Got a lightweight robot in need of some locomotion? Maker LoboCNC has you covered with this 3D printed swerve drive.
In light of the upcoming FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), designer LoboCNC has designed a new swerve drive that is entirely 3D printed.
A swerve drive is a more maneuverable steering configuration for a robot. It enables robotics operators to steer the robot within a 360 degree radius and rotate it around its own axis. Although swerve drives make life considerably easier for the operator, they are also much harder to design.
All the more reason to get excited about LoboCNC’s swerve drive, which is almost entirely 3D printed. In addition to the printed parts, all you need are a few metal pieces, belts and motors.
The swerve drive is considerably lighter and more simplified than commercial versions. It includes a steering bearing using 6mm Airsoft pellets as bearing balls and a twisted timing belt to keep the mechanics even simpler.
3D Printing a Robot’s Drive Train
With two motors, the system powers both the driving and steering.
Weighing just 5 lbs, the swerve unit is very lightweight. Thus, its designer recommends only a total weight of 20 lb. In addition, LoboCNC points out that it is very fast at up to 20 feet per second.
If you’re keen to give it a spin yourself, a full build guide can be found on the design’s Thingiverse page.
Following up on preliminary tests to ensure the swerve drive was robust, LoboCNC posted on Thingiverse:
“So far, we’ve hooked it up and driven it around a little. Everything is operating quite smoothly so far. Next up is getting our full swerve drive control implemented so that we can really beat on it!”
This isn’t LoboCNC’s first forage into swerve drives. He has previously shown off a 3D printed model developed for the FRC Team 2605 – the Sehome Seamonsters.