shake in “fear”, just like the in-game version will before you open it.

Speaking to PC Gamer, Watson explained how he worked to bring the “insanely difficult” loot bot to life.

“I wanted this thing to be as true to the game as it could physically be, but obviously the in-game loot bot was never designed to be something that exists in real life. It is only designed to be there. ‘Looks as cool as it gets, not really for motors or servos, joints, electronics, gravity, physics, etc., ”Watson said.

(Image credit: The3DPrintSpace)

Watson noted that the loot tick’s slender spider-shaped legs realistically have no place to hide a booster that would be needed to move and make articulate movements. He went through about 10 iterations of the legs before finding a design that would support enough weight. After that, it took him a few months to figure out how to program the robot with a Raspberry Pi as its brain.

“The main goal at this point was to keep it as light as possible while still being pretty much strong enough not to break under a little force. I probably designed it a bit too much, not that I did. kind of FEA, ”Watson says, referring to“ finite element analysis, ”a sophisticated engineering term for testing individual parts before building a full prototype. “Or even any basic stress analysis, but he’s just survived a lot of heavy hits that I didn’t expect.”

Watson says the software he designed for the loot tick ended up being more advanced than it needed to be, allowing the height to be changed and moved in different directions. Once he got everything in place, however, the robot’s weight pushed the servos to the brink of force.

(Image credit: The3DPrintSpace)

The end result is an extremely accurate bot that has average streak versus its smaller ilk. It’s mostly just a forward swing and the ability to twist its pyramid head, but it’s certainly close enough to the in-game robot that I almost want to open it on my own. Watson plans to make a V2 loot, ideally with £ 150 servos rather than the £ 14 motors he used, which should allow his original vision to come to life and not threaten to falter.

It’s not the only interesting Apex thing Watson has done on his channel. Previous projects include a Wingman revolver with a working reload mechanic which brings out the cylinder, top and bottom of the gun. Then there is a working phone charger designed to look like Octane jumping mat. It has a smaller version of the loot tick that works as an LED light.

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