1:2 Perseverance Mars Rover Replica Design and Building Diary

Building the Structure for the Drive Motor, the Wheel Fork, and the Steering Motor for the 1:2 Perseverance Mars Rover Replica

The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover has six wheels, and each of them is connected to a stand-alone drive motor via the axle. And each of the front two wheels and the back two wheels is also connected to a stand-alone steering motor via a C shape structure called the wheel fork. Obviously, since the two middle wheels do not have steering motors connected, there are no C-shape wheel forks involved in the two middle wheels.

To test our design of the 1:2 Perseverance Mars Rover Replica, we 3D printed a prototype first including the structures for the drive motor, the wheel fork, and the steering motor for one wheel of our Perseverance Mars Rover Replica because the cost of 3D printing is much lower than machining, not just the material cost but the processing cost as well, and what’s more, 3D printing is much faster than machining. So if we find any design mistake when building the prototype, we can adjust the 3D design without wasting too much money. Of course, small issues don’t necessarily require re-3D-printing immediately, we can use all kinds of tools to do the fix in the physical world so that we won’t be stopped by these small issues.

After we complete the 3D printed prototype test and the design changes, which obviously may involve more than one round, we then proceed to build the final aluminum version wheel structure of the 1:2 Mars Perseverance Rover replica.

As you can see in the video above, all the 3D-printed parts are perfectly assembled. Some of the parts are already now machined with aluminum alloy.  Once we build the control PCB for the steering motor and drive motor, we will be able to activate the wheel via the code running in microchips.

We are now moving on to build the mast of the 1:2 Perseverance Mars Rover Replica.

1:2 Perseverance Mars Rover Replica Design and Building Diary

Building and Testing the Wheel Skeleton of the Mars Perseverance Rover Replica

We have completed the machining of the wheel spokes of the 1:2 Mars Perseverance Rover replica. All the parts are assembled. It is really exciting to hold the assembled wheel skeleton in my hands and feel its weight. Although the structure successfully passed the computer simulations, we still anticipated seeing its bearing ability in the physical world.

We designed a special tool to test the entire wheel of the 1:2 Mars Perseverance Rover replica, including the steering motor structure, the ‘C’ shape connection structure, the wheel hub, and the spokes. In this stage, we only completed the wheel skeleton which is composed of the wheel hub, and the spokes so we cannot take advantage of that special tool to do the test. However, we did find a very primitive but effective way to test the strength of the wheel skeleton of the Perseverance Mars rover replica.

We were worrying whether this skeleton structure can bear the weight of the entire Perseverance Mars rover replica so it’s really nice to see the structure is STRONG. LOL.