TokyTank

Autonomous and remote-controlled vehicle

Have you ever wanted to find out how hard it is to build a self-driving car? But you also think caterpillar tracks look cooler than regular wheels? We proudly present the solution: TokyTank that combines both into a cool-looking project.

Go to Tokymaker info pageI want it! (Shop)

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Complexity

Description

Self-driving cars are all the craze right now and maybe you too wanted to try your hand at it. With this project you can amaze your friends and brag about how simple it is to programm such a vehicle. 

The basic idea is to fix a sonar to the front of the tank, that constantly checks the distance to objects directly in front of it. If an obstacle is detectet the tank stops and the sonar will rotate to the left and right and based on the measurements taken decide which way to go. It will then continue on it’s merry way. To be able to better show of and to use the Tokymakers cool IoT-feature, you can also steer the tank via web, making use of the Adafruit platform. 

Just be warned that getting the parts for the tank ready is quite time consuming but we think the end result is worth the trouble.

Materials & Tools

Tokymaker

Learn to code your own prototypes using the simple visual coding interface and just one finger and program it without installing software or connecting cables. Understand the principles of operating system electronics connecting in the most intuitive way, a large variety of sensors and actuators.

Wires

There will be a lot of connections. Thus, we will use Male to Female cables.

Included in the starter kit ( Get it here)

 

Bottle Caps

To hold the crawler tracks in place we need a few bottle caps.

2 Servo-motors

To power and steer the vehicle we need two big servos.

Get it on TaoBao or Amazon

Battery packs or power bank

Every vehicle needs fuel. This one runs on electricity either in form of batteries or a power bank.

Wood or acrilyc glue

Depending on the material you chose for your body, select an appropriate glue to stick some of the parts together.

Crawler Tracks Set

For the typical panzer look, we need a set of of crawler tracks that we can attach to the body of the vehicle.

Purchase on TMall or Amazon

Sonar

Since we want to be able to detect obstacles, we need a sonar to measure the distance to objects around the panzer.

Included in the starter kit ( Get it here)

 

Screwdriver, drill and assorted screws

Some of the parts need to be mounted with screws so get a screwdriver and some small screws ready.

1 180° Servo-motor

To move the sonar around to scan the environment, we need a small servo to mount it on.

Included in the starter kit ( Get it here)

40x60 cm 5 mm wood or acrylic

For the body of the vehicle we recommend a stiff material like wood or acrylic. Also prepare the necessary tools to cut out the parts.

Body Assembly Instructions

You can download the above blueprint here: Vehicle_body_v3.6

Step 1: Download and print the TokyTank blueprint

You can either use the blueprint as is or customise it to your liking. ( If you make significant changes to the body we recommend to build a prototype out of carbord first.)

You can download the blueprint here. Vehicle_body_v3.6

 

Step 2: Cut out your parts

After printing out the blueprint you can transfer it onto the material of your choice. Cut out all the parts and carefully sand down sharp edges to avoid injury.

Step 3: Assemble the mount for the caterpillar tracks

Ready the following parts:

  • Caterpillar tracks kit
  • Glue
  • Servo motors
  • Screwdriver, drill & Screws

The small rectangles will be used as connectors  between the the two panels. In a first step, partly disassemble the servo motors so you can take off the back panel with the cable attached. That way we can slide the servos between the panels. Screw the servos to the side panels. Take care to remember that you need to do the two sides diffrently. Then reassemble the servo motors. Now use the connectors together with some glue to fix everything in place. To keep the pulleys in place, drill a small hole in some bottle caps. Put them between the panels and stick the pulleys through so they are stuck in the cap. The pieces should now look like this:

 

Step 4: Asseble the top of the tank

Ready the following parts:

  • Glue
  • 180° Servo motor
  • Screwdriver & Screws

For this part, first put together the 4 side panels and stabilise the construction by placing the plate for the Tokymaker on top. We recommend gluing all these parts together for improved stability.

Let that dry for a while and continue on to the base plate. firstly, screw on the servo to the cut out hole at the front. Then, if the base construct for the tracks has hardened enough, you can glue those in as well. Also let that sit for a while. Please be careful that the track mounts are in the right angle, otherwise the tank won’t be able to drive in a straight line!

 

 

Electronic connection Instructions

Once the cage is ready, it’s time to wire up everything. Use the picture as guideline on how to connect everything.

INPUTS:

  • Sonar

OUTPUTS:

  1. Servo right
  2. Servo left
  3. Servo front for sonar

Now you only need to connect the Tokymaker to your Powersource or temporarily power via USB.

 

 

Getting Started with IOT

As promised, we also want you to be able to steer your mini panzer via web. To do so, you’ll need to create an account on io.adafruit.com if you don’t already have one.

Adafruit is a platform, that allows everyone to create feeds that either gather or send data from or to the Tokymaker. To better work with that data, you can create dashboards to display the information in a simple way. The following steps will help you set up your account and teach you how to create the feeds and dashboard necessary to control the panzer remotely.

 

Step 1: Create an Adafruit Account

Go to  io.adafruit.com and click “Get started for free”

Once you have entered your information and have chosen your password, verify your email-address to complete the setup of your account.

 

Step 2: Create an Adafruit group and some feeds

Navigate to io.adafruit.com and log in with your new credentials. Click on “Feeds” then “view all”. Should the adafruit website not work properly, try with a diffrent browser.

Under Actions, select “Create a New Group” and name it “Tank”.

Once the group is created, select it, then use the same “Action” menu to create 4 feeds.

Call them:

  • Control
  • DirectionBSF
  • DirectionLSR
  • OnOff

 This way, you won’t need to change the feed names in the provided code.

Step 3: Create an Adafruit dashboard

Now go to “Dashboards” and create a new one via the actions menu.

Remember the feeds you just created? Their purpose is to control the tank, so let’s make some buttons to make this possible.

On the top right of your dashboard, you have the control tools. Select “Create a new block” and choose the following for the diffrent feeds:

  • Toggle for Control
  • Toggle for OnOff

For the other two feeds select “Slider” and set the setting as follows.

This creates a slider with 3 steps. 1 will be backwards, 2 will be stop and 3 will be forwards. 

This way you can control the tank by sliding the slider around on the dashboard.

 

Step 4: Save your AIO Key

When on the Adafruit website, you can access your AIO Key on the top right corner of the website.

 

If you click on it, your key information will be displayed.

Copy the key, since you’ll later need to put it in the code, so your Tokymaker will be able to connect to your dashboard.

Code

Now that IoT is prepared and the vehicle is assembled, we can take a look at the code.

The only changes you need to make, are to edit the IoT and WiFi blocks. Enter your information and you’re ready to load your Tokymaker with the code. Enjoy!

Code here: TokyTank

Go To Shop

Find different sensors and accessories in the shop to help make your project a success!

TokyProject Designers

Team Number One

A temporary project group from Switzerland.