Taking a close look at how RC model cars handle steering can provide some clues to solving the problem with robot designs – not just with steering, but also for other challenges like manipulators and similar mechanisms.
One of the RC model designs I looked at on Sunday included a very straight forward method of transforming the servo rotation into a linear motion, and then coupling that to the front wheels so that they turn to the left and right. I put together a quick Flash animation using SwishMax – my favorite Flash tool. I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to make it perfect, so you may find some small mismatches in the linkages and movement. I was just trying to get a feel for how the steering mechanism works.
Hopefully it’s easy to see from this model how the four fixed pivot points constrain the movement, and how the linear action from the servo is coupled through to steer the wheels.