The goal tonight is to figure out the issues with our beetleweight Belligerent Battler and see if we can fix them up. At the 2012 Franklin Cup, the drive train was very lackluster, and although the weapon was decent, it had issues staying together. Time to put our troubleshooting hat on! Hit Back after viewing an image.
We've deconstructed the 'bot somewhat and found a number of issues - firstly the weapon motors are loose in their mounts, so we tightened up the mounting screws. We also need to have a bit of a test drive to see which motors in particular are giving us problems.
Hmm ... in the video you can see the drive train is actually pretty darn zippy - a significant improvement over it's performance at Franklin. The obvious difference is that we don't have the side walls on, so it stands to reason there's too much friction when the walls are installed and the drive axles are in their bearings in the outer wall.
To that end, we decided to cut off the overhung axle. We broke out the Dremel-ish and in no time had these trimmed down in no time, leaving funky engraved marks in the hubs at the same time. The hubs are pinned to the axles, so no worries about them sliding off the axles. We finally have a decent drive train!
Unfortunately, now the weapon motors don't spin up. Turned out we got carried away tightening their mounting screws, and actually managed to strip two of the bolts for one of the motors, so again came the Dremel-ish to our rescue, cutting slots in the screw-heads, and we were able to remove them. Doh!
The 'bot was fairly underweight at Franklin, coming in as you can see here at less than two and three-quarter pounds, so with almost five ounces to work with, and knowing we're going to save almost an ounce by switching the Whyachi power switch to a FingerTech test unit, we're seriously debating swapping the UHMW side rails for 6061 aluminium ...
But for the meanwhile, we're all patched up and ready to rock! We've tested the drive train and the weapon, and both work fine, so it's time to stick a fork in this 'bot [for now - we'll revisit the 6061 side rail idea another time] and call it done! 50% of the Motorama 2013 is done and ready, and we still have a month to go, so things are looking good!
Tags: build, done, beetleweight, bb1
We need to stuff a bunch of things into cases and head to the airport, but before we do that, here's a quick shot of the fleet for Franklin. Hit Back after viewing an image.
Here's the fleet as it stands right now (clockwise-ish from the top: Formidable Fustigator 2.0 - 30lb Featherweight, Malicious Mule - 1lb Antweight, Steel Stiletto - 12lb Hobbyweight, Nihilistic Naysayer 2.5 - 12lb Hobbyweight, and Belligerent Battler 1.0 - 3lb Beetleweight in the middle.
Tags: Franklin, done, ii2, nn2, ss, mm, bb1
After yesterday we knew we're close with the beetleweight Belligerent Battler 0.9 so first out the gate this evening is to wrap this 'bot up. We have some finessing of the chassis and the wiring to do. Hit Back after viewing an image.
Before we get carried away we decide to check the weight, and there's no worries there - 2lb 10.8oz before wire connectors and screws. We could possibly also add a couple of thin strips of aluminium across the top and bottom of the beater support to keep the walls from flexing out.
One of the issues from yesterday was that the weapon motors were touching the side walls, causing friction. Given that the ends of the pulleys are up against the side walls, we feel we can afford to lose the outer flanges on the pulleys, so we hit them up on the belt sander.
The weapon motors fit much better now that we've trimmed both the pulleys and also the front wall, taking another eighth of an inch from each end of the front wall. The side walls are finally parallel, which we're happy with, so now it's time to move on to our nemesis - wiring!
Part way through we found ourselves having to remove the rear wall to get at the power connectors on the Whyachi power switch, so this is a bit of a hassle, but at least once it's done we won't have to do it again! Fortunately it didn't take very long to get these connections hooked up, and all of a sudden we had another 'bot ready to go!
We have a blue LED as our power indicator, and as you can spot here we're missing one screw in the top panel because the wiring bunched up, so we'll need to tweak the bundles of wires inside there at some point to flatten the top out, but hey - it's done!
Tags: beetleweight, bb1, done, build
We're sooooo close to wrapping up our featherweight, so we're going to push on tonight and wrap this 'bot up. We only have a few things left on the To Do List, so let's see how we do. Hit Back after viewing an image.
Not a great picture, but this shoto was taken after we had finally bolted the wedge on to the front wall using ten #10-24 bolts and locknuts. It took a little time to get around the wheels and get those locknuts cranked down, but now that it's in place, it's pretty solid.
Internally we've neated up the R/C wiring with a few judiciously applied zip ties, and need to make three retainers - one for the gyro, which has been squared off against the side wall; one for the ESCs; and one for the batteries. Unfortunately we're out of appropriately-sized spacers, so we'll add them to the next McMaster shopping list and move on. We've also installed a power light, and drilled holes for the light and access to the power switch.
Ta-daa! Weighing in at 28.4lb (without the afore-mentioned retainers nor DeWalt strengtheners), we have a working featherweight: presenting Intrusive Interloper 2.0! The wheels look a little undersized, but the grip is pretty good (40A hardness versus 65A hardness), so we're happy.
Tags: build, done, featherweight, ii2
The Team Radicus fleet for Motorama 2012, before the event:
The Team Radicus fleet for Motorama 2012, after the event:
Here are some notes on the 'bots, based on how they performed, and our initial plans for upgrades, etc.
Tags: done, motorama
We'll come back to today's build report - honest - but right now we have to clean up, pack some clothes, and get on the road in the next hour and a half, so we'll keep this short and sweet: We're ready for Motorama 2012! Hit Back after viewing an image.
Here's the fleet as it stands right now (counter-clockwise-ish from top-left: Nihilistic Naysayer 2.0 - 12lb Hobbyweight, Steel Stiletto - 12lb Hobbyweight, Didactic Duelist 1.5 - 3lb Beetleweight, Poor Punctuation 2.0 - 1lb Antweight, Malicious Mule - 1lb Antweight, Trancendental Terror 1.0 - 150g Fairyweight, Formidable Fustigator 2.0 - 30lb Featherweight, and Unlettered Understrapper 2.5 - 3lb Beetleweight. [Hi-Res Version available here - Ed]
The Botmobile is all loaded with roboty goodness (and the drill-press and arbor press) so all that's left to do this warm and rainy Texas February morning is to find some clean clothes to stuff in a suitcase, and hit the road!
This is it: our last day before we have to pack up the Botmobile and hit the road to Motorama. We have two unfinished 'bots: the featherweight Formidable Fustigator 2.0 and the sportsman Palindrome30. The featherweight is closest to being completed, so that's where we'll concentrate today. To Hit Back after viewing an image.
We need to drill weapon transmission holes in the top and bottom panels, so we printed a 1:1 template from Rhino3D to help mark the holes, and punched them into place.
Meanwhile, Milly was off making bearing blocks for the Sportsman, in the slim chance we'll have some time to work on it too, today.
Here are the bearing blocks - they need to be cut up, but otherwise ought to be okay.
Going back over to Milly, we used the 1/8"-inch end mill to position the top panel and then used a Mach3 wizard to cut a circular hole for the bronze bushing for the transmission shaft.
And hurray - top and bottom are done. Of course this photo doesn't show the time that ticked away disassembling and then reassembling the 'bot ...
The top panel has had a coat of paint, and we've also pressed the bushing in here too. Now we just have to finish the wiring!
As we have plenty of weight to spare, we decided to cut and install a battery wall, using some 2" polycarbonate strips. Fortunately it didn't take too long to cut, drill, and tap them, and we moved on.
Now that we can actually put the 'bot together, we found ourselves with a very tight fit in the transmission bushings for the shaft, so we put the shaft in the drill press, and used a file to trim down the diameter of the ends of the shaft until it spun more freely.
Et voila. We need to trim the bronze bushings down - we only had half-inch long ones on hand, and only really needed quarter-inch, but that's a trivial task.
Here we're in the midst of aligning the gears for the weapon transmission - through the forceful application of the arbor press we were able to bring the bevel gear in alignment with the pinion, and things seemed to fit together fairly well.
We've just realized something: we thought we were being clever angling the weapon motors away from the blade path and drive motors, but in fact we've shot ourselves in the foot - now we don't have room behind the rear drive motor for the wiring to pass from one side of the 'bot to the other. Grr. We're going to have to run it over the rear DeWalt, and squish it down with the top panel.
It's gone from being late to being early again! But we press on with the assembly and wiring, doggedly determined to wrap up this build for Motorama. The weapon transmission is done, and we move on to the remaining wiring.
The battery wall has been installed, so now we can run wiring from the batteries to the power switch and common ground.
It looks a bit of a mess, but except for the weapon motor speed controllers, the wiring is all in place! We decided to use ring terminals to connect the speed controllers to the weapon motors, so they don't take very long to install in the end.
Smoke! We fired the 'bot up to test the drive wiring, and one of the Victor 883s let out the magic smoke from one half of the FETs - the motor connected to it would go forward fine, but there would be smoke, flame, and no movement in the other direction. Yet more precious time was consumed swapping out both the speed controller and the motor.
Due to our weapon motor placement gaffe, we're having to route a pair of wires across the front of the 'bot and under the path of the blade. We use wire anchors and zip ties to keep the wires taut across there.
The wiring is finally done! The mess of PWM cables has been zip-tied up, and everything checks out okay! Time to bolt the 'bot up.
Last thing to do is check weight, and we're way under - 27 out of 30 pounds allowed, so no problems there. We'd better get the Botmobile loaded - it's 4am, and we leave for Motorama in four hours!
Tags: build, done, featherweight, ff2
With such a small number of things left to do we took some time after dinner tonight to wrap up Malicious Mule and get it ready for competition. We needed to trim some weight and bind the receiver to the radio, then see how it behaved. Hit Back after viewing an image.
SGGS: Houston - we have lift off!
After a quick turn on Milly we put the 'bot back on the scale and the problem quarter of an ounce had disappeared, and we were fighting fit at 15.94 ounces.
SGGS: Although Malicious Mule, like Steel Stiletto lacks a weapon, it makes up for it with Formula One-class driving and indomitable intention to win!
After bolting together the drivetrain it was time to put the newest antweight through it's paces on the test cardboard platform:
SGGS: In it's initial test run I was pleased to see that the Malicious Mule drove more reliably, smoothly, and with a more reliable drive-train than my Jaguar ever did! For the remainder of this week, the Malicious Mule (along with it's sister Steel Stiletto, will go the the paint shop for a Graffiti-fabulous paint job and of course, custom shoe logo. We must look our best, after all, for the competition.
Tags: antweight, done, mm, build
Last night we almost had another 'bot finished, but the weapon wouldn't spin up, so the first order of business this morning is figuring out why! We had put a 35A reversible ESC in the 'bot and the weapon motor kept just twitching. We hunted out the manual for the ESC and tried to go through the programming steps to calibrate it, and change some settings for a softer start, etc., but nothing helped, and the battery wound up extremely hot! Hit Back after viewing an image.
So we took the reversible ESC out and swapped back in the original 40A single-direction Plush ESC we used last time, and the weapon motor spun up just fine. The design of Didactic Duelist 1.5 isn't really invertible anyhow, so we decided to re-use this ESC.
The Plush ESC is roughly the same size as the 35A reversible one, so we were able to keep the layout the same inside, and added a power light for good measure. We also added a couple of nuts and bolts under the front of the 'bot to stop it from scraping along on the titanium plow.
And so there we go: 2lb 13.4oz - underweight with a couple of ounces to spare, and it's time for a proper test run. Unforuntately the video isn't great, and the 'bot doesn't drive particularly well on our curving driveway, but the drive works, the weapon works, and the 'bot is ready for Motorama!
Tags: beetleweight, dd1, done, build
Having dashed out at lunchtime to Grainger to swipe some #2-56 x 3/8" screws we were hoping to get the smallest 'bot in the fleet for Motorama 2012 finished up tonight. There's not much to do,so we buckled down and set to it. Hit Back after viewing an image.
It didn't take very long to get the new bolts broken out and installed for the weapon motor. Although there are only two screws they seem very secure, so out excessive milling doesn't seem to have caused too many issues.
There's still - unfortunately - a bit of soldering to be done, but it's relatively straight-foward as we're connecting the weapon motor to the weapon ESC.
We left the leads as they were to have plenty of manoueverability taking the 'bot apart, wrapping the soldered connections in electrical tape to insulate them.
Everything looks good, and a test on the scale says 148 grams out of the 150 allowed, so we should be good to go with this 'bot! It's nice to have another one done, and the night is still young, so we can now turn our attention to another member of the fleet ...
Bonus! We have a box that fits this 'bot - the box our first featherweight's weapon motor came in, but it houses our smallest 'bot just fine ...
Tags: build, done, fairyweight, tt1
We were feeling pretty good this morning - we finished a 'bot yesterday, and will likely finish another today. We have everything we need to wrap up the build of our 12lb drumbot, so it's off to the Build Space and here we go! Hit Back after viewing an image.
Here are the last parts, freshly arrived from Australia: two 25A converted brushless speed controllers from Bot Bitz. We were going to try the hacking ourselves, but Hobby King has been out of the source controllers for quite some time.
Here's the last structural work done - the rear wall has been installed. Frankly it was a hassle - as you might expect working with curved parts might be, but it's done, and no: we're not going to paint it.
The BaneBots ESCs need to come out, so here we're disconnecting them from the motors and power connections. The positive leads were on the Whyachi power switch, and very fiddly to get at.
And likewise installing the new ESCs was also quite fiddly - we had to take the bottom plate off to be able to get at the power connections, but with some perseverance everything was hooked up.
This must be a good sign - we had all the motor connections and receiver connections right on the first try. Hurrah!
And with everything installed and bolted down, we weigh in over half a pound under weight - 11lb 7.2oz - so we might want to add more beef to the restraints on the drum teeth, but to all intents and purposes Nihilistic Naysayer 2.0 is done! We haven't taken any video of it running, because quite frankly it's a bit scary contemplating the drum spinning up, but we will take it to our secret testing grounds at some point soon ...
Tags: build, done, hobbyweight, nn2
After a very busy work week we were looking forward to making some 'bot progress this weekend, and we have a couple of 'bots very close to being done, so we're going to concentrate on those this weekend. First up, the second version of our antweight spinner: Poor Punctuation 2.0. Hit Back after viewing an image.
Last time out we decided that we needed some idlers for the ring, and found some aluminium spacers, pressed the titanium idlers onto them with extreme predjudice on the arbor press, and installed them in the 'bot.
Which caused an issue - the ring terminals are too bulky with the idlers installed, and we didn't want them getting in the way, so we decided to remove them and look at alternative ways of wiring the 'bot.
With all the ring terminals out of the way, we sat for a while trying to figure out whether we could solder the leads together. They didn't all stretch to a common point though ...
And then we had a brain wave! Inspired by thoughts of old "Vampire Taps" in networking, what if we ran two 'bus' cables for positive and negative, and 'tapped' into them for the components? Sounds like an idea, so here we are soldering a weapon speed controller onto the busses.
And it actually was pretty painless to complete - we're going to have to remember this trick for other small 'bots!
We were almost ready for a first full test drive! We spent a bit of time with the 'bot hooked up to the battery charger in preparation, then ...
Tags: antweight, build, done, pp2
Ugh - despite a huge head cold, we stumbled out to the Build Space determined to continue making the most of our week off, and get some building done. We didn't want to work with Milly - besides, the Alka Seltzer Cold medicine says not to operate heaving machinery, and Milly is 900 pounds - we we settled on the wiring for our ancient beetleweight Unlettered Understrapper 2.5. Hit Back after viewing an image.
When we were tidying yesterday we came across this case, which had been taped shut literally since moving from Baltimore to California. Inside is a mess of MiniEV motors, sprockets, and even some DeWalt motors - score!
In our last batch of parts from HobbyKing we'd picked up some OrangeRx 610 receivers, which the reviews said fit in the same casing as the Spektrum AR6110e. We just happen to have a dead AR6110e (left), and the 610 does indeed fit into the casing just fine (right).
Anyway - to the business at hand. We want to finish this old beetle up, and move on to other 'bots. At the moment it weighs in at 2lb 8.9oz, mainly it's so light because the original design had NiCad batteries, which we've switched to LiPo, a largish brushed motor, which we've switched to a brushless one, and an aluminium slotted front pipe, which we lost a long time ago.
Here's where we've been stumped: trying to get all the electronics and wiring neatly tucked away inside the 'bot. It seems like there ought to be sufficient room for everything, but we just can't seem to make the wires go where we want them to.
So we pulled everything out, and started from scratch. This meant testing the components, and noticed that the thresher spun the wrong way, so we switched two leads for the weapon motor, and that was fine.
It seemed like there ought to be sufficient space for the weapon ESC to fit behind the weapon motor, but we couldn't get the motor leads neatly tucked away, because the barrel connectors made things unweildy.
So we decided to do away with them and go with what we know, and we know ring terminals! We cut off the barrel connectors and switched each lead to a pair of ring terminals screwed together with a #4-40 screw and locknut.
Which didn't take too long. We taped up the connections, and worked them down into place.
And eventually we had the leads neatly tucked away under the drive motor, and zip-tied the ESC to the drive motor to prevent it moving forwards into the thresher.
We did have to cheat and add a piece of wire to the ground on the ESC to get it routed into the other half of the 'bot, but with the weapon ESC in place there ought to be plenty of room left for drive ESCs, receiver, and battery.
And here we have everything zip-tied into place. The only things left to do are bolt all the reds to the reds, the blacks to the blacks, install a power switch, and bolt the top down.
The power switch is the same toggle switch we've always used in this 'bot, and here we're hotglueing it to the top panel.
And there you have it! Our first build report for this 'bot was way back in December 16th, 2003, and now we finally have it finished, a little over eight years later - that has to be some kind of record :-)
Final weight is 2lb 9.2oz. I wonder what we could do with that weight ... Maybe come up with some front wall? Add a layer of ablative UHMW to the quarter-inch 6061 outer track walls? For now we're happy to have it done! Unlettered Understrapper 2.5 will be our back-up beetle, in case either Didactic Duelist 1.5 or Versatile Villain 0.9 aren't done in time for Motorama.
Tags: beetleweight, build, done, uu2
We're well into Robot-Mode here at Team Radicus, and are itching to get the fleet built up for Motorama 2012 in February. We've got a lot of neat ideas we want to build, but before we can get going on that we need a place to build. Unfortunately the garage Build Space has gotten a bit messy over the last few months, so we need to get organized before we can start building. But not only did we get organized, we actually got a 'bot up and running! Hit Back after viewing an image.
As you can tell, things have gotten a bit out of hand out here - Christmas stuff has piled up, there's shavings everywhere, parts strewn about, and not a lot of space to work in. Time to roll up our sleeves and get to it.
Slowly working our way around to throwing out junk, clearing up the floor, and generally organizing things to be able to have some elbow room. Unfortunately we managed to completely clog up the Shop-Vac, which hindered us a bit, but we pressed on.
Making headway - we can see a patch of floor! One thing we decided to do is to put up a TV in here. It was on sale at BestBuy, and has an integrated Blu-Ray player with Netflix access, so during marathon build sessions we can have some background entertainment for those long evenings of tapping ...
It's a 32" TV, and fits perfectly between the two cabinets, and has a moveable mount so we can tilt it around. Nifty!
This is as good as it's going to get for now, so we're finally ready to break out some parts, and see what's what after the last Motorama.
We're going to start by stripping down the 'bots to see what parts and pieces are good, so we have an inventory ready for rebuilding with. Here we're stripping down Formidable Fustigator 1.0 to see if the weapon motor and ESC are in good shape.
Next out of the box is Cantankerous Cowpoke 3.0. At the end of Motorama 2011 it was immobile, so we took it apart, and verified that the Victor 883s were fine - it was the two drive motors that had both burned up. Fortunately we have a lot of spare miniEV motors, and so we pulled the pinion gears from the dead motors and pressed them onto replacements.
Once the motors were reassembled it was time to put the 'bot back together. We'd recharged the batteries, and Lauren took over the assembly process, as this will be her 'bot for Moto2012, so she needs to get to know the ins and outs of it.
Meanwhile, another fine soldering job by Toni, putting leads on the replacement motors - it may be ugly, but they didn't fall off, so that ought to do!
A clean, organized Build Space, with Top Gear playing in the background, and robot parts being assembled in the foreground. Is there any better way to spend a Sunday afternoon? :-)
After a afternoon of cleaning, repairing, replacing, and learning, the last few bolts go into the 'bot, and we're ready to take it for a test-drive! Everything looked ready to go, but ...
We put the 'bot on the ground, powered it up, and hit the stick on the transmitter, and: there was movement! For a second or so, then nothing. Grrr. We opened the 'bot up to find the Battery Eliminator had blow up. It was rated to 23V, and we're running on freshly charged 6S batteries, so it's our guess that the voltage was just a little too high for the BEC. We swapped it out for one rated to 40V, but then found out the Hobby King receiver was dead too, and it was the only one we had, so we swapped it for an OrangeRx, bound it to the Spektrum DX6i transmitter, and tried again.
The video was after turning the Dual Rates down to 25%, and Lauren was able to keep from running into the street just fine. She's still working on the Left/Right-When-The-'Bots-Facing-You thing ... but that's okay - we have three months of practicing to come! Hurray! One 'bot done ... now on to other things ...
Tags: cc3, hobbyweight, done
After a whole bunch of work, some trials, tribulations, and a little last-minute luck, we're ready for NERC's Motorama 2011! We have an ant, beetle, hobbyweight, and featherweight (although it should be noted 75% of those 'bots currently have issues), and we're packing up to hit the road! Click Back after viewing an image.
The fleet is ready, barring a couple of issues we'll have to resolve on Friday. Hopefully the fixes will be fairly simple, and we can be ready to roll with just a few replacement parts, carefully installed.
We're not convinced that BotMobile 3.0 is bigger inside than the 2.0 version, so it's a little troubling to be road-tripping with the back half-empty, and the rear seats up even! We'll have to pack the drill press to make this right :-)
The realization dawned this morning that we weren't going to be able to complete our drumbot Nihilistic Naysayer 2.0. We just didn't have the tooling to work on the drum, and without it the 'bot is pretty useless, so we looked around the Build Space to see what was available to us. We stumbled upon a box of old parts, and decided to investigate further. Click Back after viewing an image.
We've unearthed the parts for a rammer hobbyweight that we never took to competition from six years ago. These are 6061 aluminium frame parts, mini-EV motors with custom gearboxes (called Mini-Walts), and 3.5" Colson wheels. Those parts, plus some #25 chain come to 9.4 pounds in weight, so the other question is can we add the rest of the essentials and stay within twleve pounds ...
We added a 4S LiPo pack, receiver, BEC, power switch, a couple of Victor speed controllers, and couple of spikes. At this point we were up to 11.2 pounds, so it looks like with the lithium-polymer technology we're going to be able to bring this 'bot to life for Motorama!
We remember that when we tried to assemble this 'bot years ago the drive train was horribly bound up, so we ran a couple of drill bits and the Dremel-ish in the bronze bushings, and set about assembling the drive train.
To try and ensure we don't hit up on the binding issues again we use Milly to open the frame slots by a few thousandths both front and back. This helps a lot in putting the frame together, as it no longer feels so tight.
Now the slots are open we go ahead and assemble the chassis, and feel good with how well the wheels spin by hand. We had to switch one of the chain so the master link plates were on the outside, but now we've done that things are looking good.
Good enough to steal some electronics from the carcas of our old middleweight and begin the wiring process. Victor 883s do take up space, but they also make wiring a 'bot very easy.
The grey bundles on the ends are a pair of 3S LiPo packs running in series to give the Mini-Walts 22.2V of juice, which will make the 'bot hugely fast and pushy, but also means we need to dig out the transmitter manual and read up on dual rates!
The last connections go in and there's life! We tweaked the connections to get the motors running the right way, but there's no binding in the drivetrain, and everything looks solid, so we took it out to the driveway for a test run. There's no video of it - sorry - but trust us - it actually drove quite well!
As a final step we're installing the spikes to the front, and we don't have any 3/8"-24 flathead bolts, so we've put some grade 5 hex bolts in there, and we're sanding the heads down to give is clearance for the wheels.
Here we are all wrapped up! 11.8 pounds, working, driving, living, brought back from the Box o' Death - note that sometimes being a hoarder pays off :-)
Tags: build, done, hobbyweight, cc3, mill
It's our penultimate day before we jump in the 'Botmobile and take to the highways in search of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and at the moment we have two completed 'bots. The goal today is to increment that number by at least one. It's "Beetle Build Day" out in the Build Space. Click Back after viewing an image.
In our last attempt at making progress on the beetle we managed to snap a 1/16" drill bit off in the weapon shaft, so we started today by cutting a new one and re-drilling it - this time without incident.
Without much ado we installed the weapon shaft pulley, and also attached the pulley to the weapon motor. Given our past lack of success in pinning a pulley in the antweight we decided to cheat, and just superglued it on.
As we have all the parts we need now, we decided to do a weight check, and at the moment we're at 2lb 8.7oz, without frame bolts or wiring connectors. No problem.
Time to move on to the drive, and we switched from Lite Flite wheels to Dubro solid rubber wheels - we were having problems figuring out how to attach the Lite Flites to the axles. We're waiting for UPS to drop off some 2.6mm screws for mounting the motors, so we haven't pinned the hubs on yet.
This photo comes from an hour of trying to pin the teeth to the axle. Perseverence paid off, and we now have a weapon assembly! Hopefully there won't be a need to disassemble it, because it's not coming apart in a hurry ...
You can just see the weapon ESC dangling off the bottom of the photo - this is because we ran a quick test with the weapon installed to ensure it works - and it does! Hurrah.
The weapon ESC is ridiculously large, so we're trying to figure out the best positioning for it ... one option is to put it on the same side as the motor, and put the drive electronics on the other side. The downside is running wiring to the ESC to power it. We decide to leave it on the other side with all the electronics.
The front titanium plate has slots for the teeth, and is a good way to ensure the teeth and weapon shaft are aligned. A bit of tweaking later and we're good to go.
We've installed the Whyachi power switch and put the access hole on the bottom, to the side. Now we have a reference point to begin wiring from.
HEre we've attached a length of silicone wire to the power switch and run it in a slot next to the battery to the other side of the 'bot. We'll cut it to length when we know how long it needs to be :-)
Yay - the UPS guy just dropped off a very large McMaster box, with a very small set of contents, amongst which are the all-important mounting screws for the drive motors. Time to assemble the drive train!
Except those aren't the right size after all ... the 2.6mm bolts just fall right out. In desperation we grab some 3mm bolts we bought a few days ago for the weapon motor for the featherweight and wouldn't you know it - those are the right size! So much for the published specs! Still - thinking positive thoughts we moved on to assembling the wheels and axles.
A quick test-fit tells us that because the Dubro wheels are wider than the Lite Flites we need to enlarge the wheel holes in the base, which we do with the jigsaw, and all is well.
The drive speed controllers are a pair of old beta BaneBots 3-9 ESCs, which we've run in a number of 'bots, and at this point are beginning to look a little ratty. The PWM cables need to be replaced, as they were cannibalized a while back. We were leary of doing this, as we're not exactly expert solderers, but with a minimum of fuss we pulled off the old PWM cables and set to installing new ones.
Not too shabby! One of these days we might get the hang of this soldering thing. We've left out the red PWM cable as the weapon ESC has a battery eliminator circuit, and we don't need multiple ones.
This mess of gadgets and wire is us testing the drive system - with the power on the drive motors spin - hurrah! We didn't destroy the ESCs with our soldering, so now we can move to installing the motors in the 'bot.
But not until we've applied some heatshrink to the ESCs to help protect them ... one of these days we should probably invest in a heatgun, but for now a lighter is fine.
The first drive motor goes in. The ESC has been threaded through to the side where all the electronics will live.
And the second motor goes in. We've fitted ring terminals to the power leads to hook reds to reds and blacks to blacks.
Here we've installed the weapon ESC - we took this shot to show the [lack of] clearance between the ESC and the weapon tooth. Those zipties are rock solidly tight, though, so hopefully this layout will work.
And finally connecting everything together. To try and corral the wiring away from the weapon blade we've used a few strategically-placed zipties, and all in all things aren't looking too bad. The only thing left to do is hook up the connection back to the power switch.
And there you have it! It's time to power up and test this 'bot out!
In putting the top plate on we realized that we forgot to enlarge the holes for the drive wheels as we'd done with the baseplate earlier - doh! Soon rectified though.
A shot from the front with the titanium plate installed.
Hm. As you can tell in the video the weapon works just great. The drive is terrible, though. It seems like the motors have barely enough power to move the 'bot, and one is too flaky to even spin half the time. It could be that we have a couple of duff motors, or we did indeed damage the ESCs when we soldered new PWM cables to them, or we've just generally underestimated the very popular 1000rpm Hobby Motors that seemed quite popular. Guess we have a bit of troubleshooting to do. Fortunately we have plenty of motors and ESCs we can switch in and out as we go, so we'll figure this out.
A final photo for tonight - Didactic Duelist 1.0 weighing in at 2 pounds and 12.3 ounces. No worries about weight at all. Tomorrow is our final day before we hit the road, and there's no way we can finish the three remaining 'bots we registered ... we'll have a think about what to do tomorrow over a late night meal, and be back tomorrow - same Bot Time, same Bot Channel!
Tags: beetleweight, build, dd1, done
It's getting close to Motorama 2011 and we're still plugging away on our fleet for the competition. Today's work is to finish up the 30 pound featherweight Formidable Fustigator 0.9. We have some wiring and weapon work to wrap up, and the weather is finally cooperating, so out to the Build Space we go! Click Back after viewing an image.
First up is to cut some eighth-inch keystock to couple the wheels to the DeWalt shafts. We break out the Dremel substitute and have at it.
With the help of a hammer and the arbor press we install the pieces of keystock in no time, and we're ready to roll. We stuck a piece in the spare wheel too, just to be sure.
It didn't take too long to install the wheels and motors, but we also added the wiring to hook them to the Victor 883 ESCs. We powered up the drive train again, and noticed that one of the three ESCs wasn't responding. After fiddling with it for a while we threw our hands up and swapped it out for a spare.
We also swapped the four-channel receiver for a six-channel one, intending to use one of the ports to power an LED to indicate that power is on. The PWM cables are a bit messy, but we can live with it, seeing as everything's working!
Time to move on to the weapon, and we're starting with the weapon motor. We managed to solder bullet connectors to the motor without incident, and stuck some shrinkwrap on the ends. It wasn't until this point that we realized we'd broken with convention and put the female connectors on the motor, rather than the male ones - duh!
But at least the installation of the connectors to the weapon ESC went on easily too, so that's good. Now we can install the motor to the chassis and start hooking that side of the wiring up.
Here we've installed the motor mount along with the Whyachi chunky switch for the weapon power. A hole in the rear leg wall has been drilled to access the switch.
On the other side, you can see we've installed the motor. Unfortunately this was after a quick trip to a local hobby store for some M4 screws, as we'd lost the ones that came with the motor. Incidentally if anyone needs a whole bunch of M3 screws, just let us know ...
The weapon is powered by two 4S LiPo packs in series for a total of 29.6 volts. We're switching the connectors that came on the packs for 45A PowerPoles, which are fiddly blighters, but eventually we managed to switch them out.
We've installed the weapon battery pack along with the weapon ESC tucked alongside the battery. To allow for easy charging everything's connected with 45A PowerPoles.
Now that the weapon side of the 'bot has been dealt with we can neaten things up and prepare to batten down the hatches for a test-run. With the addition of a few cable ties we get the PWM cables under control, and we've also installed a simple battery restraint to the drive pack so it doesn't slide around inside the leg.
We take a break for a quick weight check, and at the moment we're at 28.4 pounds. We didn't add the bolts for the base plate in this weigh-in, but we can't possibly be using more than 1.5 pounds of them.
We cut another piece of keystock - 1/4" this time, and pressed it to couple the blade to the main shaft.
Fast-forward a couple of hours, and we've bored the weapon shaft pulley to one inch ... it took a long time to set Milly up for lathing, and and we only had the cheapest tooling possible to work with - the stuff that came with the unit - so we probably did it all wrong, but we were getting desperate. We then planned on broaching the bore for keystock, but then we realized we don't actually have a quarter-inch broach! Damn, blast, and bother! We'll have to go with setscrews ...
... Except we don't have any #8-32 setscrews handy, and seem to have misplaced the ones that came with the pulley. Geez. While we were deciding what to do about this, we stuck some bolts in the baseplate so we could do a quick test-run.
The plan for the setscrews was to make some. Take some regular #8-32 machine screws and cut them down with the Dremel-ish and cut a slot in them for a screwdriving. May not be optimal, but it will have to do for now.
At this point we bolted up the rest of the baseplate, and took this photo to show that every single bolt went into place, and not one hole was enlarged or otherwise tweaked - we're pretty proud of that! Time for a test drive!
Although we need to spend some time breaking in the bronze bushings, we feel pretty confident that this 'bot will perform in the arena, so for a final check we put it on the scale - 29.0lb - safe! We're going to call Formidable Fustigator 1.0 done! Tomorrow we move to the drumbot - same Bot-Time; same Bot-channel.
Tags: build, done, featherweight, ff1
As if by magic the temperature climbed to 60°F today, and it was a pleasure to be out in the Build Space. Not just because it's warm, but because we knew we'd be finishing a 'bot today! Click Back after viewing an image.
Here's our short-term To Do List. Some 'bots naturally have more left to do than others, and the fact UPS has suspended deliveries to most of Texas means we're missing some final parts for a couple of these 'bots, but we'll do what we can over the next couple of days until we have everything we need in hand.
The center of today's attention is the thorn in our sides that the antweight has become. We're getting sick of soldering this little 'bot, but we press on anyhow, and want to finish the speed controller repairs, and be able to focus on another 'bot for a while.
Here we've successfully wired up one drive ESC and we're about to solder the leads to the second. This certainly has been a fiddly build, but we have a sense of being on the final straight ...
Ugly? Sure. Functional? Thankfully yes. We've had to clean off the remnants of the old wire and solder in new leads. It looks bad, but it should work just fine.
Here we're in the midst of reassembly, re-routing power leads and connecting the electronics to the receiver. Fortunately we've managed to reassemble the chassis without breaking anything this time!
We pretty much gave up trying to solder the weapon ESC power wires to extenders we added, and opted to go with terminals instead. Naturally the camera decided to focus elsewhere, but no matter. We hotglued the terminals to the chassis and moved on.
Getting there. We've tidied up the wiring, and we're giving everything another look over in case we've missed something glaringly obvious.
Happy with the state of the build, and after verifying the 'bot powers up properly and seems to respond to commands, we throw what we have so far on the scale. 15.3 ounces, so we have a little over half an ounce to make some teeth for the shell.
We break out the jigsaw and cut four pieces from some 1" x 1" x 0.25" 6061 aluminium bar. Aluminium teeth probably aren't optimal, but they're a third of the weight of steel for the same size, so we're going to run with them. They get drilled and tapped for #6-32 screws.
We had some fun trying to countersink the bolt holes on the inside of the shell. With some careful angling we did a half-decent job, and moved on to attaching the teeth.
Ta-daa! With the countersinking being at an angle the bolts are at a slight angle, and we're a bit worried about how they might snag on the rollers on the chassis, but we won't know until we try it, so we need to bolt everything together and see how it works.
And finally! The 'bot is finished, bolted down, tightened up, and ready to roll! Phew! On the scale we weigh in at 15.8 ounces, so that's fine. It's time to move on to the drive test:
Just when we thought we were done ... turns out the rollpin we inserted to attach the weapon motor pulley to the shaft didn't actually go all the way through the aluminium spacer, and in fact pulled out of the spacer, so we're going to have to re-drill that and reattach the pulley, but otherwise the 'bot is up and running! We need to fiddle with the radio settings so it's a bit more controllable in turning, and we still need to see the shell spin up, but we're going to call this 'bot done!
Tags: antweight, build, done, pp1
We didn't quite have enough time to finish an antweight, but we've packed up the Pelican case, and we're ready to roll! We're taking Nihilistic Naysayer 1.0 and Hyperbolic Hoops 1.0, and after a couple of days of sight-seeing in we'll be putting them into the arena - our first competition in five and a half years! Looking forward to meeting the competitors and staff - see you all Sunday!
Tags: hh1, nn1, done
This site contains records of our trials and tribulations in building combat robots. So much to learn, and so little time!