After watching Mark Watney run around on the surface of Mars in "The Martian Rover", I guess you could say I was inspired. Although many of NASA's rovers have...um...malfunctioned(sorry NASA!), I wanted to see if I could build one myself that could actually work. Even though it would be far from being a design that could actually withstand the conditions of space and Mars, I was hoping I could get its wheels to turn at the very least. So I broke ye old screwdriver and got to work. After a whole bunch of engineering issues and a lot of headbanging, I finally got the rover to scurry across my backyard! So after many long hours and lots of research, I bring to you an instructable on how you can make your very own!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Wheels with Motor Attached
Cardboard Box (One that fits the width of the wheels)
ETM500-3V Solar Panel
4 Ring Terminals
2 Bus Bars
Mini Spy Camera
Step 2: Build the Base
You will need to cut out the bottom of the cardboard box for the base.
First, draw a large rectangle in the center of the base. Make sure it fills up most of the base.
Second, poke large holes into each of the four corners of the rectangle. Take your ring terminals and insert them into these holes. Make sure they're snug! The rings of the terminals should be hanging out. Use tape to secure the ring terminals in the holes so they don't fall out.
Then, slide the axle of your wheels through the rings of the terminal and attach the wheels to the axles. To ensure that the wheels don't slide around, wrap a thick amount of tape on the axle between the ring terminals.
Now that the base is done, go ahead and reattach it to the bottom of your cardboard box with tape.
Step 3: Attach the Bus Bars
The bus bars helps relay the electrical power from the solar panel all the way to the motor to make the wheels turn. They are essentially just solid metal bars.
Position the two bus bars on the upper right corner of either the left or right face of the box. Tape the bus bars down once they are positioned using regular tape. Make sure the tape covers the bars thoroughly. However, make sure you don't cover the holes! These are where your wires will be inserted.
Step 4: Mount the Solar Panel
Cut off half of the top of your cardboard box. The remaining half is where the solar panel will go.
Mount your solar panel on the remaining half of the top of your box. Use electrical tape to secure, NOT regular tape.
Your solar panel should be at a tilt. You can do this by placing a curved piece of cardboard under the solar panel to help it be at an angle. Again, use electrical tape when securing.
Step 5: The Finishing Touches!!
1. Your motor and your solar panel will each have two wires(shown as black and red in the picture). Plug all the black wires into one bus bar and plug all the red wires into the other bus bar.
2. Attach your mini spy camera to the front of your rover. This will help you record the footage when your rover goes exploring.
3. Last but not least, cover your rover with tin foil. Since it runs on solar power, the tin foil will help reflect the sun's rays so the rest of your rover doesn't overheat.