Saturday, September 26, 2020

Milli (#9) - New Mount for Helix - and Crawling Video!

 Milli - a Bio/Math inspired crawling single actuator robot millipede - now with teeth!

Milli - Millipede robot - now with teeth

From the last post, you may have noticed that I had tried to print some "nodes" as a possible improvement to Milli the millipede. Well, that thought was not as successful as I had hoped. There turned out to be no flexibility and too much tension on the helix. With this in mind, I reopened the milli design and set to work on some design updates:

  • Offset the motor
  • add a gear reduction to the motor
  • add a bearing to main helix mount - to remove force on the motor itself
  • try out a new power source
  • Add teeth - because we need to add more Nightmare Fuel!!
CAD Design - new Motor Mount and Gear

The new design is a new motor mount, with drive gear, a bearing mounted main gear, and new 12V "shore" power.

3D printing gears remains a dark art to me, but here you can see that they are functional. In this print, I have used a larger Modul of 1.5, this makes larger teeth. I believe for my quick 3D prints this is a more accommodating solution (more tolerance for rough prints!).

I applied a liberal amount of hot glue to attach the pre-existing helix mount to the newly printed main gear. That may qualify this for a frankenstein prototype, no doubt.

Sloppy gears? certainly room for improvement - on the next iteration.  The thicker base layer print creates an uneven gear surface.

Another issue was the 'pede wheels' that I kept from the previous build. They function as wheels, however in the video you can see that the left wheel consistently unwinds and falls off, Doh!

Ready to Test!  Let's get crawling!

Milli - Robot Millipede on a colorful background

For this round of testing, I am using "shore power". The robot is tethered to a 12V DC source. I reused a momentary switch - also from a printer - in order to easily turn on and off the robot.

Testing goes as expected.  The motor gear hold, which is surprising.  However the front left pede-wheel falls off frequently.  The motion of the helix, continues to be smooth.  I believe the addition of the bearing smooth this rotation off, taking load off the motor.  

Video on YouTube:

Next Steps:

With this success, time to think of what would be in the next iteration.
  • Onboard 12V power supply
  • micro-controller with PWM output
  • Motor Driver board
  • remote or autonomous operation (Min1 project may come first)

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