In WeDo 2.0 set there is only 1 motor, which can be remotely switched on and off by using the iPad app (by writing a Scratch program).

Also motor rotating direction can be toggled remotely.

WeDo foto

As an inexperienced LEGO builder I wonder if it is possible to build a remote-controlled vehicle out of 280 WeDo 2.0 pieces, which would be steered by changing the motor rotation direction.

280 WeDo parts

I am thinking of having 2 wheels with wide tires in front the vehicle, connected to the motor.

And having a single caster wheel with narrow tire at the back of the vehicle, not connected to the motor.

The caster wheel would roll straight, when the vehicle drives forwards.

But when driving backwards, it would snap to a certain angle.

UPDATE 3:

Found a picture for such a caster wheel in the LEGO Technic Idea Book by Mr. Yoshihito Isogawa:

foto

UPDATE:

I have followed Aaganrmu's suggestion (thank you) and have tried to build a simple vehicle using ratchet instead of caster wheel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqYQ79SdBpY

Unfortunately, it doesn't work well. There is too much friction - on the axles of all 3 wheels and on the rubber band.

I wonder if experienced LEGO builders can propose a better vehicle out of WeDo 2.0 parts than mine:

pic 1

pic 2

pic 3

pic 4

pic 5

And I feel that my Scratch program can be improved too, since it is not very responsive to user input (when touching the 4 green arrows):

enter image description here

UPDATE 2: Got a nice suggestion at Eurobricks forum:

enter image description here

(video authored by Mr. Yoshihito Isogawa again).

UPDATE 4:

Here a good WeDo 2.0 model with steering:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9sd4MxW4YY

up vote 12 down vote accepted
+100

This can be done without a caster wheel as well:

Start out with a three wheeled vehicle, with two wheels in the front and one smaller wheel with less traction than the front wheels in the back. All wheels need to be fixed.

One of the front wheels is attached to the motor. This might need to have some gearing to get an appropriate speed.
The other front wheel is unpowered but can only rotate forward by adding a ratchet:

foto

The back wheel is unpowered.

Driving forward the vehicle will more or less move straight, guided by the rear wheel.
Driving backwards the ratchet will engage, stopping one wheel. The vehicle will now turn.

  • This is even better idea than the caster wheel, since I can change the turning degree (by rolling back shorter or longer periods of time)... thanks! – Alexander Farber Feb 23 '16 at 11:32

In WeDo 2.0 app "LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0" there is a complete project 12. Steer that is exactly about that

When it drives forward it goes in straight line, when it drives backward it then turns to one side.

There is full build instruction in the app.

I've also added distance sensor and made it fully autonomous - whenever it sees obstacle it goes back, turns, changes direction and continuous driving

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

One motor and a caster wheel will give you two degrees of movement but will not be steerable. If you can build a differential, then drive two wheels with the motor.

If you have limited gears, then drive one wheel, have an idler wheel and a caster or simple skid arrangement.

You can get more interesting behaviour by having a bumpbot, that simply reverses the motor when it detects an obstacle.

See the Wikipedia article on casters, but there is a strong relationship between wheel diameter and how high the caster should be. And the surface area of the wheel and the mass of the load drive the how easy and fast things swivel. It's an interesting engineering trade-off, and I've never been able to make a perfect caster, even with lots of Technics parts. I now have reasonable respect for those people who design the casters into the everyday things we use without considering how difficult these trade-offs can be. (As in, it isn't an intractable problem, but the problem domain is extremely sensitive to small changes.)

Start with a skid first, and an easy, smooth surface to see if you get the basic behaviour you want.

Finally, you may get more interesting behaviour by ramping or stuttering motor direction and speed a little on obstacle sense. This is a cheap way to introduce some more randomness into the system.

Even more finally, you might want to get your hands on some LEGO Ball Casters, which I didn't know existed until this very moment.

  • By steerable I meant being able to reach (almost) any point at the surface. And yes (+1), I was planning to add bumping behavior (easy with WeDo sensor). My problem is to understand and build such a caster wheel, which would snap to an angle, when rolling back. – Alexander Farber Feb 22 '16 at 13:34
  • Well, by steerable I mean likely to reach any point in an area. You won't get much stochastic behaviour, even with a caster. I've added a link to my answer that may help you decide what pieces you have are best for a good caster design. – jdv Feb 22 '16 at 14:13

I designed some WeDo 2.0 models that can drive and steer using just one motor. This one uses a system of gears to alternately drive the left or right wheel of a differential drive robot, depending on the turning direction of the motor. enter image description here You can find the complete building and programming instructions here: https://robotics.benedettelli.com/lego-wedo2-zigzag/

Another idea is making a steering vehicle similar to the one shown in the WeDo App, and involves directly driving a pair of wheels, and having two steering wheels that act as a caster with limited swinging movement. That way, when the motor pushes the vehicle forward, the steering wheels are forced to stay straight and the vehicle goes straight; when the motor drives the vehicle backwards, the steering wheels will be free to rotate a bit, and the vehicle will steer. enter image description here You can find the complete building and programming instructions here: https://robotics.benedettelli.com/lego-wedo2-car/

  • 1
    Hi Daniele. Welcome to Bricks.SE. This borders on being a link-only answer. Those are discouraged on StackExchange because the external resources so often disappear. Can you include enough here for the answer to survive on its own? – chicks Oct 4 at 13:27
  • Very nice! Thanks for sharing and for taking the time to expand this into a complete answer. – jncraton Oct 10 at 16:26

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.