Windshield Wiper Motor Use for Robotics

hexapod-robot-windshield-wiper-motor-mountsHobby servos work great for small robots, but what about if you want to build a somewhat larger bot that needs a motor with a lot of torque?  They may not have the controllability of a servo, but for the price ($16.49 from Monsterguts) they might be an attractive option for your next robot.  They’ve long been used as the drivers for Holiday props, but I haven’t seen many of them used for hobby robots.  Feel free to link to yours in the comments if you’ve built one!

 

milled-windshield-wiper-mountsStraight out of the box, you may think that they will take a lot of work to fasten to your device of choice.  They, at least the motors that I’m using, come with a wiper motor arm linkage sporting a ball joint on the end.  Pretty useless, you might say, why not just a hole for a 1/4 inch bolt?  Well, if you have a Dremel tool, Grinder, or milling machine and a hammer, you’re in luck!  Simply grind off the back side of the ball joint, then fasten it in a vise.  Using a punch (or whatever you have available), put it in the middle of the ball joint, and hammer it out!

 

milling-windshiel-wiper-motor-pivotsYou’ll now have a hole that a 1/4 – 20 bolt can go right through, attaching to whatever you like!  In my situation, I used some rod ends purchased from Amazon (not the cheapest things in the world).  Control will eventually be provided by a servo switch from Servocity that is able to turn a standard hobby PWM signal into a simple on-off relay.

 

windshield-wiper-wood-mounts-wiredDepending on your situation, the motors can be mounted by the three holes around the gearbox, but I instead opted to mount them using a piece of 2×4 with a hole cut in it large enough for the motor to fit into.  This was then fastened down with wood screws as shown in the picture to the right for a tight fit.

I’ve been working on the remote control hexapod (introduced here) that this goes on for quite a bit, and plan to do several more posts on it including how to control these motors with a PWM switch.  Hopefully at some point, there will be a post about it actually walking!  If you’d like though, you can just check out my first little hexapod robot.

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