Archive for November, 2012

1967 – Centipede Walking Machine – Meredith Thring (Australian-English)


US Patent number: 3522859 – see here for full patent details.
Filing date: Jan 22, 1968
Issue date: Aug 4, 1970
First filed in Great Britain 26 Jan 1967

Model of Centipede.

The 'centipede'
In the first model (Fig. 6.15(a) above) of the centipede the sprung legs were operated with two chains, one arranged half-way up the legs and one attached to the top of the legs, so arranged that the legs were always held vertically. Each leg is separately sprung and can have various types of feet on it (Fig. 6.16-not shown). However, a fundamental advantage of separate legs is that if one has a solid rubber pad for each foot, with no track on it at all, it still gives a good grip on soft ground because the front and rear edges of the foot act as the track. The actual weight is taken on a rail with a roller feed to the leg running on it. 

Mechanical Elephant

Above: Small-scale working model of mechanical elephant designed for rough- country load-carrying and a wide range of jobs required in developing virgin land for agricultural purposes. The legs of the 'centipede' track are individually sprung, giving the machine a capability of climbing vertical objects up to one-and-a-half metres high in the proposed full-sized version. The machine could also cross rivers and lakes.

A study of this machine showed that it is not essential to have the legs moving vertically when they come down to the ground and they can come round a circle at the front and still give the same ability to climb stairs. The next version shown in Fig. 6.17 above can be described as a caterpillar track with legs. Each element of the caterpillar chain consists of T-shaped piece, joined to the next element by rollers at the corners of the crossbar of the T with the stem of the T forming the sprung leg. The two rollers run on rails which are concave upwards so that slightly more weight is taken on the middle feet than on the end ones, to make turning easier. The chains are driven by a hexagonal wheel at each end, with grooves in them that mesh with the rollers. If one has too few corners on these wheels there is too much variation in the speed of the track as the wheel rotates because of the difference in the radii of the circumscribing and inscribing circles of the polygons hence the wheels should be at least hexagons. The rail has to be located with its end at the radius of the circle traversed by the insides of the rollers.
The other proposal (Fig. 6.18 below) has been specifically put forward for the problems of carrying tree trunks over areas where tree stumps are frequent, and for operating sugar beet or potato-extracting machines in a very wet season.
This has a single rubber track supporting low-pressure pneumatic rubber legs, which are preferably elliptical in cross-section, with the long axis in the forward direction, so that they can bend more easily sideways than backwards under load. The belt is driven by a toothed drum on each end, with the teeth meshing with grooves on the inside of the belt. The flat raised part of the teeth on the belt is coated with a low friction plastic and runs between the two drums on a convex-downward smooth steel rail, in the form of a wide plate, which takes the load.

 Source: Robots and Telechirs, M. W. Thring, 1983.

1922 – Walking Tractor – S. T. Corbitt (American)

Source: Popular Mechanics, March 1922

Patent number: 1287643 – see full patent details here.
Filing date: Dec 12, 1917
Issue date: Dec 17, 1918

1922 – Mechanical Ox (Walking Tractor) – (American)

Source: Popular Science, September 1922 

1921 – Walking Vehicles – Václav Zbořil (Czecho-Slovakian)

Caption: Two Small Models Which were Built to Demonstrate the Operation of the Walking Legs That Took the Place of Driving Wheels

Source: Popular Science Monthly, Aug 1921

A true nonskidding motor car has been evolved by a Czecho-Slovakian inventor in which the driving members are feet and legs instead of wheels, and which propels itself by a heel-and-toe walking action. The four legs of the odd contrivance are attached to the throws of a crankshaft in such a way that as it revolves they are first lifted, then carried forward and lowered, and again carried backward.
Another part causes them to rock backward at the top as they descend, which brings the heel of the foot in contact with  the ground first. As the shaft continues to turn, the heel gives a backward shoving impulse and rises. The toe then comes into contact and imparts a shove. The throws of the crankshaft are so spaced that the eight heels and toes follow each other with their impulses in rapid succession and at exactly equal intervals.

Caption: The circular motion of the driving crank is converted into In action

Source: Popular Science Monthly, Jan-Jun 1922
Automobile Walks on Steel Feet over Rough Ground

Toy models of a walking automobile driven by the reciprocating action of steel feet and legs attracted much attention at the International Motor Exposition at Prague. The illustration shows the walking drive to be simple in principle.

The circular motion of the driving-crank is converted into a perfectly uniform horizontal motion of the mechanical feet. The wear and tear on the main parts of the mechanism Is virtually nil, and the treads and guide-rolls may be readily replaced. The capacity of the drive is considerable and the fuel consumption low.
Its inventor claims that over rough ground the walking drive is more efficient than the caterpillar truck. This is debatable, even if a wheel or caterpillar must surmount all obstacles on the ground, while a walking-truck need only deal with 20 per cent of them. The device is not intended to repine wheels on vehicles traveling over smooth roads, but it is said to be an advantage to tractors working in soft soil.

Most likely these models were made by Václav Zbořil.

See full patent details here.

Patent number: 1511928
Filing date: Aug 22, 1922
Issue date: Oct 14, 1924

2012 – Walking Pod – Scott Parenteau (American)

Original article copied from Core77 here.

Posted by Jessica Charlesworth  |  13 Sep 2012  |  Comments (2)


Meet Scott, a commercial welder who by day runs his own sheet metal fabricating business in Sacramento with 3 other colleagues, and by night, he constructs metal geodesic dome mutant vehicles and pod cabins.

Inspired by Theo Janssen's StrandBeest, Scott created his own Bucky ball like mutant vehicle for this year's Burning Man event to cruise around the playa at Black Rock City. With initial approval for his design from the Burning Man Department of Mutant Vehicles (DMV), he set out to construct his Walking Pod, a mutated version of the Strandbeest, with a focus on creating a moving platform to cross the hostile terrain while providing a comfortable living space inside.


A ladder to climb into the Pod

With time and money constraints he spent his free weekends and nights searching for surplus materials to construct his geodesic mutant vehicle. Fabricating parts in his workshop using only his welding skills and a CNC plasma table, Scott planned and built the vehicle in 3 months.

Constructed from scrap metal parts, sheet metal, tubing, industrial dishwasher motors, deep cell batteries, speed controllers and polycarbonate scraps the vehicle weighs approximately the same as a VW beetle at 1800 pounds.


A closer look at the Walking Pod's Dishwasher Motor

Requiring only 800 watts of power to run with a top speed 0.2 miles per hour, the mutant vehicle is powered by two 12 volt batteries hooked up to an inverter, two speed controllers and two electric motors. When the batteries charge to 90% the additional solar and wind generator built on top of the vehicle complement the backup generator reducing the time needed to run it during the week.


Unlike the Strandbeest, Scott split the Walking Pod mutant vehicles' legs into sections of three, mainly to fit the size of his pod cabin to enable him to transport it from Sacramento, California.

With the help of Scotts' own cross-like spring mechanism, each leg moves forward and reverses independently, enabling the vehicle to travel in both directions when driving it across the desert. To ensure the legs run smoothly and cope with the abusive playa dust, each pivot point is made from self-lubricating graphite impregnated bushings.


A closer look at the Chain Spring (above) and Legs (below)

Scott hopes in the future it may serve some more practical purposes—perhaps as a way to cross toxic waste sites, snake-infested swamps or hot volcanic fields. For now, it serves as a great spectacle for all those out on the Burning Man playa.