Status Update, Perseverance Landing Edition

A project log for Sawppy the Rover

Motorized model of Mars rovers Curiosity and Perseverance For Under $500

RogerRoger 03/02/2021 at 02:070 Comments

Generating web traffic was never an objective of my Sawppy project so I hadn't kept an eye on the statistics, but I looked at it just now and noticed a distinct rise over the past two weeks. I guess the successful landing of Perseverance rover on Mars motivated a lot of people to think about 3D-printing their own rover here on Earth. Welcome, fellow rover fans!

Here's a quick summary past and future for fans new and old alike:

What you see on this project page is what I now refer to as "Sawppy V1". It was my first project that I documented with the explicit goal of helping others build their own. In contrast to most of my other projects which were just to show an example and/or notes to remind myself later. I was happy to see that many people have accepted my invitation and built their own rovers. (See "Sawppy Builders" log entries elsewhere on this page.) I appreciate constructive feedback submitted by Sawppy rover builders from around the world, and have been pondering how I can evolve future Sawppy versions to address feedback.

One persistent line of feedback was that Sawppy was still too complex and expensive for some rover fans, even though Sawppy was designed to be more affordable and simpler than the JPL Open Source Rover that inspired it. It is true I built Sawppy for myself and others with roughly my level of skill and budget. This translated to an audience of mostly adult hobbyists and some students of college and high school age who can drop $500 USD on a project.

To address the audience left out of the fun by Sawppy V1, my current step in Sawppy evolution is "Micro Sawppy". I am designing and developing a smaller, simpler, and more affordable rover. One that I want to be accessible to elementary school age students (with adult supervision) with a target parts cost of $100 USD. I also want to write the instructions to be more exact and prescriptive. Sawppy V1 instructions had several areas that were left open to builder preference, something I've learned is confusing to beginners who lacked the experience to have a preference.

Micro Sawppy also serves as my testbed for several ideas for 3D-printed rover construction that, if successful, I want to adapt and scale up to a "Sawppy V2". This future rover would be roughly the same size as Sawppy V1. But I want to make it easier to build, more adaptable to variations, and a lower base cost target of $400 USD.

For latest updates and/or more details, I post my development progress to the Sawppy category on my personal blog. (I used to cross-post them to this project page, but I've stopped doing that since it's a different rover project.)