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!