Vectoring robots with Omni or Mecanum wheels
How Vectoring Movement is Possible
Vectoring movement is achieved through a sum of forces generated by each wheel. In Figure 1 above, you will notice that for the robot to move to the right motor A will need to move in the negative direction and motors B and C would move in the positive direction.
This diagram also shows why motors B and C must be reduced while moving sideways. Motors B and C must have the same power to negate the forward and back movement while motor A must generate the same amount of sideways force as the sum of B and C.
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Figures 2 and 3 show the two distinct types of omni wheels. Both Omni wheels and Mecanum wheels provide traction in normal wheel movement as any other wheel would. however, what makes these wheels special are the small rollers along the wheel's edges. These wheels are designed to provide a minimum amount of friction sideways allowing the wheels to move in any direction.
Omni wheels have smaller rollers on the edges that move completely perpendicular to the wheel itself. With this type of wheel they must be mounted perpendicular to the center of the robot as seen in Figure 1.
Mecanum wheels are unique in that the small rollers are at a 45 degree angle. This allows them to be mounted like normal wheels but provide the name style of movement as Omni wheels.
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4WD Omni-directional Robots
The four wheel omni-directional robot chassis is based on the Mecanum wheel and our IG32 compatible chassis. By changing the speeds and directions of the wheels you can achieve movement in any direction! Due to the style of the wheels it is possible to move the wheels in a standard "tank style" motion to drive normally when needed.
We offer multiple chassis, motor and control system options to fit your needs and your terrain.
The robots in these videos can be found here:
The chassis of the robot can be customized to fit your desired motor and wheel types.
Mecanum Supported Chassis
- Mecanum IG32 Vectoring Robot Chassis (TD-106-004)
- SDR Flush Mounted Hub with 6mm bore for Mecanum wheels (TD-107-006)
- SDR Flush Mounted Hub with 8mm bore fore Mecanum wheels (TD-107-008)
Omni Wheel Supported Chassis
- Omni Standard Aluminum Rectangular Platform (TD-020-001)
- Omni Standard Acrylic Rectangular Platform (TD-020-002)
- Omni Large Aluminum Platform (TD-020-003)
- Omni Large Acrylic Platform (TD-020-004)
- All-Thread hardware kit for spacing and support (TD-025-000)
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3WD Omni-directional Robots
Our 3WD omni-directional robots utilize our single- or double-row omni wheels, allowing it to vector in any direction.
Omni Wheel Supported Chassis
The platform can either be aluminum or acrylic. Additional platforms can be stacked to provide additional room for sensors or equipment. We offer two main variants for the triangular platform. The heavy duty version can support up to 100 lbs to support extra computers, sensors, and equipment depending on your needs. We also provide a lighter duty triangular base that can support up to 30 lbs.
Heavy Duty Triangular Platform
Light Duty Triangular Platform
- Light Duty Direct Drive Triangular Platform (TD-104-003)
- Black ABS Upper Deck available with request
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Controls and Specifications
Motors and Motor Mounts
For the Mecanum wheel based chassis only the IG32 (32mm) gear motors are compatible. The IG32 gear motors are available in wide range of RPMs and some are available with a built in encoder option. For a detailed list of our available motors please see the link below. The Omni wheel based chassis is available in both IG32 and IG42 variants.
- 32mm 195 RPM 24V IG32 Gear Motor (TD-014-191)
- 32mm 190 RPM 24V IG32 Gear Motor (TD-015-190)
- 42mm 252 RPM 24V IG42 Gear Motor (TD-016-240)
- IG32 Motor Housing for Omni Wheel Chassis (TD-017-000)
- IG42 Motor Housing For Omni Wheel Chassis (TD-018-000)
- NOTE: The Mecanum based chassis does not require a motor mount. The motors bolt straight onto the chassis.
Click here for a listing of our available motors.
Wheels and Drive Shafts
Our Mecanum wheels are available stand-alone or paired with compatible wheel hubs. To fit flush with the robot chassis we also offer flush mounted hubs. For true vectoring motion the flush mounted hubs are required.
- 4 inch nexus Robot Aluminum Mecanum Wheel Set (TD-090-100)
- 8 inch Nexus Robot Aluminum Mecanum Wheel Set (TD-090-203)
- SDR Flush Mounted Hub with 6mm Bore (TD-107-006)
- SDR Flush Mounted Hub with 8mm Bore (TD-107-008)
The Omni wheels are shafts are sold together as one unit. The shaft comes with a bearing and lock collar that fit into/onto the motors and motor mounts. The wheels are 4 inch in diameter. The traction wheels are made of durable urethane to help grip the floor. The wheels are available in two types; single row and double row. The double row wheels provide smoother operation but both work great.
- Omni-Wheel and Shaft Set - Single Row (TD-022-001)
- Omni-Wheel and Shaft Set - Double Row (TD-022-002)
Motor and Speed Controllers
We offer a variety of motor controllers to allow for simple operation of the robot. The motor controllers are independent of the chassis type (Mecanum or Omni). To provide vectoring movement it is required to have one motor channel per motor.
Dimension Engineering's SyRen 10 is a versatile motor controller that is suitable for robots up to 30 lbs. The SyRen 10 is able to be controlled over a 5V TTL serial signal or over RC. One big advantage of the SyRen 10 is that it is compatible with the DE Kangaroo motion controller (TE-180-000). The Kangaroo allows the SyRen to receive feedback from an encoder and to operate with true speed control. For heavier robots, the SyRen 25 is available that can support up to 180 lbs.
To provide a in-expensive option we can also provide our own single channel PWM motor controller. Our PWM motor controller can only be controlled with a 5V TTL PWM signal and direction bit. The PWM motor controller is intended for small, light weight robots such as these vectoring robot kits. They are easy to use and can be controlled with any micro controller based platform.
Recommended Motor Controllers
Controller and Controller Interface
For control of the vectoring Robot, we offer three main control options: Radio Controlled, WiFi, and wireless serial (xBee).
R/C (Radio Control)
For R/C control of the robot, although the motor controllers listed above support RC you will still need a micro controller on the robot in order to handle the motor mixing necessary to achieve vectoring motion.
For accurate robot control, the remote will require at least a two axis joystick/control and a signal switch to change driving modes if desired. Below is a recommended listing of our R/C remotes.
- Spektrum DX3C DSM Radio with SR300 Receiver (TE-113-003)
- Spektrum Dx5e Transmitter with AR600 Receiver (TE-113-005)
Here at SuperDroid Robots, we offer two WiFi control interfaces. We sell an Arduino based control interface package (TE-900-003) that provides an Arduino Mega, Ethernet shield, SDR Breakout shield, voltage regulators and 4 TTL Relay Board (TE-010-405). The control package includes the source code for the control software and the Arduino firmware needed for operation of the robot.
We also carry a cheaper WiFi Custom Control Interface Package (TE-900-002) of our own design that is pre-configured for your robot! The package includes a networking device (such as a router or bridge), one of our custom control boards, voltage regulators, iPocket Ethernet to Serial Converter, 4x TTL Relay Board (TE-010-405), gamepad and custom control software.
Please see our WiFi Control Interface Support Page for more information.
Wireless Serial Control
Wireless serial control is achieved through an xBee radio. Wireless serial is currently only available if you choose an Arduino based control system. The xBee radio connects to the Arduino through the Arduino Wireless SD Shield (MCU-064-000). A Wireless Serial Control system is available by request. Please contact us for more information.
Please see our Wireless Serial Support Page for more information.
Cooling Noise Suppression
This is an enclosure that acts as a Faraday cage helping to protect it from electronic noise. With an option fan it can also be used to help keep your controllers cool. This isn't typically a mandatory part but it adds further protection.
- Controller Cooling and Noise Suppression 4" x 2.25" x 2.25" (TE-026-001)
- Controller Cooling and Noise Suppression 5" x 2.25" x 2.25" (TE-026-002)
Be sure to match the supplied voltage of the batteries to the required voltage of the motors. Using a 24V battery on a 12V motor will cause permanent damage and can be a fire hazard after continued use. Recommended batteries for these platforms:
The final item you need to make your kit complete is a hardware package. It includes nuts, bolts, washers, cable ties, and cable hold downs.
- Hardware Package (mounts most components to the base robot) (TD-021-000)
- All-Thread hardware kit (used to support multiple platforms) (TD-025-000)
- Servo Standoff Mounting Hardware (TD-024-000)
In order to make your robot autonomous, you will need to add sensors. Sensors can always be added or removed at a later date but always be mindful of how the sensors interact with your micro controller. Some sensors operate under I2C, some SPI and some analog. See our Sensor Support Page for more information.
- Accelerometers, Gyros, GPS, and Compasses
- Contact Sensors
- Current Sensors
- Force Sensors
- Gas Sensors
- Optical Sensors
- Sonar Range Finders
- Temperature and Humidity Sensors
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