Tanks treads for your next robot

If you ever wanted to incorporate tank treads into one of your build you should check out this guide. The method shown above is our favorite, which uses rubber fuel line hose and #10 machine bolts to hold together two lengths of hollow-pin roller chain. You can see the drive sprocket is keyed into the outer length of chain but the wheels that distribute the vehicle’s weight rest on the rubber tubing. You’ll also find details on building hinged track, molded track, plastic conveyor track, treadmill track, and bicycle chain construction. This should cut down on development time when you finally get around to making that paintball tank.

[Thanks BoKu]

Line following tank without a microcontroller

This line following tank uses analog circuitry to sense where a dark line is and adjust its course. Despite the opening paragraph on the schematic page (which looks to be leftover from a past project writeup) this circuit relies on a set of transistors for motor control. [Chris] does a great job of explaining the setup in detail; it boils down to a phototransistor detecting reflected light and flipping which motor is running based on what is detected. A couple of potentiometers are included to tune up the accuracy of the circuit. There’s a short clip of the treaded-terror making a loop around the track after the break.

This is another great way to try your hand at analog circuitry. Once you’ve built the body (tank or otherwise) and line tracking circuit it can be repurposed by swapping out the brains for your next project.

[Read more...]

Wearable controller for your paintball tank

If you’re too frail to take the full impact of a paintball round let this tank serve as your surrogate. The camera perched on top of the platform feeds video back to the operator’s head-mounted display. Instead of using a joystick or other traditional controller, the user aims by looking around, with his or her head movements mimicked by the camera and barrel of the tank. It looks cooler than it sounds so jump with us after the break to see for yourself. If you’re playing against this thing, we’d recommend aiming for the camera lens.

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Tank drone with automatic targeting and tracking

Humankind is making some great advances toward our own destruction with this tank drone. It’s got a powerful set of treads with an Airsoft rifle perched atop. Thanks to the cameras and the laser this thing can accurately target based on color. The hardware is controlled by a collection of Arduino boards connected via XBee so that Processing can be used on a computer. Just combine this with the facial recognition from yesterday and you’ve got the first generation of Terminators. Watch the clip after the break and you’ll realize that we’re doomed. [Read more...]

BAMF2010: Spy TRAKR – no lasers, $14,861 cheaper

Maybe $15K for an elaborate balancing telepresence robot is a bit out of one’s league. In that case, another Bay Area Maker Faire exhibitor — Wild Planet — has you covered. Faire attendees got a hands-on sneak preview of the upcoming Spy Video TRAKR, a video-transmitting radio-controlled toy that’s programmable and extensively hackable.

The TRAKR has an impressive pedigree. It’s a collaborative effort between three successful and creative technology companies: Wild Planet, makers of the Spy Gear toy line; MOTO Development Group, designers of the Flip Video camera; and Making Things, software designers for the Make Controller.

So just how hackable are we talking? The Spy Video TRAKR is intended right out of the box to use downloadable apps, and allows development of new programs in C. The controller and vehicle each contain their own ARM9 processor, and the ’bot features 8 megs of RAM, an SD card slot and USB client and host (yes, host) ports. And that’s all with the cover still on. Pop the lid, and you’ll find links to online schematics and neatly-labeled breakout headers for deeper exploration.

The Spy Video TRAKR is expected to ship in October with a target price of $139 or less. Additional photos after the break.

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Steam powered tank

This steam-powered tank is really something of a steam-electric hybrid. Steam provides the locomotion, but an electrical system provides the remote control and steering. A full boiler will provide 10-15 minutes of operation which you can see in the video after the break. Before you leave a nasty comment: Yes, we realize this project is from several years ago. It’s new to us and the completion date doesn’t diminish the novelty of this well-executed build. This is the quality and uniqueness we’re used to seeing from [Crabfu].

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Trick your ride: tank conversion

If wheels aren’t your thing you should really consider this tank-tread retrofit. It comes with two ramps so that you can drive your car up onto the tread platform. At first we thought this worked by chaining the vehicle’s frame to the tread frame and transferring power through a tread-mill interface. That’s not the case, it seems the transmission needs to be disconnected from the wheels and joined with the tank mechanics. Don’t miss the video antics after the break.

[Read more...]

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