This project begin when I saw
Joe's amazing leg mechanics at mechanicalspider.com.
After talking shop and developing a friendship with Joe, he was kind
enough to help me visualize this project - an 8 legged, full function
R/C steam powered Robot.
It was a toss up between a twin engine design, or one powerful engine
with clutch drive. I went with the single engine design, and searched
high and low for the core parts.
The engine is a Cheddar Plover. Double acting duel cylinders,
propane/butane mix gas tank and ceramic burner. This engine /
boiler is capable of much more power and pressure than other engines
that I've work with before.
Next up was the need for a clutch drive system that could be adapted to
this spider. I was lucky enough to track down a junked 1/16 Tamiya tank
with clutch drive. These tanks are hard to come by, as they are no
longer being produced with a single motor & clutch system.
After ripping out the clutch, I went on brainstorming and designing the
spider with Joe. My part was making sure that the engine, boiler,
clutch, R/C all work well together as a unit. Joe went on designing a
crank driven legs system that will work well with this setup.
of the original Steam Spider design:
Original Sketch of the Steam Spider I
Tamiya Tank gearbox/clutch mounted to
the steam engine. Servos installed & tested
Laser cut plastic chassis
In preparation for Robogames, The 3 layered plastic crank broke
during a test run, just a few days before the event! I ended up
hacking the core into a Steam
Trilobite Tank at the last minute,
and won the Gold medal for Best of Show!
Movie of Steam Spider I Steam Spider II Steam Spider II project took the opposite approach
to Steam Spider I.
Joe and I decided to Start simple, but make a flexible design to
refine and build on
top of. The idea is to use an affordable steam engine, Wilesco
(the same one used in the Steam Walker)
and produce them as kits, or pre assembled for sale.
Construction should be pretty simple, similar to erector sets - no
machining required, only basic tools.
There are many plans for upgrades and add ons on the Steam Spider II,
but initially the
Steam Spider II will just be an 8 legged walking Spider, capable of
walking forward or reverse,
with a built in whistle. Design and prototyping is in progress, and
hopefully soon will
have a solid design that is easy to build, as well as simple and
fun to run.
Initial Steam Spider II sketches.
Considering wide or narrow chassis
Steam Spider II Sketch. Original
Wilesco firebox is redesigned
The "Woody" version. Wood lagging
would help insulate from heat lost. Firebox need to be sealed on top to
not catch the wood on fire :) Tubes on the topside of the firebox
is designed for ventilation.
Joe's final Steam Spider drawing in
3D. Holly gears! They are needed as these engines are very low powered, and
requires a lot of gearing down.