I've started the design work on my next creation which will be a bit different than the last few I've built. This robot will be a Hexapod based on a circular body. Each leg will have 3 drive motors and will use a design similar to the old Odex I (look it up if the name isn't familiar!). All moving parts will be on bearings or bushings, there will be 24 per leg. Linear actuators drive two axis and the third uses a large gear motor.
I built a wooden version of one leg to validate the design,clearances and interferences. The CAD drawings were finished last night so the next step is cutting out the aluminum stock. Then it all goes into a CNC mill to make the parts!
I'm using Parallax parts as much as possible but some things like the linear actuators were ordered elsewhere. The HB-25 motor controllersl are used to drive the 12 volt motors and 6 custom propellor boards will be used to control the legs. These controllers will be networked together with a master prop board running the show. The goal is to get the mechanical parts for a single leg together before the end of the year and have the basic individual leg programming completed before spring. I expect the final weight of the robot to be around 125 pounds and it will stand up to a maximum of around 4.5 ft.
The rest of the legs will follow shortly after that (nice thing about a CNC is that design changes are easy to incorporate and reproduce!). I plan on using Rodney Brooks's behavioral programming ideas for this robot. So I have a lot of studying to do. My big goal is for it to be able to climb stairs with a minimum of input from myself. If I can do that, then it will be a success for me!
This is actually my second Hexapod using this basic design but with access to better machining (CNC) capabilities and more modern electronics I expect to have more success this time around (the original was built in the 80's and had very limited capabilities)
I'll add photos as I go along if anyone is interested.