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July Overview
Problems, problems, problems. This past month, everything fell apart. And I only have ten days to try to get something working for the event. I just can't friggin' believe it. The gas engine puts out too much RFI and creams the speed controllers with electrical noise. The cool blades we bought are too heavy to spin up. The pneumatic punch mechanism doesn't have enough power. The air valves don't have enough flow to run the pike at any reasonable rate. All the "on the bench" testing never approximated the real parts I ended up using. And to top it off, two of my team-members cannot make the event (we've only been planning this for four months.)

So here are a few pictures I snapped in my frantic hurry this past weekend. I may show up at the event with something as functionally unexciting as La Machine, but we will be there!


This is my friend Blaine. He is a super machinist. What I really needed was to have him around more six months ago when I was planning everything out. I've had him fix a few things that I couldn't get working, but overall they are minimal.
This is one of the parts for the pan-tilt rig that runs the pike. I'm really proud of the machining job I did; it's just too bad the things it bolted to didn't come out so well. I should never have embarked on an aluminum mechanism for this much force. It self-destructed the first time I put it under actual load.
The main electronics board with the microcontroller (green) not yet mounted. A great design, at least in my mind. The microcontroller was supposed to decode the R/C receiver signal, reprocess it and run the pan-tilt motors for the pike. RFI and who-knows-what-else from the control lines make the computer behave oddly. It is effectively unusable. (Not that it matters; the mechanism it was to drive is trashed.)
This ring gear formed the base of the pike's pan-tilt mechanism. The assembly to the right was a custom linear drive I thought up, complete with $35 bearings from Germany. It worked pretty well, but didn't move the pike fast enough. And it continuously jammed. I have no idea why it doesn't work.

Well, that's it until after the event on the 17th. I'll post some more pictures as soon as I get back (an early August update.) Thanks to all of you who sent me encouraging e-mail. If you are attending Robot Wars '96, be sure to stop by the Team Delta pit area. We'd still love to meet you.

On to July (real)

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