Category Archives: ROBOTICS

SC Maker Faire 2014 Results

As alluded to before, I showed off my MountainBeest at the Maker Faire in Columbia, SC.  Here’s a video of the results:

It was fun, and I had a good time at the event.  I tried to conserve battery in the morning, but the legs were functional the whole time.  Along with this, I’m happy that nothing shook loose or jammed “catastrophically.”  My GoPro ran out of juice after a few hours, but that’s not too bad since it was transferring video over WiFi.


The components I used from Servocity performed quite well, including the 6 RPM gearmotors that powered each set of legs, the PWM relay to allow them to be controlled, and the servo pan-tilt device that my GoPro was mounted on.  Thanks to them for their sponsorship, helping me to build this ‘Beest without breaking the bank too badly.

I was happy to meet everyone there, and thanks especially to Jay for setting up the event.  For a little broader look at the cool events there, check out my article on Make’s blog about this, or there’s a huge set of photos available here.

Columbia, SC Maker Faire

If you are going to be in the Columbia, SC area this Saturday the 14th, I’ll be showing off my “MountainBeest” contraption at the Columbia Mini Maker Faire taking place at the EdVenture Museum.  It’s apparently already set up there, and from the picture, it looks awesome.  Pretty cool to have an “exhibit” featured in a museum.

mountainbeest-at-maker-faire I’m sure it will be even cooler once the legs are moving!  Be sure to say “hi” if you’re able to make it Saturday.

MountainBeest Motor Upgrade


Old motor on left – new motor on right

If you’ve been reading this blog recently, you’ve noticed that I’ve been building something I like to call a “MountainBeest,” based partly on Theo Jansen’s “Strandbeest.”  You might have also thought that the motors used to power the legs were a tiny bit underpowered.

I’m happy to say that per the video below, this is no longer a problem.  At least not as big of a problem.  Instead of the smaller 3 and 2 RPM gearmotors from Servocity, I’m now using their beefier 6 RPM precision gearmotor.

This larger motor has a torque capacity of 1,111  oz-inches, which combined with the faster speed when compared to the smaller and slower motors, is quite impressive.  Interestingly, the rated torque is just in between the 3 and 2 RPM motors, but it’s easy to see that they handle the load of lifting the legs much better than the other motors.

One clue to the huge difference in these motors would be the stall current.  The larger gearmotor now used has a stall current of 1 amp, where the 2 and 3 RPM motors have a stall current of .5 amps.  Although the rated torque is higher on the 2 RPM motor, it definitely couldn’t handle the load as well as the 6 RPM motor.  So that’s one more thing to pay attention to for the next build, whatever that is!


New motors installed. Housing diameter was the same, but length was almost a problem.

If you’d like to see this ‘Beest live, I’ll be showing it off at the Maker Faire in Columbia, SC on June 14th of this year.  It was picked up by Jay and Laura, who are setting it up at the EdVenture museum prior to the event.  Hopefully it will be on display there for a few days before the show, so that will be really cool to have a museum feature my project.

I guess this means I won’t have to do a reverse caper where I actually sneak my “art” into a museum to be displayed.  If you’d like to see more on this project, why not check out its inspration, or even the failed experiment using windshield wiper motors.  I suppose there is a such thing as too much power…