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NXT Modular Test Vehicle (MTV)

This Modular Test Vehicle (MTV) project shows you how to build a set of five modules (with a single NXT retail or Edu + Resource Kit) that can be quickly and easily assembled into a complete vehicle in many different ways, using different wheel types, chassis layouts, and gear ratios. The example vehicles below were all built in under one minute using the MTV modules.

Building instructions for the five modules are included, but not the final assembly, that part is left to the users. A couple of very simple test programs are also included. You can use this project to easily and quickly experiment with how different configurations affect the driving, turning, load carrying ability, accuracy, and consistency of the vehicle. One minute you might have a robot that can barely turn, and the next minute after a quick change you might have a much better one.

FLL coaches/mentors/parents, and teachers that use the NXT might want to take a look through this. This project might make a good training project for the start of the FLL season (or the off-season), for example. It is split into five separate modules that can be built separately by different people, and it contains several suggestions for mechanical design issues to experiment with, including my favorite issue: weight balance (I can’t tell you how many robots I have seen struggle due to this issue). It could also be used to jump start a new team that needs some help getting any basic chassis that they can start to work with. The project doesn’t tell you how to configure your chassis (your team will have to experiment with that), but it effectively reduces the number of parts from hundreds to five, so that you can get something together much easier. The resulting robots from this training project won’t be great by any measure, nor suitable for any particular mission, so hopefully teams will be able to take what they learn from it and go on to design their own robots that perform they way they want them to.

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