Let's Make Robots!

Dimensional Ultralancer: Vulcan Five - Sumobot

Low_profile_sumo.zip170.97 KB

Hello All,

 This is my first, hopefully of many, robots I am posting at this site.  I am part of the University of Saskatchwan IEEE Robotics club and have been building robots for several years now.   This is my attempt at making a low profile sumo to sneakily sneak past other robots.  I got the inspiration for the robot from watching the very low RC controlled combat bots, and I though I could do that.  So i got to work with some doodles on a piece of paper.  What I came up with was this:


I then set to work cadding the robot up so I could get the dimensions right.  I use the free program from emachineshop cause it exports to DXF and its free.  I also use CadSTD lite since emachineshop doesn't have a layer option. The next part was to decide on a drive system.  At the recent sumo exhibition I noticed that most of the robots were using 4WD, which gave them added traction and power.  I liked the idea of 4WD but didn't want to have the added weight of two more motors.  So I sat and thought for a while about what to do about the situation.  As I was rummaging about my stuff for ideas I found 2 of these guys:

Escap motor

I bought them a long time ago in an attempt to make a linefollower robot.  But to my dismay it had a really slow shaft speed, much slower than I would have liked.  So they sat in the motor bin collecting dust.  As soon as I saw them the gears in my head started to turn.  Even though they were slow they had a lot of power.  If I could just up the speed some more they would be perfect.  I then thought: "How about using a belt and pulley system?".  This would take care of the speed issue and possible be less weight then two more motors.

My good friend at Fingertech Robotics sells a large selection of belts and pulleys so I was in luck.  I set back to work cadding the dimensions and positions of the pulleys and motors.  My first attempt at the output ratio was 2:1 using two 15 teeth pulleys and a 30 tooth pulley.  emachineshop told me I would need a belt with the circumference of approximately 290 mm (almost 12 inches).  With that in place I set about making the other parts of the body with no regard for weight (I figure that I could just drill some holes in places to get it underweight).

Next came the wheels.   I wanted wheels that had deatch grip (or close to it) traction.  I've been using foam rubber tire, which are nice and light and also have good traction.  But rubber offers better traction.  Again while rummaging around in my stuff I found 4 of these (you will see a trend here pretty soon):


Solarbotics 31mm diameter (almost 1-1/4 inches) rubber wheels.  They were perfect.  Aluminum hubs to make them lightweight complete with set screw.  Don't remember why I bought these though.  I then set about the actual construction of the body.  I have a Sherline CNC mill which is great for cutting out shapes.  After I was done with the cad and satisfied with the look I set up the Gcode with SheetCAM and let the mill do its thing.  The body is made with 1/8 inch thick Lexan sheets which are then cemented together to make the final thickness of 1/4 inch for the body parts.  

 With the parts machined it was time to put it all together.  The parts are cemented together with Tamiya extra thin cement (really smelly stuff).  And fastened to the base with some sort of metric screw.  I thought they were 4-40s but they didn't fit in the tap threads, I managed to find the correct tap somehow (I'll put what it is later).  On a side note, if you notice in the picture below that the base has a strange section in the middle:


I had to do this so I could cut the base on the mill.  I wasn't quite sure if I could cut the whole thing out so I split it into two parts with some mating connections.


I got the 30 and 15 teeth pulleys and belts from Fingertech.  I had to go with a bigger belt then expected cause they didn't carry anything around 290mm.  What I got was 321mm.  At this point I figured that I could just tension it somewhere and it would all be good........ Dun dun dun not really.

There was no place I could tension it enough.  So I had to think of something.


Fortunately for me I live in the same city as Fingertech. So I packed up my robot and drove there.  I told them my problem and they helped me out .  We came the conclusion that I would have to get bigger pulleys to make up for the slack.  The guys there were nice enough to let me try out the selection they had until I had something that would work.  I settled on 2 38 teeth and 4 22 teeth.  Doing the math it would give me about 1.77:1 ration, which was still pretty good.  I still had some slack but the good part was the motor itself was actually tensioning the belt.  I exchanged the old pulleys with no issue and was on my way home.

 With the pulleys and belts in place I did a test run with just a battery.  I noticed that the belt was slipping sometimes which meant I needed more tension.  Looking at the whole setup I would need about 2-3mm of thickness added somehow to the motor.  As always, while looking through my stuff I found a 1 inch diameter acrylic rod.  Great! I threw that sucker on the lathe and turned it to the correct diameter and bore a hole that would fit the motor.  here is the result:


Perfect tension and no slipping.

And now for the brains of the operation.  In keeping with my finding stuff theme.  I found a Baby Orangatan which was a prize from a while back that I got from Pololu .  This version has been obsoleted, but not to worry cause they just have a better version with a beefier chip.


This little module contains an Atmega48 with a 20MHz oscillator, 5V voltage reglator and motor driver.  Being a Microchip PIC fan, I don't have that much experience with Atmel products, so now is a good time to learn. This little guy also saves me weight and space.


Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure until I finish my robot.  I will keep updating until it is done.


As a final note the name comes from here. Under the mecha name generator.  I recommend you use it cause having an awesome robot isn't enough.  It has to sound awesome too.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Nice design and really well built . it goes to show, a good CAD will return with a good bot.

Keep up the good work

Thats clever and neat base, but wheels are imo way too small for sumo competition. Im afraid that they are even too small for minisumo. You've got super-awesome motors with planetary gearbox, Why don't you mount them like that: 

baseplate and motors

If you'll be lifted, motors wont loose grip. Also, you can use bigger wheels (for tire i recommend washable lint-rollers or tennis rocket griptape - superawesome thing. Im using it on minisumo, and its unbeatable.) 

The dimensions of the robot are too big for regulation minisumo.  My robot is about 200mm x 150mm (regulation is 100mmx100mm.  The club I participate in doesn't have restriction on size just weight.  As for the traction I took that into account.  You can't tell with the picture of the side profile but I made it so that the rounded part at the back is smaller than the tire so that even if the front end is lifted up I still have traction in the back.  However I did get bigger tires should the case arise that these ones do not perform.  They are 1.5 inch rubber tires like these ones but I would have to modify the scoop.  Also I have an idea in mind for a hinged scoop that would prevent me from being lifted hopefully.

 As for your mounting of the motors and wheels I would have liked to do what you have in the picture but the motors as I said were too slow.  I would simply lose to a faster robot.

the only draw back if you want to particiape in real competition, you will only be able to go in 3kg.


There is the Westen Canadian robot games in Alberta this May 15th 2010.





By looking at the pictures, that is a 20x20cm robot you built.


Mini sumo = 10cmx10cm and weight 500gram

Normal sumo = 20cm x 20cm and weight 3kg


In your case, you still need to get 2,5Kg more on that thing. If you planning on using 11.1V 360mAh lipoly, you not going far with that. Even if those porte escap are efficient, you lost that efficiency with the belts rubbing the other motor.

I wish you good luck and can't wait to see the final product.







Yes unfortunately it is not the right size for mini and it will probably end up being over 500g in the end.  However this is still a *work in progress*.  I hope to use this low profile proof of concept for future builds and improve on the design.  My main goal was to inspire beginner builders and give them ideas on how to make new robots to call their own.

Yeah i know, my post was about regular sumo robot. IMG_4b546b4cde9407366.jpg

You can also consider mounting motors like this ^ 

I would like to program this nice looking bot! I would make him a winner!
If anyone is interested in the CAD files just send me a message and I can email them to you.  Unless there is some way to upload them on the site

export your CAD to PDF 1:1 and that should work. I did that for a instructable.


I tested by printing it then I uploaded.


BTW I don't even know if you can upload PDF's :)