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3D print your own Mars rover

on 21 December 2020

Europe’s Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover has a younger ’sibling’ – ExoMy. The blueprints and software for this mini-version of the full-size Mars explorer are available for free so that anyone can 3D print, assemble and program their own ExoMy.

The six-wheeled ExoMy rover was designed by ESA’s Planetary Robotics Laboratory, which specializes in developing locomotion platforms and navigation systems to support ESA’s planetary exploration missions.

“Anyone with a 3D printer can build their own ExoMy, at an estimated budget of €500 or less,” explains Swiss trainee Miro Voellmy. “The source code is available on GitHub along with a step-by-step assembly guide and tutorials.

Enthusiasts all around the world have already built their own ExoMy rovers. Its structural parts take around two weeks to 3D print out of PLA, a biodegradable material made out of plant starch.

The 42 cm high rover reproduces key features of its 2 m tall big ‘sister’ on a non-functional basis, including a drill, solar panels across its back wings and a camera mast featuring a customisable smiley face, mouth and hat.

ExoMy also reuses Rosalind Franklin’s ‘triple-bogie’ suspension design, which allows it to cross high obstacles as high as its own wheelwhile keeping them stably on the ground.

Each wheel has its own motor, and their tread has protrusions to assist traction over rough ground. But flexible sleeves can also be printed out to slid over the wheels for smoother passage over level surfaces.

“ExoMy is more than a toy as it can serve as a low-cost research and prototyping platform for robotic experiments,” adds Miro.

To read more information about 3D printing the rover, please follow this link

Image source: ESA