Even though the Raspberry Pi was conceived as a means to provide school students with a platform they can learn programming on, the device has gained a solid cult following in the past several years. Even 3D printing specialists are playing with it.
This isn't exactly something new, but the latest 3D printing project involving the Raspberry Pi is unique indeed, to the point where it can be considered an intersection point between three different markets.
What we mean by that is that the latest Raspberry Pi project involves elements and technologies from PCs, mobile devices and 3D printing.
The smartphone-controlled robot tank
As strange as it sounds, the new device created by a “hacking team” led by Madis Kaasik is a robotic tank that can be controlled via a smartphone app.
It is a small tank, obviously, since the Pi is not that large itself, but a tank nonetheless, with tracks and everything.
The device was created over the course of 48 hours during the “3D printing by Mass Portal” sponsored by Microsoft and the Estonian Defense Academy.
The team combined the Pi with a Microsoft Kinect sensor and dressed it up in 3D printed plastic armor. A camera was also included.
The camera can transfer a video feed, live, to a smartphone via the Parrot Drone app, while the user uses two joysticks to steer the tank from afar.
Some of the 3D printed designs came from Drogerdt and Henkka, but they had to be modified quite extensively in order to fit their ideas.
After all, the engines had to be fitted in somehow, and there was some space needed for the Kinect and everything else (a WiFi dongle, an Arduino Uno, a 12 volt to USB board, 4 geared motors, an L298n motor driver board). A Mass Portal Pharaoh Ed 3D printer was used during this stage.
The finished product
While not something you can expect to find up for sale anywhere, the Pi Tank proved itself to be quite the mobile little thing. It can even use the Kinect to 3D scan objects. You can find the 3D printable files on Thingiverse and the instructions on Kaasik’s website. The software code is on Github.