“2019 was a sad year for robotics and space enthusiasts alike as the Opportunity rover ‘died’ on Mars after a record-breaking 15 years of operation. This Instructable describes our journey in the construction of a rover based on the mentioned marvel of engineering. It makes a great summer project and can be endlessly elaborated upon until you reach a machine with a complexity rivaling Curiosity or Opportunity.
The project took us (a group of 3 high school students) about a week and a half to complete, with an average of around 1.5 hours of work per day. Keep in mind, however, that we were often improvising the design and therefore experienced errors that you can avoid.
The finished rover operates great on almost all surfaces, but the wheel design makes it optimal for outdoor operation. Feel free to investigate the far reaches of your personal wilderness with the rover’s live streaming, or go look for that tennis ball you lost a while back, at night, with the help of the rover’s headlight.
Please keep in mind that this is not necessarily the way to build your rover, but rather an explanation of how we built ours, and how you could model yours after a similar fashion.
Please note that many of the photographs include on-screen notes. So be sure to look at all photos when building the project. Overall, the main purpose of this Instructable is to provide a photographic journey of our project, with suggestions to help you along. I think that there’s a lot in this project that deserves to be improved so I’ve shown many different ways of doing things, where possible.
This is a minimalistic list of supplies required to build the basic version of the robot.
Screws, nuts, bolts (assorted)
Robot chassis frame (the one we used can be found as a kit here, however, any similar frame will do)
3D printed chassis components- we used this for everything except the main body. The parts can be printed in any filament type or color.
Assorted aluminum pre-machined or raw plates, bars, etc. We used some VEX EDR robotics equipment for the suspension on the rover because we were pressed for time; however, this is easy to build on your own from wood
Assorted plastic sheets (varying thicknesses)
2x foam rollers, about 8-10cm in diameter
Electronics (what we used):
Raspberry Pi 3 with NOOBS installed on a microSD | Or an Arduino of any type, although I do not provide any code or specific wiring diagrams for this alternative
Sensors: HC-SR04 (ultrasonic sensor), gas sensor, raindrop sensor, humidity sensor. I am not specifying a manufacturer because these are widely available on Amazon and eBay, as well as “official” retailers, and very easy to find. You may also want to add or take away sensors based on your own preferences.
H-bridge modules: The rover operates off 3x L298N modules, such as are found here. You can probably manage with a single module, but this will decrease max current per branch and overall be prone to easier burnout.
Batteries: any standard power bank with a 5V, 2A output, with a micro USB connector for the Raspberry Pi, such as this. You will, in consequence, need a USB to micro USB cable. The rover itself runs off a 12V 1.3Ah rechargeable lead-acid battery, such as the one here. The battery that runs the motors must conform to the H-bridge module’s max power ratings (be sure to double-check this on your own).
Motors: We used the same motors as found on the Thingiverse website: https://hobbyking.com/en_us/133rpm-brushed-motor-w… These are the ones that the chassis is designed for.
Miscellaneous components: Basic, run-of-the-mill electronics components and related equipment
Modem (if possible)”