Traversing through culvert simulation
Overcoming tricky obstacle
I worked on this crawler project with three other students in an engineering class on the design of mechanical systems. Our team created a robotic crawler that could navigate rough terrain within a confined channel (modeling a culvert), grab an unexploded bomb in the shape of wooden mushroom at the end of this path, and carry the bomb back out of the channel, all while consuming as little power as possible. This entire process had to occur in a single run, without external intervention beyond switching the power supply leads to reverse the motor’s direction. We carefully considered various factors such as gear ratio, crawler weight and size, and “wheg” design in order to minimize our robot’s voltage and current.
Our final design incorporates four-wheel drive, a 60:1 gear ratio, and a reliable bomb retrieval system. We implemented four-wheel drive using a longitudinal drive shaft to reduce energy loss in the gear train. The gear ratio allowed the crawler to operate at a fast speed to keep the overall energy consumption low. The bomb capture mechanism acted as a mouth. The jaws were propped open to start, and the impact of the prop hitting the bomb propels them both into the mouth cavity for secure transportation back out of the channel. Our crawler, named Jimmy Jr., completed the bomb retrieval in less than 6 seconds, using a maximum of 0.48 Amps, and 6 Volts.
Click here to access the full report, which includes a detailed design description, analysis of performance, motor characteristics, transmission, and more.