I just got Solidworks and between that and Shapeways, I can now build robots that were completely out of my reach before. This is a design that I drew up years ago, but had no real way to produce. This week I imported my 2D drawings, converted them to 3D and Voila!

Then I just upload the necessary part to Shapeways (http://www.shapeways.com/model/203142/robot_body.html), purchase it for around $35 and 10 days later it shows up on my doorstep.

I needed custom tank treads so I modeled them, then created a "shell"

and I can buy that and pour silicone into. The I can have as many treads as I like. I tell ya, this new fangled technology is going to change the way I build robots. No more worrying about how I am going to make the part. If I can draw it, I can design with it.

The design is currently built around the GM10 motors from Solarbotics, but I may decide it needs to be smaller and switch to the GM15 planetary geared pager motor.

Here's the e-drawing in case anyone has the viewer and wants to get a better look:

I have a couple other projects going before I go any further with Hugh, but I thought the models were cool enough to post early. I'll update this summer when I proceed.