problem. Given the width of the frame, we wanted to
stagger the motors instead of placing them end-to-end (we
just had to have the long Ampflows). Unfortunately, when
we placed them that way, the motors and their gearboxes
weren’t able to fit between the bearing blocks in the X
direction, the cannon end caps in the Z direction, and the
other motor in the Y direction. We were panicked. Did we
pick the wrong motors? Would we be unable to fit the drive
train into our frame?
Anchor Labs Aweigh
After sitting and staring at our mockup while sitting in
the driveway of Robot Central on a waning Saturday,
inspiration struck like a thunderbolt. We were trying to fit
everything into the footprint of Protobot’s original frame,
but we weren’t being forced at gunpoint to keep that same
footprint. If we widened the frame by three inches on each
side, we would have plenty of room to put the motors end-to-end so that they would avoid the end caps. So, that’s
exactly what we did.
We could fit the bearing blocks on top of the frame
rails, and the cannon mounts could attach to the horizontal
struts. We may not have had CAD, but we did have pen
and paper, and before the sun went down we had sketches
of our bearing blocks, cannon mounts, and motor mounts.
We still needed a way to actually make them, though.
On Troublemaker, some of our only custom machined
parts were the motor mounts for the drive train. We like to
be precise when it comes to the power transmission, since
having everything aligned properly is essential for peak
performance. Precision would be even more important here
with our six-wheel drive design. If one wheel was out of
alignment, it would compromise the performance of the
With Troublemaker, a few custom machined bearing
blocks were not a big deal because one of our team
members (a.k.a., dad) had access to a machine shop and
could do it himself. But alas, we no longer have easy access
to our own machine shop, so we searched for a shop to
farm out the job to.
We requested quotes from a few local businesses, but
we also tried out a brand new service: Anchor Labs. Anchor
Labs calls itself the world’s first self-service CNC machining
cloud, and allows users to upload drawings, get a quote,
SERVO 08.2017 57
AWESOME PARTS FROM ANCHOR LABS.
ASSEMBLING THE BEARING BLOCKS.
ONE OF THE DRAWINGS SENT TOANCHOR LABS.