Form and Function

I finally completed the initial design of the new bot. Yes, it took a while! I opted to design all of the parts to my own specifications myself, rather than utilizing any existing models or plans, so there was somewhat of a learning curve to overcome. On top of that, with my new “treaded” design, I wanted to design the interlocking tank treads myself, so they could be printed and simply snapped together. No easy task!

The completed design of the “Tank Bot” without treads attached.

The final design consists of only 12 parts that require printing, and most are of a flat and simple enough design that they are easily accessible to beginners. The primary parts are:

  • Turret
  • Turret motor
  • Main body
  • Left and right drive motors
  • Chassis
  • Drive wheels (6x)
  • Tread links (32x)

By far the most tedious part is printing out all 32 tread links and locking them together to form two 16-link chains, but the rest is fairly straightforward.

Detail of interlocking treads with a drive wheel in the background (for scale)

There is ample room in the main body for all of the components that I wanted to use:

  • Edison board
    • Wifi
    • Bluetooth
    • HDMI out
  • 720p digital camera
  • Lithium ion battery pack
  • 3 motors
  • GPIO board

With all of the “guts” inside there should be room for expansion if so desired. Additionally, I created two openings in the back of the bot for an HDMI and a Micro-USB receiver. This allows the maker to fully assemble the bot and still be able to charge and connect a monitor to it for programming (Bluetooth keyboard can be added wirelessly).

Blown apart view showing internal motor structure and interior separators.

The next step is the printing!

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