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Most vehicle corrosion occurs on the underside of the vehicle, and
heavily contributes to mechanical failure of components, as well as
in shortening vehicle life. Laser rust removal machines offer
amazingly convenient capability for removing rust. The laser's
frequency is specifically attuned
to removal of rust and dirt, and
thus spares other surfaces from any destructive effects. [see link
The idea is for a Roomba type of robot device that would move
around underneath a vehicle while using such a laser to remove
both dirt and rust from the underside of the vehicle. This would
help in vehicle maintenance and longevity. The Roomba-style robot
would have an extended power cord trailing from it to supply the
necessary electrical power for the laser to operate.
The Roomba-style robot would navigate by using a camera with
optical recognition software to know where it was underneath the
vehicle. That camera could also be used to provide the owner with
visual inspection of the underside of the vehicle without the need
for a hoist. (Sometimes you just want to see what the underside of
your vehicle looks like, to know what kind of condition it's in, just
as a matter of routine inspection.) The fully-stitched video image
would be wirelessly transmitted to an app on the user's phone
device, where the image could be recorded and stored for future
reference. (Maybe you want to send that image to a mechanic or
someone else, to have them assess what's wrong, before bringing
the vehicle in.)
Perhaps a cheap and basic model of the Roomba robot would just
have the camera and do the visual inspection stuff, without doing
the rust removal. It could be the size of a hockey puck, instead of
Roomba size, and wouldn't need a power cord. Revenues from sale
of this basic inspector model could be used to fund the development
of the more advanced version with the laser rust removal.
Finally, a separate sprayer-roomba could be used to spray anti-
corrosion coating or wax onto the vehicle underside, especially at
specific spots requiring touch-ups and extra protection.
The same phone app could be used to interface with all 3 robot
Laser Rust Removal explained
Brief Explanation of Laser Rust Removal [sanman, Oct 07 2020]
[kdf, Oct 07 2020]
method for smaller items [wjt, Oct 10 2020]
Ryobi Water Broom
Vehicle Undercarriage Cleaner [sanman, Oct 10 2020]
Directed Energy Deposition
Depositing metal where needed using directed energy [sanman, Oct 11 2020]
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||I question how fine a degree of control an untrained Roomba pilot can exhibit undercarriage, while also shooting lasers with precision, but then again, it is an excuse to shoot lasers willy-nilly without bothering actual pilots.
||As I mentioned, the robot would use optical recognition
software to navigate itself around beneath the vehicle. This
would be assisted by inputting the vehicle make & model
into the phone app, which would give relevant information
to the robot, such as the dimensions and layout of the
vehicle undercarriage. Using the "internet of things"
approach, the full image taken of the vehicle's undercarriage
by camera could be relayed through the phone app or
directly via the home wi-fi, and ultimately sent to a central
server, for further analysis and comparison. (As you know,
many modern garage door openers also connect to internet
via wi-fi, to allow remote operation.) This type of data
mining would allow for better understanding of corrosion on
various vehicle models, in order to achieve best possible
treatment. (As with Facebook, etc, by making use of the
service, you are agreeing to allow data on your vehicle's
corrosion to be collected and made use of by others.)
Furthermore, as shown in the linked video, the laser is
attuned to removal of rust & dirt only, and does not affect
normal uncorroded surfaces. Indeed, it does not even
damage flesh, although there would be product warnings
against staring into the laser, etc.
||[+] Good idea but I think people are too fixated
on Roomba - both for the cute name and form
factor. Look to InspectorBots (link) - not as cute a
name but more descriptive - for other form
||Hi, I am simply using the word "Roomba" for convenience in
suggesting how the product would generally look and move,
and am in no way suggesting that the actual product be
named "Roomba". Similarly, we sometimes use the word
"Xerox" to generically refer to photocopying. More important
than the product's actual name is how it ultimately looks and
||Why not just make a carsized laser pad you can park over and laser the hell out of that puppy?
||Hi, I'd thought about that too. It would probably be
significantly more expensive, being a larger device. That
might be something you install at a professional automotive
garage or maintenance facility. Heck, perhaps it could even be
installed at a car wash. The corrosion-zapper pad/bar could
zap the underside of your vehicle after the main car wash has
been done and the vehicle undercarriage has already been
blow-dried. Yeah, that could be a useful idea too, but the
roomba idea would be for the home.
||Brilliant in so many ways. Build it, we will come.
||If the wheel diameter was bigger than the thickness, some jacks would allow a 2nd function.
||2nd function? I'm not sure I understand exactly. Do you
mean the Roomba would be able to elevate itself while
underneath the vehicle? For what purpose? Like if it had
some kind of brush or scraper attached to it, in order to use
that on certain spots? Well, I suppose if you want to get
fancy, you could have a rotating brush drum that comes up,
sort of like the rotating brush on the bottom of some
vacuum cleaners. I guess that could remove heavier dirt,
before the laser gets used.
||Or maybe a cheaper model could have the brush and no laser.
It would just give your underside a good scrubbing. You
could have different models at different price points.
||Here - I've added another link to a product I just found on
Youtube. It's a "water broom" that can clean the underside of
vehicles, and even clean your driveway as well. It doesn't
even need any separate pressure washer system attached to
it. Not bad for $40 - cheaper than a Bidet.
||Okay, how about this name: Underguard
||2nd function : If the wheels were all driven independantly, the not moving robot would act as a plane with rollers on it. This plane could rotate smaller rusty objects(see link) and laze them.
||I see what you're getting at - it would require that the
objects being rotated be sufficiently light and have suitable
geometry. Perhaps a device built like a lathe could rotate an
object to have the laser completely scan its surface. I think
there are also robot camera setups which are able to
photograph an object from all angles, and those might
likewise be able to zap an object from all angles.
||Wheels are getting more advanced all the time, some even crab. Since this is in a workshop setting, things have to be reasonably beefy.
||//some even crab//
That's possibly a good idea: legs! (Especially for those who
don't have a nice smooth driveway or garage floor.)
||Maybe the Roomba could adjust the height of its wheels so
that it can get closer to the underside of the vehicle when
required. I wonder if some kind of Laser Metal Deposition
could also be possible? [See the new link I've added]
||[sanman] This is adding up to be very complicated engineering marvel. Changes/advances can easily be added with the money earnt from the really useful, simple first successful product.
||[wjt] Perhaps we can make our initial inspector roomba
model even cheaper and simpler. Suppose your smartphone
can be the brains & eyes of the roomba. Imagine this
roomba is just a thin plastic chassis with small motorized
wheels. Your phone plugs into the roomba via a USB
connector, and also fits snugly lying on the topside of the
chassis. A clear plastic lid on top swings shut, to keep your
phone protected from any drips or grime beneath the
vehicle. An app running on the phone would steer the
roomba around the underside of the vehicle, while the
phone camera does the video imaging of the entire
underside, stitching everything together into one big image.
You then retrieve your phone from the roomba, and it now
has the image of the entire underside of your vehicle. The
phone with its selfie camera has been used to take a 'selfie'
of the vehicle's underside. Perhaps you don't even need to
buy separate batteries for the roomba, and could power the
wheel-motors from the phone, using the USB connector.
You'd just have to ensure your phone was fully charged
before using it with the roomba. The whole gadget would be
cheap enough that you could sell it in gas stations - it would
be hanging on a rack by the cash register, next to the slim
||Sounds good. Add some mount points on the chassis and some cheap solder points into the motors and the product is ready for human imagination as well.