I’m reticent to go into too many details about Ely Makers entry into Pi Wars 2020 but will reveal that there has been lots and lots of conversation about Mecanum wheels. Now that’s a term I’m not used to at all, and I initially thought it was a mis-spelling of Mechano. After seeing it being used again and again, I thought I thought I’d better find out some more.

As a concept, they are something like as old as I am and they’re smart. Imagine a standard wheel that is capable of moving not only forwards and backwards but left and right, that’s a Mecanum wheel.

This ability to move in any direction is accomplished by using a standard wheel which has several independent rollers around the rim. The rollers are offset at 45 degrees and are powered independently (something which also confuses me – perhaps I’ll ask at a Meetup sometime, though I doubt I’ll understand the answer). I’ve been searching for an illustration online and eventually plumped for a lego one:

Anyway, this is a video from Paul Thornthwaite which he made earlier in November, and I think you’ll agree that we’re making progress in implementing them. I’ll have a tinker this evening at our regular pub meet and try to understand them a little more!

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited!

Ely Makers PI WARS 2020 progress