Glorious Body Of Tracked ‘Mad Mech’ Started As Cardboard

[Dickel] always liked tracked vehicles. Taking inspiration from the ‘Peacemaker’ tracked vehicle in Mad Max: Fury Road, he replicated it as the Mad Mech. The vehicle is remote-controlled and the tank treads are partly from a VEX robotics tank tread kit. Control is via a DIY wireless controller using an Arduino and NRF24L01 modules. The vehicle itself uses an Arduino UNO with an L298N motor driver. Power is from three Li-Po cells.

The real artistic work is in the body. [Dickel] used a papercraft tool called Pepakura (non-free software, but this Blender plugin is an alternative free approach) for the design to make the body out of thin cardboard. The cardboard design was then modified to make it match the body of the Peacemaker as much as possible. It was coated in fiberglass for strength, then the rest of the work was done with body filler and sanding for a smooth finish. After a few more details and a good paint job, it was ready to roll.

There’s a lot of great effort that went into this build, and [Dickel] shows his work and process on his project page and in the videos embedded below. The first video shows the finished Mad Mech being taken for some test drives. The second is a montage showing key parts of the build process.

Paper and cardboard are very versatile and accessible materials for making things. It’s what was used to do some target practice with this working paper and cardboard gun. With the right techniques foam core can be worked into an astonishing variety of shapes, and we also made a case for the value of a desktop vinyl cutter on any well-equipped hacker’s workbench.

10 thoughts on “Glorious Body Of Tracked ‘Mad Mech’ Started As Cardboard

    1. +1 to each of you. Actually old school hand made. One ought to remember from whence we came, as well as looking around at now or forward to tomorrow. Now, scale it up. First to kid size. Then… ???? I want the telescopic snorkle option.

  1. So much materials, energy and time wasted for a toy that’s going to be fun for about 30 minutes. Hacking should be all about sustainable design solutions, not making more trash.

    1. So much materials, energy, and time wasted for a reply that’s going to be ignored after 0.3 seconds. My internet time should have been used for reading build logs to learn techniques that I can apply to other projects. Perhaps how to fabricate a basic housing design out of paper/cardboard that can be used to enclose a sustainable design solution I’d like to market…

  2. “iojds says:
    March 11, 2018 at 11:10 pm
    So much materials, energy and time wasted for a toy that’s going to be fun for about 30 minutes. Hacking should be all about sustainable design solutions, not making more trash.”

    Hacking shouldn’t be anything. It’s always been about making or repairing something, for little or no cost, with tools, parts, and materials you already have on hand, paying for only what you absolutely need.

    Sustainable? Most every part of the project came from other projects, and can be reused in future projects. Trash, doubtful, it’s a pretty cool toy, and will last a long time, until he needs parts for some other project, or that little ankle-biter pees on it.

    Models aren’t always toys, some are proof of concept, some aid in deciding whether or no it would be feasible to go full size. Somethings look a lot better on paper, but just don’t really work out that well physically. Nikola Tesla made a lot of cool toys, to prove his ideas could work, and many of them did, still used over 100 years later…

      1. I’m not looking to change anybody, just enlighten the ignorant. He obviously didn’t know what hacking was all about, didn’t bother to read the article, follow the links, or watch the videos. The whole project was pulled together mostly with reused/reusable parts. The shell was a pizza box! Toy, sure, but it was an experiment for a bigger and better robot. What caught my attention, was that I’m just starting with Arduino, and planning something really similar, functionally anyway, and looking for some code examples for the transmitter and receiver, Already have the parts on hand, tread base assembled, motors installed. Need to get the transceiver modules talking on the Nano boards. I’ve got much bigger plans, but a whole lot to learn first, but then again, I never stop learning.

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