All Terrain Robot = ATR.
Well, the Maker Faire is over and I proudly walked away with an Editor’s Choice Award from Make Magazine for my Rumble Robots with an Arduino. I built two more while there and had a real blast with everyone. Now it’s time for a new project!
I’ve set a new robotics goal for next year:
Build a roving robot based on the six wheeled Mars rovers. There are three generations of these rovers. The latest is called the Mars Science Laboratory , AKA “Curiosity”, and it’s big! About three times the size of Spirit or Opportunity. All three generations of the Mars rovers have a common component. The Rocker Bogie Suspension. I really like this suspension design and I’d like to experiment with building one so here we go!
I’ve started by producing some drawings:
Most of the mechanical construction of the chassis involves the suspension components. The main body is just a box that houses the electronics and batteries and carries a solar panel on it’s back. After a few more drawings are completed, I’ll begin building a prototype model to test the suspension geometries.
I’m still considering materials for the chassis. Aluminum, steel, PVC pipe, composites… all have come to mind. Steel would make welding things together very easy but I would have it’s weight to contend with. Plastic and composites are a lot of work and expensive. Aluminum would be great but I don’t have easy access to a TIG welder. I like the idea of PVC because it’s so readily available. For now, I’ll just focus on building a scaled down prototype.