[EXTREME3DPRINT] has a new version of their print-in-place tank chassis: the PiPBOT now accepts drop-in motors (in the form of 360° rotation servos), RC receiver, and battery pack to make a functional RC tank platform in no time flat. The design is entirely 3D printed with no supports needed.
A better look at the design’s details can be found on the designer’s website, and a short video demonstrating assembly and operation is embedded below. We particularly like the attachment points on the top of the PiPBOT, which allows for securely mounting all kinds of customized payloads.
Interested in this style of printable RC platform, but want something a little more accessible? If race cars are more your thing, we’d like to also mention the Gamma 2.0 by [Under Engineered]. It’s a print-in-place RC car that needs minimal parts to get rolling and would make an excellent afternoon project.
Analog computers have been around in some form for a very long time. One very obvious place they were used was in military vehicles. While submarine fire computers and the Norden bombsight get all the press, [msylvain59] has a lesser-known example: an M13A1 ballistic computer from an M48 tank that he tears down for us in the video below.
The M48, known as a Patton, saw service from 1952 to 1987. Just looking at the mechanical linkage to the tank’s systems is impressive. But inside, it is clear this is a genuinely analog computer. The thing is built — quite literally — like a tank. What was the last computer you opened that needed a hammer? And inside, you’ll find gears, bearings, and a chain!
We don’t pretend to understand all the workings. These devices often used gears and synchros (or selsyns, if you prefer) to track the position of some external thing. But we are guessing there was a lot more to it than that. It’s probably an exciting process to see something like that designed from scratch.
We did think of the Norden when we saw this. Hard to imagine, but there were “general purpose” analog computers.
The main design challenge was creating a tread system that would allow for the required rotation. [James] designed in the ability for each link to rotate about 18 degrees, and ensured plenty of open space on the upper side of the drive train to accommodate a full 180 degree twist. It took a little fine-tuning and looks a bit trippy, but in the end works about as well as a regular tread system.
[James] shows off a good technique to keep in mind when constructing big assemblies like this tank. It takes a lot of time and material to print large pieces, and in such cases it’s especially important to minimize rework. [James] therefore designs smaller, separate pieces as interfaces to other parts. This way, if changes are needed down the line (for example, to adjust motor placement or change tension on parts), only a smaller interface piece needs to be redone instead of having to re-print a huge part.
The unit uses an Arduino Mega, two 24 V gearmotors to drive each tread independently, an RC radio receiver, and some beefy BTS7960 DC motor drivers to drive the motors.
Rollerskates are all well and good, but they’re even more fun when they’re powered. Then again, why stick with wheels, when you can have the off-road benefits of tracked propulsion? That’s precisely what [Joel] was thinking when he built this impressive set of Tank Boots.
The build uses a set of tracks from a tracked snowblower, sourced for $50. The tracks are a simple design sans suspension, consisting of a pair of plastic wheels inside the tracks and run via a chain drive. Each snowblower track was given a metal frame with a ski boot and a motor, gearbox, and controller straight out of a power drill. Power was courtesy of a lithium-polymer battery pack.
Riding the boots isn’t easy, with falls and tumbles rather common. Regardless, they get around great offroad in a way that regular rollerblades never could. Bolted together, they make a great tank chair, too. We’ve actually looked at the benefits of tracks versus wheels before, too. Video after the break.
[3D Honza] has been sharing progress pictures and videos on his Twitter account, and just recently released the first version of his design. Version 1.0 is just the mechanics, but he’s already at work on version 2.0 which includes the ability to attach servos to drive the treads. At this writing, the design is currently downloadable directly from his site and includes CAD files, which is great to see.
One part of the design we’d like to draw your attention to is the chunky hinge that doubles as a kind of axial structure making up the body. This allows the tank to print in an unfolded state with the treads and wheels flat on the print bed. After printing, the tank gets folded up a bit like a taco to attain its final form. It’s a clever layout that allows the unit to be printed according to a filament-based 3D printer’s strengths, printing as a single piece that transforms into a small tank chassis, complete with working treads, in a few seconds.
There are places that you can go in person, but for everything else, there’s FPV. Whether you’re flying race quads, diving the depths in a yellow submarine, or simply roving the surface of the land, we want to see your builds. If it’s remote controlled, and you feel like you’re in the pilot’s seat, it’s FPV.
When you say “first person view” many of you will instinctively follow up with “flight” or “drone”. But given the ease of adding a camera and remote control to almost any vehicle, there’s no reason to only fly the FPV skies. (Of course, we want to see your crazy quadcopter builds too.)
This contest isn’t exclusively about the vehicles either. If you’re working on the tech that makes FPV possible, we want you to enter. For instance, this simple quad/drone tracker will help keep your video feed running and your mind on flying. This cockpit will make the immersion more complete. And nobody likes the jello-cam effect that excess vibration can cause, so we’d like to see camera hacks as well.
And of course, your quads. Is your FPV quad too fast, too light, or does it fly too far? Show us. The contest starts now and runs until Jan 3, 2023, and there are three $150 shopping sprees courtesy of Digi-Key on the line. Get hacking!
Energy costs around the world are going up, whether it’s electricity, natural gas, or gasoline. This is leading to a lot of people looking for ways to decrease their energy use, especially heading into winter in the Northern Hemisphere. As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure, so [Steve] has built this system around monitoring the fuel oil level for his home’s furnace.
Fuel oil is an antiquated way of heating, but it’s fairly common in certain parts of the world and involves a large storage tank typically in a home’s basement. Since the technology is so dated, it’s not straightforward to interact with these systems using anything modern. This fuel tank has a level gauge showing its current percentage full. A Raspberry Pi is set up nearby with a small camera module which monitors the gauge, and it runs OpenCV to determine the current fuel level and report its findings.
Since most fuel tanks are hidden in inconvenient locations, it makes checking in on the fuel level a breeze and helps avoid running out of fuel during cold snaps. [Steve] designed this project to be reproducible even if your fuel tank is different than his. You have other options beyond OpenCV as well; this fuel tank uses ultrasonic sensors to measure the fuel depth directly.