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Omni Wheels

January 9, 2017
Omni Wheels

Omni Wheels

omni wheels on a U shaped robot chassis

We are excited to roll out our new Omni Wheels! Omni wheels have the unique ability to not only roll forward but they also can roll side to side thanks to their built-in rollers. This behavior can be very useful. Let's take a look at an example four wheel robot chassis design (as seen in the header graphic of this blog post). Since the front wheels are omni wheels, it only needs to drive the back wheels. This makes for a much simpler setup since it does not need belts or gears to transmit force to the front wheels, nor does it need a second set of motors to drive them. As Gordon Bell once said "The cheapest, fastest, and most reliable components are those that aren’t there". 

When the back wheels on our example bot are driven forward or back the omni wheels will follow suite. And when the back wheels rotate in opposite directions, the omni wheels' side rollers will (you guessed it) roll sideways, allowing the robot to turn. 

Our Omni Wheels have both the 0.770" and the 1.50" Actobotics patterns on them and each wheel has 10 rollers. They are designed so that they can be stacked together (as you can see I've done in my example bot) to get a wider wheel profile. Simply use an 1/8" hub spacer (545372) between them, and clock them so that the rollers alternate. And oh yeah, these things are priced to move!

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