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Traxxas Summit turn marshall with robotic arm

Traxxas Summit turn marshall with robotic arm

Old 06-24-2016, 09:01 AM
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Default Traxxas Summit turn marshall with robotic arm

Well, I finally decided to design and build my own robotic turn marshal to flip my B5M and SC5M back over after they crash at the track. I used a Traxxas Summit with aftermarket body that I had for the conversion, and I bought various kits for the robotic arm to try to flip the cars back over.

The result came out pretty good after almost 2 months on the bench, but it still has its problems and cant completely do the job efficiently. I chose the Summit because it could climb over the drain pipe we use at the track at the edge of the lane, but now, with the 3 pound robotic arm mounted, it wont completely climb them any more. I also had to install a dolly wheel under the robotic arm because despite maxxing out the preloading on the stock shocks, I still got alot of rear end squat and sag. The dolly wheel cured the sag problem, but now sometimes the dolly wheel gets caught climbing over the drain pipe.

Another problem I have is that it takes 2 people to recover a flipped vehicle, one person to drive the Summit and another to operate the robotic arm. Im trying to incorporate driving the Summit into the 10 channel transmitter that operates the arm, but havent done it yet.

And finally, its a challenge to flip a vehicle when its at the far end of the track. Its hard to see the correct angles to move the arm, and how to position it. I guess with practice this will get easier.

I was really surprised how much torque it takes for the robotic arm to flip even a B5M over. I tried high torque servos (200 oz/in), and the servos just stalled, and one fried. Then I tried two 1/5 scale servos (600 oz/in), and they stalled too. I think its because the weight was so far away from the servo arm. I finally bought a tube-mount gear box from Servocity with a rating of 1200 oz/in and included a sail winch servo, and that has enough torque to pick up the B5M, but not the SC5M, so I am going to invest another $500 into 2 more stronger servo/gearbox combinations, each with 3000+ oz/in of torque so it can lift either of my cars.

Its been a very challenging project, I had to design and build alot of it myself, and the trial and error process can get expensive, but its a prototype so I know they are usually expensive.

Some pictures of my concept and some before pictures





Completed project (actually still in evolution)













Last edited by Rideswings; 06-24-2016 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 06-25-2016, 12:06 AM
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I think you're going to find the concensus among the rc community is that the time you spent building that rig would of been better spent at the track practicing, then you would be able to drive without ending up on your lid so often, plus the cost you have invested you could of bought a B6 and B6D, but props for the ingenuity, i toyed with the idea of training a dog to marshall?
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Old 06-25-2016, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by frankf View Post
I think you're going to find the concensus among the rc community is that the time you spent building that rig would of been better spent at the track practicing...
Count me among the minority. For many (hopefully most), there is so much more to RC than just the track time/driving performance. The endgame is, for my .02, to gain enjoyment from the activity. If spending time designing, sourcing and building this project brings that enjoyment, he's doing it right!

@RCCA - If you're reading this; this would make an awesome focus project article when completed.

@Rideswings - We need some action videos! Also, on the whole '2 persons to operate' topic, I totally see an on-board camera/VR setup in your future!
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by frankf View Post
I think you're going to find the concensus among the rc community is that the time you spent building that rig would of been better spent at the track practicing, then you would be able to drive without ending up on your lid so often, plus the cost you have invested you could of bought a B6 and B6D, but props for the ingenuity, i toyed with the idea of training a dog to marshall?
Well, in reality, the time I spent on this project was accomplishing a few purposes. One goal was to help me flip cars back over because I have a bad back, and have trouble getting down off the drivers stand, climbing over the 2 foot wall surrounding the track, then bending over and flipping the truck.

When I drive at the track, I like to drive hard, and that will always lead to flipping over no matter how much I practice. We have a couple of unforgiving big jumps at the track, and sometimes if you dont hit them right, youre on your back. This goes for my best friend as well, crashing is part of the fun. Our B5M's seem to spend as much time on their backs than on their wheels, and this was a good way to help solve that problem.

Yes I could have bought a new B6 for the money I put into this project, but my B5 runs just the way I want it to, so this was not part of the decision making process. As gee-dub said after this post, RC is more than just track time and racing. It's the journey and not the destination, so building this was a labor of love for me and I hope to put some more time into it to get it more efficient.
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Old 06-25-2016, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by gee-dub View Post
Count me among the minority. For many (hopefully most), there is so much more to RC than just the track time/driving performance. The endgame is, for my .02, to gain enjoyment from the activity. If spending time designing, sourcing and building this project brings that enjoyment, he's doing it right!

@RCCA - If you're reading this; this would make an awesome focus project article when completed.

@Rideswings - We need some action videos! Also, on the whole '2 persons to operate' topic, I totally see an on-board camera/VR setup in your future!
Thanks gee-dub for this post, and I couldnt agree more with you. I had the endgame in mind with this project, and that was to have fun and put it to some use. The trial and error part was challenging, but theres always an answer, and if you cant find a solution, go back to the drawing board.

I will get some videos of it as soon as I can and post them up. Im currently trying to get all the functions on 1 radio including operating the truck and robotic arm, and as soon as thats done, I will get some videos done.
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Old 06-25-2016, 12:50 PM
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Enjoy it however you like it.

For some it's a hobby, for others it's a sport. As long as you're having fun, do it as much you can.
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Old 06-25-2016, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by lagcisco View Post
...some it's a hobby, for others it's a sport.
For most, it's an addiction!
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Old 06-26-2016, 02:38 PM
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Great thinking for a good purpose. Have fun at the track. I agree DRJVogel, it's an addiction.
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Old 06-26-2016, 02:45 PM
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...and there's no cure currently...
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:10 PM
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Definitely need some video of this in action. Sounds awesome.
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Old 06-29-2016, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny_stacks View Post
Definitely need some video of this in action. Sounds awesome.
As I soon as I get it reassembled, will take some video. Waiting for some higher torque gearboxes to come in, then will reassemble it and it will be more awesome!
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