Crawlspace crawlers

The top plate in the pics was hand fabricated. I worked up one with 45 bends on the sides, 15 at the rear camera, and tapered ends to better reject cables and such. I don’t feel like heating and bending, I’m considering a visit to a plastics shop to get a quote. I think this will do the trick.
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She’s gone …
to a happy owner.

Did familiarization and training this morning. She didn’t disappoint.

A few pics of articulation and roll angles. During training, he took the machine to a good sized pile of river rock out front and picked a line over them. With the low gear installed, the trip as dirt simple, until he drove up against a dead end. That’s where the backup camera came in. Driving out in reverse in a 4WS vehicle is like driving in, except the left-right orientation in the screen is reversed.

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Project BIGCrawler Bar None Edition officially underway. So many BC imitators out there, time to break out some fresh ideas.


I was wondering when you’d be back. :+1:t2:

I never left.

I was referencing your note about not selling BCs earlier this year. I’d been wondering when the new project would be presented. Figured it was a matter of time.

Nice frame choice. Multiple config options. Looking forward to the reveal.

You didn’t leave per say Scott. However; You did stop building them last year around July. I remember vividly because I was suppose to be in the next group of builds. I tried unsuccessfully to build my own using your ideas but my unit was too top heavy and prone to tipping.

Thank God for Randy and the parts he sent me. I’m happier with the sleeker design and how his parts retrofitted flawlessly into my trx4! Sport frame.

I’m still not nearly as good a driver as you Scott but i’m getting the hang of using a stick controller… I still have more work to do on this buggy with lighting and back up camera, but she’s functional.

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Latest Ferret dude asked for a dorsal camera like is an option on the Mark1. Told him it increases height an inch or so and breaks up the smooth top. Then I got an idea. Why not a camera on a drop floor. A trap door. Sprung. Hit something, no big deal, it drops into the cavity behind the motor. Pops back up when past the overhead obstruction.

The third camera lets you see enough of the vehicle’s front end to safely judge clearances in tight spots, or even tangle wire that is hindering front wheels. Not a necessity, but a very doable option.

One of the happy little firsts of the Mark1 camera rover, was the standard inclusion of 4 Wheel Steering. The Mark1 chassis was OK without it, but the turn improvements of 4WS were just too good to pass up. Tuning individual angles, front and rear, via radio end points and rates makes for good control. People laughed at it, but every Ferret delivered included that feature at the operators’ choice.

When Project Elaine, which became the Mark2, really got “rolling”, I again thought both 2WS and 4WS options might be the way to go. But why bother? 4WS is just so much better overall. People request it. In fact, a 2WS Mark2 was beat out by a 4WS Mark1 during product selection last September. So, the trend we started last year will continue. The pic below is of the rear-wheel inboard angle just at about the limit. It’s a few degrees shy. This particular Ferret can draw a very tight circle. I believe it is 17” at the inside. The interesting thing about 4WS is that you don’t have to mash the carriers against the stops, and beat the Hell out of the U joints, just to rate them at their tightest. You can afford to tune the setup for excellent performance and longevity.

So, 4WS has been a Ferret distinctive since April of 2019, and isn’t going away. It has proven to be helpful in many ways. Along with the switchable rear view camera, Ferrets can get out of interesting operator-induced situations. Even so, we’re not through with fancy little tricks, as some call them. There are a couple advancements in store for it, such as selectable on-the-fly 2WS /4WS, and rate-of-turn, making real time, tunable steering, a thing.

In R&D, are a more compact pan tilt setup (if our crazy lighting experiments actually work out), resulting in a lower ride and shorter OAL, and the new cable-shedding top cover. This cover was pictured in an earlier post. It is inspired by the sloped armor of the “Wolverine” Law Enforcement Tactical Support Vehicle on our drawing board.

A couple things I was asked about, that are on the list for research are a near-IR /thermal camera setup, and a boom mounted cam for sill inspections.

These might find their way to the Mark2 as a mission ad-on, (to be mounted as needed), or as a key feature on the extended 3 axle beast (Mark3) that keeps intruding into the brain space.

Way down the list is a wood probe, with a magazine-fed spike. Break a spike. Load a spike. No return trips…

Thoughts?? Wish list?
Mental diagnosis?