Living Off The Land
FIGURE 1. THE SURVEYOR DRIVE BASE KIT.
This month, we have the pleasure
of presenting the Surveyor
Drive Base kit from Inertia Labs.
Readers may recall our adventure with
an already assembled Surveyor robot
from a few months ago, which sported
a unique method of teleoperation
over a wireless network. The drive
base, on the other hand, is a tabula
rasa as clean and pristine as Descartes
could have imagined. A kit with
such potential is both exciting and
intimidating, with the only limit to the
possibilities being your imagination.
As an extra challenge and as a
dictum of circumstance, we were also
determined to make something out of
the drive base using only parts that
we had available — we would be living
off the land. Our garage is pretty
fertile land, but it would be an
exciting challenge nonetheless.
To kick-start our own imaginations, we took a look at the drive base
to see what we did indeed have to
start with. The plastic top is fastened
to the aluminum base with four
screws, and when we popped open
the bot we were met with a desolate
FIGURE 2. TABULA RASA.
and silvery landscape filled with
nothing but possibility. The only
inhabitants of the aluminum wasteland were four small motors and their
associated gearboxes. Each motor/
gearbox assembly is fastened into the
drive base with a solitary screw, and
even though this doesn't sound very
secure it was a bit of a challenge to
remove them. We eventually discovered that the motors were actually
very easy to remove after the treads
were taken off. The treads themselves
are quite secure, and have to be
finessed by pulling them off while
spinning the wheels. After the drive
base is relieved of its treads and the
motor unburdened of its
fastening screw, the motor
is much more cooperative
when it comes to removal.
The small and
compact nature of the
drive base offers both
opportunity and challenge.
Most serious tinkerers
would likely be inclined to
use ant bot parts to bring
their drive base to life;
many of which could be
acquired from Inertia Labs.
This might be a very viable
FIGURE 3. THE SRV-1Q AND THE DRIVE BASE.
18 SERVO 03.2009