Wishful Coding

Didn't you ever wish your
computer understood you?

NXT model of Twente One Solar Racer

I wrote earlier about the solar panels I bought from eBay, and how I connected them to the NXT. The next logical step was of course to build a robot, so why not start out with a solar racer?

I’m Dutch, so I started to look at the cars of the 2 Dutch competitors for the World Solar Challenge, the universities of Twente and Delft. Delft has won for several years in a row, but I still decided to go for the Twente car from 2007, called the Twente One.

I had several reasons for choosing the Twente one. Emotional ones, like a team member that gave a presentation about the car at my old school. Technical ones, like that the powered wheel is not also the steering one. But maybe the most interesting reason is that they have a tilting solar panel, for which they won the innovation price in 2007.

With my LEGO model of the Twente One, I tried to add all the same features as the original model, including:

  • Direct drive on the rear wheel, although the NXT motors are in fact geared down
  • Double wishbone suspension on the front wheels
  • Trailing beam suspension on the rear wheel
  • Tilting solar panels

Winter probably isn’t the best time to try to build a solar racer, but I still made a video of it driving around.

Besides of course the solar panels, this model also requires these motorcycle wheels and 4 springs of the strong variety. I had to buy these myself as well, totally worth it IMO.

I did not include building instructions for the solar panel, as they are easy to make and yours might be different. You could also just use a piece of cardboard instead(but that would be cheating). The panel connects to 3 pivot points at the top of the car.

Download building instructions