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
After a restful night, today's the day the Big 'Bots fight (and hopefully win!) so it's time to throw on some clothes, find some coffee, and get the rest of the fleet through safety inspections. Having decided to leave the Sportsman alone, we didn't have any last-minute building to be done, so we decided to head in later than we've done in previous years - that was a mistake! We got to the Farm Complex about 9am, and the main parking lot was already full! We were herded over to a secondary lot and took a bus to the main event complex. Hit Back after viewing an image.
By the time we arrived at the pit table it was pushing 9:30am, and most competitors were already here and going through safety inspections. Lauren took Steel Stiletto over for a safety check, and passed without any issues. I took the two beetles and Nihilistic Naysayer 2.0, and again we had no worries getting through safety.
That left the thirty pounder, and we had actually done some last-minute meatball surgery, as the hole we'd milled in the front wall wasn't exactly lined up with the path of the blade, and with Milly 1500 miles away, back in Texas, we took the easy way out and cut the front wall with the jigsaw. After that, the safety inspection was fine, and we were ready to compete!
It typically takes a while for things to get going, the first morning of the Big 'Bot event, and this year was no exception, but eventually the Drivers Meeting was held, and the crowd began to assemble in the stands, as the brackets were being drawn up.
It seems like we usually miss out on byes at Motorama, but this year Didactic Duelist 1.5 and Nihilistic Naysayer 2.0 both had byes, and yikes! Formidable Fustigator 2.0 is the first match of the event! With all the 'bots charged up, we steeled ourselves for the competition to begin!
Here we go with the first match of the event - and it's not looking like a pleasant match-up! Formidable Fustigator 2.0 versus the full-body spinner of Tetanus:
Thanks to Mike for the video. Ouch. Pretty much a repeat of what happened to us in our second match last year, but hopefully we'll be able to patch this up and run the featherweight on two wheels for it's next match. In theory the two remaining omniwheels ought to let us move around the arena. We checked the brackets, and Didactic Duelist 1.5's bye just went by, so up next we have our oldest 'bot, Unlettered Understrapper 2.5 versus SID (Sadistic Infernal Device):
Thanks to Kyle for uploading this video. Yay! A win! After eight years we finally get the 'bot into an arena with a working weapon and come away with a win - neat! At this point we have a bit of a breather before we need to load up again so the 'bots are back on the battery chargers, and Lauren's on her way back from hunting down some lunch. Nihilistic Naysayer 2.0 has a bye, so up next we have Steel Stiletto versus the old warhorse War Drums:
Thanks again to Kyle for the clip. YAY! Steel Stiletto beat War Drums on a Judges' decision, after a couple of decent slams dislodged the two rear wheels from War Drums, and the front wheels were looking a bit wobbly too! Despite the couple of initial hits from War Drums, we couldn't find any damage back at the pit table, so the 'bot was put on the charger, and we scanned the brackets for our next fight.
There's plenty of activity in the seconday pit area, with 'bots being repaired and charged as the day went on. It's great to see so many familiar faces, and the spirit of cameraderie is evident, with builders helping each other get their 'bots back together - sometimes the driver who just destroyed you is the first one to offer to help!
There was a bit of downtime for us before our next match came up, which was going to be Unlettered Understrapper 2.5 versus Maniac Kathy:
The carcas of Unlettered Understrapper 2.5 after the beating it just took from Maniac Kathy. Suffice it to say, with one win and one loss, we're happy with this old 'bot, but it's time to put it out to pasture. The insides are in good shape, but it can't be fixed up for another match, so we forfeited the next match against Ripto 3.0 and turned our attention to the 'bots that were still running.
Didactic Duelist 1.5 had been slated to fight Traumatizer in the beetleweight brackets, but due to damage Traumatizer received in its first match against Revenge of Dr. Super Brain, it had to forfeit to us. Our next match was going to be in the hobbyweight division, putting our drumbot Nihilistic Naysayer 2.0 up against another veteran 'bot, Alan's Zandor:
Again, thanks to Kyle for the video. A lot of folks on the NERC Forum were skeptical about the UHMW drum, and as it happened, there was a failure, but not of the drum itself - but the bolts holding the dead axle sheared after a weapon-to-weapon hit with Zandor, and ultimately the drum separated from the 'bot. Back at the pit table we quickly extracted the sheared bolts, and replaced them. The front wall had taken a hit from the drum as it separated, and the polycarbonate had shattered on one end of the wall, so the 'bot was a bit rickety, but lives to fight another match!
Up immediately after the drumbot was Steel Stiletto, versus the nasty spinning bar of Fiasco:
Thanks again to Kyle for the video.
Steel Stiletto took a fair bit of abuse from Fiasco before breaking it's weapon, and at least one of the speed controllers went up in smoke, leading to the tap-out. Lauren set about disassembling the 'bot to see if we could get it back up and running for it's next match. After tinkering for a while, we weren't going to be able to make the repairs needed in time for its next match against Placebo, so with a 1-2 record, Steel Stiletto is out of the competition. We will try to finish the repairs though, in case there's an opportunity for a rumble or grudge match tomorrow.
Next into the arena we have our damaged featherweight Formidable Fustigator 2.0 going up against a Canadian saw-bot by the name Gloomy:
Once again, thanks to Kyle for the video. Two things about this match: first, we actually went the distance - the full three minutes; and second the weapon spun up which we were very happy to see! Even though we didn't do a whole lot of damage to Gloomy we were able to knock his saw blade off, and by spinning the 'bot (the DeWalts were in high gear) we got a couple of good thumps in for good measure, but at the end of the day the Judges gave the match to Gloomy, rightly so.
Here's the carcas of Formidable Fustigator 2.0 following its match with Gloomy. Note the very clean cut on the bottom-left of the 'bot: if that cut had been on the right side, there would have been an interesting circumstance - that's where the batteries were! As it is, there's a number of chewed up power and signal cables in there, so the post mortum back at the Build Space will have to weed out the re-usable parts from the destroyed parts.
There was a pretty good crowd in the stands today. Truthfully it thinned out a bit towards the end of the day, but for the better part of the fights today I'd have to guestimate that the stands were 90% full. At this point it's getting on for 5pm, and the fights are spacing out a bit, but it's time again for us to throw a 'bot in the arena; specifically our beetleweight Didactic Duelist 1.5 goes up against the über-speedy Shame Spiral:
More thanks to Kyle for the video. As you can see, Thomas's 'bot completely out-classed Didactic Duelist 1.5 - the weapon died shortly into the match, and after being slammed around the arena, and being left inverted, everything pretty much died after a few more slams, leaving Shame Spiral with a win by Knock Out.
There's your problem! This is the PWM cable for the weapon speed controller in Didactic Duelist 1.5, and as you can see, it's been rubbing against the weapon motor, and that's chewed through the insulation and cable, shorting it, which is why things went quiet in that last match. We also have amber lights on the BB3-9 drive speed controllers, so first thing tomorrow morning we're going to have to switch out both the drive speed controllers and the weapon ESC too!
We hung out for a while to see whether we were going to have any more fights this evening, watching some of the matches, and generally hanging out with some of the great folks running and competing in the event. As 6:30pm rolled by, it became obvious we weren't going to have any more matches this evening, so we tidied up, and called in a reservation to the Texas Roadhouse near the hotel. It was going to be a two-hour wait, so we headed out to the car and ran a couple of errands before dinner.
After dinner it didn't take long for the hectic day to take it's toll, and wrapped up the day with a gin and tonic, and review of some of today's matches.
Tags: motorama, competition, beetleweight, hobbyweight, featherweight, dd1, uu2, ss, nn2, ff2
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
Two build days and two unfinished 'bots. Not much introduction to this one, just get out there and get some construction accomplished. We did start by revising our To Do lists for Formidable Fustigator 2.0 and Palindrome30; unfortunately there seems like about three days of work to do - missing Tuesday and Wednesday evenings has hurt the schedule, but we'll see what we can do. Hit Back after viewing an image.
First up today is another trip to Chris Allison's place for some sawing and lathing. Lots of small, but vital parts.
The bandsaw makes short work of our list of things to cut - some weapon motor spacers, weapon shafts, blade hubs, and transmission shafts.
And over to the lathe for some boring and turning, not just of the pieces we cut, but a pulley and some bushings too.
Here are some blade hubs - these will be drilled and screwed to the blades, and the hubs will be pinned to the weapon shaft.
Not a bad couple of hours of work. We'd like to say Thanks again to Chris for his hospitality and his very cool workshop - incidentally, Chris runs a pretty neat web site with all sorts of cool industrial and machinery stuff for sale.
Back at the Build Space we're drilling the saw blades and hubs. Thankfully these blades didn't put up too much of a fight, unlike the gears the yesterday.
We also had a couple of wheel hubs left to broach, which we just about accomplished, but we broke our 1/8" broach during it, so when we get back from Motorama we'll have to hit eBay for a replacement.
The wheels and hubs have been drilled and tapped for a 1/4"-20 bolt to hook them together, and it's nice to be able to check something else off the To Do list.
We weren't able to line up a welder to stick the gears to some spacers, so we decided to go with a great idea Jason of Team Terror came up with - slot the gear, and put a pin through the shaft to keep it in place. Slotting the gear was easy enough ...
... But drilling the motor shaft was nigh impossible, so we slotted that too! Seemed to work fairly well, with the aluminium spacer in there too.
We've switched the orientation of the shaft on the two motors for the Sportsman, like we did for the Featherweight. We've also pressed on the aluminium spacers for the sprockets, which we'll drill and tap for a small set screw where the Xs are.
Here's the weaponry for the Sportsman - eight saw blades, four for each end of the 'bot, with their hubs installed, and ready to be installed to the shaft.
Now that we have the pinion gears mounted we're able to figure out that the motor mounts need to be one and 1/16" from the center of the transmission shaft, and the bevel gear needs to be 0.3" up from the baseplate, for optimum contact. Once we drill the bushing and mounting holes in the top and bottom plates, we'll be ready to install the transmission, which will just leave wiring on the thirty pounder.
We hit the wall tonight, and decided to go do some laundry and have something to eat, leaving To Do lists with quite a few items on them, but actually a lot of these remaining steps are all dependent on one or two key steps, so if we can get them done tomorrow morning, the rest of the 'bots should fall in place. In reality, we're not 100% sure that both these 'bots will be finished tomorrow ... worst case we'll be doing some wiring in the pits on Friday ...
Tags: build, featherweight, sportsman, ff2, pal30
Time's ticking away, and we still have two 'bots under construction. We had some errands to run this morning, but at lunch time we bundled up warm and headed out to the Build Space. There are a number of key things to be done, and with a McMaster delivery last night we ought to be able to make some decent progress. Hit Back after viewing an image.
Speaking of lunch - this is a left-over slice of pizza we made last night - Five cheese and Jalapeno Sausage - very tasty :-)
Some of the parts we received yesterday included some aluminium spacers and a 6mm drill bit, so we drilled out the spacers for the featherweight's weapon motors, to take them up to the 8mm bore of the pinion gears.
Two drill bits and half an hour later and this is as far as we'd gotten drilling holes in the pinion gears. These gears must be hardened, as they're proving to be a bear to work with. We're going to have to think up an alternative method of securing them to the weapon shaft spacers.
Stymied by the featherweight we decided to turn our attention to the other 'bot needng work, our 30lb Sportsman. Here we have the eight saw blades for it. We'd budgeted 4 pounds for them, and they're actually less than one and a quarter pounds, so there's a savings right off the 'bat.
Although we made a good start on the chassis a while back, there's plenty of parts left to be fabricated, and by fabricated we mean drilled and tapped, so it's time to break out the drill bits and take a swing at these weapon shaft mounts.
We were much more accurate in our drilling this time out, and soon it was time to dig out the 1/4"-20 tap and cut some threads.
It took a while, but eventually we had one side done, but as you can see here there's a hair of misalignment in the bushings, so we're going to enlarge the bolt holes a little and see if we can wiggle things into orientation.
We got part-way through the other side, when the cold was a bit much, and it was time to break for dinner. Tomorrow we're going to finish the weapon mounts, and install the drive train. Hopefully on Monday we'll have our weapon motors for the featherweight done, and we can finish installing the internal components.
Tags: build, featherweight, ff2, pal30, sportsman
The last couple of nights we've been dealing with problems at the office, so no build time, but those issues are [hopefully] resolved, and we had time tonight to get a little building done, so it's time to wire up the featherweight. We have quite a few things left to do on the To Do List for for this 'bot still, so we'd better crack on. Hit Back after viewing an image.
We missed some holes in the DXF we sent to Whyachi when the top and bottom plates for Formidable Fustigator 2.0 were waterjetted, so we had to drill a few ourselves, such as the mounting holes for the weapon shaft retainer, but that's now installed.
We're milling down the upper weapon shaft case to be able to keep the timing belt inside the 'bot, which was fairly swift and easy with Milly, but it will turn out later that we really shouldn't have done this ...
Here's a shot of a slight issue - although we're re-using the weapon shaft case parts from Version One the geometry is different, so we need to figure out a way to take up the slack between the top and upper weapon case.
The bearing also needs to be trimmed to fit the new layout, which is easy enough, and we verified afterwards that the bearing is still round and that the weapon blade shaft still fits - hurrah!
Here's the solution to the gap issue problem earlier: rather than cut down another aluminum round and drill it, etc., we just through a few washers in, and we're good to go, but there's an issue: see the slight gap between the blade and the washer? That's causing a problem when the blade spins, because it can move a little, which doesn't bode well for the front wall, and for some reason we can't find a spare washer to replace the one we accidentally milled earlier today.
After checking things out, and milling the front wall, we're actually feeling pretty good about the clearance on the blade, and we can move on. We also milled the front wall to account for the timing belt.
Here's a quick weight check after the milling: we're at 26.0 pounds, so we have loads of weight for wiring and potentially strengthening up the weapon boom.
One other potential cause of the blade wobbling was that we hadn't bolted down the lower bearing, so that's been done, and the blade does actually spin straighter with the bearing mounted.
The final photo for the night, following some Frankensteinian wiring, and figuring out that the OrangeRx receiver does need booster cables for the Victor 883 speed controllers. We've got the motor connections sorted out so the 'bot goes forward/backward/left/right appropriately, and the rear wall runs the right way to enable "crab mode". This weekend we'll finish up the wiring, and Monday we'll install the weapon motors and gearing.
Tags: build, featherweight, ff2
Flush with our recent successes in finishing up 'bots we're left with two big 'uns to wrap up, so we need to get to it! Tonight we're hoping to finish the frame for the featherweight, so we have some drilling and milling to get on with. Hit Back after viewing an image.
It took a bit of sanding to get the first wall to fit - if we meet the person who designed all these anoying angles into the 'bot we'll throttle them! But eventually we were able to install the wall, and moved on to the second.
Ta-daa! Turns out sanding down the wall end goes faster with a fresh belt, but we finally have the frame for the 30lb'er done, except for a few slots in the front wall which we can deal with pretty easily with Milly later. Also, the square nuts are a stupid idea, so we won't be doing that again; we're going to have to hot-glue them into their slots at some point soon.
Now the outside is done, we took a few moments to practice the layout on the inside. There should be plenty of space for wiring etc., so we should be able to whip through that part.
And no time like the present! We've installed the three Victor 883 speed controllers, and we have a test-fit of the large Whyachi power switch done too, so we could - in theory - set about wiring the drive motors.
So let's push the boat out a bit and do some wiring. We've begun hooking the drive motors to the speed controllers. Unfortunately it's a school night, so we need to wrap this up, and pick it up again tomorrow - hopefully with a quick test drive!
This time in two weeks it'll all be over at Motorama 2012 and the arena is likely almost disassembled and stowed in the Benson Trailer, but for now we still have work to do in preparation for the event. Specifically we have an antweight and featherweight to finish, and possibly a Sportsman to wrap up. We've definitely decided to drop Versatile Villain 0.9 in favour of Unlettered Understrapper 2.5, so that one can go back on the bench. Hit Back after viewing an image.
Yesterday we had a space issue with the wheel walls, so to get around that, this morning we decided to take 1/16" off the wheel walls, so we set Milly's atomic batteries to power and turbines to speed, and took care of that.
That's much better - we can now install the outer wall without any interference from the wheel wall, so we just need to do the same thing with the other two wheel walls ...
Et voila! With these walls installed we can now get to sizing up the longer UHMW walls and drilling and slotting them to complete the frame work.
Meanwhile, Lauren's here working on her antweight, and the 'bot is being disassembled for installation of the drive axles.
SGGS: Today I found a new talent in addition to tapping ... the arbor press. With the fuel of a double-shot of espresso and the background of MASH Season 1 I got Malicious Mule disassembled.
Some drilling and pinning later, and all four motor/axle/wheel combos are reinstalled back in the 'bot.
The rest of the chassis is reassembled ready for wiring.
It's a nice, simple design - easy for a new builder to get to grips with. At this point it's time to fire up the soldering iron.
SGGS: Almost done - that same feeling as on Christmas Eve.
The electronics are pretty easy in this 'bot - two ESCs and four motors to be soldered together, and the ESC power source to be soldered to the battery connector.
The battery and receiver are simply mounted to the baseplate with 3M double-sided foam tape, and there we are: done!
SGGS: Time to celebrate and plan out a graffiti-fabulous paint scheme before sparring trials this upcoming weekend.
The reason this isn't a "Presenting ..." post is because the 'bot is a quarter of an ounce overweight, so we're going to slap the 1/4" 6061 aluminium front and rear plates on the mill and pocket out some weight.
Tags: antweight, build, featherweight, ff2, mill, mm
With the beetle finished this morning, our list of things to do is diminishing quite nicely! But by far the longest To Do lists are for the the two biggest 'bots, and as there's only this weekend and next weekend left to go, we need to buckle down and make some progress! Hit Back after viewing an image.
We started out by bolting the drive motors and wheels to the baseplate. Somehow we messed up the CAD and the motors are an eighth of an inch out of place, which would make installing the side walls a bit tricky, but we press on ...
The front wall is UHMW which doesn't hold a thread very well, so we decided to insert square nuts to capture the bolts. After a bit of milling and drilling - note to selves: do that the other way around next time - the front wall is ready for a test fit.
And it fits quite snugly. We've deviated from the design in that we bolted the boom strengthener to the base without milling the base down, to try and maintain as much stiffness as possible.
A test fit of the top plate too - the nuts seem to work well, so we're happy with that.
Here we've installed the rear wall, and had to fight the wheel mount - because the motors are a touch too far forward the wheel is also slightly forward, and so there's interference from the wheel wall that makes spinning the wheel very tough. We're probably going to have to switch the half-inch wheel mounts for some 3/8" polycarb and re-make them.
The final shot of the day is a weigh-in. With all the components on the scale the 'bot is at 26.0 pounds, so we ought to have some weight left over for some additional stiffening of the weapon boom. Tomorrow we'll finish the walls, and get to work on wiring up the drive components. Given the issues we had trying to enlarge the 10mm bore on the bevel gear earlier this week, we're thinking of just ordering some 10mm keyed shaft from McMaster rather than fight with the gear on the lathe, so the weapon on the 'bot won't get finished until next weekend.
This time in two weeks we'll be on the road to Nashville, on the way to Motorama 2012! Which is exciting, but we still have work to do - the plan is to finish the fairyweight and a beetleweight by the weekend, and then spend the weekend working on the two biggest
'bots. In order to manage that we need to fabricate some parts, and put a call in to Chris over at Speedster Hobbies to see whether we could get some shop time, and Chris graciously agreed. We jumped in the BotMobile with some materials and headed his way. Hit Back after viewing an image.
Chris reminded us of how the bandsaw worked, and we started out by chopping up some aluminium and steel. Boy, we wish we had one of these in the Build Space! Nifty!
Here's what we cut up - DeWalt drive axles, a weapon transmission shaft, two pairs of blade shafts (steel and aluminium), wheel hubs, and trimmed down the blade shaft and retainer for the 30lb'er.
After a spell on the lathe, we had the aluminium round turned down to fit the Colson wheels. Not perfect to the thousandth of an inch, but well within typical Team Radicus tolerances :-)
Chris has a new lathe, and it was working just fine! In fact, he hadn't had time himself to use it yet, so we were the first to fire it up, and it was fun!
After hitting the hubs with a countersink (to start the hole), and a couple of drill bits, we had the hubs ready for the shafts. We hope we have a 1/8" broach back at the Build Space ...
The last lathe operation for the day is to bore the bevel gear for the 30lb'er to half an inch - it's metric, and has a 10mm bore at the moment. We didn't realize this was going to be a tough job, but the presence of a keyway messed things up, and we wound up snapping a bit trying to bore this out. We'll have to do a bit of research into a way to accomplish this ...
With profuse thanks to Chris, we jumped back into the BotMobile and headed back to the Build Space, noting along the way that the temperature was over 80°F - eighty degrees in February?! Crazy.
Turning our attention to the smallest 'bot in the fleet, we milled a hole for the weapon motor wires, and drilled mounting holes for the weapon motor in the front of the chassis.
We've also modded the mounting plate a little, and a couple of #2-56 screws and nuts have started the process of mounting the motor to the plate, but we need 3/8" long ones to mount this to the chassis, and we don't have any. Looks like a trip to Grainger is on the cards tomorrow ...
In this photo the motor is actually slightly lower than it will sit on the chassis, but close enough to see that it clears the ground, which is a plus :-)
There's a lot of wiring to be dealt with, so we decided to mill out a bit more of the top part of the chassis - messes up the CamBam+ finish, but at least it we ought to be able to cram everything in now.
We were originally steeling ourselves to have to cut and solder the receiver wires on the speed controllers, but thankfully Kurtis over at FingerTech uses very flexible wire on his TinyESCs, and we were able to stuff the excess into a couple of crannies in the 'bot, and move on.
Next up is mounting the weapon speed controller. We decided to risk the weight and used a small piece of double-sided foam tape to stick it down to the motors at the back of the 'bot, and again we stuffed the receiver lead into space around the battery.
Which brings us to power cables. Because all the wires are quite fine gauge, we decide to just try and solder them all together, and with some electrical tape a zip tie, got them all close enough to hit with the soldering iron in one go. Not pretty, but seems to hold fine.
So we did the same thing with the positive power leads, and did actually remove the zip tie before putting some heatshrink on the end of the leads.
Time for a sanity check. The chassis, plus it's nuts, and a couple of bolts to approximate the missing motor mount nuts and bolts, and we're at 149 grams - looks good to us, but we need to hope that NERC's official scale is close to our's. There is a difference in latitude between Austin, TX, and Harrisburg, PA, but hopefully not enough to cause a couple of grams difference ...
This was a shot after a quick test drive of the 'bot. It is pretty zippy, but fairly easy to control - without the weapon, of course! We'll see tomorrow how it drives with the weapon spinning on the front.
Last shot of the night, and we've milled a small hole on the top of the 'bot to be able to get to the battery connector, so we can disconnect the battery after a match. As long as we can get those #2-56 x 3/8" screws tomorrow this 'bot will be finished tomorrow night!
Tags: build, fairyweight, featherweight, ff2, lathe, pal30, sportsman, tt1
With the drill press still out of commission, we're falling a little behind in our build schedule, but we found a few other things to be getting on with today, including a non-'bot-related job for a friend at work. Hit Back after viewing an image.
A friend at work caught wind of the fact we have a CNC-equipped mill, and asked whether we could help him with a part he needed fabricating. As we can't get on with a whole lot at the moment, we said sure, and invited him round to the Build Space. The part is a mount for a telescope, and he needed some holes milled for alignment.
It took about an hour to learn about the G2 and G3 codes, and eventually had a G-code script written to mill the three holes. There were a number of firsts - for us - in this simple project, including actually milling all the way through a 3/4" piece of aluminium!
Et voila! In fact, David even paid us for it :-) Good thing too, because we were about to take a hit to the wallet ...
We'd received a call from a machine shop in South Austin that we'd contracted to fix up a few parts for us we couldn't manage by ourselves. Here's the weapon for Didactic Duelist 1.5 all MIG-welded up.
And a couple of parts for the hobbyweight Nihilistic Naysayer 2.0, namely the drum on the left, which had been bored to 1/2" to fit the endcaps, and the rear walls on the right, cut from 4" pipe. Unfortunately the bill for these parts wound up being double the original telephone estimate, so we weren't real thrilled about that, but the work was good.
Here's one of the endcaps in place, although we can't drill and tap it at the moment - hmph!
Same deal with the rear wall ... we sure hope one of the 2L V-belts we ordered from McMaster will fit the drill press when they arrive on Tuesday!
With the exception of a few bolts, we're at 11lb 2.4oz out of the 12lb limit, so we have plenty of weight free on the 'bot we can invest in securing the teeth to the drum.
Turning our attention elsewhere, and we're following some advice from the NERC Forum to switch the output on the weapon motors to decrease the leverage on them and their mounts. Here's one of the weapon motors disassembled.
And we used the arbor press to push the shaft through to the other end of the motor can. This took more force than we would have thought - the shaft is a pretty tight fit in the can, but that's a good thing!
We added a couple of new flats to the shaft for the setscrew and collar. We can reuse the flat already on there from the shaft collar for attaching our pinion gear later.
And we're halfway done. The motor on the left is the adjusted one. We just need to follow the same procedure for the one on the right. Those magnets are really very strong! To reassemble the motor we just put the can in the vicinity of the windings, and everything jumped into place!
And finally two adjusted motors with their mounts attached. We need to add spacers for the pinion gears, and re-attach them to the walls, but that's a task for another day.
Last photo of the day, and it's a Pile-o-Parts we just happen to have sitting around the Build Space ... we wonder if we could make anything with these ...
Tags: mill, build, beetleweight, dd1, hobbyweight, nn2, fairyweight, ff2
We've had a pretty productive week so far! We're making good progress on two of the beetles, have one 'bot done, and are really waiting for parts to show up to get cracking on the others we're planning on taking to Motorama 2012. While we wait for those parts we have some pieces we can make ourselves, and we still have the wiring to do on Unlettered Understrapper 2.5. Hit Back after viewing an image.
We set Milly off and running on the remaining aluminium parts for the featherweight. While that was going on we decided to finish the lifter for the beetle. We've drilled and tapped one hole for the crank, to fit a #6-32 1" screw which will be Loctite'd in after assembly.
Looks like Milly has finished - we have the three aluminium wall pieces and a spare for each. Still some drilling and tapping to do, once the top and base plates show up.
With the aluminium done, we set Milly off on the UHMW wall pieces, and went to go find something else to do.
Here we've bolted in the crank for the beetle lifter. We still need to round off the ends on the sander, but it's looking okay so far.
A bit more drilling and tapping and the rocker arm has gone in place. Again we need the edges rounding down, but it's coming together nicely.
For fun, we decided to put the arm into place in the 'bot, using hex keys, and the holes all line up, so yay! :-)
Here's where the arm extends to, give or take, and it ought to be enough to be able to fall to one side and roll on to the wheels again. The only issue is that cranking the arm takes a bit of force, and we're not entirely sure whether the HD servo we have is up to the task. We'll have to see when the 'bot is a bit more assembled. We can always switch to a gearmotor, and figure out limit switches using a Team Delta relay.
Yay! The UPS guy just dropped off a fairly large box - let's see what's inside!:-)
Parts for Formidable Fustigator 2.0: base plate; top plate; and boom strengtheners.
Parts for Poor Punctuation 2.0: top and bottom plates for a one-weapon-motor configuration; top and bottom plates for a two-weapon-motor configuration; a pair of UHMW rings; and titanium weapon ring and gears.
Parts for Malicious Mule: top and bottom plates; inner walls; spare outer walls; front and back plates; and aluminium outer walls.
Parts for Didactic Duelist 1.5: base plate; top plate; side walls; wheels walls; engine mounts; rear walls; and side walls.
We couldn't resist: we had to do a little on the antweight parts! Here we've drilled the UHMW rings slightly to accomodate #4-40 locknuts.
And with minimal effort the locknuts have been pressed into place. We had originally envisioned regular hex nuts, but inexplicably we don't have any, hence the locknuts.
Here's how the antweight parts stack together - polycarb, UHMW ring, titanium weapon ring, UHMW, and then polycarb. There will be a bunch of spacers holding everything together.
Meanwhile, Milly is still turning away on the UHMW parts. Because even half-inch thick UHMW is a bit bendy, we're only doing four inches at a time - the width in the vise, to ensure that at least that much doesn't flex while we're cutting.
Here's the front wall for the 30lb'er, and it's 26.5" long, so we're having to work around the lathe chuck to be able to get the middle of the part, but we finagled it successfully.
Here's a test-fit of the 30lb'er walls on the baseplate. If you look at the back wall, it's not sitting on the baseplate, so obviously we messed something up. On closer inspection we mis-measured the length of the side aluminium walls - they should be a quarter-inch shorter! Thankfully that'll be pretty easy to take care of tomorrow, so we've put it on the list of things Milly has to do tomorrow.
A quick trip to the mailbox yielded junkmail and a package from Hong Kong - more spiral bevel gears! We were planning on using these on the 30lb Sportsman Walker Cyber Scorpion 0.9, but we've scrapped that idea - just too complex with not enough time for Motorama 2012, but on the plus side it'll be a project that will keep us engaged in 'bot-building through the year, rather than just the few months leading up to Motorama 2013 ...
Here we've already counter-sunk all the holes for the top and bottom plates for the antweight's two-motor configuration, so we're about to throw some team colour on them, while we fiddle with some other parts ...
... Namely the antweight weapon motors. They came with set screws in place for prop-savers, but by golly they were in there tight! We ended up Dremelling them off.
Right - we've taken the can off one of the motors intending to press the titanium ring onto the can!
Er - yeah ... not so much. We've mangled the can pressing the gear on, so something's obviously not right here. We broke out the calipers, and groaned. For a press fit you typically aim for three or four thousandths difference in size. What we have here is four hundredths difference. Grr. Our bad on the DXFs we sent to the Whyachis, so what can we do about it?
We set the Dremel-a-like onto it and see if we can neatly take the inner diameter of the gear to somewhere close to the motor outer diameter. Unfortunately we got far too carried away - not realizing the Dremel-a-like worked so quickly on Grade 5 Titanium, and now the ring just slips down the motor. Drat!
At this point we have one good motor, one bad gear, and two fresh gears. Obviously we're going to have to order some more motors, but we started wondering whether we could reclaim the bad gear some way, so we built a jig ...
... And applied some Loctite to the motor/ring combo. Ordinarily we'd have used duct tape, but felt this operation needed a little more finesse. The jig has the ring 0.25" from the bottom of the motor, so if this works we have one working weapon motor. We'll find out in the morning whether we were able to save the titanium gear.
But the first thing we have to do tomorrow is clean, tidy, and organize the garage Build Space, because we wasted a whole heap of time today simply trying to find things! This place is a bomb site hit by a tornado! So that's the plan for first thing tomorrow. For now, we're going to have a gin and tonic, and order some motors ...
Tags: antweight, beetleweight, build, dd1, featherweight, ff2, mill, pp2, vv1
This is turning into quite a productive week! Having made a solid start on Versatile Villain 0.9 we decided to gather up all the milling we need to do and take care of as much of it as possible. And we heard from the Whyachis that our parts will actually be here Thursday rather than Friday, so that should make Friday a busy day too! Hit Back after viewing an image.
The first order of business is the table saw, though. We need to cut some walls and chassis blocks from our recent McMaster order. We have some 0.75" UHMW chassis blocks for Macchiavelian Malcontent 0.9 and some pieces for its 4-bar lifter. We also cut the UHMW and 6061 walls for the next version of our featherweight.
Speaking of the featherweight, here are the two weapon motors - we need to make mounts for them, and so cut out a couple of pieces of 1/2" polycarbonate. Here you can see we're missing a pinion gear, but it's on order from China.
The next job for the table saw is bevelling the walls for Formidable Fustigator 2.0 which didn't take too long, but it was quite daunting pushing a three-inch piece of aluminium across the blade and pressing it into the guide to try and keep it level (our table saw has a dip next to the blade) - definitely had to rest the fingers after that job, but they're all intact!
Here's a completed motor mount - fairly quick and easy to whip up, and we were actually quite accurate in our drilling, which made a pleasant change ...
And here's the second. We haven't figured out eactly how far the mounting distances are for these spiral bevel gears, but we'll sort that out once we have the pinions on the motors and a shaft for the main gear.
Well now ... what have we here? These are the two DeWalt motors that survived from the first version of the featherweight, and they don't look like the spare we have. We Googled for information about high and low speed, and found Team DaVinci's handy page which informed us that these DeWalts were in low gear - doh! We set about disassembling them and removing the locking ring to get them into high gear. It took a while, because those planetary gearboxes are fiddly, but eventually we got the hang of putting them back together layer by layer.
Speaking of things surviving from the first version - here are some pieces that didn't! We decided to spend a little bit of time going through the parts to see if we could use anything as spares.
One of the motors was good, and we were able to scavenge sufficient gears to build a gearbox for it, so these are all the DeWalt spares we have now - three motor/gearbox/mount combos. [Actually, we have two more, but Scott's going to buy those for his featherweight - Ed]
While we were scavenging we fired up Milly, with a program to cut down the lifter arm for the beetle. We've figured out by trial and error that if we run the spindle at 1500rpm, set a feed rate of 6 inches/minute, and take 1/16"-deep passes we get good results. Sure, it takes a while, but when we can give it to the CNC PC to take care of, the speed doesn't matter too much.
After a while, this is what we ended up with for phase one. Looks pretty good!
Next we set up a program for the holes for the arms. Truthfully, we do have smaller endmills, but it's a hassle to switch them, so we're quite content to keep trucking with the half-inch one.
Et voila! Phase two is complete - just ignore that errant cut on the right - operator error :-O We moved the part along in the vise and moved on to phase three, and pretty soon had a finished part, which we put aside and moved on to the mating part ...
... The Plow. Truthfully we should have trimmed this on the table saw earlier, but we forgot. It took a while to cut the 2" angle leg down to 1.375", but hey: CNC PC!
While Milly was doing her thing we checked out the lifter arm - just like the CAD! :-) We only need to drill a couple of holes in it and it's a finished part.
Meanwhile, upping the weight class to 1000% we decided to do a test layout of the featherweight. The only parts we're missing for the body are the batteries, motor shaft and pulley - oh: and the top and bottom plates, but it's already starting to come together.
After Milly was done creating aluminium sprinkles we checked out her work - the plow has a small pocket to mate with the arm. There was probably a better way of creating it, but for the life of us, we couldn't figure out how to make a rectangular pocket with round endmills. Maybe we should read a couple more books ...
The next (repetative) task on Milly's plate is to cut lips in all the aluminium walls for the 30lb'er. Again, taking 1/16" passes it takes a while but the results are fine, and we went back to the beetle.
A little bit of drilling-and-tapping later and the plow is mounted on the lifter arm. We're still debating whether to countersink those holes for flat-head bolts, but for now we'll stick with buttonheads.
The last shot of the night, with the aluminium wall parts all cut for the top and bottom plates. Tomorrow: cutting lips into the UHMW walls - hopefully just in time for the plates to arrive!
Tags: beetleweight, build, fairyweight, featherweight, ff2, mm1, mill, vv1
The last version of Formidable Fustigator had a huge design flaw: At pretty much exactly the same time the blade hit the opponent, the opponent was perfectly lined up to hit a wheel, and being polycarbonate it shattered. The two goals in this re-design were to (1) Re-use as many components as possible; and (2) try and keep the wheels away from the opponent! Hit Back after viewing an image.
To try and get an idea of how we need the layout to be, we took the CAD for version one and rotated the body to put the wheels as far away from the blade as possible. We worked with this for quite a while, before realizing that there was too much area to cover for the top and bottom plates, so we needed to re-jig a little.
We wanted to keep the three-omniwheel design, but we were failing to stick with many elements of the previous design, so we laid out a new drive train and worked around that. This time the left and right wheels are perpendicular to the rear wheel, so top speed will actually be pretty quick.
Here's the basic chassis. We went back and forth on materials for a while, before coming up with a combination that would make weight. The top and bottom plates are quarter-inch polycarbonate; the front and angled walls are half-inch UHMW, and the three small walls covering the wheels are half-inch 6061 aluminium. On the weapon boom, the polycarb plates will be milled to an eighth-inch thick, and eighth-inch thick aluminium braces will be bolted on to help strengthen the boom.
The drive train is kept intact from the previous version in terms of components - DeWalt motors, omniwheels, and polycarb wheel mounts. We'll have to try and remember where we bought the omniwheels so we can get another one for a spare.
The electronics are pretty simple. Victor 883s for the drive motors, and a couple of 70A brushless ESCs (in red) for the weapon motors. The batteries are a pair of 3Ah 6S 40C Zippy LiPo packs in parallel, so they can offer up 240A in a pinch. Not shown here are the receiver, battery eliminator, and Whyachi power switch.
As far as the weapon goes, we have made a bot of a change here. Although the blade and pulley are the same, along with the nylon blade washers, we're switching the weapon motor, which used to be a G110 for two G60 motors. They'll have a bevel gear set for a 2.5:1 reduction, and then from that shaft a 16T pulley feeds the 32T pulley for the weapon shaft, so this should have an overall speed of 2200rpm.
You may note that the weapon boom isn't actually long enough for the blade to miss the front wall of the 'bot, so there's a slot milled into the front wall for it, and it just clears the internals. As long as the 'bot doesn't flex [fingers crossed] it should be just fine. We don't see what could possibly go wrong ...
Here's our weight spreadsheet, and without any wire or fasteners we have two pounds available. We could also pocket some of the UHMW walls, but that won't save a whole lot of weight, so if it comes to it we could drop a weapon motor and save a pound or so.
A screenshot from the Tentacle Torque Calculator showing that the DeWalts at 6S (22.2V) will run quite zippily on the omniwheels. It also figures that we'll use a quarter of our battery power for the drive, and the rest are available for the weapon, which should work out okay.
A final render, as we didn't have time to get some Team Colours slapped on the parts. We also left the batteries together on a single wall - it might mess up the weight distribution, but it means we can get the batteries out to charge by only removing ten screws, which would be handy. All in all this should be a fairly easy build, and we're looking forward to getting the parts waterjet-cut so we can get to assembling!
Tags: featherweight, design, ff2
This site contains records of our trials and tribulations in building combat robots. So much to learn, and so little time!