by mraiser, published

Truckbot by mraiser Jul 25, 2011

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Truckbot by mraiser is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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Snap together 3D printable truck-like robot. Unlike the cool-but-ultimately-non-functional Tank designs ( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6554 and http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:8080 ), this bot actually works. Sadly the motors could not generate enough torque to actually move the tank robot due to the amount of friction introduced by the worm gear and tank treads. Encouraged by the success of my 27 to 1 Reduction Gearset http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:9414 I designed this bot from the ground up to be low friction, snap-together and almost entirely 3D printable. The only non-printable components are the motors, the motor mounting screws, the batteries, the wire and the nuts that serve as contacts in the battery holders. I hope to upload some PCB mounts soon so you can easily add the electronics necessary to make this bot autonomous, but if you are impatient I recommend looking into NBitWonder's awesome DC Motor Driver http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:7618 which was designed for the tank-bot.

I used this script to design the gears: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3575 (You will need to download the scad to use the attached truck.scad file). I also used this script to generate the battery holders: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5079

As you can see from the video, the left rear axel isn't spinning freely and needs some sanding/filing.

I fixed the drag on the left rear axel by replacing "axelholder.stl" with "wheelholder.stl" in conjunction with "axelend2.stl".

I uploaded design files and instructions for the electronics:

Parametric oversized snaptogether 3d-printable wheels:

This design is based on the tolerances of my cupcake 3D printer. As several folks who printed out the 27 to 1 gearset pointed out, the Thing-O-Matic has much better tolerances, so some of the snap-together parts may need some glue (or openscad tweaking) if your printer is better than mine!


In addition to the printed parts, you will need 8 AA batteries, 16 3mm hex nuts, some wire, 4 flat head machine screws (to mount the motors-- 3mm x 6mm) and two 600 RPM DC motors. I used a pair of these: http://www.batteryspace.com/dcmotorhightorquemini12vdcgearmotor600rpmforhobbyproject.aspx


4 x axel.stl
4 x axelend.stl
2 x axelholder.stl
2 x batteryholder3.stl
2 x batteryholder4.stl
4 x connector1.stl
1 x connector2-mirror.stl
1 x connector2.stl
2 x connector3.stl
2 x connector4.stl
1 x connector5.stl
3 x connector6.stl
2 x connector7.stl
1 x connector8.stl
4 x connector9.stl
1 x connector10.stl
2 x connector11.stl
2 x gear1.stl
2 x gear2.stl
2 x motoraxelsupport.stl
1 x motorholder-mirror.stl
1 x motorholder.stl
4 x wheel.stl
4 x wheelholder.stl

Replace 2 of the axelend.stl with axelend2.stl and use 2 more wheelholder.stl in place of axelholder.stl. This will significantly reduce friction on the rear (non-geared) wheels.

Assemble the parts as shown in assembly.stl. Connect the batteries in series to achieve the 12 volts required by the motors. Thread wire through the battery holder holes and use pliers to snap the hex nuts into place. The hex nuts will hold the wires in place, but if you add 3mm bolts and additional nuts to the exterior of the battery holder (as suggested by obijuan in his battery holder design) that will simplify the wiring. Wire up the motors in parallel and let it rip.

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What CAD Software did you use? I've messed with inventor fusion, maya, cubify invent, solid works, and a few others and I haven't found one that I can really seem to stick with to make a super accurate. model.

I did all of the design in OpenSCAD. That's pretty much all I use to design these days, but sometimes I use Blender and MeshLab for when I need to work with an STL as a mesh.

doesn't look very good at turning corners! I'm re-designing this to have a castor at the rear. But anyway, great work...

You should make a Gcode file with all the parts in their amounts, so that you can print all of them (on a ToM) in one print :D

Might make it easier to print ;)

Problem with that is that different machines are calibrated differently. What's great on your machine, might be useless on mine.

Can't the design be... consolidated somewhat? Print more than one part per pattern. I may try my hand at that myself.

A few lines of OpenSCAD with just translate....import_stl (and maybe a few rotates for optimum bed use) would do that in a few minutes. Best left to the owner of the printer who knows his bed size and printer limitations.

The parts could definitely be consolidated into multiple-part plates. I tend not to do that, especially in the design phase, for a number of reasons. First of all, part of the rapid prototyping process means printing parts out several times until you get it right. I also find there's much less cleanup when you print parts individually. It takes longer, but these parts (individually) will print clean on a stock Cupcake with default settings.

Great work.

You might try with this "chain" for the Tank robot, it worked quite well for us and we did not need big torque. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:8559http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

There are some videos where you can check it. Take a look at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoXAF5WsLn0http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Caterpillator v1.1
by Olalla

Printing this in various colors would make it even more awesome. I think you just gave me my next project. Excellent work! :-D


I could imagine a roomba like vacuum cleaner based on this.
What is your goal? An autonomous room discovary vehicle (aka. vacuum cleaner) sounds fun to me:)

My goal is to create a basic bot platform that you can control with an Arduino or a Single Board Computer (SBC) running linux and extend with interchangeable add-ons like proximity sensors, Kinect, webcam... maybe even a vacuum.

Beagleboard? Then you could make a new type of computer that follows you. Laptops would be yesterday...