Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Apparently it has not dawned on many people that I already have a fairyweight. "Are you building a new P150?" they ask. No, I am not. Pookie is not for me; she is for Wazio. And as such, being finally completed last night, she is currently being shipped across the United States to Wazio's place in Nevada. So here we are, final reminisces of the bot's memory. May she kick lots of male bots in the nuts.

Farewell! Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Updates: for lack of better words.

Post Concert more, back to bot building and school packing. Yeah sure I have a month until college actually begins, but for me the terms are slightly different so I'll have to get ready by the end of July. Still, there are priorities to be had like finishing Pookie for Wazio.

Last report showed the basic frame plates cut and assembled with the motors and batteries placed. Well since then, I moved those around and I even wired up THE ENTIRE ROBOT!

That is how it looks right now (picture literally taken 2 seconds ago). Fully packed in, drive motors working, and with bottle cap wheels attached. It feels pretty robust and seeing it spin up, I feel like this is a quality competitor if driven correctly.

The electronics are extremely compact. I had to go thought many painstaking efforts to get everything configured the way I wanted them. I had to remove all the pins from the receiver and solder directly to the board. The PWM leads themselves were cut to about an inch long to reduce the amount of wiring running around. I even practiced board stacking where I soldered one board on top of another so save space.

You can see the "power poles" right here between the two boards.

All these modifications allowed the robot to stay really compact. (I need to take a sizing picture some day) All that is left to do is dremel the blade mounting screws off, and to make a new top cover.

Even Pacman got a makeover in time for Atlanta's Dragon Con Robot Battles event. I mounted the motor on top this time to simplify the belting system and added a self-righting hoop to keep the robot on one orientation. Don't worry, running inverted was never a good strategy so it was not like I lost anything. These new makeovers prompted a new color make over so I happily used a different color plastic and some silver to create the illustrations.

One last thin I might do is upgrade the battery for higher voltage and more capacity. After all, I do have 8oz unused.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Have Never Been Acquanted with "Free Time"...

... does he live around here?

I guess not. The past few days have been royally hectic for me. Not to suggest anything bad because they were definitely fun. On Wednesday I went out to karaoke for my friends to sing many great classics and to discover "Drops of Jupiter" by Train was not on the song list. But there were lots of things that have happened and after the dismal last few posts, it is time to recapitulate.

The Offspring concert at Hard Rock Cafe was amazing! Eric, Tina, and I arrived at an early 4:50pm while the show was actually at 8. This gave us a great spot in line. We were about 5th? For a sold out show of some 2000+ people, that is amazing. And was was even more amazing were the seats we ended up with... can you say up front and center floor!? I had a great view of the stage and the performers when they came out. It was simply amazing.

I mean, keeping that spot was another story, as there was lots of pushing and shoving. But a little bit of shifting and "counter-measures" and I was able to retain my great spot all the way until the end of The Offspring's performance. Eric and Tina were not as lucky.

But The Offspring hold a dear spot in my heart because they were the first band I really heard. Deprived of CDs and other media, I was not able to get much. But a gift from my father's friend resulted in a collection of music, where I first heard The Offspring's Conspiracy of One CD. It was an honor to finally get to hear them live and almost catch that guitar pick he threw into the crowd.

Dexter Holland is a holy disciple of punk-rock. I am serious, that is how the picture came out.

There was also the odd coincidence of seeing the sound guy on stage who happened to look like my AP Chemistry teacher from Junior year. Did we just crack open another side of Mr. Reed?

I ended the night with my favorite whopper (the angry whopper) and the purchase of two Offspring shirts. One for me, one for my brother.

The second awesome thing was the arrival of parts. My order from China finally came in, and in it came the necessary parts to finally finish Wazio's fairyweight. I'll call it Pookie in spirit of his old fairyweight.

(uh, picture later)

Really, the only part in that box for him was the motor, but it was very important and is the major part I plan around in my fairyweights. Here is a status picture of how it sits. A .1" thick titanium blade about 1.5oz will be spun by that motor at about 11600rpms on a 7.4v Lithium Battery. Drive motors are speed hacked Airtronics servos and the base materials are all garolite composites. Tomorrow I will be wiring up the electronics (Banebots 3-9 escs and Phoenix 10 esc). In either case, I know it will be underweight (weighing only 5.05oz right now) so I can add wheel guards later on.

Other goodies (11.1v 1750mah Lipoly, 30amp Brushless esc, etc.) in the box are for my new beetleweight, Ice pack, when I get to mill the frame.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bot On! (Suckage)

The last post was far too long. But this is okay, because there is not much to report on this one.

Pacman: 1 win, 2 losses. sucked
Normally I would not be this mad, but the robot did not even perform well. The only robot to have a worse outcome was my old ant Jui Kuen, but I was satisfied with him because he was a good bot. I got a great hit that sent Piranha along the hypotenuse of a 8' square. But Pacman was not one of those cases. First match, the reception was bad and as a result I was pushed out. Every other match I broke a belt after some semi-impressive hits. Even got embarrassed when I was flipped and the set in receiver high centered the robot. I will still upload the video, but something on this robot just HAS to change.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bot On! (The Victors)

Yesterday was the Gulf Coast Robot Sports competition at the Hobby marketplace down in Bradenton, Florida. And as you know, I took my three entries (Pacman, DDT, and P150) there. How did they do? Lets hit the break down.

DDT: 3 wins, 1 loss. The champ!
DDT was amazingly well behaved compared to previous outings. I kept the throttle about midway for most fights, and it kept the damage high, yet the recoil low. I might have to keep that tactic for later on. But I had only four fights because I had a first round bye and then an opponent who did not show up. So all in all, i fought against two other competitors: Piranha and Sporkinok.

V. Piranha: Piranha sported a mean vertical Ti blade directly powered by a 2212 sized brushless motor. I knew this would not be pretty, since Mike is a good driver and his bots are pretty tough. I knew wheel shots could kill me, so I decided to not allow him the chance. I lined up out blades every time and went for the "safe" impact since my blade was larger, thicker, and faster than his. He climbed DDT's front cover a few times, and flipped from some sparky hits, but soon his brushless motor had come apart and his blade bent, he decided to tap out giving me the win.

V. Sporkinok: The spork returns, but even more ridiculous than before! Now he is a 22.2v thwacker with a foot long boom of Al rod. He was fast, and almost uncontrollable, but as we fought, it didn't seem to matter... my blade was too low! It would go right under neath him, and the only thing i could hurt was the spork or the wheels. But he was so wide that it was tough, and i thought i might lose this to a judges decision. But after chasing him down, he ended up on my snout high centered, and I was able to put him out through the pit. But this was only the first of three encounters. After he beat Little Scoop in the Semi-finals, we met in the finals match 1. This time, he held a wedge attachment to try and keep me at bay. It worked in an odd way. It was enough hinderance to give a really good catch when we collided and we both flew around, with me hitting the pit. Finals match #2 started out poorly for Spork. A gyro and a change, and he was down one wheel. He tapped out giving DDT the victory.

P150: 2 wins, 1 loss. The champ!
In this I am not counting the forfeit by Nano Nightmare because I believe a fight could have occurred. No idea why he gave in though... But regardless, P150 was my second victor this competition. We ran double round robin fights in this because we only had three fairyweights.

v. Doodle Bug: I fought Doodle Bug, a Ti plated pusher, first. I spun up and he collided with me with sparks flying about. I was having control problems the whole time; the robot would go into FBS mode all too often, not like it usually does. So I suppose I got lucky, and one impact blew one of his tires out. He tapped giving DDT the win.

v. Micro Nightmare: Basically the miniature version of the miniature version of the large heavyweight, Nightmare. It sported a very similar weapon system to my own, but a slower drivetrain. I suppose I could have eaten his wheels easily, but with my control problems, he hit mine first, dropping the blade to the floor after he ripped it away. Sure I could still drive, but I was set in constant forward with the blade on the ground. At the same time, his weapon fell off, so all I had to do was stay alive! I got some light pokes at him, but an unlucky steer sent me into the pit. Time for the second string.

v Doodle Bug 2: Fighting with only one wheel was interesting. I replaced that sagging side with two nuts stacked on top of each other to give the proper blade clearance. So driving for me, was basically doing the crab walk, or using inertia to do a spin attack if he came close. There were some sparks, and some close calls when he managed to get behind me, but one lucky shot punted both robots away from the wall, where he went out of the arena, and I stayed in.

Nano Nightmare was unable to fight for the second bout so he awarded me the victory. It was a shame, I was actually looking forward to this bout.

The two victorious robots allowed me to pick up two prizes awarded at the event, totalling to $90 in gift certificates to the Robot Marketplace. Thanks to Jim, Seth, and the whole gang! I had a blast!

But now onto the big oaf...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Where'd ya go Jamo?

I've been busy. That is no secret. Many of you have no idea, because I seem just as (un)responsive as usual, but truth is, I have been quite busy.

Last post, I detailed some of the tasks I had to hit for the upcoming Gulf Coast Robot Sports competition at the Hobby Marketplace. Between then and now, I got all three robots completed! Woohoo! Okay, technically Pacman is charging, but who gives...

So to knock off the easy ones first, P150 and DDT are complete. Last post I outlined the new motor mounting scheme for DDT. The motors dried in, and I slapped some tape over the back. Looks brand new and ready for combat! P150 required a little more work, but nothing strenuous. I took apart my last spare GWS PicoBB servo, and replaced the topmost portion of the casing. Then I glued the motors in to complete the robots. Some quick test drives, and charges, they appear to be ready to kick some butt!

Pacman was not as easy. After a trek to Skycraft surplus store, I bought some replacement o-rings to use as drive belts. However they were too tight! How terrible! I tried to remelt some old belts but it turned out like junk. Apparently the material doesn't take too kind to fire, and instead of melting, just bursts into flames (sorry, no pictures).

I went to Home Depot to try and get the rings I needed: no dice, they were just too small. The largest they had was about 1.25" dia, when i needed 1.5" or something around that. I was about to leave, when my mom had the brilliant idea of using bathtub washers. Sure they start out very wide, but some quick work of the sheers, and suddenly they are custom made rings!

Some additional upgrades include a nicely polished output shaft, some added flats to help aid torque, upping the size of the weapon hub set screw, and maximizing the output pulley diameter for quicker spinup times. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

To Bot or not to Bot...

... that is the question.

Today is Tuesday and this Saturday is the Gulf Coast Robotic Sports competition hosted by the Hobby Marketplace. I am still trying to decide if I will compete or not. I love to fight robots, but somewhere between losing $30 (in entry fees) and my parents wanting to take me to my driver's test, it makes me second guess. Either way, I am still preparing the robots for Dragon Con in August.

First up, is my Antweight, DDT. At BARF, he did a good amount of damage, but after 5-6 competitions hte parts are wearing down. The motor mounting blocks actually fractured and broke completely on one side; into 5 pieces to be exact. I could not let this happen again.

Here are the UHMW motor mounts I created. Same overall dimensions, but the different material should make it more shock resistant. And yet, I didn't use them.

Here is what I actually did. I bought some standoffs to hold hte top armor, and then simply glued hte motors down like in some realier robots. It looks cheesy, but has actually been the best method in my opinion. No motors broken, and never has a motor come lose. It is just a pain to fix if a gear explodes.

Pacman got a weapon system change. When I got my wisdom teeth removed, I swung by the surplus store and bought some tighter O-rings so the weapon couldnt spin up faster. A lack of friction was costing Pacman some good seconds. But the O-rings were too tight. They transfered all the friction and the darn Wattage Cobalt actually sucked all of the current from the batteries. Ugg, I need another solution.

Easy solution. I changed the ratio of hte belts. The old setup was somewhere around 3:1. Decent, but for more torque, I made the blade pulley larger. Now it has something around a 7:1 ratio. This will mean lower top speed, but really, I never even GOT to top speed at BARF. Recent tests show that this configuration is a solid idea anyway.

Last, is P150. I have never introduced P150 here before, but simply it is hte smallest robot of the fleet. A 1/3 scale of DDT in a sense, definately one of hte most dangerous Fariweights in the nation.

It is in pieces... See the pretty pile of parts? Last GCRS, I foolishly put it in the Antweight rumble, where it made lots of pretty sparks, but it smashed both of its drive motors and its weapon motors. I already fixed one drive motor, but the bearing retainers on the weapon and the casing on the second drive motor are poo.

More updates to come later. And oh, the videos from the last event are uploaded on my Youtube. Cheers!