GECO - Wall Climbing Robot

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About: Industrial designer

Hi!

This is an instructable on how to make a wall climbing robot using impeller technology. The goal of GECO (a research project from Ghent University) was to create a low cost, diy wall climbing robot.

Our solution uses the following parts:

- EDF ducted fan (70mm - 1,45kg thrust) (XRP-70142600)

- ESC (60A 2-6S)

- Lipo battery (2600 mAh)

- Arduino Uno or handmade pcb

- Motor Board (L298N)

- Micro motors (Pololu 1595 - 1000:1 - 6V)

- Wifi module

- Ledstrip

And uses the following techniques:

- 3D printing

- Lasercutting

Step 1: Calculations

If you want to make a wall climbing robot like GECO but want to adapt the design (add wheels, camera, ... or use different materials, parts...) you will have to do a little calculation (not hard!). Therefore you can use the equation as shown in the upper image.

First you'll need to know the mass of the robot. I managed to estimate the mass quite accurate by summing up the masses of the parts of the robot (don't forget the mass of the fan too). I got: m = 800 gram.

For the friction coefficient for rubber on concrete I found: µ = 0.6 (you can argue with the use of this number)

With this we can solve the equation.

Fs = (0.8 kg * 9.81 N/kg) / 0.6 = 13,08 N

Because most of the ducted fans are indicated with 'kilogram-force' or 'thrust' we will now convert the Newtons into kilogram-force.

Kilogram-force = 13,08 N / 9.81 N/kg = 1,33 kg thrust

Or you can check it on the following website: http://www.convertunits.com/from/kilogram-force/to...

Now you can choose the right fan for your project!

If you have an EDF ducted fan and know amount of thrust it can produce, you can also calculate the maximum weight of the robot (reverse the equation).

Step 2: Assembling

The zip file contains the 3D CAD models of the GECO robot. This way you can add or adjust parts from the robot.

It also contains a pdf file for lasercutting the base out of poplar wood (4 mm) and the cover out of pp (0.5 mm). After this you can 3D print the stl parts (PLA).

Everything is designed so that assembling is easy.

If you have a different Fan you may have to adjust some parts so your fan fits in.

Step 3: Arduino or Handmade PCB

The two next steps let you choose out of making the electronics with an arduino or handmade pcb.

Both options have their advantages. The arduino uno is a standard component while you have to make the pcb yourself. The pcb will save some space (no need for extra voltage regulators anymore, these are integrated) and will give the possibility to power a ledstrip.

Both options are programmable in arduino.

Step 4: Handmade PCB

We chose to integrate the arduino, voltage regulator and wifi module into one pcb. The first picture shows the wiring diagram of the robot. The second the pcb scheme. The third picture shows the actual pcb.

You can use an atmega328 out of an arduino uno, or flash one yourself (see other instructables).

The program you have to put on the atmega is given at the 'programming' section of this instructable.

The ledstrip I used had 4 connection pins (R, G, B, +12V). There are several versions of ledstrips on the market, if you choose to work with a different type of ledstrip you may have to adjust the pcb/program. An example of the used ledstrip in the link below. (Offcourse you can always leave the ledstrip out of the design)

https://nl.aliexpress.com/store/product/IP69-Water...

Step 5: Arduino

The arduino will be powered by the lipo. To do this you will have to make a voltage regulator. The arduino will controll the motorboard, esc and RGBled. You will have to connect a wifi module to the arduino so you can control the arduino from a distance.

The first picture shows a selfmade voltage regulator, you can find instructables to make one. This regulator will have to convert 13 - 16 V into 5 V.

To check the voltage of the battery we have used a voltage divider (two resistors 6.8K - 2.2K). This way we can use an analogue pin of the arduino. If the battery has a voltage of 16V the arduino will read out a voltage of 3,91V and if the battery has a voltage of 12V the arduino will read out a voltage of 2,93V. If the battery goes under 13V we will indicate this by using leds. This because the voltage of the battery shouldn't go under 12 V.

I have integrated the voltage divider into the battery balancer plug (second picture).

geco_3.3.ino is a testing program for the arduino. If you connect all electronics (scheme is given in the third picture), you can use this program to test your robot or electronics (the test program does not use wifi).

Beware: you will have to program your ESC as well. Instructions can be found in the manual of your ESC. For example: http://www.xblade-tech.com/ztw-user-manual/ztw-bea... (can be tricky)

I will not handle how to connect the arduino to a wifi shield. Information on this topic can be found in other instructables.

Step 6: Assembling the Electronics

First we add the impeller to the robot. After this you can add the lipo, esc, motorboard, motors, arduino, powerswitch and ledstrip. You can look into the 3D files to get an idea about how to assemble this.

Step 7: Programming

The zip file contains a code in aruidno which is used to program the arduino chip and a processing file which is used to control the robot from a computer.

Step 8: Finishing

You can protect the content of the robot by adding this resealable cap.

Enjoy the GECO robot!

Step 9: Remarks

I have faced problems with the grip of this robot but solved this problem by gluing a small strip of working gloves (the black part) on to the wheels. This eliminated the problem entirely.

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    17 Discussions

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    asherry137

    Question 19 days ago

    Would you like to make another GECO and sell it to me?

    1 answer
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    nur aqilah

    Question 23 days ago

    hi..i am newbie here..i am assigned to do this project for my fyp..can u guys give me tips or steps on how to install solar panel to this robot (GECO wall climbing robot). kindly reply me a.s.a.p

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    rohinrohin

    4 months ago

    Hey, great project! I am trying to import your project into AutoCAD. However it does'nt accpet STL files. It would be great if you could let me know which software you had used to make this? Also, by any chance do you have the original file raw file so that I can import the complete model easily. This would be my first 3D printed project so still new to this. Any help is appreciated. Thanks :)

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    Cardinaels Robrohinrohin

    Reply 4 months ago

    The models were made in Siemens NX. The original files are in the zip file from step 2 (.prt files). If you want to 3d print the files you will probably need these stl files though. Good luck!

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    EvaC43

    4 months ago

    Thank you for the instructable. It is very usefull. I have a question about it tho. For my project we cannot seem to make it work. The electronics part works but the robot is just not able to move vertically or in an angle. Did you encounter this problem also during your process and if so, how did you fix it? Does it have something to do with the fact that it is leaking air?

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    Cardinaels RobEvaC43

    Reply 4 months ago

    Hi Eva! I have had this problem. By experimenting with the 'skirt' hight (it's important that you leave a gap between the wall and this skirt) you can find an ideal configuration. Note that the robot is pushing itself to the wall, the created vacuum only partly helps the robot to climb the wall.

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    Armaghanm1

    Question 1 year ago

    I'm interested to make geco . facing some body problem , would it be possible for you to sell me its body? if yes how much will you charge for it? and i want to use sonar sensors , arduino mega instead of uno and bluetooth module instead of wifi module in it , is that possible ?kindly reply me as soon as possible . thanks in advance

    1 answer
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    Cardinaels RobArmaghanm1

    Reply 1 year ago

    Unfortunately it's not possible to sell its body. Your sugestions are possible, it would be a nice project.

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    Gsmith98

    1 year ago

    Could I possibly get a wiring diagram and more pictures to assemble the rest of the robot

    2 replies
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    Cardinaels RobGsmith98

    Reply 1 year ago

    Because many people asked me for a wiring diagram I have now added one to the instructable, enjoy!

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    Cardinaels RobGsmith98

    Reply 1 year ago

    Contact me on facebook, so you can explain me more in detail what you want to know. https://www.facebook.com/rob.cardinaels

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    Gsmith98

    2 years ago

    When I download the zip folder for programming I get an invalid zip for the folder and I'm not able to open the folder

    2 replies