Overview of Wheels Used in Robotics

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The wheel is the most common moving element among other possibilities including legs, flying, swimming and rolling. A wheel provides at least speed, accuracy and stability for a robot, three characteristics very important in designing and build robots. Finding inspiration in everything, the researchers design many types of wheels including standard, orientable, ball, and omnidirectional wheels.

Depending on the design and requirements, standard wheels are used especially for classical methods of driving and steering while orientable and ball wheels are included in the same category and user for balancing a robot. Omnidirectional wheels are very good for driving and steering and are used when the robot should have the ability to move in all directions.

In this article, I made an overview for standard, orientable, ball, and multi-directional wheels.

Standard Wheels

Most common wheels used in robotics is standard wheels. This type of wheels is characterized by two degrees of freedom and can run in front and back. The angle between the robot frame and the wheel is constant while the center of the wheel is fixed to the robot frame.
In this section of the article I made an overview of standard wheels designed to be used in robotic projects.

Dagu Wild Thumper Wheel 120x60mm

Dagu Wild Thumper Wheel 120x60mm

Dagu Wild Thumper Wheel 120x60mm

Polyprop plain 12mm hub wheel,80mm OD

Polyprop plain 12mm hub wheel,80mm OD

Polyprop plain 12mm hub wheel,80mm OD

MiniQ Motor Wheel Set with Encoder

MiniQ Motor Wheel Set with Encoder

MiniQ Motor Wheel Set with Encoder

D65mm Rubber Wheel Pair

D65mm Rubber Wheel Pair

D65mm Rubber Wheel Pair

Wheel 42x19mm

Wheel 42x19mm

Wheel 42x19mm

Robot Wheels 8-1/4″

Robot Wheels 8-1/4"

Robot Wheels 8-1/4″

Pro-Line Trencher 2.8″ Mntd on Desperado Black Wheels F

Pro-Line Trencher 2.8" Mntd on Desperado Black Wheels F

Pro-Line Trencher 2.8″ Mntd on Desperado Black Wheels F

4″ Wheel

4" Wheel

4″ Wheel

Tracked wheel for DC motors 4cm width

Tracked wheel for DC motors 4cm width

Tracked wheel for DC motors 4cm width

Black PA, soft tyre 200×32, BallB 8×60

Black PA, soft tyre 200x32, BallB 8x60

Black PA, soft tyre 200×32, BallB 8×60

WHEEL&TIRE SET,1 WHEEL WITH 2 RUBBER BAND TIRES

WHEEL&TIRE SET,1 WHEEL WITH 2 RUBBER BAND TIRES

WHEEL&TIRE SET,1 WHEEL WITH 2 RUBBER BAND TIRES

Vex Wheel Kit

Vex Wheel Kit

Vex Wheel Kit

Aquabot Pool Rover and Pool Rover Jr. Blue Plastic Wheel

Aquabot Pool Rover and Pool Rover Jr. Blue Plastic Wheel

Aquabot Pool Rover and Pool Rover Jr. Blue Plastic Wheel

Off-Road Wheels – 120x60mm

Off-Road Wheels - 120x60mm

Off-Road Wheels – 120x60mm

iRobot New Swivel Caster Wheel for Roomba

iRobot New Swivel Caster Wheel for Roomba

iRobot New Swivel Caster Wheel for Roomba

POLYURETHANE TYRE CASTOR,250MM

POLYURETHANE TYRE CASTOR,250MM

POLYURETHANE TYRE CASTOR,250MM

WHEEL,2×12.38cm

WHEEL,2x12.38cm

WHEEL,2×12.38cm

Toy Tires – Basic

Toy Tires - Basic

Toy Tires – Basic

Wheel 42x19mm

Wheel 42x19mm

Wheel 42x19mm

Nylon wheel w/roller bearing,100mm dia

Nylon wheel w/roller bearing,100mm dia

Nylon wheel w/roller bearing,100mm dia

Orientable wheels

Based on two types including center and off-centered oriented, orientable wheels are standard wheels mounted to a fixed or omni-directional fork designed to catch the wheel. Compared with standard wheels, these wheels are used in robotic projects for balance and less or not at all to drive a robot.
Below is a list with orientable wheels ready for use in robotic projects.

CASTER WHEEL,6.8oz,3.9in

CASTER WHEEL,6.8oz,3.9in

CASTER WHEEL,6.8oz,3.9in

Rubber tyred wheel,100mm

Rubber tyred wheel,100mm

Rubber tyred wheel,100mm

Ball wheels

Based on a ball, these wheels have a total freedom of 360 degrees and like orientable wheels are used to balance a robot. The ball can be builded from metal or plastic and is positioned on the frame with a holder. Bellow I made an overview of ball wheels for robots.

Ball Caster Omni-Directional Metal

Ball Caster Omni-Directional Metal

Ball Caster Omni-Directional Metal

Pololu Ball Caster with 3/8″ Metal Ball

Pololu Ball Caster with 3/8" Metal Ball

Pololu Ball Caster with 3/8″ Metal Ball

Castor small

Castor small

Castor small

Pololu Ball Caster with 1″ Plastic Ball

Pololu Ball Caster with 1" Plastic Ball

Pololu Ball Caster with 1″ Plastic Ball

POLYETHYLENE,1 INCH

POLYETHYLENE,1 INCH

POLYETHYLENE,1 INCH

Multi-directional Wheels

Small wheels are attached on a large wheel to build a multi-directional system designed for robots for movement in any direction. This type of wheel is used for both drive and steer a robot. One important advantage using multi-directional wheels is a low resistance when the robot is moving in any direction. The smaller wheels are attached to a large wheel at 45 degrees.

Below you can be found links to a comprehensive list with multi-directional wheels.

MULTI-DIRECTION ROLLER

MULTI-DIRECTION ROLLER

MULTI-DIRECTION ROLLER

Dagu Omni Wheel – 48mm

Dagu Omni Wheel - 48mm

Dagu Omni Wheel – 48mm

100mm Left Mecanum Wheel

100mm Left Mecanum Wheel

100mm Left Mecanum Wheel

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Mecanum Wheel 4″

Mecanum Wheel 4"

Mecanum Wheel 4″

Mecanum wheels

Mecanum wheels

Mecanum wheels

152mm Omnidirectional Wheel

152mm Omnidirectional Wheel

152mm Omnidirectional Wheel

6” Mecanum Wheel Set

6'' Mecanum Wheel Set

6” Mecanum Wheel Set

8” Mecanum Wheel Set

8'' Mecanum Wheel Set

8” Mecanum Wheel Set

Mecanum wheels

Mecanum wheels

Mecanum wheels

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Dragos George Calin
Dragos George Calin is an IT analyst who graduated Faculty of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, specialization Industrial Automation and Informatics with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering, Automation and Computer Science. He has a great passion for robots and web development.
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