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Each time a mecha related questions is asked here, it asks the same things, and has the same things as answers.

How do you design a mecha for realism? But, before that is answered, let me give you context.

Your definition of mecha is "tanks with legs". My definition is "body with arms". Having tracks and not legs? Completely fine! Actually, I prefer those! I say they look better. No need for the problems of legs.

Or the idea that these are only for combat. These machines can do things that don't involve violence. Don't limit to just combat.

So,I ask, any good way to get a mecha, without all the predetermined notions of "without this, it ain't a mech!". Hpw dp you take the fictional mecha concept, and adapt iy for real life?

My only request is that it have 2 arms, otherwise go ham

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    $\begingroup$ It looks like you're asking about taking a trope from genre fiction and "adapting it for real life". I'm unsure how that is about building a fictional world. You also seem to be fishing for ideas and looking for us to generate ideas for you. Such questions aren't a good fit for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 4:25
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    $\begingroup$ Well you just made the worst design combination. A tank with (6+) legs has many advantages over wheels/tracks, just like you can make a comparison between wheels and tracks and neither is used exclusively. However a torso with tracks has almost only disadvantages. People also dont answer mech questions, they just point out one or two flaws and say "that means its not viable", which is a bad way to do it. Tracks are less efficient (we put them on trucks for transport if we can!), easier to disable, more likely to break down, 18+wheelers can carry more and yet... we use tracks. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 10:53

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A modular tractor with it's own hydraulic arms to remove, attach and operate components:

What you are describing isn't more than slightly mecha-like. This is more like a tractor with hydraulics to grab, attach and detach various modular components. It would be first a glorified industrial platform designed for dynamic environments where one specific operation is sufficient but where the tractor needs to be independent of a central refitting station.

Need to lift cargo? attach a forklift module. Bring in the crops? harvester attachment. Alien incursion? Multi-rocket launcher. The arms would be more like the hydraulics currently in use for cranes, bulldozers, lift arms and the like. In fact, the arms would likely be used for that purpose in most of the attachments (to save on parts).

The tricky thing is to justify two arms over one. For most applications, a single arm is simpler and cheaper. But if hand attachments are part of the package, then the intuitive function of hands might be more important than the engineering challenge of two independent arms. Some large attachments would need hydraulics on both sides of the package to balance the load. Two arms can also have two different specialized "hands" (like in the picture below).

Of course, with advanced science, the chassis can be tracked, wheeled, or spider-legged as needed for applications. The "hydraulics" could be contractile pseudo-muscles. But basically it's a glorified utility vehicle.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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Exosuit.

exosuit

source

In the movie Aliens this exosuit was intended for use like a forklift to move heavy things. I find that plausible. Later, the heroine pressed it into service to do battle.

In your world there are exosuits which are for human-sized endeavors in hostile environments - deep sea, off world, space. You could augment one with weapons if you had advance notice - then would wind up with something like the exosuit from District 9.

exosuit from district 9
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoRGdgKN3fo

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How do you design a mecha for realism?

The main problem is that a realistic mecha is not fun, because it will be very slow.

Look at the NASA crawler transporter

each crawler had 16 traction motors, powered by four 1,000 kW (1,341 hp) generators, in turn driven by two 2,050 kW (2,750 hp) V16 ALCO 251C diesel engines. Two 750 kW (1,006 hp) generators, driven by two 794 kW (1,065 hp) engines, were used for jacking, steering, lighting, and ventilating. Two 150 kW (201 hp) generators were also available to power the Mobile Launcher Platform. The crawler's tanks held 19,000 liters (5,000 U.S. gal) of diesel fuel, and it burned 296 liters per kilometer (125.7 U.S. gal/mi).

The crawlers traveled along the 5.5 and 6.8 km (3.4 and 4.2 mi) Crawlerways, to LC-39A and LC-39B, respectively, at a maximum speed of 1.6 kilometers per hour (1 mph) loaded, or 3.2 km/h (2 mph) unloaded.

or the Bagger 288, with a reported speed of

2 to 10 m (6.6 to 32.8 ft) per minute (0.1 to 0.6 km/h)

with a gross power of

16.56 megawatts of externally supplied electricity

They are still far from being anything similar to what we see depicted as mecha, however due to their large masses and the limitation imposed by structural consideration and available power, they can't exactly perform all the stunts we see doing by mechas.

A melee fight between mecha would be as enticing as a snail race.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thats the thing, those are limited by our lack of work on legs. Here, the idea was to use tracks (tanks treads) $\endgroup$
    – KombatAce
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 4:30
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    $\begingroup$ I would say these arent good comparisons. A 12 ton excavator will also have around 5 to 10km/h speeds, but that is no indication that other tracked vehicles would be similarly fast. Its because they arent designed to be combat vehicles and are designed to be transported by other vehicles and have limited movement requirements when they arrive. The NASA Crawler would not benefit from higher speeds either. Combat vehicles by their nature are inefficient and maintenance heavy, despite that its an important part of a good military force. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 12:35
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More parameters needs to be defined for a realistic response to this question.

The real-life feasibility of a mecha design is already beaten like a deadhorse, but you are specifically rejecting those answers, so there isn't a whole lot to work with here. From your question and some of your comments it seems like you are under the imrpession mecha designs are not practical only due to bipedal design; this is not true, and if anything it is quite misguided. Mechwarrior style bidpedal/quadripedal weapon platforms are more practical than a Wall-E mecha since it can perform its designed functional task. The multi-legged design doesn't intrinsictly hinder that function, and might be justified by the terrain it is intended to operate in, such as over crevaces and uneven terrain.

Mecha as a concept is impractical. The closest analog would be the exosuit as someone else has posted.

Every machine is designed with a functional purpose to carry out tasks within the paremeters defined for it. Does it need to resist heat? Ok it might use heat-resistant alloys. Does it need to withstand sudden rockslides? Okay, it might have thick plates. If the functional task is to lift heavy objects, we have cranes. If the task is to deploy weapons, we have tanks and airplanes.

If you aim is for a multirole-everything - it would not be cost effective and may not ever be technologically possible at gundam-sizes. If you can be satisfied with human-sizes, those are called androids.

A real-life large sized mecha fight already happened: Megabot vs Suidobashi. It was... boring and underwhelming. Even witht he most advanced and powerful hydraulics system to lift the arms, any weapon platform (a jet or tank, even a human with a bazooka) can destroy the mecha before can point forward.

To answer your question there must be a clear situation and problem to solve to justify the mecha's design. In my world it is a densely packed jungle zone where tank treads are impractical. A rogue-AI machine colony was destroyed and AI outlawed but the humans repurposed their multirole logging/worker mechas by ripping out the core and rebuild it into a cockpit. A scenario like mine wouldn't really have a specific "upper limits for design" to be relevant.

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    $\begingroup$ What is unpractical about Mecha's? The only impracticality I can see right now is the motor design and designing a proper movement pattern. All other "problems" people attribute to it are actually part of its strengths or deliberately putting a Mecha in a situation it is not designed for. Mecha's would be ideal for very rough terrain situations, crossing minefields and would be able to perform vehicular trench warfare much better than tanks can. They also are LESS restricted by weight than tracked vehicles due to tracks needing to slide across the ground when turning. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 11:02
  • $\begingroup$ "in a situation it is not designed for" - what situation would that be? Mechas are impractical in functional need, economic efficiency, operational efficiency, manufacturing efficiency, and more - where to even start? The latter half of your comment describes advantage of a multi-pedal walker/crawler chasis, that alone does not define a mecha as commonly understood and embraced in Sci-Fi/Anime/Etc. Sure, you could surmise a billionaire rich boy might take it on as a pet project to build a mecha at an individual scale. At industrial scale there would be no motive nor advantage for mecha. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ the OP quite literally mentions Mecha's alternative interpretation of "tanks with legs", although yes he also mentions torso's so its open to interpretation if he means one or both options. Combat vehicles are by their nature impractical at all the things you mentioned. Also legged vehicles would outmatch wheels and tracks in very rough terrain and pre-prepared positions (tanks need to visibly drive into a pre-prepared position, fire and back out, a Mech of either form could pop up from cover/trenches, fire and get back in cover). They also have less problems with minefields. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't mean to sound snarky but this is a well-beaten dead horse that can be searched online for very comprehensive answers. In order for Mechas to exist there needs to be a reason "why" other than rule of cool. That "why" includes multiple factors including but not limited to those that I mentioned, in what tasks can a mecha perform that another machine cannot do faster, cheaper, more efficently and less prone to breakdowns? I am by no means bashing on mechas, I grew up with Gundam and enjoy Battle Mech and MechWarriors, but as soon as you want to apply practicality to it it falls apart. $\endgroup$
    – user93359
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ that is my point, its not a well-beaten dead horse. Its a list of disadvantages, some of which are outright wrong and can be solved by not using game/movie design legs and feet for example. Many of the disadvantages are also by placing the mechs against tanks in the ideal condition of tanks and then say "hah so they lose in that situation so they lose all situations". Thats like saying a boat loses to a tank because he cant fight on land. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 18:29

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