Make Simple Running Robots Using “Whegs”

Robotics Technology
Make Simple Running Robots Using “Whegs”

“Whegs,” or “wheeled legs,” are a unique and fun way to bring mobility to your robotic creations and any sort of vehicle/critter you want to add high mobility to. Watching the videos of the completed walkers here (these are not really robots), you can see how this leg design creates a very robust gait that can deftly handle a lot of different terrain situations.

YouTuber Saurav Chakraborty, who does a projects channel called Brainergizer, posted these two videos of whegs-based walkers that he’s built. The walkers use cut C-shaped pieces of PVC for the whegs and common DC gear motors to power them. The critters are basically motor(s), legs, and a battery circuit.

This first single-motor running/hopping critter uses 7cm PVC pipe to create two legs that are then attached to the nylon axles of a 100RPM geared DC motor. To create the hardware to attach the whegs to the motor axles, he used some pieces of scrap aluminum. These he screwed to the nylon hardware on the axle and also hot glued them for added strength.

The whegs were then glued to these hardware hubs on the axles. For the body of the walker, he used a scrap piece of plastic formed in an L-shape with a plastic craft bead and a length of paper clip mounted on the end to act as a passive wheel. Note how he simply uses a lighter and the right angle edge a piece of wood to bend the plastic. Power is provided by a 3.7v LiPo battery pack and a power switch. And finally, Saurav hot glued a bolt to the front of the walker to act as counter-weight to the gait of the whegs.

whegs_3To introduce some traction to the otherwise smooth plastic whegs, Saurav added beads of hot glue to create some tread.

For the second vehicle, Saurav basically combined two of the running/hoppers to create a much more robust all-terrain vehicle. To do this, all he did was hot glue a piece of plastic to join both motor/leg segments and then adjusted the wiring so that both motors were controlled by the same switch. And that’s it. Watching the video of the walker being tested on different terrain surfaces and confronting different obstacles will turn you into a whegs man/woman, if you aren’t already.



Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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