I decided a simpler proof of concept was well overdue. This weekend I buckled down and drank a lot of Red Bull. I finished printing the parts I needed for the legs, I cut and stripped the wires, and I hooked my sanguino up to a breadboard.
Connecting all 18 servos alone took hours.
Snapping the legs together took longer than expected, too.
But the finished product, though only a proof of concept, gave me chills. I have been awaiting it's completion for many months.
Extending the firmware to support all six legs, as well as writing the walk sequence took several hours. Every time I dig this deep into c++ I end up having to re-conceptualize pointers. The sequence could still use some tweaking, and some of the parts could be more exact, but it moves!!
I am still excited to see the more robust solution I envisioned, but I am still months away from that. In the mean time, since I have STL files from the printed parts, it wasn't much trouble to render an animation of what it should look like after the prototype phase.