My experiences with Rotrics™ All-in-One Desktop Robot Arm, AKA DEXARM (Avoid it!)
Is a cheap desktop-sized laser engraver plus a 3D printer plus a pick and place robot arm plus a robot that draws with a pen plus a "build-your-own" end effector machine too good to be true? Yes and no. Confused? keep reading. The rotrics DEXARM is such a machine and when I found it I tweeted the following:
It's been a while since I really wanted something this bad. USD1000 for this wonder? @Rotrics1 #DexArm. I'm going to get one, no joke. Watch this space. https://t.co/nofqtNt33v pic.twitter.com/G7KADZFkaY— Supertechman (@ruialvel) February 3, 2022
My purchasing experiences
I'm no liar so after that prophetic tweet, I got one. I went to TaoBao (like AliExpress but in China and cheaper) and I bought it like a boss. The first problems started there as I ordered the complete kit but received only the arm itself, the pick and place items, the pen and the pen holder, no 3D printer accessories, no laser which is what I really wanted. Like a boss indeed. The seller, deep down, was a good guy and it took only a little complaining to have the difference returned to me.
I then went to the official rotrics store (they're on shopify) and got myself a 2.5W laser module and the 3D printer kit. I also got the laser engraving enclosure and remember this last one because they got my money for it but I'm quite sure I will never get it.
I then I got everything I ordered except for the enclosure. I was so happy, I cried a little. I was going to start 3D printing and engraving everything. This is the start of my "golden age" of using this thing.
The dexarm works very well. The software is intuitive and does all that it says. It's called Rotrics Studio and, again, it's pretty good and versatile.
You will not get world-quality 3D prints or laser engraving but they're both more than acceptable. Here's a picture of one of my prints as it was begin made.
Life was like a dream at this point filled with happiness and hopes of a bright future. Then this happened and it was the end of the beginning.
Customer service issues
I'll just keep all of this very short. I contacted Rotrics about getting a new motherboard and had to be really insistent. They did not reply to my first emails. I then started to email all addresses I could find and finally "Jemma" did reply to me with a rather nice tone and asked me for some pictures of the damage. I sent them to "her" - in double quotes not because of gender fluidity but rather because Jemma could be anything, even an AI. At the time I had not opened the robot yet, so there was not much to see. Strangely, all replies ceased when I asked how I could order the board. I never heard from them again. Note that I even told them they could just reply to say, "Sorry, there's nothing we can do. We don't sell replacement motherboards." I would be upset but more with me than with them as I did damage the machine, not them.
It's the f***ing silence that gets to me.
So now I have this cheap robotic arm that works very well when it has a working mother board but due to non-existent customer service it's just a large paperweight. Damn!
The forums and discord server are full of unhappy customers and I knew about it but I did think that I would risk getting the awesome machine because, really, what could happen to my unit?
I did replace that fuse and the diode that you see very obviously damaged on the picture. Unfortunately it did not solve the problem. I really need a replacement motherboard.
Unless you can get this for half price, do not get this unit. Do not get the enclosure because you will not get it.
Now let me go cry about this and see what 3D printer and laser engraving machines I'm going to get next. Any recommendations? Do leave a comment down below.