More Pole Climbing Bots, Haul Antennas and Bikes

Pole Climbing Robot

A few days ago we posted about a Pole Climbing Device. Since then we’ve gotten a few emails with tips about other pole climbers. We are going to talk about two of those here, they are completely different from each other and have completely different uses. Who knew there was such a variety of pole climber bots out there?

First up is this an antenna-wielding bot that climbs up poles in order to promote over the air communications. The system is called E-APS (Emergency Antenna Platform System) and is used by enthusiasts to turn any ol’ parking lot lamp post into an antenna tower. This particular machine has a large rectangular frame made from extruded aluminum. There are four wheels, two of which are driven by what appears to be a car power window motor. The weight of the antenna forces each set of two wheels to be pressed up against opposite sides of the pole, creating enough friction to not only support the unit but allow it to travel up and down the pole. There is not a lot of explanation about the build but there are a lot of detailed photos of the final product. We saw E-APS in action at MakerFaire New York 2013, and it was very impressive.

We’ve covered this next device before but it’s worth mentioning again. The project assumes that no bike lock is strong enough to deter the most persistent thief. Instead of locking your bike up and hoping for the best, this ‘theft preventer’ hikes your bike up out of the reach of would-be bike nabbers. So how do you get your bike down once it is up the pole? A remote control fob, of course.

There are 2 cool videos of these inventions after the break…..

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Pole Climbing Device Runs Up Flags and Undies

Tubular Drive travels up and down poles

Driving a carriage up and down a cylindrical object isn’t the most popular activity but that is certainly no reason not to build such a device. Check out [Ryan's] creation that does just that, he calls it a Tubular Drive.

There isn’t much going on here, basically there are 4 wheels that grip a pipe. Two of those wheels have integrated gears and are driven by a DC motor. The remaining two wheels are idlers. When power is applied to the motor, two of the wheels spin, which then moves the entire assembly down the pole. A quick reversal in polarity brings the unit back the other way.

With those 3D printed plastic wheels you may think that traction would be an issue but [Ryan] insists that it is not a problem. The ABS wheels were treated with an acetone bath to smooth out the print layers and the distance between the wheels can be adjusted using a couple of bolts. Together that allows enough surface contact and pressure to ensure slip-free traveling.

Although the wheels were made to grip 1/2″ electrical conduit, it would be very easy to adapt this design to fit around and climb up all sorts of cylindrical objects, maybe even rope! Perhaps v-wheels with a spring tensioner system would allow for traveling on different size tubes while also adjusting for any variation in the diameter of a single tube.

[Ryan] says version two will have a linear encoder and be driven by a stepper motor. Check out the video after the break…

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