Beefy Rover Looks Like Tons Of Fun


[Eric] and the crew over at The Tech Junkies, just put the finishing touches on a pretty powerful robot that they call “Mantis”.

The six wheel, chain-driven robot is pretty impressive at first glance. The robot is centered around a Netduino, which controls four 60 amp speed controllers. The speed controllers are tasked with driving four beefy CIM motors, which propel the robot along at a pretty decent tick.

For the project, the team designed their own controller application called IPGamepad, which allows the robot to be controlled by any Android device. The interface is pretty simple as you can see in the video below, making it quite easy to control the bot.

While the Mantis was not a cheap production by any means, it does look like a ton of fun to drive. The crew will be taking this robot along with 2 others out to Maker Faire Detroit, so be sure to swing by and say hello if you’re in the area.


11 thoughts on “Beefy Rover Looks Like Tons Of Fun

  1. Wonder how much the paired motors fight each other on that chain, if at all?

    Looks like with this design you could get away with half the motors and half the controllers if you really wanted to.

  2. “While the Mantis was not a cheap production by any means,” I’m new, I guess.. Maybe some of you experts could point out to me what’s so expensive on this thing to classify it as not a cheap production by any means? I’ve seen a ton of rc custom built vehicles – rovers, remote rcon devices, etc.. I don’t see anything (no offense to those who created it, anyone who builds something that works deserves respsct for sure!) on this to justify use of those words. Maybe you guys just know those are (what are?) uber expensive parts, but if so, tell us in the description, cuz all I see is a 6-wheel drive tank-style controled rc vehicle. Yeah, it’s powered by netdurino and an android phone (which is slick), but I could wire that up to the M1 RC tank in my garage (which also would be cool). Again, I’m not slamming the project, it is cool, but I don’t get the expense comment by the original poster. Splain it to us :)

  3. @exit151, good question. I said that it was not cheap for two reasons:

    1) I have been criticized in the past for calling something “relatively cheap”, so I wasn’t going there again. :)

    2) I added up the costs as listed on his page and the price came in at $740. This is assuming that the wireless router and battery were in the middle of the stated price range, $40 and $150 respectively. If you assume the highest price for all components, the cost is over $800.

    That price only covers the control system and does not include the motors, wheels, chassis, etc. I would guess that the total cost of the rover was easily over $1000, if not near $1200.

    That said, what exactly is “expensive”? Caleb and I had a heated discussion about the price difference between the middle of the road MacBook Pro and the new Lenovo laptop I purchased. I got a laptop with far more bells and whistles, not to mention processing power and memory for less than a comparable MB Pro would have cost. Thus, I declared that the MB Pro was “overpriced” and “too expensive”.

    Long story short, applying those terms is subjective, and are merely a matter of opinion. To some people, the cost of the MacBook is insane – to others it is reasonable, based on the OS/aluminum body/etc. For me, it is too expensive, and Caleb agreed – though that is our opinion.

    The same goes for this rover. Building RC cars is not my hobby, so spending $1200 on a rover seems expensive to me. To Eric and the other Tech Junkies, it is clearly a reasonably-priced project. I would not think twice about buying camera gear/computer gear/car accessories/AV equipment in that price range, but they might consider those purchases expensive.

    So, to sum up my rambling, it is really a matter of opinion that this is an expensive project. Some might agree with me, and others may disagree.

  4. @exit151 and @Mike Nathan:

    I definitely agree…it’s completely subjective. We were lucky enough to get the speed controllers and some of the other components donated to us from a FIRST team that had them laying around as they could no longer be used for competition.

    I mention that for a smaller robot you can use much cheaper speed controllers or even $10 servos that are modified to be continuous rotation. It’s all about scalability. We really wanted to make a control system that could be adapted to any budget/robot size. In the video we have the small little robot that is also powered by the control system and costs less than $150 with that particular configuration.

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