LEGO Monowheel Corners Like It’s On Rails

[Jason]’s at it again. This time the LEGO maestro is working on a LEGO BB-8 droid. As a first step he’s made a motorized monowheel that not only races along hallways and through living rooms at the peril of any passing people, but turns as well.

To drive it forward there’s an axle that runs across the center of the wheel and a motor that rotates that axle. He’s also included some weight bricks. Without the mass of those bricks for the rotation to work against, the motor and axle would just spin in place while the friction of the floor keeps the wheel from rotating. If you’ve seen the DIYer’s guide to making BB-8 drive systems, you’ll know that this is classified as an axle drive system.

LEGO monowheel interior shown while leaning to turn
LEGO monowheel interior shown while leaning to turn

For steering the monowheel left or right he has another mass located just above the axle. Shifting the mass to the left causes the monowheel to lean and move in that direction. Shifting the mass to the right makes the wheel move to the right in the same fashion. Being ever efficient, [Jason] has the motor that shifts the mass doubling as the mass itself.

As with any proof-of-concept, there are still some issues to work out. When turning the wheel left or right it can tip onto its side. Ridges on both sides of the wheel’s circumference reduce the chances of that happening but don’t eliminate it altogether. Also, the steering mass/motor doesn’t yet have a self-centering mechanism; after a turn it’s up to the person holding the remote control to find center. If the mass isn’t correctly centered after a turn, there tends to be some wobble.

As always, we’re looking forward to seeing how [Jason] solves those issues but first he’ll have to put it back together since, as you can see from the video below, it didn’t quite pass the stair test.

Continue reading “LEGO Monowheel Corners Like It’s On Rails”

Hackaday links: June 13, 2010

Painting with light

[Jo0ngle] wanted a fun toy and an easy conversation piece. He painted a square on the back of his door with some glow-in-the-dark paint. Now he can draw on it using a blu-ray laser or a UV flashlight. Either way, the effect is quite pleasing. [Thanks Justin]

Resistor decoder rings

This resistor reference card allows you to spin a wheel and dial in the resistor color code for easy reading. We know, you have the simple act of reading resistor code down cold by now. This is still a fun idea that you might use if you’re ever helping someone get into electronics. [Thanks Osgeld]

Resistor bending template

Speaking of resistors, [Jerome] helped us out by designing a resistor bending template. He’s actually marketing himself at the same time. His bending template is folded from one of his business cards, which he came up with after being inspired by some of the unique business cards we’ve covered in the past.

Fake stained glass using old PCBs

[Agg] floated some old PCBs to his friend [Dan] the mason. [Dan] proceeded to turn out an amazing looking stained glass window unit using the colorful leftovers. The picture above doesn’t do it justice, you have to click through to see the real art.

Monovelo monowheel

[Ernst] asked if we’d heard of the Monovelo monowheel. Well we hadn’t. It’s a human-powered vehicle where you sit inside of one large wheel. We don’t see ourselves building one or riding one, but we enjoyed watching someone else do so. We’d like to catch somebody commuting to work with one of these. Seeing this in the bike lane will brighten up anyone’s day.

Motorized unicycles

The Segway may be a technological wonder, but motorized balancing transportation has been around for a while. We’ve gathered up some of our favorite motorized unicycles for your knee scraping enjoyment.

The design above makes us immediately think of the very recent wonder by [Ben Gulak] that earned him the cover of Popular Science. Strangely enough, when reading about [Ben] we didn’t see any mention of Noah. Designed by [Andre Franca] of Brazil, it won 2nd place in the Plascar Automotive Design Contest in 2007. The designs are extremely similar.

Continue reading “Motorized unicycles”