As a robotics teacher, I am always looking for new ways to help students enhance their’ robots' mobility and maneuverability. One of the most popular and effective ways to do this is by using mechanum wheels. In this article, I will explain how to set up and program mechanum wheels for your robot.
Mechanum wheels offer unique capabilities that allow the robot to move in any direction, including diagonal movements. You can use omni-wheels to achieve this as well, you would just have the wheels mounted at a 45-degree angle to the robot's body (often referred to as an x-drive because the axels would cross if they went all the way through the frame).
Mechanum are a kind of omni-wheel that already has this 45-degree position built into the wheel. So they can be mounted in the same way as a traditional wheel. It is important to note that while you can use all 4 omni wheels of the same type and size, Mechanum wheels are “right” and “left” so you will need two of each. Both setups require all four wheels to have their own motor and both allow the wheels to move independently, giving the robot the ability to strafe, rotate, and move in any direction with precision.
Step 1: Set up the Mechanum wheels
To begin, you need to mount the Mechanum wheels on your robot. You will need two left wheels and two right wheels. Start by attaching each wheel to the robot's frame. You will then need to mount a motor for each wheel as well. Plug the wheels into 4 ports on the brain.
Step 2: Program the wheels
Now that your Mechanum wheels are set up and wired, it's time to program them. You can use VEXcode blocks, python, or C++ to program this setup. In general, the programming process involves telling the wheels how fast to spin and in which direction.
One common programming approach is to use a "holonomic drive" program. This program allows the robot to move in any direction by adjusting the speed and direction of each wheel. To implement a holonomic drive program, you will need to calculate the speed and direction of each wheel based on the desired movement of the robot.
With Mechanum wheels, you can give your robot the ability to move in any direction with precision. Setting up and programming Mechanum wheels may seem daunting at first, but with a little practice, you'll be able to enhance your robot's mobility and maneuverability like never before.