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RopeCam Climber

By Erik Smits |

So this is my rope climbing camera. It's designed to climb a standard 9-11mm climbing rope and carries a camera gimbal for filming.

Initially my first design used a simple gear wheel to run along the rope with supports but I found that the amount of force required to give enough friction on the drive wheel was too high. I had some sucess with a spiked wheel but it was not ideal and quite bumpy. Instead this design uses two one-way cams similar to climbing a rope with two ascenders. To decsend servos are located to release the cams otherwise it could only go up. During rest on the rope the cams oppose each other and it doesn't use any power.

The video shows the motion of the robot as well as some captured footage.

ServoCity's X-Rail system was perfect for the linear motion I needed. Combined with the XL timing belt and a Premium Planetary Gear Motor (with encoder) this solved most of my motion requirements. Other parts are 3D printed in ABS.

The electronics and software are my own. The motion controller is an 8-bit AVR combined with a TB67H303HG H-bridge motor driver IC. I used the quadrature encoder feedback of the motor to control speed and position. There are no end stop switches, instead I programmed a start-up calibration routine where it measures the end locations by checking stall events with feedback from the encoder. Position control during climbing is then set to just within the limits of travel.

I used a RC transmitter and receiver I had from an old project for the radio. One channel for the climbing speed/direction and 3 channels for the gimbal control. The transmitter is also my own software using an Arduino board, one of SercoCity's Joysticks to two extra POTs.



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