It was my great honor and privilege to participate in bringing this working scale model of the Curiosity Rover to life. It's final voyage will be an interactive display in the Visitor's Center at Kennedy Space Center. A robotics company based in Asheville, NC, called Beatty Robotics was spearheading the operation. Beatty Robotics has made some really cool RC robots previous to this project and they can be seen at various museums around the world in addition to their portfolio on their website. This was by far the most ambitious project yet. We started by looking at pictures of the Curiosity Rover that NASA had for public usage and picked out details that we wanted to capture as we didn't have a physical item to look at and take measurements. Yes, this entire project was 'eyeballed' mathematically and scientifically. It was imperative that this scale model be as realistic as possible to the real rover.
We designed the entire Rover in Autodesk Fusion 360. Since we are based in Pennsylvania, and Beatty Robotics is based in Asheville, it was the cloud aspect that was the most needed for a project of this magnitude. Beatty Robotics utilized a FormLabs 3D printer to print all of the parts and test for fitment. Several of the parts were designed specifically for CNC machining either for an aesthetic look of aluminum or for structural purposes. A lot of those parts were sourced through www.Plethora.com which allows for instant feedback of machining capabilities. However, there were a few parts that were machined by an AWESOME company in NYCCNC or Saunders Machine Works. I have attached all of their YouTube Videos for your viewing pleasure below. There were several pieces that were laser cut out of stainless steel by Pololu. Additionally, there were some parts that were CNC machined in house at Beatty Robotics on their Tormach CNC mill. You may be wondering just how long this project took. I can confirm that it took 600 hours just in design time. Beatty Robotics had a lot more hours in making this beautiful project actually come to life. Be sure to pop over to Beatty Robotics and read more about the build - Curiosity Rover.