Thursday, 31 October 2013

Little Miss Massacre

Ok so Massacre has had even more CAD work on it, namely some corner pieces and more bracing to make it as rigid and tough as possible, and the wedge shape was changed to free up some space and more importantly weight. I was bit worried about how well it would all work, the belts and the waterjetting  because, well. It's all big and scary for a guy who normally just screws plastic together. I forget how I actually came to start designing the beetle (apologies if it was you who prompted it!) But I set out to make a Beetleweight Massacre, trying to keep the processes and build techniques the same just smaller. I've named it Little Miss Massacre for now, as the beetles should be an equal opportunity class, and I might win if she distracts the boys with her shiny spinning bar of death, destruction and something else that begins with d (dragons!)  Now for some specifications on the lady in question, her base plate is 145 x 165 (Massacre 280 x 330) Which is a pretty decent size for a beetle I think, nothing will be a squeeze yet there won't be the several cubic meters of empty space like in dear old Eggbeater.  Her frame is a mix of 10 and 5mm thick 7075 aluminium with 1.2mm titanium base plate and 1mm carbon fibre lid (possibly, maybe more titanium if have the weight. The wedge will be 2-3mm titanium scrap I have.  The frame is a jigsaw puzzle style, exactly like Massacre. She is running 1000rpm "ebay" motors at 3 cell lipo, possibly 4 cells as with small wheels this won't be very fast at all. My other beetle, Eggbeater has a very heavy, fairly slow (4000rpm) weapon with an incredible theoretical amount of power behind it. Little Miss Massacre will have a fairly light, only 3-400g or so of bar but spinning 6-8000rpm powered by a small 400watt brushless outrunner.

Here you can see Little Miss Massacre in relation to Massacre and the Eggbeater CAD the other froody robots are old versions of a rather cool thing that Elvis was planning at one stage.

More on this when something actually happens...actually probably not, I'll probably post some more progressless progress before too long. Cheers anyway. Haz.                                                          

Post competition thing of eternal excitement and joy!

Stupid title is stupid. Anyway, last Saturday was the AWS and in no break with tradition I did not do particuarly well, but I massively enjoyed myself and that's what counts. I had the wonderful Joey McConnell for company over the weekend, he came down Friday and with his rather wonderful, if a bit lacking in the side department, robots. With such beasts as Arcus and The Hurting he had a quite formidable team. I had taken a rather pretentious way of naming my robots for this event, all of my robots were songs on the rather wonderful Sad Sappy Sucker by Modest Mouse. My team is shown to the side.

Four Fingered Fisherman
It was a mixed event, most of my robots having their first fight in the first round.. I think I lost all but one meant I went out of the competition pretty quickly. The standard of antweights is still rising, there were so many really quite good robots and I was pretty much totally outclassed. It didn't help that the controls were almost totally reversed on the robot that actually needed control.  I was able to pick up a much needed battery upgrade for the beetleweights, so soon Eggbeater will be running much better.
Blue Cadet 3, Do You Connect?


Well after the competition I know that I need to, as ever, practice my driving and if I'm going for a spinning weapon it needs to be rather good in order to keep up. Horizontal bars I think do have a very good chance with the competition the way it is at the moment. A powerful bar should blow the opposition away with a good enough hit. Running with this thought I watched a few videos of similar style robots and set about constructing something, just quickly and on the fly. It turned out surprisingly well. Insanely good maker/builder/techno wizard; Jim "the human cnc" Blunden  had kindly donated some parts of his old robots, namely the shell of Barbarian his old undercutter. This had a very nice carbon fibre chassis which has been press ganged into service one again. The bar I'm using is hand made by Jim and is fantastic...somebody give that guy a medal or something! I'm direct driving the bar using a quite large outrunner brushless motor. It spins nicely and should hit quite hard! The drive is 50:1 polou gearmotors and the wheels are 21mm dia Slot car ones (really soft and grippy)

Not really much more I can say really, there will be a fairly meaty Massacre/beetleweight update/ramble soon though. Cheers, Haz.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Massacre: progress-less progress report

With shouts of joy and whimpers of apprehension I dive back into the maddening world of Massacre. What follows is an overly self indulgent semi coherent ramble about everyone's favourite non-existent, orange-wheeled featherweight.
As Massacre is being designed to be a show off (if I freely admit it, its not as bad, right?) robot. Showing off meaning I can do slightly  more than haphazardly screw HDPE together and add cordless drill motors. I got confused and decided that this meant that this robot had a budget of three quarters of a million pounds. Now, the reality is I've got about £3.50. I'm not going to totally cheap out on all the components in order to cut costs but some things have to change. The motor that I had intended to power the bar is a rather powerful and highly regarded brand of motor; a Scorpion. The one I wanted costs about £130-140. While this is probably a good investment in a quality product, it's still 140 smegging quid, so that's nearly £300 alone on a motor and spare. So fuck that sideways I needed to find something that is a little more...dirt cheap. God bless Hobbyking, that's all I can say. $42, that is about £26-27 pounds so even if (or rather when for a 30 quid motor) it breaks down/blows up/turns out to be filled with wasps I can easily have a spare. Yum. It's slightly longer than the other motor, but no worries there, I can still fit it in.
 Now for some pretty pictures, I've drawn up the frame with its lovely slots and tabs and am just checking it fits together. The joys of emachineshop mean that I can print out the drawing of the part to size, and physically check sizes and whether or not things can fit in, in the real world. Bit time consuming but Massacre 1 taught me never to just assume things will work in the real world if they do in CAD. I'm a bit worried about the 10mm aluminium being too thin, but it *should* be fine. The grade it is should mean its stiff enough for a frame and that's really what matters with this.
Well here is slightly more Massacre pretty pictures, I find I try to keep loo kin at and tweaking the design every now and then to make sure everything still fits, works or is a good idea. Changes on this version are a new bar, pretty large which I think it does need to be, in an ideal world I would like titanium as that would be light, not particularly hard, but lighter and fairly tough. For ease, chances are it will be hardox and not have any of them fancy edges on it...unless someone offers their milling skillz for peanuts.
Also featuring on the super new chocolatey fudge coated Massacre is the rear armour. The arse plates are made up of sandwiched layers. This sandwiching of the arse plates (oo er vicar) should reduce the shock of any impacts going through the frame and buggering up alignments and things. Its a 10mm HDPE (soft plastic) plate with a 3mm bit of titanium I have pare over the top of this. Some rubber may end up being added to the mix along with mayonnaise and tomato just to make it a proper sandwich if I ever pluck up the courage to sift through the search results for "rubber sheet". Something tells me robotics might not be the first thing that turns up...

This is just me mucking about, I call this picture "when I grow up I want to be Hazard" or "They said I could be anything, so I became Brutality"

Tl;dr - found cheap motor, thought about rear armour, pissed about making pretty pictures

Thanks for reading, if you read this. Mind you, if you made it this far then  you are either insane, me or a hyper sentient gerbil sent back to the past to escape a nightmarish future or D: all of the above. Cheers!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Shane had very kindly got the Slaughterhouse arena set up at the RobotsLive event in Deeside on the 22nd and 23rd of September, so after a long wait we all finally got to have a bit of a bash about with our new machines!
Here you can see the temporary arena, its pretty far away from being finished, but its still looking pretty fucking cool. Lots of the features such as the sign and the scoreboards are not there yet, but its a lot better than nothing, and anyway the plan for this event was to see what works and what doesn't and boy, did I learn a lot about what not to do...

There was a very solid turn out, and a very good selection of beetles. There was the uber-axe of Dave Weston's "Headbanger"  and the solid, reliable lifter of Jamie McHarg's "Flatulence" with the brilliantly engineered RPM, 180 and cobra(?). Also there was my Eggbeater (details of fail coming shortly) and Gonzales made by some guy called Elivs or something idk, he came and ate all my bacon for a few days and I did all his wiring cos I'm a nice person like that. It was a pretty rubbish robot, with the weakest drive possible at this level... no wait.. the opposite of that; it used a featherweight drive system and was pretty much unstoppable provided it didn't cook its own guts.

Gonzales sans top. you can also see about 30% of headbanger and cobra(?)
Oh Eggbeater. Well to start off on a positive note, the weapon was pretty fearsome - not that it actually did any damage mind you but the thought was there and its heart was in the right place  Now for the bad stuff; the battery was so underpowered it wasn't even funny. I couldn't have the drive and the weapon going at the same time, which is kinda important. By the time I realised this and tried to cut the weapon to give me a chance of actually doing something in the fight I found
I only had one side going, and that was going very weakly. upon later inspection it turned out I had burned out a drive motor and esc... without fucking driving. Yaaaay. well done clever monkey, no cake for you.

And now for videos!