One of the things we really wanted in both Intrusive Interloper 2.0 and Steel Stiletto for the Franklin Cup competition was a working gyro to help with the driveablility of both 'bots, but after playing with them during the build process, we just couldn't get them working, so we left them out. This morning we spent a fair bit of time Googling "how to use a gyro in a RC car" and found quite a bit of information on how to mount and use a gyro, so we decided to test our cheapie gyros again. Hit Back after viewing an image.
Here you can clearly see the gyro, temporarily mounted to the baseplate with some electrical tape. The key thing we had done wrong in our earlier attempts was to install the gyro in the wrong orientation! Typically there is a line on the gyro showing you which way should be forward, but this one doesn't have one, and we had been assuming the gyro should be lined up with the cables running front-to-back, but in fact it should have been side-to-side. With the gyro in and powered up, and the 'bot up off its wheels, when we wiggle the 'bot the motors did indeed fire up, and attempt to resist the movement - score!
We wanted to try the 'bot actually running around, but because the wheels had worn down so badly at the Franklin Cup, we didn't have enough clearance from the mashed up corners where Tetanus had chewed on us in the featherweight finals. To fix this we decided to rotate the rear wall so the gouged corners were on top, and spent some time disassembling the 'bot. The fact that both lower bolts were also mashed up meant we had to take the entire chassis apart to be able to snap off the side walls and bolts, then extract the remainder of the bolt.
In order to get the 'bot to stop wiggling, we had to change the end points on the third channel (gyro gain) from 100%-100% to 15%-7%, as suggested by some of the posts we had read on R/C forums, and eventually the 'bot ran well in normal mode. When we flicked the switch to heading hold mode, however, the 'bot would keep going nuts, so we decided that normal mode would suit us just fine, and in the test driving we did, it actually ran remarkably straight, especially condsidering the mis-matched wheel sizes from where some had worn down more than others. We're happy! :-)
Having gotten the 30lb'er working, we wanted to see if we could get the 12lb pushy-bot working too, but again we had work to do. This is the state the 'bot was in after Franklin - you can see the snapped inner rail, and one side of the drive train wouldn't turn.
Here's the offending motor. Nothing looked obviously wrong, so we were a bit nervous that maybe we'd broken a gear in the gearbox, which would be quite a problem, as we don't know where the gears originally came from, so we wouldn't be able to replace them.
Thankfully we found it was the $5 motor that was damaged. The brushes had popped out and jammed the motor up, presumably following the hit from Fiasco that snapped the inner rail. Fortunately we have quite a large stock of these motors, and it took no time to pop the pinion gear off, press it onto a new motor, and solder leads on.
As the current version of Steel Stiletto's chassis is broken, and we had no spares, we pulled out the old chassis, and began reinstalling components into it. The only internal difference between now and the last time we used this chassis is the swap on the drive speed controllers from Victor 883s to 25A BotBitz-hacked brushless controllers, and they fitted nicely.
After repairing the broken drive chain, we hooked up all the internals, installed a gyro with some double-sided foam tape, and prepared for a test drive, having pre-configured the model settings in the radio with the same settings that worked for us with Intrusive Interloper 2.0.
Aaaaand ... nothing. We had charged the batteries already, but there was no power light on the receiver. After dinking around a bit, and re-watching videos from our Franklin Cup event report, we came to the conclusion that one of the speed controllers must have blown (remember the jammed motor above), but we didn't know what was up with the other one. Guess we're going to be doing an autopsy later this week ...
Tags: build, ii2, ss, equipment
Having received and worked on chassis parts for a number of 'bots, we've been keeping a close eye on tracking numbers for other parts orders, and two of them have come in! We were getting frustrated with both shipments, but learned to read the shipping options at Hobby King carefully - there was an option that said "EMS - NO LIPO" which we took to mean we couldn't send LiPo batteries via EMS, and so selected Parcel Post, but hidden in the options was a plain ol' EMS option, which Customer Service later confirmed could be used to ship LiPo batteries - we could have had these parts two weeks ago! Hit Back after viewing an image.
First delivery comes [incomplete] from the Robot Marketplace - a spare Team Delta shaft (their last one), Colson wheels for Steel Stiletto, wheels for Belligerent Battler 0.9, and 75% of the wheels for Malicious Mule.
More parts for Malicious Mule, including battery, top and bottom plates, gyro, receiver for the pistol-type radio, and V-tail mixer, because of the gyro.
A stash of parts for Persistent Pugilist 0.9, including 2204-14T motors for the drum, and 10A reversible ESCs for them, a receiver, spare 1" foam wheels, and a couple of 1Ah 25C batteries.
Also, some parts for Belligerent Battler 0.9, including 18A reversible ESCs, brushless motors to power the beater, top and bottom plates, 3S battery pack, and a spare receiver.
There wasn't a whole lot of stuff needed for the rebuild of Nihilistic Naysayer 2.0 as we're essentually reusing the weapon setup, and we'd already ordered the drive train components a while ago. All we have here are two sets of 5S-worth of Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, and a spare receiver.
Finally, the remaining electronics for the rebuild of Steel Stiletto - we already have the replacement drive ESCs, so here are 6S-worth of LiFePO4 batteries, a V-tail mixer, receiver for the pistol radio, and gyro. Let the building commence! continue!
Tags: gearingup, equipment, Franklin
Having survived the Motorama 'Flu, we decided to finally unload the BotMobile, but seeing as though a large percentage of our stuff was in the car, this seemed like an opportune time to do some spring cleaning in the Build Space. Hit Back after viewing an image.
Clouds of dust, and bags of swarf later, and we have a fairly presentable Build Space. It won't win any Better Homes and Gardens prizes, but we have room to maneouver again, so we can finally unpack the car.
This poorly-lit shot shows we also shovelled half a hundredweight of chips off of Milly into trash bags, noticing as we did that a number of the mounting bolts were loose, so we took the opportunity to tighten things up a bit.
Seeing as though we have some time left, we decided to see what parts we could scavenge from our retired featherweight Formidable Fustigator 2.0. It weas still running at the end of it's second match at Motorama (losing by Judges' Decision) so hopefully this means everything is in working order. You can see here on the top panel that Gloomy was able to make a number of decent cuts - let's hope he missed the insides!
With the top off and stowed, it looks at first glance that wiring is where the majority of damage is - the two battery packs are in fine shape, so we set about untangling the spaghetti on the left to check the rest out.
This is one of the weapon motors: the aluminium spacer the gear sat on cracked, and the label on the can has rubbed off, because a wire got pulled under the can ...
... Specifically the negative lead for the rear DeWalt. Note also the nick on the bottom-left corner of the motor mount from Gloomy's saw blade - who says saw blades are inoffensive?!
Time to go through the traditional "Which Parts Survived?" routine. Here we're testing the DeWalts, and they all seem to run fine, both forwards and backwards. We also tested the Victor 883s, and they all worked just fine too. Lastly we verified the weapon motors and ESCs were okay, and indeed they were.
Hurray! All the expensive bits are intact, which is good, because we need to do some testing with those motors later on this week ... meanwhile, it's off to get tidied up for dinner; as we go through the week, we'll check out the other 'bots we took to Motorama.
Tags: build, equipment, ff2
Wow - that was pretty zippy! We received a shipment of parts from HobbyKing this morning - not bad considering they only shipped - from Hong Kong - on Friday! The EMS shipping is definitely worth the extra few bucks, versus standard airmail! Hit Back after viewing an image.
First out of the shipping box we have a pair of Turnigy G60 brushless motors and two 70A ESCs. These motors are the little brother of the G110 we had in the first version of our 30lb'er Formidable Fustigator 1.0, but in the second version we're going to be running two motors to the weapon blade, so in theory, an upgrade as 2 x 60 > 110 :-)
Better safe than sorry, right? We're going to be teaching Lauren about care and feeding of her 'bots for Motorama 2012, so we ought to start off right, and swiped a couple of jumbo LiPo charge sacks, as they were actually in stock when we ordered.
Here are some battery packs to go in the charge sacks - a pair of 3S 370mAH packs for Lauren's antweight, and a pair of 3S 470mAH packs for Poor Punctuation 2.0.
The Battery Eliminator in the twelve-pounder seemed to have blown up last time we were playing, so we swapped in the one from the carcass of the thirty-pounder. We decided we should probably pick up some spares ...
We also took the opportunity to grab some spare receivers, too. There are three 3-channel HobbyKing receivers for Lauren's 'bots, and a couple of AR6110e-equivalents to replace the ones that died at Motorama 2011.
Tucked in the bottom of the box was the programming card for the ESCs for the featherweight weapon motors, along with a chrome-like Turnigy logo ... no idea what to do with that, but hey: freebie!
These were our weight-fillers for the package, some wire, bullet connectors, and heat shrink tubing. The tubing is for the 1000rpm motors in the beetleweight, to try and provide some stability between motor and gearbox.
Last, but not least, a collection of LEDs, pre-made to plug in to a receiver, and hey presto: instant power light. Much easier than fiddling around trying to make them, so a dollar or so well spent!
Tags: gearingup, equipment
Just a quick note - couldn't sleep, so we tested a couple of receivers. Sure enough, with the transmitter four feet away from the receiver, and holding the toggle longer, we were able to get the receivers to bind with the transmitter, so the receivers we thought were bad are okay - operator error!
Hmm ... after re-reading the manual for the Spektrum DX6i, it says the receiver may fail to bind if the transmitter is too close to the receiver ... we'll give those receivers another go tomorrow evening then!
Now that Milly is a fixture in the Build Space, it was time for phase two of the setup - adding the CNC capabilities in! We'd rustled up an old PC (do you know how difficult it is to get a computer with a parallel port new?!) and did a quick refresh of the operating system, and decided to go plug it in. Click Back after viewing an image.
Of course it might have been handy to have installed the cabling before putting Milly in place, but no big deal - it didn't take long to attach the serial cables to the motors, and run a parallel cable under the bench.
Here's the old clunker we dug out and [almost] dusted off. An old Lenovo something-or-other, with a gig of RAM and a 2.4GHz dual core CPU. We went more for robustness than aesthetics this time. It took all night last night to reinstall the O/S and then clear all the pre-installed junk off it, but now it's ready to rock.
Not a great photo, but at this point we're ready to fire up the CAD software for the first time. The software is called Mach3, and came with the mill, apparently with configuration files already set up, so this should be pretty easy!
For the first time, we turn the mystical bottom switches - controller power on the left, and stepper motor engage on the right. It was an exciting moment, as we went over to the PC and entered our first command: G0 X-2 ... and nothing happened. Zip. So then came a half an hour of checking connections, checking the setup instructions, and finally we checked the motor setup in the configuration file, to find everything was disabled - huh?! It took another five minutes to realize that the pre-configured 'profile' file had a space between the filename and extension, so when we were starting the CAD software it was generating a new, blank, profile file. Geez computers can be picky! After a quick bit of renaming we finally were ready to reissue the command:
And there was much rejoicing! For a while we investigated the various menus, and experimented with G codes to see what they would do. We even started getting fancy:
Having gotten the basics sorted out, we wrapped up the configuration by plugging in our backlash values (0.005" and 0.006") and wrapped up for the evening, plotting and scheming as to what crazy things we'd be able to do now ...
Tags: equipment, gearingup, mill
We've been pretty quiet lately. There are a number of reasons: work, visitors from overseas, work, designing new 'bots, and work. Oh - did we mention work? But we've got a week off coming, and we have big plans!
♪♫ We wish us a Merry Christmas
We wish us a Merry Christmas
We wish us a Merry Christmas
And a Happy Birthday! ♪♫
Back in October we ordered ourselves a ShopMaster Patriot Lathe/Mill combo machine. On December 9th it finally showed up, and we've spent a couple of weeks trying to get it ready to run. The 900-pound machine was quite difficult to handle, and we spend time ready other people's reports of getting their Patriot machines set up to try and prepare ourselves. Click Back after viewing an image.
After waiting all afternoon for delivery some time between noon and 5pm the truck finally showed up at 6:40pm! The delivery driver had some issues unloading, and there was a fleeting moment when I thought the whole crate was going to slide off the lift gate, but we wrangled the crate into the garage without too much effort.
A cursory check of the crate showed that one of the steel runners under the crate had gotten mangled, but otherwise the rest of the package looked pretty good.
We took the ends off the crate and then was able to unbolt the front and back panels, which were bolted to the legs of the stand.
We pulled the wrapping off, and Ta-Daa! A CNC mill/lathe to call our very own. Actually, I think we'll call it "Milly" :-) The legs of the stand were bolted to the table, and were cheap, metric crappy bolts, so we put them off to one side after removing them, planning to replace them with decent 3/8" SAE bolts.
These are the extras that came the order. Live centers, collets, a clamp kit, end mills, and miscellaneous stuff. There were a couple of pieces on back-order, such as the 4-jaw chuck and coolant system, but that's okay. For now we need to work out how to get it on the stand, and how to make it go!
Having ordered a heavy-duty mobile shop base, as recommended by another user, we realized when the Patriot arrived that the newer model is larger than the one the other user had, so the base was too small. We decided to make our own. We took six pieces of 1/2" plywood and started to drill them out.
Sad outlet is sad
Sorry - couldn't resist the LOLCat reference. Bill Tillotson came by and installed a spiffy new 220V circuit for us, as what we had previously thought was a 220V outlet was just a funky-looking 110V outlet. Installing the outlet was a very quick job, no doubt made look easy by many years of practice - Thanks Bill!
Almost done assembling the new base - those are 200lb-rated casters, lockable of course. There's an additional benefit to installing these casters (besides mobility) which will become apparent later ...
And the base is readfy to roll - literally. The upper plywood piece is bolted to the end of the leg where the leveller used to be, and then the casters are bolted through using 1/4-20 bolts and locknuts. Hopefully it will be plenty sturdy!
Time to start the scary part - hoisting the 800lb mill/lathe onto the stand. You can see the swanky CNC connectors on the right there. We picked up a 2-Ton engine hoist from Craig's List, and here we're trying to figure out the best location to put the straps.
The first challenge is that the legs of the hoist don't fit under the steel tray. Even if the one bracket hadn't been mangled, it still wouldn't have fit, so we need to figure out how to raise Milly enough for the hoist to slide under.
Solution: 2x4s. We lifted one side and put a few sections of 2x4 under the bracket, and after clearing some working room on the other side did the same there. It was a little nerve-wracking, putting your arm under an 800lb steel tray, with one of the runners looking as warped as it did, but there were no incidents.
Success! Well ... the second time anyway - the first attempt to lift the unit didn't go well, with it leaning badly to one side - definitely brown-trousers-time. After stopping for a think, we were able to adjust the straps and leveller and get a clean lift on the unit.
From there it was pretty easy to slide the stand in under Milly, but that's thanks to the casters - without them the cross-braces on the legs would have meant that the legs of the hoist wouldn't have fitted under the bench. All we had left to do is bolt together the unit and the stand and put it in place.
Ta-Daa! Here we have Milly in place, and we're pretty damn happy about it! No injuries or damage done, and we're set to have a ton of fun during the Christmas break making chips!
Tags: equipment, gearingup, build, mill, lathe
Two more deliveries today, one of 'bot parts and one piece of gear that brings back some memories! Hit Back after viewing an image.
One of the things stolen in California was our Pelican case we took to each and every competition, stuffed to the gills with tools and parts. We found a wonderful deal (with free shipping!) on a Pelican 1610 case, which is airline-friendly, and snapped it up. Now I need to start collecting 'bot team stickers again to adorn it with ...
An order from SDP-SI came in today, so now we have drive train sprockets for Nihilistic Naysayer 0.9 as well as it's weapon pulleys and belt.
One of the only issues we have with the SDP-SI web site is that it doesn't list the weight of parts they sell. We weren't sure how much weight to budget in our design for the 12lb drumbot for sprockets so we were eager to find out what they weighed: 2.8 ounces.
Same thing with the weapon timing pulleys ... we had budgeted a quarter of a pound, so it was nice to see them come in at 2.4 ounces. The weapon pulleys and drive sprockets together barely weighed more than our budget, so we're still good on weight.
Tags: equipment, gearingup, nn1, hobbyweight
They say a watched pot never boils ... likewise a tracked package never arrives. Or that's how it felt, seeing as the first order I placed at Hobby King has a tracking number that's untrackable, and the second seemed to vanish in Switzerland[!] so it was like Xmas coming early when the Swiss package showed up on my desk today - hurray! Hit Back after viewing the images.
These are the dangerous parts for the 12lb drummer - a 42-60 brushless motor with 60A speed controller, and a 2.2Ah 4S 45C LiPo battery pack. Nice :-)
This pack is for the beetle Hyperbolic Hoops 0.9 - a 2.2Ah 3S 25C LiPo pack. Looking forward to getting this installed!
Some cute little antweight parts for Poor Punctuation 0.9 - a 500mAh 2S 15C LiPo pack, a 28-30 brushless motor, and a speed controller for it.
Getting smaller still, this tiny 350mAh 2S 20C pack is for our next fairyweight ... the motors for it were ordered before this shipment from Hobby King but haven't shown up yet ...
A few miscellaneous parts, including JST connectors to be able to make charging pigtails for our smaller battery packs, and some 1g foam wheels for both the fairyweight and antweight.
Choices, choices ... we ordered this 35-42 motor for Hyperbolic Hoops 0.9 along with the 40A speed controller, before finding the 18-12 Nippy and it's Jeti speed controller amongst our stuff in the Build Space. We'll carry on building with the Nippy for now, but reserve the right to switch to this motor if either we (a) blow up the Nippy; or (b) want more power!
Tags: beetleweight, equipment, gearingup, antweight, fairyweight
Bots | General
You know, the process of turning Hyperbolic Hoops 0.9 from idea to actual 'bot is ... interesting. We used to get an idea, go straight to CAD and design it, then send out for parts and begin a build, using the CAD as a reference. Aside from the five-year hiatus, the other interesting aspect to building this particular 'bot is that the process isn't going like that at all. We had an idea, sketched it on paper, CAD'ed a few aspects of it, then went to build, and pretty much have been winging it all the way. The upside is that we can find things to do to while away free time, but the downside is that we don't have a master-plan. Still, it seems to be coming along nicely!
Before we get too far, here a quick shot of the most recent bits of gear that we've acquired as we re-tool, re-arm, and re-hydrate! The Spektrum DX6i replaces our beloved 9CAP, stolen from California. It was a good deal, but came with a receiver that is illegal for 'bot competitons as not all channels failsafe properly, so we also ordered AR6110e micro receivers for the three 'bots we're taking to Robothon at the end of October. Also in shot are a multimeter (no idea what happened to our old one), a cheap caliper (again, the old one is MIA), and some spray paint in classic Team Radicus colours!
Oh, we also picked up a 9V battery for the small scale - the dead one had a best before date on it of 2004, so no wonder it didn't work ... As you can see we're up to 2lb 6.9 ounces for Hyperbolic Hoops 0.9 with a few pieces yet to make an appearance, such as a top-plate and battery pack, but between them they'll only weigh four ounces-ish, so we're still doing fine.
After breaking out the tablesaw and being careful to miss fingers, etc., we've cut a top-plate from 0.25" polycarbonate, and also trimmed down the center UHMW tube to 1.5" to match the motor mounts. As you can see we have 5.5 ounces left to work with ... the battery weighs a touch over an ounce, which is the only major component missing, so there's a good chance we'll be able to add front and rear panels, which would be handy!
Tags: beetleweight, build, equipment, gearingup, hh1
Although we had a lot of stuff stolen back in California, there's still quite a lot of 'bot stuff sitting around that was unearthed when the garage Build Space was tidied up. Here's a few shots of things that were dug up - hit Back after viewing an image.
Here's some McMaster boxes unearthed from the depth of the garage. Same are labelled, some are mysteries ...
Top-left you can see Cantankerous Cowpoke 3.0, a mini-EV-powered hobbyweight brick that never quite made it to competition. Top-right is our dusty old IFI 900MHz control system. Bottom is Gestalt Gastonade 1.0 - a failed attempt at making a tracked antweight with a thresher weapon - again, this one never competed.
More relics! On the left, Unlettered Understrapper 2.0 which did compete ... although without the thresher weapon. In the middle is Wobbly Wedge 1.0 which actually placed at RoboGames! On the right is the shell of Anaphoric Antagonist 2.0 which was being rebuilt with a thresher weapon and tracks, but never came close to making weight.
All these parts belong to Hyperbolic Hoops 0.9, a beetleweight with angled hoop wheels. This one might actually see the light of day ...
A bunch of 18V DeWalt motors and gearboxes, along with Team Delta mounting kits. These were originally to be put into Epitomic Expletive 0.9, our middleweight with a 4-bar arm we were building while on assignment to Alabama. That's probably a thousand dollars-worth of stuff in that one box!
Our EV Warrior motor stash - there are another three in a mount we kept intact from Y-chromosome 1.0 and probably a couple of others sitting around in other as-yet unpacked boxes.
A mess of Handiworks motors and gearboxes, plus some esoteric motors such as Owossos, ThinGaps, and an Astroflight that I suspect belongs to Derek Zahn. Some old NiCad packs help to anchor the drawer.
Speaking of NiCads, here are a number of now (presumably) dead 18- and 24-volt packs from Battlepacks and Kirwan. They've been sitting unused for over five years ... I wonder if they're still usable?
A few more random battery packs, and a slew of Colson wheels, mainly 6" and 3.5" ones. Haven't seen any of the hubs we used to have - wonder where those went to ...
Cool ... the first items in our attempt to get re-equipped have shown up: two iCharger 106B+ battery chargers! Thanks to Pete Smith of Team Rolling Thunder for the product suggestion.
Found these on eBay for a bit less than most hobbyshops sell them for, so we put in an order for a couple. We used to have four chargers in the NiCad days ... it remains to be seen whether two will be enough in the LiPo world.
We'll switch the connectors on these to our favourite PowerPoles, and it'd probably be quite handy to try and find a power supply for them ...
Tags: equipment, gearingup
This site contains records of our trials and tribulations in building combat robots. So much to learn, and so little time!