Introduction: Zoomangler, the Not-So-A-Jeep Brakeless Wrangler

Spring is about to be here! Hit the road and show off your convertible Jeep Wrangler! Don't want to drive? No problem! Zoomangler is a self-driving brakeless Not-So-A-Jeep Wrangler that embraces the driving lifestyle. It knows very well where it is going and turns away from obstacles that it encounters, but it never stops to allow passengers to aboard. Learn how to build your very own Zoomangler today without worrying about yourself driving for life!

Step 1: Why Zoomangler?

Off-roading is not a lifestyle when it comes to the Not-So-A-Jeep. Born in the heat of battle, the Go No-where is really the technology of 2020. Taking the original freedom machine to new heights, the all-new Jeep will take you anywhere and nowhere; with the intentional delay when avoiding obstacles, there is always a chance of it not going anywhere. When proper lighting is permitted, unexpected turns will be performed, leading you to new adventures as you have no control over which direction it will swirl to avoid obstacles, and it is no longer an AWD. With the optional hard-top, our Jeep is in no way even water resistance. With that said, please enjoy our 2020 Not-So-A-Jeep, warranty-absent, and spare tire and batteries not included.

Step 2: Zoomangler, 2020's Award Winning Not-So-A-Jeep Wrangler

Step 3: The Secret Ingredients to Making a Zoomangler


  • Breadboard
  • 16x Breadboard Jumper Wires
  • 3x 2N2222 NPN Transistors
  • 2x Male-to-Female Dupont Wires
  • Arduino UNO R3 Controller Board
  • Ultrasonic Sensor
  • 2x 3-6V DC Gear Motor with 2 Wheels (
  • 2x 2 - 1/2" Project Wheel (Home Hardware)
  • 2x 6-9V DC Gear Motor (Home Hardware)
  • 3x 1-1/2" 360 Degrees Rotating Wheels (Last Minute Emergency)*
  • Power Bar with 3.0 Hub, Port 3.0
  • USB Cable (to connect Power Bar to the Arduino UNO R3 Controller Board)


  • 3mm Birch Plywood
  • 1/2" FoamCore (Last Minute Emergency)*


  • Super Glue
  • Weldbond Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Sand Paper
  • Soldering Tool
  • Pliers
  • Square-head Screw Drivers + Screws (Last Minute Emergency)*
  • Drill and 5/64 Drill Bit (Last Minute Emergency)*
  • Strings and elastic bands (Last Minute Emergency)*


  • Laser Cutter

Step 4: Circuit Assembly

Step 5: The Making of Zoomangler

Below is a shared link containing the compressed folder for the making of Zoomangler:

The folder includes:

  • PDF instructions of the parts and assembly process
  • DWG file of the components for laser cutting
  • CAD files of the entire assembly and individual components

Step 6: Now Time to Bring It to Life!

Attached is the secret recipe (Arduino code) used to bring Zoomangler to life...

or you can copy below:

int motorLeft = 8;
int motorRight = 9;

int motorMiddle = 10;

// Set to receive the echo pulse as input

#define echoPin 2

#define trigPin 3

void setup() {

pinMode(motorRight, OUTPUT);

pinMode(motorLeft, OUTPUT);

pinMode(motorMiddle, OUTPUT);

pinMode(echoPin, INPUT);

pinMode(trigPin, OUTPUT);



void loop() {

// put your main code here, to run repeatedly:

digitalWrite(trigPin, LOW);


digitalWrite(trigPin, HIGH);


digitalWrite(trigPin, LOW);

int distance = pulseIn(echoPin, HIGH);

distance = distance / 58;


// If an obstacle is 25 cm away, turn right and keep motorRight and motorMiddle wheels still

// motorLeft wheel continues to move the Zoomangler

if((distance<25)&&(distance != 0)) {

digitalWrite(motorMiddle, LOW);

digitalWrite(motorLeft, HIGH);

digitalWrite(motorRight, LOW);



// Operate All Motors

else {

digitalWrite(motorMiddle, HIGH);

digitalWrite(motorLeft, HIGH);

digitalWrite(motorRight, HIGH);



Step 7: Final Outcome

Overall, the assembly of the machine required several revisions. Our expectation towards completing this project has been underestimated, and more work and time was needed to address issues that came along the way. This included errors with the digital design of the jeep model just by referencing from a photo, the nature of plywood since some surfaces are not flat, and the difference in assembling between a digital and physical model. Thus, there were several inaccurate measurements when we attempted to put the machine together, and lots of sanding/labour work to get each piece to fit. In the end, we attached three mini 360 degree rotating wheels to support the main wheels of the weight of the Jeep and help the main wheels move the machine. At some point, the main wheels were able to move on their own and didn't require the mini wheels.

The machine worked the way it is expected to. If the ultrasonic sensor senses an object in front that is less than 25 cm away, it will trigger the right and middle DC motors and wheels to stop while the left moves, eventually turning the machine away from the obstacle. Most importantly, it doesn't stop!

Initially, we wanted to build a useless-copter/single-propeller drone that avoids obstacles but doesn't turn away from it since it has one spinning propeller and creating a Doraemon body (cartoon character) to disguise the drone. With the limited time and knowledge of making a single-propeller drone, we had to change our project to a machine that involved wheels. Perhaps, we can pursue the drone project during this summer...

If we could do this project again, we would carefully look back at the digital model that we made to fix the mismatch measurements between some pieces before preparing it to laser cut and assemble. We would scale down the size of the machine, which reduces the number of plywood that needs to be laminated to achieve the thickness of each part. This will allow the machine to move faster, and the wheels will be more capable of handling the load.

Step 8: References and Credits



    The Makers of Zoomangler:

    • Eunice Cheung
    • Karen Hu
    • Mina Yip

    We would like to thank our instructor Maria Yablonina for all the help and advice she has provided to make Zoomangler come to life. At last, this project was a part of the Useless Machine assignment for the Physical Computing class at the Daniels Faculty.