Archive for the ‘Walking Machines’ Category

1960 – Cycloidal Propulsion Omnidirectional Drive – Howard Hansen (American)

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CLARK'S experimental cycloidal machine. Two non-drive rear wheels counter torque.
Source: Mechanix Illustrated, April 1963.
CYCLOIDAL PROPULSION
A revolution in land vehicles may come from this new invention which can provide perfect maneuverability.
PUT a pencil at the top of a sheet of paper and start making loops—as if you were practicing a capital O, As you make the loops, draw your arm slowly down the page. Note the trail you are leaving—like a spring that's been stretched out, Actually, the curve you are drawing is called a "cycloid" and what you have just done is to trace the path of a new propulsion system that may revolutionize land vehicles,
What we're talking about is a wheeled or castered vehicle that is the ultimate in maneuverability. It can move in any horizontal direction without steering through a turning radius. In addition, it needs no brakes, transmission, axles or steering system, One control stick does the whole job.
Dubbed the Omni-Drive, it was developed by the Clark Equipment Co, Clark's first unit is an experimental battery-powered single-rotor job with two non-drive trailing wheels to counter torque. The production model—probably available next year—will have two rotors so that no torque reacting trail wheels will be necessary.
How does the Omni-Drive work?
The experimental rig consists of an under-carriage (rotor) on which three casters have been mounted 120 degrees apart, When the caster wheels are angled so that they merely revolve in a circle (see diagram at lower right) the Omni-Drive has no horizontal movement, This braking action is accomplished by centering the single control stick.
When the control stick is moved (in any direction desired) the caster wheels turn at an angle to the braking circle. Now, as the undercarriage continues to revolve, the wheels "swing out" and "push back" in cycloidal loops—just as your pencil did, The upper platform (which, of course, doesn't revolve) then moves—as your arm did when you drew the looping trail down the paper,
To visualize better the operation of this unique vehicle, keep in mind that the rotor never stops revolving while the Omni-Drive is in operation, But movement of the upper platform and operator take place only when the wheels are angled so they move outwardly away from the center as they traverse half of their circle, and inwardly toward the center as they traverse the other half of their circle,
Clark's production Omni-Drive—the two-rotor job—will be able to do much more than the experimental single-rotor rig, It will, for instance, be able to turn on its own axis, The single stick will control velocity, direction, thrust, braking and steering. Remember, this is a vehicle in which there is no torque transmission between engine and wheels. The engine—battery, gas, electric or whatever—merely turns the revolving undercarriage. Add to this the fact that this device brakes while the wheels are still turning and you begin to see its unique possibilities.
This amazing vehicle is the brainchild of Michael Chucta and Jerome Susag, Clark engineers, and Cmdr, Howard Hansen, USN, who developed the application of cycloidal propulsion to land vehicles while he was seeking to invent a maneuverable lawn mower!
Clark foresees wide applications of its Omni-Drive in materials handling vehicles. But in addition it is expected to find many uses in gantry cranes, missile handling machines and TV cameras.
—Larry Edwards

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CYCLOIDAL curve made by pen on paper—a continuous looping in a straight path.

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PROPOSED application in a single-rotor maneuverable machine for towing aircraft.

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BRAKING is accomplished when wheels describe perfect circle and vehicle stops.

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UNDERSIDE of working model. All linkages are connected to a single control stick.

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Source: THE HILLSDALE DAILY NEWS, Monday, January 14, 1963
Vehicle Shows New Type Of Propulsion
DETROIT (AP) — A new type of land propulsion was to be demonstrated and discussed today at the opening of the 1963 convention of the Society of Automotive Engineers.
With it, you can drive a vehicle in any direction — even up and down, like a bird. It conceivably could some day give you an automobile you could edge into a parking place—sideways.
It is called "Cycloidal Land Propulsion" and it grew from a Navy officer's search for a power lawn mower he wouldn't have to haul and tug to mow around 40 trees on a place he'd rented in Falls Church, Va., in 1958.
It needs no brakes or clutch or transmission or axles.
. . .
The inventor is Cmdr. Howard C. Hansen, now commanding officer of the Navy's Patrol Squadron 49, and he told the engineers today how Cycloidal Land Propulsion grew from his desire for a lawn mower that would power itself circularly around those Virginia trees.
Clark Equipment Co. is adopting Hansen's propulsion method to its industrial trucks (the kind that shuttle crates and boxes hither and yon in warehouses and factories.
. . .
Michael Chucta, engineer in the advanced products section of Clark's industrial Truck Division at Battle Creek, says a vehicle utilizing such propulsion "is remarkably simple to manufacture" and foresees its use by various special job vehicles.
It isn't yet ready for your automobile, or vice versa, and may never be. Top speed of a vehicle thus propelled presently is calculated at 10 miles per hour, and it multiplies the bumps.
Cycloidal Land Propulsion utilizes wheels — one to any number, but three currently is considered the most satisfactory alignment. They are mounted (something like casters on a dresser to a circular undercarriage that is whirled around by the vehicle's power plant.
. . .
The wheels bite outward and inward from center at various points on their circular rotation to give a vehicle propulsion.
Steered to run in a true circle they halt the vehicle and act as brakes, since the tires would have to be dragged along if it were moved while the wheels were running in a true circle. It stops itself thus.
In forward movement, the wheels point outwardly as they traverse half the circle, and inwardly, toward the center, as they traverse the other half.
. . .
A Naval aviator, Hansen designed his original cycloidal or omnidirectional vehicle for control with a stick similar to that used in an airplane. The vehicle moves in whatever direction you move the stick, and the further you move the stick the faster it goes in that direction.
A vehicle using only three wheels (or one revolving cycloidal unit) requires a trailing pair of wheels attached to the rear of the vehicle to absorb torque and keep the vehicle from tending to spin in the direction the whirling wheels are spinning.
But Chucta told his fellow engineers that a vehicle using two units, each spinning in opposite directions, needs no other wheels to remain stable and translate (which means move in any direction).
Such a vehicle also can yaw, throw one end around to where the other was, or swing its front or rear to and fro.


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Caption: Three men, from left to right, Jerome R. Susag, Michael Chucta, and Commander Howard C. Hansen, most responsible for its development in land vehicles showed how cycloidal propulsion worked at the Society of Automotive Engineers meeting.


Patent Information:

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Publication number    US3016966 A
Publication date    16 Jan 1962
Filing date    12 Oct 1960
Inventors     Howard Clair Hansen
Original Assignee     Howard Clair Hansen

Omnidirectional drive system for land vehicles

Description:
Self-propelled land vehicles are, of course, well known. Many such vehicles are particularly intended for use as tractors or prime-movers. A very important requirement of tractor or truck vehicles is that they be as maneuverable as possible. It is also important that the application of driving power and the consequent production of tractive effort be as smooth and controlled as possible in order that maximum tractive effort may be available with an efficient utilization of power. When the tractor vehicle is to be employed for towing large aircraft or is to be used as a forklift truck, maneuverability is of prime importance.

It is a principal object of the present invention to provide an improved land vehicle having a novel omnidirectional drive system which enables the vehicle to be completely maneuverable to move or translate in any direction over the ground from a standing start.

It is another very important object of the present invention to provide a land vehicle having a novel drive system enabling solely by means of direct mechanical linkage the application of power and the production of tractive effort to be continuously variable from minimum to maximum limits of mechanical advantage.

Another object of this invention is to provide a land vehicle which may be supported on many wheels in order to achieve high load-bearing capacity and great tractive capability but in which great simplicity of construction is achieved in a novel drive system in which all wheels transmit tractive propelling power yet are free-running and un-powered in the conventional sense.

Another important object of the invention is to provide an improved land vehicle whose orientation, direction of travel, and power and speed may be either simultaneously or independently controllable by manipulation of a single control column or level.

Yet another important object of the invention is to provide a land vehicle that is completely maneuverable and controllable by the use of a single steering and power control column movable from a central position to any intended direction of movement of the vehicle and wherein the degree of movement of the control column from the central position in the intended direction controls the speed and the mechanical advantage of the tractive effort of the vehicle to increase the speed as the column is moved further.

Another object of this invention is to provide a land vehicle having a novel drive system the control lever of which may be manipulated with ease without necessity of aid from hydraulic power steering systems such as are frequently employed in conventional vehicles for the purpose of overcoming heavy control pressures.

Still another object of this invention is to provide an improved land vehicle that is completely maneuverable and highly controllable to be particularly well suited for use as an air port tractor or as a forklift truck or the like.

Yet another highly significant object of this invention is to provide a land vehicle which has no need for friction brakes in that the novel drive system of the invention inherently provides complete braking control over the vehicle.

In accordance with the invention, a vehicle main frame supporting the power source, drivers seat and controls 1s itself supported on at least one subframe that is rotatable beneath the main frame. One or more wheels supporting the vehicle are mounted on the periphery of the subframe. The power source may be connected to rotate the subframe and so long as the plane of rotation of each of the subframe wheels is maintained in tangential alignment with the rotation of the subframe, that is, so long as the axes of the wheel axles are radial with respect to the center of rotation of the subframe, the wheels will roll in a circular path on the ground and the subframe and the main frame will not translate in relation to the ground. The subframe wheels rotate on short shafts and are provided with kingpins and steering arms which are connected to a single control lever or column attached to the main frame of the vehicle. The control column is universally mounted and may be tilted in any direction and, so long as the control column bears a prependicular relationship to the plane of rotation of the subframe, the wheels are constrained to roll in a circular path on the ground as described above. When the control column is tilted in any direction away from the above-described perpendicular relationship, suitable linkage connecting the control column to the steering arms of the subframe wheesl causes the rotation of the subframe to vary the steering angles of the subframe Wheels; in sinusoidal fashion, thereby causing the subframe and the main frame to translate with respect to the ground. The interconnecting linkage is such as to cause the period of the sinusoidal variation of the steering angle of each wheel to be equal to the period of one revolution of the subframe, and such as to cause the phase-relationship between the rotation of the subframe and the steering angle variations to be determined by the direction in which the control column is tilted, and such as to cause the magnitude of the steering angle variations to be determined by the degree to which the control column is tilted. The arrangement is such, therefore, that the direction of movement of the vehicle is determined by the direction in which the control column is tilted, while the speed of the vehicle movement and, inversely, the mechanical advantage of the tractive effort are determined by the degree to which the control column is tilted. Thus complete maneuverability and controllability of the land vehicle are obtained with the use of a single control column. One or more trailing wheels may be fixed to the vehicle main frame to establish a heading for the main frame and to prevent contrarotation of the vehicle main frame, or a second subframe may be utilized to provide a means for controlling the heading of the main frame of the vehicle relative to the direction of movement of the vehicle over the ground.


Similar Drives used in Robotics:

Trochoid Drive by Osaka University – See Patent US8757316.

Publication date    24 Jun 2014
Filing date    7 Jun 2011


See other early Walking Wheels at the bottom here.
See other early Mobile Robots here.

1912 – Dreadnought Wheel and “Big Lizzie” – Frank Bottrill (Australian)

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1912 – Dreadnought Wheel and "Big Lizzie" – Frank Bottrill

A dreadnaught wheel is a wheel with articulated rails attached at the rim to provide a firm footing for the wheel to roll over, they have also been known as endless railway wheels when fitted to road locomotives, and were commonly fitted to steam traction engines.

Prior to wide adoption of continuous track on vehicles, traction engines were cumbersome and not suited to crossing soft ground or the rough roads and farm tracks of the time. The "endless rails" were flat boards or steel plates loosely attached around the outer circumference of the wheel which spread the weight of the vehicle over a larger surface and hence were less likely to get bogged by sinking into soft ground or skidding on slippery tracks.

Some references also use the term pedrail, but the pedrail wheel of 1903 is a more complex arrangement that incorporates internal springing.

Bottrill referred to the rails as "ped-rail shoes".

[Note: Where text is from another source, I’ve left to spelling of “Dreadnought” as is i.e. “Dreadnaught”, which has become the more popular spelling.]

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"Big Lizzie" at Red Cliffs, Victoria, Australia.

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Children looking at one of "Big Lizzie's" massive wheels.

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Image from Bottrill's British patent GB191208844 (A) ― 1912-10-17 .

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The smaller Austral-Otis Bottrill-wheeled tractor c1911.

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Image source: Remarkable Australian Farm Machines: Ingenuity on the Land  By Graeme R. Quick

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From `Megaethon' to 'Big Lizzie':
Attempts to go where the roads do not
MOVING A HEAVY vehicle across country can have its problems. Unless the ground is very solid, the vehicle is likely to dig itself in and resist all attempts to move it further. Mud, sand and dust can all cause this.
The obvious solution is to increase the bearing surface in some way, so the wheels are less likely to dig their way into the ground under the vehicle's weight. If the vehicle can lay its own bearing surface in front of itself, then pick it up again after it has passed over it, so much the better.
One early attempt at this approach occurred in 1850 when a Hunter Valley farmer named Cleve had a steam engine built in Sydney. He decided to take it home under its own power on the iron shoes it laid down in succession in front of its wheels. Cleve called his machine the `Megaethon', but the Aborigines who saw it called it the 'buggy buggy'.
Eventually Cleve had to get some bullock teams to come and rescue his engine. Its great weight made its progress very difficult.
The idea cropped up again when steam-driven traction engines be common in Australia, about the turn of the century. Used to haul wagons across country, for ploughing and for stationary power at all sorts of locations, these machines faced the need to travel across country in all sorts of conditions. In 1906, Frank Bottrill patented 'an improved road wheel for vehicles and travelling machines, especially useful for traction engines'. He called it the Pedrail or Dreadnought wheel.
As Bottrill's wheel rotated it placed a series of bearers one at a time upon the ground. Each bearer formed a substantial flat bed while it was on the ground and prevented the wheel from sinking. The engine was therefore able to exert its full tractive effort. For use in very loose ground the bearers could be fitted with studs.
Some versions of Bottrill's wheel had two sets of bearers side by side. The bearers were attached to the wheel by a system of U-bolts and wire ropes that allowed them to move in relation to the wheel, but kept them rotating with it.
In 1907 Bottrill used a 30-horsepower International tractor fitted with his

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Big Lizzie in her last resting place at Red Cliffs, Victoria.

Pedrail wheels to plough 202 hectares of mallee land for the Victorian Department of Agriculture and 38 hectares of virgin country at Howard's Plain, Victoria. Then he used a 70-horsepower McLaren traction engine with Pedrail wheels on a large-scale land-clearing operation at Tintinara for the South Australian Government. He pulled three large rollers covering a span of 18 metres and cleared an average of 12 hectares a day, and sometimes as many as 20 hectares. Later the South Australian Government bought rights from Bottrill to fit two of its steam tractors with his wheels. The Queensland Government also arranged to fit them to some of its equipment.
In World War I, the Australian Light Horse in Egypt had the Pedrail system fitted to its field guns so it could haul them across the desert. The heavy sand made transport of the guns on their ordinary wheels quite impracticable, and for a time General Chauvel was forced to conduct a mounted campaign against the Turks without artillery support. Once the Pedrail was adapted for desert conditions and fitted to the guns, the problem was overcome. Guns fitted with Pedrails were first used in the attack on Salmana in May 1916.
Bottrill's best known application of his Pedrail was to Big Lizzie, a giant traction engine now on display at Red Cliffs in Victoria's Sunraysia district. The massive machine, powered by a 60-horsepower Blackstone crude oil engine, was built in Melbourne in 1914. Its range of gears gave it four forward speeds from 0.8 to 3.2 km/h, and two reverse speeds, 0.4 and 0.8 km/h.

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Until Bottrill style wheels were fitted to artillery in the Middle East during World War I, the Australia Light Horse had to attack fortified Turkish positions without artillery support.

Big Lizzie set out from Melbourne in 1915 and went via Echuca, Kerang, Swan Hill, Ouyen and Mildura. Everywhere she went, her owners had to get permission from the various shires. From Ouyen she travelled along a bush track made by bullock waggons beside the railway. This was the only road. Where the turns in the track were too sharp for her 61 metre turning circle, Big Lizzie just made her own track through the mallee scrub. Her big wheels carried her across even the sandiest country. She had a six weeks stop-over in Kerang while all her wheels were taken off and altered.
Big Lizzie arrived in Mildura in October 1917. She was unable to cross the Murray, which was in flood. No bridge or punt could carry her, so she went to work in the district, carrying wheat, one 1919 load running to 900 bags.
Big Lizzie herself was 10.2 m long, 3.4 m wide and 5.5 m high. She had two flat top trailers, each fitted with Bottrill wheels. Each trailer was 10m long, 3.4 m wide and 2m high.
When the Victorian Government decided to make farms for soldier settlers in the Sunraysia area during and after World War I, Big Lizzie helped clear land at South Merbein, West Merbein, Birdwoodton and Red Cliffs, a task that lasted until 1924. She cleared land in other parts of Victoria until 1929, when she was abandoned.
She was finally brought back and given her place of honour at Red Cliffs.

Source: Australian Inventory, Leo Port with Brian Murray.


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An early version was patented (British 11,357) by James Boydell in August 1846 and February 1854. Boydell worked with the British steam traction engine manufacturer Charles Burrell & Sons to produce road haulage engines from 1856 that used his continuous track design. Burrell later patented refinements of Boydell's design.

Boydell's design saw service with the British Army in the Crimean War where it was known as "The Megatherium war horse".

Source with references: Wiki


See other early Walking Wheels and  Walking Machines here.


1899 – Walking Wheel – James C. Anderson (American)

1899 – Walking Wheel patent by James C. Anderson

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Publication number    US647245 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Apr 10, 1900
Filing date    Aug 16, 1899
Priority date    Aug 16, 1899
Inventors    James C Anderson
Original Assignee    James C Anderson

My invention relates to certain new and useful improvements in wheels for use upon vehicles propelled on roadways by mechanical power, and particularly to that class known as "autotrucks," which are designed for carrying heavy loads.

In the use of wheels upon vehicles propelled by animal motive force it is well understood that the area of traction is the tangential contact between the periphery of the tire multiplied by its width, and the tangential contact is governed entirely by the physical character of the material of which the tire is composed. This contact is of course lessened when the profile or inequalities of the roadbed transverse to the path of the wheel are such that only a portion of the width ot the tire comes in contact with the road.

In a vehicle drawn by animal motive force the traction area of the wheel is of comparatively little moment, because the anatomical movements of the animal compensate for the small degree of traction in the vehicle. In other words, in such cases the wheel constitutes a lever to which the physical power of the draft-animal is applied, and nature, recognizing these conditions, has so constructed the hoofs of draft-animals that in contact with a road way a comparatively-large area of traction is secured. For instance, this traction area with the hoof of an ordinary horse is about thirty square inches, while in a tire, say, two inches wide and composed of resilient material, such as rubber, and assuming that the tire flattens to half an inch, the total area of traction would be but one inch. The articulative joints also of the legs of the animal are such that the hoofs accommodate themselves to the uneven surface of the road to maintain the necessary area of contact, and such contact is preserved in the case of each hoof until the animal has moved forward a distance equal to one step or stride, and hence the push on the traction area is maintained to a similar extent, and thus it is that with this large amount of traction and the toggle action of the legs of a horse he is enabled to draw a heavy load. It has been the recognition of this principle in the application of the physical force of an animal that in the coustruction of autotruck-wheels they have been devised with excessively wide and resilient tires in order to secure as much traction as possible; but the limit in the width of tires of this kind is such, owing to their weight and cost, that a sufficient amount of traction cannot be secured for the best results.

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Each leg had a pneumatic piston acting as a damper over bumps and irregular ground.


See other early Walking Wheels and  Walking Machines here.


1846 – Walking Wheel – James Boydell (British)

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1846 – Walking Wheel by James Boydell

A dreadnaught wheel is a wheel with articulated rails attached at the rim to provide a firm footing for the wheel to roll over, they have also been known as endless railway wheels when fitted to road locomotives, and were commonly fitted to steam traction engines.
Bottrill's "Big Lizzie" with Dreadnaught wheels

Prior to wide adoption of continuous track on vehicles, traction engines were cumbersome and not suited to crossing soft ground or the rough roads and farm tracks of the time. The "endless rails" were flat boards or steel plates loosely attached around the outer circumference of the wheel which spread the weight of the vehicle over a larger surface and hence were less likely to get bogged by sinking into soft ground or skidding on slippery tracks.

Some references also use the term pedrail, but the pedrail wheel of 1903 is a more complex arrangement that incorporates internal springing.

Bottrill referred to the rails as "ped-rail shoes".

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Image source: Remarkable Australian Farm Machines: Ingenuity on the Land  By Graeme R. Quick

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An early version was patented (British 11,357) by James Boydell in August 1846 and February 1854. Boydell worked with the British steam traction engine manufacturer Charles Burrell & Sons to produce road haulage engines from 1856 that used his continuous track design. Burrell later patented refinements of Boydell's design.

Boydell's design saw service with the British Army in the Crimean War where it was known as "The Megatherium war horse".

Source with references: Wiki


See other early Walking Wheels and  Walking Machines here.


1967 – Toy Space Crawlers – Various

After recently posting the entry on Vladimir Ischein's Walking Wheel (1983), I recalled having seen something similar. It turned out to be the toy "Space Crawler" of Major Matt Mason from 1967.  This toy led to several other toymakers making similar devices.

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1967 – Mattel's Major Matt Mason's Space Crawler

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Some Space Crawler Images sourced from here.

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When the going gets rough, Major MATT MASON rides across troublesome terrain  and dangerous crevices in his all-purpose vehicle, the SPACE CRAWLER!
Adfapted from official space program designs, the mighty transportation unit features eight rotating legs with curved power pads, so it always rights itself!
Major MATT MASON uses his SPACE CRAWLER as a winch to haul material and as a hoist to raise and lower supplies.
Turned on its side, the masterful machine rotates whenever its heavy-duty hook touches the tail boom.
Forward, neutral, raising and lowering accomplished by unique gear shift.

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Publication number    US3475854 A
Publication date    Nov 4, 1969
Filing date    Feb 3, 1967
Priority date    Feb 3, 1967
Inventors    Macmeekin Robert A, Meggs Daniel Henry, Ryan John W
Original Assignee    Mattel Inc

See also US3529479 for related Space Crawler Gearbox patent.


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Lunnik sourced from here.


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Space Safari


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Mark Apollo Space Crawler by Marx.


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Tri-Ang Moonmobile


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See other early Walking Wheels and  Walking Machines here.