Mars Rover

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How we built a  Rover robot

This page chronicles a very interesting ( and hectic ) three months worth of spare time that went into the fabrication of a martian rover robot for the Calgary Science Centre during Spring 1998.  I would like to thank all the great members of the design team, as well as the sponsors who provided the necessary motivation and finances to complete this project.

This is a non-commercial project and was done solely as an educational and charitable venture.

Design Team Members:

Craig Maynard             Adrian Neal

Michael                       Hienz Mesiatowski

Russ Hersberger          Gregg Symonds

Trevor Beatson



Sponsors and Patrons:

Pittman                                                       Calgary Science Centre

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology   MCK Communications

JCM inVENTURES                                     Active Components


Here's the basic structure of the robot showing the body made from sheet aluminum and the aluminum rocker-boogie suspension.  The six wheels where milled from a single block of aluminum.  All the machine work on the suspension was donated by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.





Here's the master machinist, Trevor Beatson, putting the finishing touches on the rover after the wheels were joined to the suspension and body.




Here I ( Craig Maynard ) am bundling up the structure to take it from the machine shop to the electronics labs for the next phase of assembly.



Adrian and Hienz, employees of MCK Communications at Calgary, Alberta, consider how to integrate the microcontroller equipment and 900MHz radio link into the rover body.  All electronic hardware was provided by a donation from MCK Communications.  The motor controller was donated by JCM Electronic Services.    





This is Gregg Symonds, an immense help in fabricating the rover chassis, riveting together the solar array panel...    



... while I clean up the chassis and ready it for the gold foil covering.



The detail below shows the powerful and hi-torque PITTMAN dc motors with 96:1 gear reduction in place inside each of the rovers 6 wheels.  Carey Walters at PITTMAN has been MORE that generous in arranging a donation of 15 of these excellent motors for the rover at no charge!    






Here's a shot of Adrian Neal, hard into the rover.  He's installing the 68HC11 based microcontroller and radio link inside the housing and connect the batteries.  All battery power for the rover was provided by a generous donation from Active Components.



Here we are in the SAIT Electronic Labs performing our first system integration test on the rover.  Michael ( Back ) is operating the PC running a custom application which reads the joystick control and transmits the signal through the 900MHz radio serial link to the martian rover.  The 68HC11 on the rover adds in artificial inertia and controls the 6 motors on the rover to perform the assigned task!

Adrian is giving the thumbs-up as Hienz ( the main micro-controller programmer  ) looks on.

I'd like to thank the technicians in SAIT's ICT department for the use of the lab facilities for much of this project.



DONE! ( Well, almost )

Here's the finished rover, all ready for shipment to the science centre. 







  Since completion of the chassis, we have finished the grid-work on the top to simulate the solar cells, and are currently in the planning stages to create a WEB interface so the Rover may by piloted by remote control from anywhere on Earth via your internet browser!  Stay tuned!

Craig Maynard