Let's Make Robots!

Question for Rover 5 users about alternate wheel options.

SO, having completed my holiday obligations, it's time for a little present from me TO me.  I've been collecting assorted parts, and experimenting with Arduino code and have decided that pretty much everything I want to do with a robot base can be most efficiently, cost-effectively accomplished with a Rover 5, and it's at the top of my "Been a good boy" list.

The only thing I don't like about it is those rubber treads that seem to keep falling off.  And since it's my intention to get the Rover 5 with 4 motors and encoders, I've decided to go with independent wheels.

SO, what fits best?  I've seen the mecanum wheels, but the Fingertech wheels (which would be the only ones I could justify expense-wise)  seem to be somewhat more trouble than they're worth--Tho I haven't completely discounted them yet.

Wheels seem to be unnecessarily complicated and expensive--I mean we're talking about a hobby where people are doing interesting things with under $5 microcontrollers after all.

What's been working for you guys?

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I switched out my FingerTech Mecanum wheels for the Vex Mecanum wheels on my Rover 4. They work great!

The Vex are less expensive than the FingerTech.

Here a video of my bot attempting an autonomous figure 8.


I have a thread over on the Parallax forum where I describe my efforts in more detail.


Probably the hardest part (with hardware) about adding the Vex wheels was adding a set screw in order to secure them to the Rover 5 axles.

Ok, with all those pets I would still try the treads but I think RC car wheels or whegs will be your best choice.

I THOUGHT that was the Wild Thumper wheels.  (Another great design, btw.)

It was my plan to use the mecanum wheels.  I still might.  But another reason I'm going to hold off is that somewhere I read a comment that mecanum wheels have a lot of dust catching projections and crevices.  My workspace is also the critter hangout.  Between my wife and daughters, we have 2 dogs, 5 cats and a very nervous cockatoo.  I sweep up a pan or two of assorted litters and sheddings each morning, and I've already killed two roombas.  But I digress.

And you're right about mechanical arms.  But I'm still researching the various mechanical devices that servos get attached to.

I'll probably start out with the existing treads.  (Nothing says "robot" quite as obviously as treads.)  My observations were concerning what seemed to be the only inconsistency in what otherwise seems like a great design--the treads fall off.

Actually, I was just wondering what wheels people are using in place of the treads.  I've seen mecanum wheels used, and (I think) the large ones from the wild thumper.

Frankly OddBot, your designs have done as much, or more, than anything I can think of to lower the cost of entry into hobby robotics. I was just grumbling a little, about how the price of something so simple as wheels, when compared to processing power--orders of magnitude better than what landed men on the moon--can be cheaper than cigarettes.

In my mind nothing says robot more obviously than a mechanical arm but to each their own.

The tread problem is largely due to trying to make the treads stretchy so the wheel base can change. We have made a new mold for one part that should prevent the motor assemblies from bowing as much as they did under tension.

I did design the chassis specifically with the finger tech mecannum wheels in mind due to their small size but normal RC car wheels can also be used. You can even put Wild Thumper wheels on it and crank up the ground clearance.

If you want to do something different that is not too expensive then what about whegs?