Two Wheeler is Gyroscope Stabilized

GyroTwoWheelRobot

 

[Jim] loves gyros – not those newfangled MEMS devices, but old-fashioned mechanical gyroscopes. His obsession has pushed him to build this gyro stabilized two wheeler. We love watching hacks come together from simple basic materials and hand tools, with liberal amounts of hot glue to hold everything in place.  That seems to be [Jim's] philosophy as well.

This is actually the fifth incarnation of [Jim's] design. Along the way he’s learned a few important secrets about mechanical gyro design, such as balancing the motor and gyro assembly to be just a bit top-heavy. [Jim's] gyro is a stack of CDs directly mounted to the shaft of a brushed speed400 R/C airplane motor. The motor spins the CDs up at breakneck speed – literally. [Jim] mentions that they’ve exploded during some of his early experiments.

The gyroscope is free to move in the fore-aft direction. Side to side balance tilting is on the wheels themselves. The wheels are model airplane wheels, which have a curved tread. No cheating by using flat LEGO wheels in [Jim's] lab! A potentiometer measures the tilt angle of the gyro. The voltage from the pot is fed into an Arduino Uno which closes the loop by moving a servo mounted counterweight.

The vehicle is controlled with a regular R/C plane radio. A servo steers the front wheel while another DC motor drives the rear wheel. Not only is [Jim's] creation able to balance on its own, it can even make a U-Turn within a hallway.

Comments

  1. schlackbob says:

    now thats cool

  2. garym53 says:

    Love this kind of “kitchen table” kind of engineering…

  3. lageos says:

    I think the reason for the necessarity of a slightly heavier top than bottom, lies in the friction of the shaft. If you place the center of mass above it it results in an unstable position of the gyro i.e. it needs no friction moment to overcome to move.

    With more ideal bearings that distance should be reduced or get even zero (as visible in this great gyro teardown http://youtu.be/AO7pn3uiWA0 ).

  4. very cool! makes me want to do this on a larger scale!

  5. Brandon says:

    [Jim] loves gyros – not those delicious, perfectly roasted sandwiches, but old-fashioned mechanical gyroscopes.

    Corrected to reflect my hunger.

  6. Stephen says:

    Compare the Brennan Gyro-Monorail, which did the same thing on a much larger scale:
    http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/brennan/brennan.htm

  7. Thinkerer says:

    Appropriate for the hundredth anniversary of the Shilovsky Gyrocar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrocar

  8. anonymus says:

    The gyro tilts fore-aft to generate port-starboard torque because of gyroscopic precession.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession

  9. jimd says:

    Thanks Adam for the great write-up. You nailed all the details.
    For more information about this project see LetsMakeRobots.com – http://letsmakerobots.com/content/gyro-stabilized-two-wheeler-v5-steering
    Planned mods to my gyro car: heavier rotor/motor so not so tippy going around corners, servo/actuator to catch and restore rotor when it tumbles, another pot on the steering to control rotor when turning.
    Also, see my precession robot at LMR based on the work of John W. Jameson’s Walking Gyro.
    Jim.

  10. vu2aeo says:

    thats just a delight to watch!!!

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