Intro to Flutter Robot #1: Scout
So since day 1, Flutter has always been a little different. We want to make electronics anyone can use, and that means creating easy to follow tutorials to get people started (and offering hardware that can be used by anyone).
Well, ask me to make a cool easy to follow project, and I'll invent a robot anyone can build.
Scout is a 3D printed remote control car that uses an absolute minumum of non-printed parts. That means sourcing the parts for Scout is cheap and easy. We don't even use screws! Scout just snaps together, and only takes a few minutes to assemble. More press shots of Scout here.
The parts currently take 24 hours to print, but I think on a modified printer they could print in about 5 hours.
Despite being 3D printed, Scout is very strong. The parts are all designed with a home 3D printer in mind, so parts are stout and care has been taken to avoid things home printers might struggle with.
Despite having no suspension, Scout loves hitting jumps and will brush off repeated tumbling.
Scout is fast. The over 1/4 horsepower quadcopter motor that Scout uses means the vehicle can beat a running human in a race, or pull a large enough wheelie to flip over backwards when there's enough grip. All this from a $12 motor.
All the parts can be printed on a $600 home printer like the Printrbot Simple Metal. You don't need a well-adjusted machine. My 3.5 year old Ultimaker 1.0 hasn't had an adjustment in years and the parts all fit fine. A few holes may need to be drilled out after printing, but that's about it.
Scout is controlled by the new Flutter Remote Control, which gives you an Arduino-compatible controller with a 64MHz CPU and one kilometer wireless range. There's even plugs to add a display or gyro sensor.
The controller is all open source, easy to modify, and easy to assemble from just a few parts.
Scout is already an excellent remote control car, but we want to turn the vehicle into an excellent robot too. To that end we plan on creating a suite of sensors and some linux compute hardware that will allow Scout to be a self-driving car like this MIT class recently did.
Scout will be in the July issue of Make Magazine as well, with a four page spread on assembly.
We'll be releasing all the design files soon with an open source license so anyone can build and customize their own Scout robot. An older version of Scout is already on github, but the new version is a complete redesign that is much better.
Full assembly instructions will be available on Scout's wiki page soon.
Scout is just the beginning of Flutter's robotics offerings. We have been developing a complete solution for quickly building any robot, called the Flutter Robotics System. The Flutter Robotics system is a suite of electronics designed to work together with our designs or yours to easily build robots using 3D printers or the fabrication method of your choice.
We have several designs in the concept stage that we would like to make a reality, including a heavy four wheel drive platform, a basic educational "turtle" robot, a flying drone, a jet boat, a stationary 4 axis arm and a four-legged walking platform.
For now we only work on these desings in our spare time while we work on fullfilling Kickstarter rewards for our Flutter Wireless Kickstarter campaign. If you think what we're doing is awesome and want to support us, please follow us on Twitter and tweet something about Flutter, or pre-order one of our kits.
If you have any questions about Scout or Flutter, or want to speak to us about investing in Flutter, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get back to you.