Let's Make Robots!

FingerTech Mecanum Wheels

Vendor's Description: 

See our new Mecanum Wheel Set!

• FingerTech's revolutionary new Mecanum Wheels allow any robotics enthusiast to add omni-directional capabilities to their creation.

Link to store page

Link to YouTube Commercial!

• Precision engineered delrin hubs and rubber rollers attach to a customizable mount for any motor shaft size between 3mm and 1/4".

• Kit includes:
• Four Mecanum wheels (two A-style, two B-style)
• Four mounting hubs
• Four 4-40 screws + one 6-32 setscrew per wheel
• One 0.050" hex wrench
• Instructions

 What can they do?
The four mecanum wheels are each connected to a motor for independent control. The robot can move forward, reverse and spin just like four regular wheels. The configuration of rollers at 45° also allows the robot to translate sideways and through a combination of these, in any direction (even while spinning!).

How do they work?
Adjacent corners use mirrored hubs so that the wheels freely roll outward from the center of the robot. This splits the force into two vectors, one forward/backward and one right/left. When the wheels on one side are spun in opposite directions, the forward and backward vectors cancel out while both sideways vectors add up. Doing the reverse with the other two wheels results in four added sideways vectors.

How do I drive?
Control can be accomplished with a microcontroller or simply using an R/C transmitter! When both sticks are pushed in any direction, the robot moves in that direction. Pushing the sticks towards or away from each other makes the robot spin in place.
The easiest way to think of it is that the left stick controls the front two wheels in any direction, and the right stick controls the rear two wheels in any direction. To achieve this control, two of our V-Tail mixers are required. One mixes the front two wheels to the left stick to respond just like a two-wheel-drive robot. The second mixes the rear two wheels to the right stick in the opposite fashion.

Mecanum Hub material: Black Acetal (Delrin)
Roller material: EPDM 50-60D(A) Rubber
Outside wheel diameter: 2.125"
Wheel width at widest point: 1.25"
Customizable mount bore: 3mm (can be drilled to any size up to 1/4")
Weight: 48grams (1.69oz) per wheel

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Could be an idea. Gonna drive Oddbot nuts with new bits to try.

From my research, ours are about 1/4 the price of any others.  They are a set of four, not a single wheel. 

Plus the size makes them perfect for smaller robots.  The next smallest I have seen were 5" diameter.

But, to ask the question in a slightly different way:

Why do these things cost so much anyway? 

Even at 1/4 the price of others, they're still just too damn expensive. Sell them at a tiny profit (or even as a loss-leader) and I guarantee robotics enthusiasts would be coming to you in droves.

I think these cost so much because you know some rich fools will buy them. Sure, tehy're difficult to make accurately, but once you have a Chinese factory tooled up, there isn't more than $5 of material in them!

Unless those mecanum wheels are hand made, or the materials used to build them are some space age materials, the price is way high for a set of four plastic and rubber wheels, which are going to be bought by a hobbyist and used in hobby robot.

Flame me if you want I won't ever pay for such things, I'd rather go wih Fritsl's handmade wheels :).  

To be fair, even Fritzl's comment stated that they are difficult to make and hard to find for that price.

They may still be too pricey for most LMR users.  Like any product manufacturer, Finger Tech will need to decide how and if to market their products to this community.

I took some time to talk to FTR on the Shout Box the other day. He seems like a nice person, and a robot hobbyist of many years himself. 

I'm sure it took a while for manufacturers/distributors like DAGU and Solarbotics to define their relationship to LMR. More options with more vendors seems like a good thing to me, so let's see what Finger Tech has to offer as he gets a feel for our community.

...on the other hand, if I were to stand and handmake these at an average engineering rate of, say $60 per hour, I suppose a set might cost in excess of $1,000. I guess it depends which you value more: money or time.
Oh! Nice!