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Fighting Tank Excavator
Case Study

Fighting Tank Excavator

Jamie has been with StuDIYo Lab for over 2 years now and progressed tremendously. He has grown through the 3 stages of our DT skills pathway and has reached the Ideator level - where he is able to work on inspiring projects with creativity and confidence alongside his teachers.

Inspired by the TV series ‘Tank’, he wanted to create a Fighter-Tanker-Excavator model, which should be able to shoot, dig bunkers, as well as carry artillery support for the troops. His previous experience in designing and motorising a mini formula one car model, gave him the confidence that he needed to actualize this project.

Along with his StuDIYo Lab instructor, these were the requirements for the brief of the project:

There should be a wired controller for shooting and all other motions

The tanker should have 6 wheels interlinked by a rubber track, to simulate the caterpillar wheels of a military tank

The tank body, arm, boom, and bucket should be made from plywood

During the design stage, the following critical factors were taken into consideration:


Weight distribution



The following steps were taken in the construction stage:

Building the arm structure (Boom, arm, bucket)

Building the platform/body structure

Building the shooting gun

Electrical wiring

Final assembly

Several challenges were faced during the design and construction phase:

The first challenge was the pivot point for the arm structure. During the design stage, a screw mechanism through a plastic casing was decided as the best option. However, during testing, it was found to be unstable and not secure enough to carry the arm structure. This problem was solved by switching out the plastic casing with a more rigid wooden dowel.

The second challenge was finding the optimal position of the arm structure on the base so that the weight would be equally distributed. One of the methods of problem solving is trial and error, and Jamie got to experience that as he eventually found the most stable position for the arm structure.

Since six motors were used for the various movements and functions, and all the motions had to be linked to a central handheld controller, identifying the myriad of wires also became a problem. Jamie stayed organized by labelling each of the wires with their source function.

The fourth and last problem was the slipping of wheel rubber track. To give grip to the wheels surface, Jamie ran strips of hot glue along each wheel. This proved to have an added effect of making the tank look like it was running on a bumpy surface. As a real military tank would!

In total the project took 15 hrs to complete. Since Jamie has been with StuDIYo Lab for two years, the wooden components of the project were a breeze for him. The greatest time was taken during the assembly and electrical wiring stages where many tests and retests and adjustments had to be done. All in all, the project was a huge success and one of the best projects at StuDIYo Lab.

We are proud to be a home to our passionate little makers, where we encourage and motivate them while also being inspired by them every day!