The Auto Parking Mecanum Robot


A while back, Hackaday visited the Clark Magnet School in Glendale, California to sneak a peek on their STEM-focused curriculum, FIRST robotics club, awesome A/V classroom, and a shop that puts most hackerspaces to shame. We saw a few builds while we were there, but [Jack]’s auto parking mecanum robot was in a class by itself. It deserves its own Hackaday post, and now that [Jack] is on Hackaday Projects, he’s sharing all the details.

The most impressive aspect of [Jack]’s build is the mecanum wheels; the side plates for the wheels were designed by [Jack] himself and machined on his school’s Haas mill. When the plates came out of the mill they were flat, and each of the fifteen little tabs on the plates needed to be bent at a 45 degree angle. With a CNC jig and a lot of time on his hands, [Jack] bent the tabs for all eight plates.

In addition to the plates, the rollers were custom made from non-expandable polyurethane poured into a CNC milled mold. That’s a one-part mold; [Jack] needed to make sixty of these little parts, one at a time.

The electronics are built around an Arduino Mega communicating with a joystick via an XBee. [Jack] found the relays in the off-the-shelf motor board couldn’t handle the current, so he replaced them with much, much larger ones in a hack job we’d be proud to call our own handiwork. There’s also a little bit of code that allows this motorized cart to pull off the best parallel parking job anyone could ever wish for. You can see that and a few videos of the construction below.


9 thoughts on “The Auto Parking Mecanum Robot

  1. Great project Jack, I’m so glad you documented all of the details!

    I was at the tour of Clark with Brian and was simply astounded by Jack’s build. Most projects aspire to have just one brilliant thing in them. The wheels themselves are an amazing hack, and the self-parking feature of the bot is an excellent application for the platform.

  2. How bad would it suck to NOT go to a school like that. I’m so glad these ‘well funded’ schools evenly distribute their income with the other less fortunate schools to maintain education equality. It would be shameful for them to just spend it on awesome equipment. Accumulated advantage I guess.

    1. From the summary…

      Selection is done through a lottery system, ensuring it’s not just the kids “on the good side of the tracks” or whose parents are active in the PTA that are selected; about 52% of the students at Clark can be classified as at or below the poverty line

  3. my son participated in First Robotics in high school. . It’s an excellent program. Students participate as teams to develop hardware (similar) to this video and software using C and National Instruments simulator tools.
    Then they compete against other high schools.
    They had to find funding from a variety of sources, so any high school can be part of this.
    key is the teacher who is motivated to pull all this together (with the help of lots of volunteer).

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