The story begins with NASA-JPL introducing an open-source design for a rover based on the rocker-bogie mechanism, showcasing impressive capabilities but coming with a high price tag and manufacturing complexity. In response, the open-source community has stepped in to breathe new life into the project, making it more affordable and accessible for all.
The community-driven redesign addresses several challenges faced by the original design. Many components of the initial design had become expensive, unavailable, or obsolete. The revised model places a strong emphasis on using readily available off-the-shelf parts, significantly reducing the overall cost. While the original rover could cost up to $3,000 to build, the updated version nearly halves that expense. Notably, the new design eliminates the need for custom-fabricated parts, avoiding the use of machined or 3D printed components.
Additional enhancements include removing the rover’s head in instances where it is unnecessary, as well as improved protection against fluids and dust, along with enhanced serviceability. The entire rover model is also accessible on OnShape, allowing enthusiasts to examine it or make their own modifications. For those interested in building their own rover, parts lists are available on GitHub, making the project more accessible to a broader audience and fostering a sense of collaborative innovation within the open-source community.
Instead of working with wheels why not try making a robot with arms, like this robotic serving tray that wont spill your drink.