There are now robot hobbyist
companies that do supply just that.
Some of the ones that I know of are:
Figure 6 shows my latest mini
Sumo that is using a set of Solarbotics
wheels/hubs mated with Pololu micro-metal gear motors. This setup rocks
because I didn't have to find a machinist
or hack something together! However,
these are for small robots. If you need
to put wheels on big motors for big
robots, you'll need to go down another
path. A great source of motors and
wheel/hub combinations is
www.banebots.com. These guys
work with the Robot Wars style of big
to really big machines that use electric
motors and wheels to drive them.
www.therobotmarketplace.com has large bore hubs
and large wheels, however I didn't see any matched sets.
You would have to mount the hubs to the wheels yourself
which can be a dicey thing to do in your garage without
precision tools and know-how.
These are the only companies that I know about. If
you know of some that I didn't mention, email me at
email@example.com to let me know.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention another source
of powerful and ready-made robot wheel/hub/motor
combinations: Robotis and RoboBuilder. These two
companies make affordable Sumo-One style biped
humanoid robot kits. Their motor combinations can be
used either servo style where you tell them a position to
go to, or motor style where you tell them the speed to
run at. Both of these company's servos are daisy-chained,
controlled by a serial link bus, and include torque
measurement and position encoders. They are best
used with smaller (under 10 pound) robots.
Figure 7 shows the Robotis Dynamixel
motor/wheel set and Figure 8 is the RoboBuilder
motor/wheel set. In the USA, the Robotis Bioloid kits
can be found at www.trossenrobotics.com,
www.robotshop.com, and www.roadnarrows.com.
The RoboBuilder kits and supplies can also be found at
www.roadnarrows.com and kits only can be found
These last two options are the most expensive of
the smaller motor/wheel combinations. However, they
are the most sophisticated of the sets that I've
mentioned because they are motor, motor driver, motor
controller, force feedback, and position encoders all
rolled into one package. (Think really strong, hobby
servo with feedback).
Figure 2. REALLY big servo disk as a wheel.
Q. I want to remotely control robots, RC cars, servos, etc., over the Web. How is this done? Are you familiar with any company that sells the
software and hardware that does this? I have come up with
very little in my Web searches. Thanks.
A. I have not been able to experiment with this much yet. It is on my radar, however, so I do know of some hardware and software programs that handle this
task. In my research, I have found that the easiest way to
accomplish this goal is to make the robot/device that you
want to control be a web server with links to the hardware.
In that way, you can use any browser to connect to the
robot to send commands and get feedback.
The most expensive, of course, is to just put a
computer on your robot, run a server there, and attach (via
Figure 3. Jameco motor hubs.
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