While many vehicle projects implement 3D printing, most of them use them in small parts and portions. So, it’s fascinating to see a device which is 3D printable from start to finish. Nik Ivanov set out to achieve precisely this with Watney, his fully 3D printed rover. Watney is a mobile all-wheel platform comprising entirely open-source parts. It is also unmanned and remotely operated via webcam.
Nik Ivanov has built quite a device. He state: Watney is a low-cost Raspberry Pi-enabled rover made of readily available parts. The majority of Watney’s parts are 3D-printable. It has a Python and a REST APIs. Watney is all-wheel drive, with each side powered by a geared motor. Because of that, it turns like a tank by spinning each side in opposite directions.
Ivanov describes the device as a “webcam on wheels” because it uses a website browser as the interface and a low-HD camera to maintain visuals.
Make Your Own 3D Printed Rover
Ivanov has made all the files for Watney available on Github. As a result, anyone can make their own fully 3D printed rover, requiring only a few additional components. Additionally, being open-source, users can easily swap out parts for what they would prefer, assuming they have the knack for it.
Users will need a 3D printer capable of 120mm x 190mm dimensions, however, The original rover comprises of PETG parts, probably for its strength and low-warping. Something similar could also do the trick, but it needs to be heat resistant and load-bearing.
Users will need to bring in these parts separately (most are available online):
- Raspberry Pi Zero W with GPIO header
- SD Card 4GB+
- Sainsmart wide-angle Raspberry Pi camera
- Pi Zero-compatible camera cable
- USB power bank that provides at least 1A Bigger is better as long as it fits on the roof
- 2x Arduino geared DC motors
- L298N H-bridge controller
- Tiny Micro Nano Servo
- Jumper wire 15cm or longer
- M3 screws 6mm – 20mm
All images courtesy of Nik Ivanov’s Github page.