Category Archives: ROBOTICS

Introducing the FPV StrandMaus

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If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you have seen my various iterations of a remote-controlled vehicle based on Theo Jansen’s StrandBeest. My latest version is much smaller, so I’m calling it the “StrandMaus” (Beach Mouse, instead of Beach Beast). Check it out walking around in the video below:

I plan to explain how it works in further detail in another video or post, but what really sets this apart from my other versions is that I’m using thrust bearings from Servocity*, along with shaft collars, which allow the legs to be tightened more than the loose configuration I tried before. Also, the gear train is partially based on something I saw on Twitter from Jo!, using gears instead of linkages to transmit power between the central shaft and the legs.

Probably the most visually obvious feature of the FPV StrandMaus is the GoPro camera (a tiny Hero4 Session – Amazon) attached on a Servocity Pan/Tilt system. I used this on my first StrandBeest model which was neat, but was never able to walk on its own. In theory, one could log onto the StrandMaus’ camera and view it remotely while having it walk around it’s environment. Certainly I’ll have to experiment with this further in the future!

Until then, Read more »

StrandMaus Now Fully Walking

After some work with a Dremel tool, my StrandMaus was able to successfully walk without tipping over after a few steps. See below for the proof:

I ended up cutting a fraction of an inch off of each leg. I don’t remember the exact number, but 5/8 of an inch ring a bell. Anyway, I suspect that the problem (as someone suggested) is that the legs are longer than the original Jansen design.

I wasn’t sure how this happened, since I based the linkage design on his numbers. After considering it though, I believe I put the nodes where each linkage was supposed to end where the holes are (as pictured below). I offset the original lines to allow for the holes, leading to a longer final linkage and thus my problems.

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Or so I would assume. Check out the second video below for a slideshow of how this ‘Maus was put together:

Read more »

The StrandMaus 8-Legged Jansen Walker

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If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly seen my work on Strandbeest-style walkers, including this one with four legs, and this one with eight. Unfortunately, none of these ‘Beests have actually walked…until now!

The Strandmaus is a derivation of the 8-legged walker, but scaled down. Way down. The idea was to make it small enough to be made on my Zen Toolworks 7×12″ CNC router. I also made it so that that rods powering it were 1/8 inch in diameter. This seemed like a size that would be available, and after a quick search, I came up with this (Amazon).

To power it, I didn’t use wind, like Jansen, but instead used two Servo City gearmotors, which fit perfectly with their 1/8 inch couplings, and were even smaller than I thought they would be.

I wasn’t quite sure how I would set the StrandMaus up for remote control initially, maybe a toy RC car would need to be purchased and sacrificed. One disadvantage would be the weight of the car’s batteries, since cheap models generally are powered by relatively-heavy AA cells. Fortunately, inspiration struck, as I had an Estes 4606 Proto X Quadcopter (Amazon) available with a motor that had burned out (these are really fun, btw). Realizing that Read more »