Sawppy Issue: Portability

Sawppy’s top speed is approximately 40 times faster than the scaled top speed of Curiosity rover. Even then, it is the pace of a very slow walk and I frequently pick up my rover to walk faster. Which leads to the next problem: there’s no good way to carry Sawppy. The cool rocker-bogie suspension gets in the way of using any piece of aluminum extrusion beam as a carry handle, and even when I try to do so, Sawppy looks really undignified when carried that way. It looks better for me to slide my arms under the main body and lift. Sawppy remains upright, but my arms get tired very quickly. And the dangling rocker-bogie still keep bumping into things.

Sawppy is also pretty awkward when I need to carry further than walking distance. I built Sawppy to be roughly the same size as the JPL Open Source Rover, but more precisely I built Sawppy to be roughly the largest size that I can still carry in my car. I’m not ready to buy a larger vehicle for the sake of carrying a rover.

For walkable distances, SGVHAK rover is ferried about by a collapsible wagon. I thought that would be a good idea for Sawppy but have yet to get one of my own. And that still doesn’t solve the problem of taking up a lot of space in a car.

The real Mars rovers have a provision to fold up compactly for their journey to Mars. The tall camera mast folds down, and so does the rocker-bogie suspension. Sawppy has not duplicated either of these capabilities, and I think it might be time for Sawppy to learn to be a little more flexible for long trips. Thanks to some helpful friend-of-friends networking, I found out that the suspension folding mechanism is the “Rocker Deploy Pivot”. (Thank you, @LongHairNasaGuy) Knowing the official terminology is the key to start researching for more details. Studying the real thing aids contemplation for adapting a simplified form for Sawppy.

For walking distance trips, several options are possible. I could get a wagon like the one for SGVHAK rover, or I could build some kind of a skateboard for Sawppy to ride. I should also think about adding a carrying handle to Sawppy somewhere. So many things I can add to Sawppy, but doing too much risks making an overly complicated rover.

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