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Ackermann Steering tutorial
About this creation
Ackermann Steering Geometry. What a big long confusing looking term. In this tutorial, I plan to put this term into simple understandable terms. I've divided this into 3 sections.


  • 1)What is it?

  • 2)Why use it?

  • 3)How to build it



So let's dive right in, and get started!

1) What is it?

Ackermann Steering Geometry is a system for steering devised to solve the problem of the inside wheel having to turn in a smaller radius than the outside wheel. As shown below:



It was invented by the German Carriage Builder Georg Lankensperger in Munich in 1817, then patented by his agent in England, Rudolph Ackermann (17641834) in 1818 for horse drawn carriages.(Info from here)

This is achieved by shorting the connecting steering linkage. The two photos below show parallel steering linkages vs the Ackerman geometry ones.



Parallel linkages make a rectangle when the steering is straight.



Ackermann linkages make a trapezoid.

Video:



2) Why use it?

So really, why do you need to use Ackermann Geometry on your steering? Well a couple reasons are that if you use Ackermann Geometry, the wheels will turn better, and your creation will be more efficient. It also reduces wheel slip around corners. Wheel slip is
when the outside wheel turns on the same radius as the inside wheel, and the outside wheel slips sideways when turning.

3) How to build it!

The part you have been waiting for. How to make Ackermann steering.

First of all, let me state that true Ackermann steering is harder to make in lego, but not impossible.



This is how you make true Ackermann steering. First of all, true Ackermann requires that the two angled sides of the trapezoid can be extended back, and come to a single point above the center of the rear axle. As shown above, the red pieces are the 'V' made by extending the trapezoid sides. the dark grey piece on top of them would be your stationary bar, and the light grey would be your moving steering bar. To make true Ackermann, you have to make sure these both line up with the red pieces.



A side view of the 'V'



This is another true Ackermann. The yellow piece would be the steering bar. As you can see the yellow bar is pretty far from the grey bar. This leads to a bulky big and inefficient steering system. So the solution to make a Ackermann steering system better suited for techinc is to just make sure you have a trapezoid for your steering arm.



I actually didn't design this one. It came from Sariel It is designed for a large scale vehicle.



I am not sure, but I think this is the same or similar steering/suspension system that
Ingmar Spijkhoven uses on his heavy trucks.



It features a simple pendular suspension attachment via this pin, and the steering rod.
Now you may be saying, this is good and all for solid axles, but I want to add Ackermann geometry on my independent suspension. Well look no further, I have designed this system which is really simple.



I simply took the design for the snowmobile suspension, and move the steering arms in. The picture below shows the trapezoid.





I moved each steering arm in one stud.



The inside wheel turns sharper, thus achieving Ackermann steering.



Minus the wheels.



Ok, so now you know how to build Ackermann steering, I'll leave you with a few tips.

  • 1) It's hard to add a rack and pinion to Ackerman steering. My advice, stay with gears, or the yellow knobs.

  • 2) When making Ackermann steering, make sure the moving arm is shorter, and toward the rear of the vehicle. You can put the moving arm on the front, but it must be longer than the solid arm, and it makes thing complicated.

  • 3) Trapazoid, thats all you need to know.



LDD has both steering systems.

Thanks for looking. Did this tutorial help you? Please give me some feedback so I can make the best tutorials. Tutorials are all about you, the readers!


Building instructions
Download building instructions (LEGO Digital Designer)

Comments

  July 12, 2014
arrey yaar..its good but I need the techniques that will help me to decide steering arm lengths and tie rod lengths for a given turning radius and track width for a good ackerman .Plz help me in that :)
 I like it 
  April 8, 2014
Never ever noticed this tutorial, very clear, thanks for sharing this with the RoW :-)
 I like it 
  June 10, 2012
ravishingly beautiful!
 I like it 
  May 7, 2012
Great stuff, nicely explained. Very understandable. Many thanks for this!
George Staples
 I like it 
Chris Melby
  April 30, 2012
Nice tutorial George.
 I made it 
  April 30, 2012
Quoting 2ror ornot2ror How's your video and the next steering/suspension tutorial coming along.?
Video for this one is done. Next steering tutorial is on hold for a little, I had to build my turret for my WWII half track. I'm itching to post it, but still waiting on parts. I think I'll work on the tutorial tonight. Thanks for asking :)
 I like it 
  April 30, 2012
How's your video and the next steering/suspension tutorial coming along.?
 I made it 
  April 30, 2012
Thanks guys!
 I like it 
  April 29, 2012
Another great tutorial, george, on my Can-am spyder that I am making I gave it Ackermann steering without even realizing that I did. ~Ma$on Mc]{echn!e~
 I like it 
  April 29, 2012
Awesome! It's a great tutorial. Great explanation. 5/5 :-)
 I made it 
  April 28, 2012
Quoting Senator Chinchilla . Thanks much! This is very helpful, I might have to re-do the front of my RC with this, it's been having troubles with toe-out.
:) Your welcome. I've had that problem before, It is very annoying. Glad I could help.
 I made it 
  April 28, 2012
Quoting 2ror ornot2ror I,m adding 2 comments in a row 'cause I said enough in the last comment. Probably the next step in steering geometry is total steering geometry. What I mean is caster, camber toe in, and out angles.
Thanks for your comment. Id be happy to see your ackermann design. I think my next tutorial will be return to center steering, maybe I'll cover all the steering terms in that one.
 I made it 
  April 28, 2012
Quoting jmmy avila exelent suspension design! i have been developing a brushless mottor powered R/c car out of legos and seeing how you made the suspension for the sway bar makes me want to re think my design.
That sounds really cool. I'm glad I could help.
 I like it 
  April 28, 2012
A great tutorial, thanks for that one! :-))
 I like it 
  April 28, 2012
Thanks much! This is very helpful, I might have to re-do the front of my RC with this, it's been having troubles with toe-out.
 I like it 
  April 28, 2012
I,m adding 2 comments in a row 'cause I said enough in the last comment. Probably the next step in steering geometry is total steering geometry. What I mean is caster, camber toe in, and out angles.
  April 28, 2012
Great tutorial George! I already before this tutorial designed an ackermann steering system BUT, it needs some perfecting. Did you know that all you need to do to get a simple compact ackermann steering system is just to take the pieces that you use for regular ackermann seeing and put the 2 pinhole 1 axle hole pieces on the stub axles for the wheeles on the outside of the steering hubs? This is the way my ackermann steering system works.I'l probably put it on moc pages.
 I like it 
  April 28, 2012
Great tutorial! -LB Jr.
 I like it 
  April 28, 2012
Great tutorial George! This is a very complex matter that you explained perfectly.
 I like it 
  April 28, 2012
exelent suspension design! i have been developing a brushless mottor powered R/c car out of legos and seeing how you made the suspension for the sway bar makes me want to re think my design.
 I made it 
  April 28, 2012
Quoting Jon Treasure Great George! I love how well you explained it! this make lots of sense! All of your tutorials are great! 5/5
Thanks Jon :) I'm working on the video now, you'll have to come back and see it.
 I like it 
  April 28, 2012
Great George! I love how well you explained it! this make lots of sense! All of your tutorials are great! 5/5
 
By George Staples
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Ackermann Steering tutorialTechnic


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