I would really like a six-axis force/torque sensor for my robot, but I just can't afford one. I was thinking about making one of my own.

I have experience using strain gauges, but I can't work out how to arrange them so as to create a six-axis force/torque sensor.

  • Is this something I could feasibly make myself?
  • How do they work? What is the theory behind them?

I'm curious to know how they work, even if it's not feasible to make one myself.


Just to be clear, I'm talking about force / torque sensors, like this ATI Nano 17:

ATI Nano

I am not talking about accelerometers or gyros, or MEMS IMUs.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking about a six axis force sensor for use as an intertial measurement unit (accelerometer & gyroscope)? Or something else? $\endgroup$
    – kaliatech
    Nov 1, 2012 at 2:36

1 Answer 1


I don't think its entirely impossible to build something like this, especially if you already have some experience with strain gauges. I think the most common way is to arrange the sensor in a Stewart Configuration. There are a lot of articles on this, e.g. "Closed-form force sensing of a 6-axis force transducer based on the Stewart platform".

A similar Sensor from Schunk FT Nano says in the datasheet:

Monolithic element with three measuring phases with an angle of 120°. Each phase has two semiconductor strain measuring bridges which record deformation in the micrometer range.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, but is this actually what's inside something like the ATI Nano 17 ? $\endgroup$ Nov 1, 2012 at 17:55

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