3fourD printing and sustainability in space are a popular contemporary conversation as it becomes apparent to all what we will soon be able to achieve beyond the current achievements of astronauts 3D printing tools and small components while on space stations. As colonization on the moon and Mars often enter the general conversation of how we’ll soon progress further in space, 3D printing is not only in the picture, but a catalyst.

If soon we’ll be 3D printing entire communities and sustaining a space lifestyle, surely 3D printing a rover is not a stretch — and hobbyist Josef Vladik of the Czech Republic is getting a head start with his own 3D printed Mars Rover, right here on planet Earth.

threeThe 3D model was inspired by the Curiosity Rover, which is a serious powerhouse of metal locomotion meant to traverse through extreme challenge and weather, as one of NASA’s latest serious innovations, also meant to be the prototype for the rover that will be on the 2020 mission to Mars. Vladik’s Rover was completely 3D printed with PLA filament on a RepRap Rebel 2, controlled by a powerful Arduino Mega microcontroller board. It features:

  • Four standard channels
  • 2S or 3S lithium polymer battery (6V SBEC)
  • Six 9G servos with metal gear, edited for 360 degrees of rotation

Sporting nine compact wheels, the 3D printed Rover moves with impressive precision. The LED floodlights attached to the underbelly give it a very realistic appearance from both front and back, and one could just visualize it navigating its way through red dust, and hurtling over the brutal, rocky terrain of the austere planet.

Moving backward and forward smoothly, it also surprises you by scuttling in a crablike manner from side to side efficiently. It’s a persistent little vehicle, scrambling over its own ‘Mount Sharp,’ in the form of mountains…of DVDs and books…gaining traction over time in what looks originally to be an impossible task for the small orange rover with a feisty attitude.

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For detailed instructions on building the rover, check out Vladik’s notes, as well as his Thingiverse files for downloading.

List of items needed:

  • 6x 9g servo (TG9e, TowerPro SG90)000_preview_featured (1)
  • 6x 9g servo with metal gear (TGY-5009M)
  • Arduino Mega 2560
  • SBEC Lipo 5/6V 5/6A for 3S lipol
  • 3S Li-pol about 1300mAh
  • 12x servo extension cable (10-30cm)
  • 12x resitor 2.2K ohm
  • Universal PCB
  • Green, red, and yellow LEDs 3mm
  • 3x resistor 160 Ohm
  • Some pinsscheme
  • 42x screw M2x6
  • 6x screw M2.5×6
  • 2x screw M3x25
  • 8x screw M3x6
  • 8x nut M3
  • 4x nut M2
  • 4x white LED 5mm
  • 4x red LED 5mm
  • RC TX and RX
  • Connector to Arduino
  • Cable ties

Is this a 3D design you are interesting in downloading? Have you 3D printed anything similar to this, using Arduino software? Tell us more about it in the 3D Printed Mars Rover forum over at 3DPB.com. Check out a video below of the Rover climbing its tricky book mountain.





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