Introduction: Six Wheeled All Terrain Vehicle (6WD)

Picture of Six Wheeled All Terrain Vehicle (6WD)


In this post we"ll be making a Six wheel drive all terrain vehicle (ATV). These are rare and hence expensive robots (at least in India). I made this ATV as my summer project. Dagu manufactures a similar 6WD chassis but its way too expensive (Rs 20000 / $ 250). So I decided to make a cheap Six Wheel drive(6WD) - All terrain vehicle(ATV) chassis out of aluminium and steel and then control it with an android mobile phone using HC-05 Bluetooth module. If you don't know how to use a HC-05 bluetooth module see my previous instructable here for the guidelines. Of course one can make various sorts of autonomous robots with this chassis using different control systems. I will be using an arduino Mega 2560 as the brains of this robot. Alright, so lets go ahead talk about various steps involved in making such a vehicle.

Step 1: The Design

Picture of The Design

People think that while building a robot electronics and coding are the two main steps. But its not true, in fact design is the mother-ship. If you got that part right it will reflect in the rest of the system. A good design could provide better efficiency, low cost, good looks etc. The elegant design of this chassis is the best bit of this project.

I didn't arrive at this design in a day but it took me three prototype to arrive at this one. You can see some of the prototype designs in the photos above. These were made from plywood and were heavy so I thought replacing plywood with aluminium sheet.

Now, the first question that strikes is: Why a six wheel drive for an ATV? As the name suggests a six wheel drive (6wd) means a drive system in which all the six wheels are able to move independently. Well to be honest there is nothing special in 6WD unless you provide a real nice suspension system. Individual tyre suspension gives better traction and more torque on an uneven surface. This design is inspired by six legged insects, although it doesn't has legs but it sure has similar flexibility.

Step 2: Making the Chassis

Picture of Making the Chassis

There are many other options available in the market if you want a six wheel drive chassis. The reason this product stands out is that its cost effective. I spent Rs 2000 (approx. $33) on this project.

Material/Parts required are:

  • Aluminium sheet.
  • 12 L shaped motor brackets (steel).
  • Six high torque motors.
  • Six high traction wheels (10 cm diameter).
  • PVC pipe (diameter just greater than motors).
  • Screws and nuts.
  • A hammer and a nail (for making holes in aluminium sheet).
  • Nylon ties

After having all the required material here is what you nee to do next:

  1. Cut the Aluminum sheet into 32 by 12 cm.
  2. Make six pieces of PVC pipe of length just greater than that of motors.
  3. Make four perpendicular diametrically opposite holes in the PVC pipe.
  4. Fit motors into PVC pipe such that holes are on the inner side.
  5. Divide the aluminium sheet into 3 sections by marking with a sketch pen.
  6. Place two L shaped motor brackets on Al sheet and mark positions such that motor just fits in.
  7. Make holes on these positions using a hammer and a nail.
  8. Affix the brackets using screws and nuts.
  9. Screw nuts into bracket and holes on PVC to affix motors.
  10. Tie two opposite motors with nylon ties.


Step 3: Adding a Control System

Picture of Adding a Control System

Now that we have build the chassis, we have to decide how we want it to work. In general, there are two control systems.

  1. AI-Automation
  2. Remote control

Automating a robot is a challenge. It is definitely difficult to implement than remote control. In this project we are keeping both options open by installing an arduino for automation. This arduino is also connected to a Bluetooth module (See PCB) which can be used for remote control. In remote control the actual brain behind movement of robot is a human brain, now imagine if a human brain is aided by a little touch of automation (example: automation an help in object contact avoidance).

I controlled the ATV through an android device via bluetooth. There are a lot of apps available on playstore for controlling arduino via bluetooth. I used Arduino BT Joystick. You can download it by clicking here.

I have attached circuit diagram and code at the end of this instructable.

Obviously, there is no limit to what you can do with this chassis. So if you got some interesting ideas please share them with me in comments. Thank you for reading.


kdsnest (author)2014-09-18

This is an excellent ATR! Cheap and dirty as we say in the US! That's a compliment!! The only thing I didn't like is having all the guts and wires on the underbody, that'll work for the apartment but not on truly tough terrain, still it is an excellent example for a launching point for a user specific application. Very Well done!

seamster (author)2014-09-12

Very nicely done!

You mention suspension, but I don't see any included. Is that something you may incorporate with the motor/wheel assemblies at some point? This is very cool. I like the design!

gagan8619 (author)seamster2014-09-12

First of all thank you.

And yes you are right for a chassis like this there are several parameters you can change depending on the terrain on which you want your vehicle to run. And one such parameter is traction, you can change this by replacing the current nylon ties with springs of suitable stiffness. In this case it was my apartment floor which is smooth and even so nylon ties were good enough.

Baasil Biniyamin (author)2017-11-01

Can i use arduino uno or nano

gauti514. (author)2016-04-29

Hi, great project. I've followed this instructable n done all the coding n stuff but it is not working with the app. Works fine when I give commands from laptop n Bluetooth module is working. I am not able figure it out. Help plz.

SrinivasanS5 (author)2016-02-10

i will come to this website everyday when i get doubts


SrinivasanS5 (author)2016-02-10

i will come to this website everyday when i get doubts


mraj555 (author)2014-10-11

please tell me which motors will i use?????

sparshkamat (author)mraj5552015-02-14

bo motors or 12 volt DC geared motors or Johnson geared motor

none of the two it is simple gear motor

Anoop M N (author)mraj5552015-08-28

is this a guessing game?

shaldar2 (author)2014-09-12

Nice instructable but i can't see the suspension mechanism

gagan8619 (author)shaldar22014-09-13

Plz see the video. And think if the nylon ties were replaced by springs.

VishalC18 (author)gagan86192015-12-04

Hi, this is a great instructable actually i want to build somthing similar to this can u please provide the specs for motor and it would be great if you can help me with the suspension

Anmol Mamgain (author)2015-10-02

no motor driver circuit does it work

abrahamavm (author)2015-08-19

Could u give me the specifications of 12 v motor i shud usin coz i wud be usin em on rough offroad tracks .... brushed or brushless or geared wat would u prefer ?

AnkitK8 (author)2015-04-07

can i get a full report of this project?..plzz mail me as soon as u can

TonyD8 (author)2015-02-14

can i use arduino duemilanova ?? if so can u explain how i can connect 3 H bridge? my email id :

rendly (author)2014-09-15

Could you provide a parts list with sources please?

syedtanzeem (author)gagan86192015-02-12

Hi gagan the eBay listings are expired, can you tell me the specifications of the motor and the motor driver? Also I'm from bangalore so I might pick up from sp road directly. Planning to do this as my engineering project any help would be appreciated. Thanks

ashwinjohn3 (author)2015-01-31

Can you please help me with the suspensions??

gauti514. (author)2014-12-09

can i use arduino uno instead of arduino mega?

ShaswatS (author)gauti514.2015-01-03

yes you can.

ibenkos (author)2014-10-18

Smart idea! I really like this project. Thanks for shearig :)

georover (author)2014-10-04

This is a GREAT project, one which I plan to use as a guide for my inspection rover. Much in common with the Wild Thumper by OddBot at Dagu, but so much cheaper to construct. Great work.

gagan8619 (author)georover2014-10-08

thank you :)

leadzeplin (author)2014-10-08


gagan8619 (author)leadzeplin2014-10-08

thank you. :) I would appreciate it if you could vote for this instructables.

zenTaurus (author)2014-09-14

haven't looked at the vids yet but, like 2 other guys, can't see the connection between the design, suspension, and traction. more explanation perhaps? aside from the zip ties?


gagan8619 (author)zenTaurus2014-09-15

To understand this we need to clear our very notion of suspension. Apparently I have seen most of people think of suspension as system of springs only. But its not correct, according to wiki to suspension is the term given to the system of springs/ shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels and allows relative motion between the two.[1] Suspension systems serve a dual purpose — contributing to the vehicle's roadholding/handling andbraking for good active safety and driving pleasure.

Now lets consider the suspension in dagu wild thumper. In the pic you can see that two opp. motors of wild thumper are connected by springs and a string. What I am saying is that you only need spring there if you are really on an uneven surface. As I was driving/ testing this chassis in my home with obstructions of say 4-5cm I didn't feel need of adding springs. Obviously springs would improve the performance a lot but I couldn't find any( of appropriate length and spring constant).

zenTaurus (author)gagan86192014-09-15

i know all that. all i'm asking is how exactly does it work in your vehicle. as an all terrain RC? especially since you make special mention of good design?


luv2735 (author)zenTaurus2014-09-16

I think the only way your ques. can be answered is to show you video in which this car is overcomming hurdles. I will make one and upload asap.

zenTaurus (author)luv27352014-09-16

may, may not. thanks for the replies. cheers!

gagan8619 (author)zenTaurus2014-09-29

Take a look at the video, I have uploaded it. It's in the introduction of this video.

ruchi1996 (author)2014-09-17

do you have a video, which shows how does it looks like when it is moving?

gagan8619 (author)ruchi19962014-09-29

I have uploaded the video. You can view it in the instructables itself

ruchi1996 (author)2014-09-17

do you have a video, which shows how does it looks like when it is moving?

gagan8619 (author)ruchi19962014-09-29

Here you go:

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gagan8619 (author)ruchi19962014-09-19

I am going to post it soon. Actually I have mid semester exams next week so may be after that.

rayhanv (author)2014-09-22

I need some help. can you give me your line I'd or bbm pin so we can contact each other. I'm just 14

rayhanv (author)2014-09-21

if I use pic microcontroller can you show me the circuit diagram and codes

amit_sci (author)2014-09-19

Hey Gagan, I'm a student at IISc as well. Neat work man! Quite surprised to find another maker among the undergrads. We should definitely meet up, maybe hack sometime.


Espasio (author)2014-09-18

И чооо? Ацтой!!

ruchi1996 (author)2014-09-17

do you have a video, which shows how does it looks like when it is moving?

aditya gupta (author)2014-09-14

Could u give me the cost of the parts and where to find them in India
And it's very good

gagan8619 (author)aditya gupta2014-09-15

I bought Aluminium sheet from an hardware shop near my home.

I had a lot of stuff already since a long time so I don't remember cost of individual parts but if you want to buy here are few e-stores in india:





aditya gupta (author)gagan86192014-09-15

Thanks for your help
Could u help with the attachment
I don't actually know abt programming

gagan8619 (author)aditya gupta2014-09-17

ok. yeah. But then you have to vote for my instructable! And also you should learn C. If you want to read this book:

I will explain the code line wise:

1. Tell the program to make use of library

2 .Declare a integer command

3. Tell the program at which pins have you connected BT module.

4-15. Define motors as objects.These are connections with motor drivers.

16. Begin writing setup. Setup will run once whereas loop will run infinitely many times.

17. Begin Serial monitor with 9600 baud rate

18. Begin BT module with 9600 baud rate

19-31. Define Pins as output.

32. Start writting loop

33. If condition says if BT is connected only then proceed further

34. Read command from BT module

35.Print the command

36. start switch case in which if command is 1 vehicle moves forward, if command is 0 vehicle stops, if command is 2 vehicle moves reverse, if command is 3 vehicle moves left, if command is 4 vehicle moves right.

The rest of the programs are functions which defines Forward, reverse, freeze, left, right functions according to your wiring.

Raphango (author)2014-09-15

Whoa!! Great! =DDDD Congratulations!! ^^

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an Undergraduate student majoring in physics from IISc, Bangalore. I am just a guy who love to build tech stuff and make them ... More »
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