Tag Archives: Atmel | SMART SAM3S

Scout is a 3D-printable, Flutter-based RC car


This remote control car is screwless, wireless, and full of awesomeness. 


Certainly not new to the Maker Movement, Taylor Alexander has spent a life of hacking and transfiguring electronics. At the early age of five, he would break objects down and rebuild them as something entirely different. This included taking parts from old cameras and stereos, then transforming them into electric cars.

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Born out of his own frustration as to how difficult it was to wirelessly connect two Arduino boards, the Maker went on to invent Flutter, which not only gained enormous popularity among the DIY crowd but garnered just over $150,000 on Kickstarter back in 2013. The $36 wireless Arduino with a half-mile range lets users develop mesh networking protocols and connected devices in an efficient yet inexpensive manner.

As you can imagine, the processor is perfect for an assortment of applications, like robotics, consumer electronics, wireless sensor networks and educational platforms. Flutter is packed with a powerful Atmel | SMART SAM3S Cortex-M3 MCU, while an ATSHA204 crypto engine keeps it protected from digital intruders. This enables Makers to easily (and securely) build projects that communicate across a house, a neighborhood and beyond, as in the case of the 3D-printable remote control car named Scout.

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Scout is an experimental vehicle that can be constructed by anyone using a 3D printer with at least 165mm of travel in one axis. The original prototypes were printed using an ATmega2560 based Ultimaker, a Maker-friendly machine which he highly recommends. Impressively, Scout doesn’t use any screws, and instead, simply snaps together using interlocking parts and clips. This allows the whole vehicle to be disassembled and reassembled in just a few minutes.

The current vehicle was crafted pretty quickly over the course of a few weekends as a mere proof-of-concept. What this means is that it admittedly comes with a few flaws, for the moment at least. However, the Maker does encourage his fellow Github community to share their input to help improve its design. Despite the flaws, which Alexander reveals below, the car is quite capable. So much so that it can even pull off 10-foot wheelies. How ‘bout that?!

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“A short list [of flaws include]: The right angle mounting of the motor creates a week point with the bevel gears. The wheels are supposed to slip on, but using my printer they need to be hammered into place with a mallet. The steering requires a piece of bent piano wire, and should be replaced with a printed linkage. The body shell easily comes off, and so tape should be wrapped around the body of the system. There is no hole in the body shell for a power switch, so without modification the tape needs to be cut to toggle power. After agressive driving the motor gets hot and eventually wiggles in its mount,” he writes.

Aside from the Flutter wireless board, the project consists of eight 608 Skate bearings, a metal gear servo, a brushless quadcopter motor, a quadrotor propeller adapter, four toy car tires, and of course, some batteries and other electronic components. To see how Alexander put these pieces together, well you’ll have to head over to his Github page here. In the meantime, watch it in action below!