I love sketching, I’m not very good at it yet, but fleshing out an idea is always really exciting. One of my favorite makers, Adam Savage, constantly promotes the idea that even if you aren’t an artist, putting something on paper makes your idea more tangible. Organizing these drawings is still something I’m struggling but I managed to find a few (see left).
A lot of the snake module constraints came down to what I needed them to fit though. I had a general idea that I wanted them to alternate so the robot could move every other cell along the orthogonal axis of the last. This is very similar to the Matsuno Lab snake design. The budget constraints dictated that I use cheap actuators, so I decided on micro servos. They provide a good amount of torque for their size and can be driven directly with a PWM signal that most microcontrollers can generate.
With those design constraints in mind I just needed a piece that could connect one servo to the next, with some extra space for wire management and batteries. In the past I’ve used Autodesk Inventor and Fusion360 for all my 3D CAD work, but having recently gained an educational license for SolidWorks, I decided it was time to jump in and learn.