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PARTS LIST FOR WALKERBOT MOUNT-DRIVE SYSTEM
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6 1/2-inch galvanized mending plate T 3-inch galvanized mending plate T Heavy-duty gear-reduction DC motors 3 1/2-inch-diameter 30-tooth #15 chain sprocket 28 1/2-inch-length #25 roller chain 2 1/2-inch-by-1 1/2-inch-by-1/4-inch 20 U-bolts, with nuts and tooth lock washers 1 1/2-inch O.D. 1/4-inch-to-1/2-inch ID bearing Reducing bushings (see text)
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Inner mounting rail (attached to end cross pieces)
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FIGURE 22.18 Mounting location of the inner rails.
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need to shorten or lengthen the roller chain. Thread the roller chain around the sprocket, and find a position along the rail until the roller chain is taut (but not overly tight). Make a mark using the center of the sprocket as a guide and drill a 1/4-inch hole in the rail. Attach the sprocket to the robot. Figs. 22.21 through 22.23 show the motor mount, idler sprocket, and roller chain locations.
350 BUILD A HEAVY-DUTY SIX-LEGGED WALKING ROBOT
FIGURE 22.19 One of the drive motors mounted on the robot using smaller galvanized mending Ts.
FIGURE 22.20 Drive motor attached to the Walkerbot, with drive chain joining the motor to the leg shafts.
BATTERIES 351
Loop 1 Motor mount
Chain
Loop 2
Idler (mounted 2" "T")
Side view
FIGURE 22.21 Mounting locations for idler sprocket.
FIGURE 22.22 A view of the mounted motor, with chain drive.
Batteries
The Walkerbot is not a lightweight robot, and its walking design requires at least 30 percent more power than a wheeled robot. The batteries for the Walkerbot are not trivial. You have a number of alternatives. One workable approach is to use two 6-volt motorcycle batteries, each rated at about 30 ampere-hours (AH). The two batteries together equal a slimmed-down version of a car battery in size and weight.
352 BUILD A HEAVY-DUTY SIX-LEGGED WALKING ROBOT
FIGURE 22.23 Left and right motors attached to the robot.
You can also use a 12-volt motorcycle or dune buggy battery, rated at more than 20 AH. The prototype Walkerbot used 12-AH 6-volt gel cell batteries. The amp-hour capacity is a bit on the low side, considering the two-amp draw from each motor, and the planned heavy use of electronics and support circuits. In tests, the 12-AH batteries provided about two hours of use before requiring a recharge. There is plenty of room to mount the batteries. A good spot is slightly behind the center legs. By offsetting the batteries a bit in relation to the drive motors, you restore the center of gravity to the center of the robot. Of course, other components you add to the robot can throw the center of gravity off. Add one or two articulated arms to the robot, and the weight suddenly shifts toward the front. For flexibility, why not mount the batteries on a sliding rail, which will allow you to shift their position forward or back depending on the other weight you add to the Walkerbot. The complete Walkerbot, minus the batteries, is shown in Fig. 22.24. Some additional hardware and holes are apparent on this version. Pay no attention to them. These were either my mistakes (!), or were made for components removed for the illustration.
TESTING AND ALIGNMENT
FIGURE 22.24 The completed Walkerbot.
Testing and Alignment
You can test the operation of the Walkerbot by temporarily installing a wired control box. The box consists of two DPDT switches wired to control the forward and backward motion of the two legs. See 8, Robots of Plastic, for more details and a wiring diagram. But before you test the Walkerbot, you need to align its legs. The legs on each side should be positioned so that either the center leg touches the ground or the front and back leg touch the ground. When the two sets of legs are working in tandem, the walking gait should be as shown in Fig. 22.25. This gait is the same as an insect s and provides a great deal of stability. To turn, one set of legs stops (or reverses) while the other set continues. During this time, the tripod arrangement of the gait will be lost, but the robot will still be supported by at least three legs. An easy way to align the legs is to loosen the chain sprockets (so you can move the legs independently) and position the middle leg all the way forward and the front and back legs all the way back. Retighten the sprockets, and look out for misalignment of the roller chain and sprockets. If a chain bends to mesh with a sprocket, it is likely to pop off when the robot is in motion. During testing, be on the lookout for things that rub, squeak, and work loose. Keep your wrench handy and adjust gaps and tighten bolts as necessary. Add a dab of oil to those parts that seem to be binding. You may find that a sprocket or gear doesn t stay tightened on a shaft. Look for ways to better secure the component to the shaft, such as by using a setscrew or another split lock washer. It may take several hours of tuning up to get the robot working at top efficiency.
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