Robot Chassis and Suspension Parts
Robot Chassis and Suspension parts are used to create a solid and stable platform to build your robot on. The type of chassis you use will determine how much equipment and other parts you can add to your robot as it develops and grows, so it pays to consider your options. Think about the overall size of your completed robots, its weight, and whether or not it will be used outdoors. These factors will help you to decide on the chassis type and material.
Do you want your robot to be mobile? If you need your robot to be able to drive around then wheels or tracks are the way to go. Tracks can give a smoother ride thank wheels on many surfaces, but they can also pick up unwanted debris.
Deciding upon the material your robot chassis is constructed of is also an important point to consider. Small, lightweight robots can easily be built upon plastic chassis. These type of chassis are cheap, hard wearing, and are lighter than most metal chassis, which means you can often use smaller motors and your robot will enjoy longer battery life between charges. Plastic chassis are perfectly suited for toy robots and robots that only use a few small sensors and modules. For bigger robots, you might want to opt for a metal chassis.
Metal robot chassis are usually made from aluminum sheet, which is lighter than steel and much stronger than plastic. Aluminum is easy to cut and drill which means you can make a lot of modifications yourself. A robot chassis that is made of aluminum does cost more than one made of plastic, but the benefit of being able to carry more sensors and bigger motors than a plastic chassis can means it is always money well spent.
Steel is another metal often used for building robot chassis. It is a lot heavier than aluminum but is also stronger. Robots built on steel chassis are almost always big, slow, and as a result of the extra weight, very stable. Cutting and drilling steel takes more effort than doing the same to aluminum, and can require some expensive workshop equipment. Consider a steel chassis only for the biggest and strongest robot builds, or for robots that are designed to be fixed in position and not driving around a lot.
Keep in mind that whatever size and type of chassis you decide on, you will need to match it with appropriately sized motors (with or without gearboxes), wheels, tracks, and other suspension parts such as springs and shock absorbers.