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Dumb arm robot (modified)

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Hi, Newbie here who's interested in learning robotics. I'm trying to work out what I need to plan in order to get started.

I'm looking to build a (relatively) simple robot arm with a shoulder, elbow, wrist.

All joints are only going to just move up and down on the one axis - no rotational or other axis's of movement are used. This is so everything moves parallel to a wall. So it's not so much a robot as a animatic.

The length of the robot arm will be long - Shoulder40cm-Elbow40cm-Wrist50cm

The arm wont have any grippers and will only have to move it's own weight. The controller for the arm movement just needs to move the arm so it it makes a shape. Eg an 'N' shape or a 'Z' shape or an 'L' shape.

What type of microcontroller would be used to just run motors to get the arm at the correct shape?

Also - with the arm as long as it it, what problems am I going to run into?

<<edit to simplify the questions>>

Call me stupid but, I don't really know what you are trying to do.

I'm also not quite sure i understand what your doing. But depending on the accuracy that you need time based programming is usually easier and cheaper(no need for encoders). Also depending on weight and how much the motor back feeds you might be able to use a rack and pinion discretely.

Another quick thaught is that you can place a magnetic reed switch on the wing tip and a magnet near the buttons for feedback as to when your actualy pushing the button.

Thanks for the replies  :) Sorry about the confusion as I've not learnt the robotic jargon yet.  :-[
I'm simplified my explaination to try and clarify my idea.

The purpose of this 'robot' is simply to make a shape (looking at it from the side) using a simple robot arm.

The shape starts off as an 'N'
rotates at the shoulder to be a 'Z'
extends the top joint to be an 'L'
and then finally extends the elbow to be a _

There are no grippers and the main goal is to automate the above so I can hit a button and the motors 'do their thing' to change the shape of the arm when viewed from the side.

Does this help?

Jake  ???

I think what he wants is to have sequences programed into a microcoltroller. and when he pressed a button the sequence does its thing.


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