Parameterized Mechanum-style wheels

Our team has been experimenting with what we refer to as “vectored intake wheels” but are basically mechanum-style wheels for different intake designs. The idea was to experiment with mechanisms that provided some alignment as part of the intake process for our “load loose; unload tight” mantra.

To that end, I created an OpenSCAD program that can generate 3D models of various sizes of wheels, with various numbers of rollers, at various lengths and diameters, at various angles; you get it, I’m a software guy at heart…

The core wheels are 3D printable, though to date, I’ve been making rollers out of round PVC stock (there is a program to generate models of rollers as well as part of this).

I thought folks might find it useful - here is an example of a model of a 4" diameter, 2" wide wheel using 6 1" rollers:

Here is a set of finished wheels from that variant - 1" diameter wheels, 1.950" in length, using 3/32" A1 drill rod as the axles. A drop of gel CA at each end of the axle and Bob’s yer Uncle.

The code is highly parameterized and reasonably well commented so you can figure out what to mess with (all at the top of the source code). It can generate both right and left-handed wheels.

Knock yourselves out (if you care). if you do something interesting, shoot back a pull request and we’ll all make it more interesting and maybe even useful…

– Chris Herzog, Joliet Cyborgs #4241

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Wow! I thought those wheels were renders! Beautiful color scheme and great looking program. I love OpenSCAD even if I’m not good at it.

Does the program generate elliptical rollers or only cylindrical ones?

Thanks for the good words. No render, that’s the real deal, an actual photo at the end. The colors were sort of an accident. The PVC I had on hand was dark grey and my son happened to have some yellow loaded in my printer when I started so that’s what I ran the first quickie off with.

It looked so cool that it was pretty much “we’re going with this”. A little bling here and there isn’t going to kill anyone; I really try to push the team to be craftsmen, take pride in their work, make it run and look like you cared. My thing is every part you make is a little bit of a calling card for the maker - what do you want to say? It should at least say that you cared enough to do a good job.

Just cylindrical wheels for now but of course you just kicked the hornets nest (a little bit, who knows what time is gonna be available with kickoff starting to loom closer and closer).

The code itself is amazingly short and easy to understand if you’ve got some OpenSCAD under your belt. I’ve been working on getting better with Inventor, and now, OnShape, but sometimes I just “see” this stuff as something a program should do rather than a human moving a mouse. OpenSCAD has it’s own “special” “features” (both in quotes as distinct points IMO) but it’s an interesting tool to have in your utility belt.

– Chris Herzog, Mentor, Joliet Cyborgs #4241

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  1. Those look super nice I honestly thought it was a render

  2. Where could I find the source code for this?

Man, I gotta stop doing this late at night.

The code is at https://github.com/JolietCyborgs4241/robot-parts/tree/master/vectored_intake_wheels

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