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We get the pleasure of working with some amazing artists/illustrators here at MAKE. One of them is James Provost. James did the illos for the “Lunchbox Laser” and “Marble Adder” projects in Volume 20, and the “CNC For Under $800″ piece in Volume 21. He also did the wonderful illustrated version of the Maker’s Bill of Rights.

Here’s a video James did to show how Mechanum wheels work. On his blog (which is a fun read, BTW), he describes his inspiration:

While [MythBusters] one day, I noticed something weird about their forklift — it moved sideways. It didn’t just turn on a dime, but actually moved perpendicular to the direction of the wheels. Upon closer inspection, they looked more like worm gears than wheels. The answer was just a Google away: The MythBusters’ forklift is equipped with Mecanum Wheels, also known as Omni Wheels or Ilon Wheels. These wheels work by rotating independently, depending on the desired direction of travel.

I had an idea that this might make for an interesting motion graphic (above), since still images really don’t do this technology justice. So I tried it out (what’s the worst that can happen?)

Nice work, James!

James Provost Illustration

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.



  1. japroach says:

    Doesn’t really show how they work, more like shows what they are.

    1. says:

      Don’t know about you, but 0:17 – 0:24 seemed to work pretty well for me. I mean, they’re wheels, they turn. The trick is the 45* rollers allow side-to-side movement, and that section of the video shows what combinations of wheel rotations will result in movement of the forklift in certain directions.

      1. japroach says:

        sorry, you are right.

        There was too much focus on the top left image of the wheel, which is not required for the explanation.

  2. Travis Deyle says:

    The commercial forklifts using mecanum wheels (sometimes also called Swedish wheels) are called AirTrax:

    These wheels are frequently used on robots due to their non-holonomic nature (ie. they can move sideways):

  3. Really nice work, James.

  4. Really nice work, James.

  5. Keindahan mesin ini blogging dan platform CMS adalah kurangnya keterbatasan dan kemudahan manipulasi yang memungkinkan pengembang untuk melaksanakan konten yang kaya dan ‘kulit’ situs sedemikian rupa sehingga dengan usaha yang sangat sedikit orang tidak akan pernah melihat apa yang membuat situs tick semua tanpa membatasi konten dan efektifitas. Butik Online

    1. David says:

       bos, gimana cara bikin link di tulisan butik online?

  6. Nice work James
    really wish if i could hire u to work on my site :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Keindahan pakaian muslim sangat tergantung siapa yang mengenakannya. Jika yang mengenakan adalah orang yang berhati suci dan bersih. Maka keindahan itu akan timbul dari dalam keluar.

    Baju Grosir

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think that you have even read the post before commenting. Shame on you!

  9. cody says:

    good post james

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