J. Peterson's Writing About Electronics, Reviews, 3D Modeling, etc.

Tag Archives: Balance

Some Boots for the Lelo Self-Balancing Triangle

One of the cool things modern tech has made straightforward is the ability for gadgets to balance themselves. Spinning reaction wheels allow a device to change its position and hold it in place, even if it’s balancing on a point. Last century, this would have been a major (and expensive!) engineering challenge. Today inexpensive nano-tech gyroscopes, direct-drive motors and microcontrollers have reduced automatic balancing to an engineering class project.

I’d love to learn more about this and build such a device. Check out this YouTube channel for a whole variety of homemade balancing devices. In the mean time, you can buy a fun demo from Nikolatoy: The Lelo self-balancing triangle. This is a commercial version of an open-source project that apparently is very popular in China (YouTuber RemRC’s version is here).

One of the clever tricks Nikolatoy used to reduce the cost of their triangle was to make the frame out of the circuit boards. Unfortunately, the edges of the boards have poor traction, and it’s difficult for the triangle to balance itself without getting stuck slipping back and forth.

I solved this by creating a set of “boots” to put around the edge of the boards, giving the triangle a lot more grip.

This dramatically improves the ability of triangle to function (see the video below). I’ve posted the STLs if you want to print your own, using a soft, flexible material such as TPU. Or, (shameless plug!) you can simply buy a set of them from me on Shapeways (remember to order two of them).