I thought it would be fun to build a rover for myself. Naturally there are significant limitations on what I have the time and resources to build, so it will have to be a bit smaller.
I’ve learned over the years that planning ahead is the best path to getting results. Whether it’s taking 10 minutes to draw a sketch on a napkin, or a complete 3D cad prototype, you can solve some problems pretty quickly in the virtual space that you would have run into later. A good example of that is the “knees” on the real curiosty rover. You can see there is what appears to be a motor and a large-diameter joint.
After mocking up my planned rover I couldn’t find an effective way to put an actual motor inside something that looked similar, at the scale I would be building. So I decided that wasn’t going to be part of my rover. Here’s a draft of the rover I made before I did anything:
At this point I’ve put together a basic prototype, written a primitive python application to control the rover from the command line. Here are some pics of the current progress to the rover.
Axles articulate independently so the rover can drive in parallel, sideways, or crab-walk mode.
I may have gone too large with the 6v battery, but I loath short battery life.
The brains are a simple Raspberry Pi 3, a 16-servo Adafruit hat drives the servos, and the wheels are powered by the motor driver.
Stay tuned for updates. I plan to add walk-through’s showing how to spin-up a quick HTTP server for the rover, and how I wrote the python libraries to easily control the rover.
Please leave any comments or questions below. I’d love to hear what you’re interested in learning more about.