Robot Setup

Created by Rico Stodt, Modified on Tue, 16 Aug, 2022 at 10:25 AM by Rico Stodt

This tutorial describes the unpacking and assembly process for Sawyer and any purchased accessories.



Required Hardware

Required Tools

  • Pallet jack
  • Flat-head screwdriver (pedestal only)
  • 24mm Socket wrench (pedestal only)
  • 6mm Hex key

Optional Hardware

  • Electric Parallel Gripper Kit (EPG)
  • Vacuum Gripper Kit (VG)
  • Mobile pedestal
  • Mounting plate

Choose Appropriate Workspace

It is important to choose an appropriate location for Sawyer to reside where the arms can fully stretch without risk of collision.

Please see Sawyer´s reachable workspace dimensions as follows:

Basic Overview

Top Down View

Side View

Unpack Contents

See the Setting Up Sawyer video at the bottom of this page for more information and video instructions. Refer also to the Sawyer Setup Guide located in the accessories box. 

  • Using a pallet jack, move the robot, pedestal and all accessories to an area close to the workspace. Ensure that there is adequate room to open all boxes and the crate and unpack the contents.
  • Open the accessories box in order to obtain the Setup Guide.
  • Open the robot and controller boxes and set them aside in preparation for mounting the robot and controller.
  • Locate the power, communication, and display cables in the accessories box and ensure they are accessible. See the section below for a list of contents included in the accessories box.
  • Unpack the pedestal first if one was purchased with the robot. See the next section for the complete pedestal unpacking and setup instructions.

Note:   Please confirm all parts ordered are include in the shipment, and all packaging is intact.

Note:   The pedestal base weighs 169 lb, and Sawyer weighs 42 lb. Follow proper lifting guidelines and restrictions for these weights.

Accessories Box Contents


The Robot Positioning System (In Intera) uses landmarks placed in the workspace. A landmark is a design or mark placed in the field of view of an imaging system to be used as a point of reference. It is similar in some ways to a registration mark used in printing to keep the different images aligned. Rethink Robotics currently supplies landmarks on anodized aluminum with an adhesive backing. These landmarks are placed on the surface of modules in the work area.

Note:   Landmark numbers 1-4 are included with the purchase of a robot, and 5-20 can be purchased as an additional accessory.

Pedestal Setup

Refer to the Sawyer Setup Guide located in the accessories box and the video at the bottom of this page for more information. 

Note:   Please contact Rethink Robotics Support for a PDF copy of the Sawyer Setup Guide.


Required Tools

  • 24mm Socket Wrench
  • Flathead Screwdriver


  1. Using a flathead screwdriver, pry up each of the metal tabs on top edge of the pedestal crate and remove the cover from the crate.
  2. Using the same technique, remove one of the longer sides of the pedestal crate.
  3. Raise the leveling feet until they clear the supports, about 3 cm (1 in).
  4. Roll out the pedestal base. Pedestal weighs 77 kg (169 lb).
  5. Lock wheels at the back of the pedestal.
  6. Open the largest of the three cardboard boxes in the pedestal crate and remove the 2 threaded rods.
  7. Remove the column from the box. Place the column on the base making sure the notches are aligned.
  8. Open the second largest of the three cardboard boxes and remove the handlebar.
  9. Place the handlebar on top of the column with the flat side away from the notch in the column and base.
  10. Insert the threaded rods into the two large holes in the handlebar while ensuring the washer remains in place.
  11. Tighten the rods to a minimum of 30Nm and no more than 180Nm using the 24mm socket wrench. Note that under-tightening may result in the pedestal column shifting while the robot is running.

Mounting Sawyer

Standard Pedestal

  1. Carefully lift the robot arm out of box 1. Avoid lifting Sawyer by the head. The arm weighs 19 kg (42 lb).
  2. At the base of the arm are 7 screw holes and 1 dowel hole. Place the arm on the pedestal, aligning the dowel pin hole first.
  3. Hold the arm in place and insert the screws into the holes at the base of the arm.
  4. Use a 6mm hex key to tighten the 7 screws to 16 Nm.

Alternate Surface

Important:   Ensure the cables on the back of the robot have 60mm of clearance below the mounting surface (ie: mount the robot at the edge of a table). If the mounting surface does not have sufficient clearance, the mounting plate option described below may be required.

Required Hardware

  • Level
  • Drill
  • Drill Bit for 8mm Screw
  • 6mm Hex KEy
  • (7) M8x20 SHCS (included)

Mounting Dimensions


  1. Use a flat, level, sturdy surface, anchored to the floor with a thickness of 15-50mm (0.75 - 2 in).
  2. When choosing a mounting location for the robot, consider power outlet location, air line location, controller location, cable length, and workspace requirements.
  3. Position the arm where you would like it to be mounted.
  4. Clearly mark each mounting location using a pen and the mounting holes on the robot as a guide. There will be a total of 7 locations.
  5. Set the arm aside.
  6. Drill and tap the holes to accommodate the M8x1.25 screws provided.
  7. Align the arm with the new holes and secure the robot arm using the 7 screws provided torqued to 16 Nm.

Controller Setup

Note:   Power Requirements:         100-240 VAC, 47-63 Hz, 4A MAX
        Pneumatic Line Requirement: 60-90 PSI
                                    Air Must be Filtered and Oil Free

  1. Remove the controller from box 2 and place upside down while keeping the foam on the top of the controller for protection. Controller weighs 17kg (38 lbs).
  2. Obtain the controller and power cables from the accessories box.
  3. Read the End User License Agreement (EULA) prior to connecting the cables. By removing the EULA, one agrees to abide by the terms of the agreement.
  4. If mounting to the standard pedestal, feed the controller cable and display cable through the back of the controller stand.
  5. Plug the cables into the controller and ensure they are secure.
  6. Plug the power cord into the controller and ensure that the cable is secure and latched. Determine which direction the power cord will be fed in order to be routed to the nearest outlet. Feed the power cable through one of the controller stands if necessary.
  7. If mounting to the standard pedestal, set the controller upright on the back of the pedestal with the door facing away from the pedestal column. Using a 5mm hex key, insert and tighten the 4 provided mounting screws.
  8. Connect and secure the controller and display cables to the robot. If using a standard pedestal, remove the cable cover from the column, tuck in the cables, and replace the cover to keep the cables in place.

Power On

Congratulations! You have now set up your Sawyer Robot. Power on the robot by pressing the power button on Sawyer's controller. Sawyer is fully booted when the green condition light appears on Sawyer's head and the Sawyer SDK screen shows on the Robot Screen. At this point you will be homed and enabled. 

Robot Serial Number

The complete Sawyer system has two serial numbers which may be important to record. The Sawyer arm and Controller are each serialized independently.

The Sawyer Arm serial number can be found on the connector plate at the base of the robot.


The Sawyer Controller serial Number can be found on the label on the back of the controller.


Video - Setting Up Sawyer

Transporting Sawyer

The robot must be transported using its original packaging form.

When setting up Sawyer for the first time, save the packaging materials in a dry place. The original materials are the best way to pack and transport it if necessary later on. It is specially designed to support the robot such that it will not damage or leave permanent creases in the pads.

Once the robot is in its shipping pose and powered down disconnect Sawyer’s cables and dismount it from its pedestal. Pack the robot as shown in the photo below. Note that the robot screen has a fitted section it slides into.

Packing Sawyer.jpg 

Similarly, pack the controller in its original packaging. Handle the cables and e-stop with care. Avoid any hard contact with the cable-connection locations. For any cable shipment wrap the cable connectors in bubble wrap or similar protective material to avoid damage.

The pedestal can be transported in its assembled state or in its original packaging.

Note:    A calibration should be completed after any transportation of the robot. Do not transport Sawyer on its pedestal.

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