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March Overview
The biggest accomplishment this month was getting the cutting head on-line. The engine I picked turned out to be perfect for the job. It may not be apparent from the pictures but the whole cutting arm and engine mounting frame are on slides - the entire system moves fore and aft with about 8 inches of travel. Originally I was going to actuate this through a lead-screw system, but in the interest of simplicity it will be spring loaded instead. This approach will allow me to charge into a target and not worry about jamming (and stalling) the blade - the carriage will absorb the impact and keep pressure on the target.

The other super-important accomplishment this month was bringing on my first sponsor for the project: Virtual i-O Corporation. On a whim I sent them E-mail suggesting that it would be great for me to watch the live video feed from the BattleCam on a set if i-glasses! instead of a 2" Casio LCD TV. They called back and said "We agree." The i-glasses! are awesome - next month I'll go in depth with them and show you just how great they are - and the details of how I'm going to use them.


Overall view of the Ag. The cage that surrounds the gas engine on the starboard side will become the billboard for sponsor logos. With the current weapon loadout the Ag weights 83 pounds, just 17 shy of the class limit.
Only the most critical components will be completely covered with armor plating. Otherwise I'm going for the Mad Max look on this unit: frames that protect but still reveal the underlying components. I'm doing this for two reasons: One, it saves on weight and two, it gives you, the audience, something fun to look at. How interesting would a fiberglass coated dome be?
A tight perspective view of the wheel skirts. They are welded to the frame in a way that distributes any impact force across all six wheels. They also make great lift handles when moving this sucker around. The wheels they protect are industrial grade caster wheels with rubber tires. The durometer rating of the rubber was chosen specifically for the floor at the Herbst Pavillion at Fort Mason. It was a tradeoff between high grip vs long wear - I went for grip: there are two more complete sets of wheels and axles in my spare parts chest to handle wear.
A tight shot of the cutting head. The current payload is a pair of 7 inch flexible cutting discs that work well on both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. There are two additional head loadouts that I will use at the event, the choice depending on the opponent. I'm afraid I can't show you pictures of them before the event because I want to see my competition wet its pants. They're scary as hell (yet remarkably safe and clean. Yeah right.)
Here is an over-the-bow shot that is very similiar to what I see live from the BattleCam. This month I'll finish the protective deck that covers that driveshaft for the cutting arm. Mounted on the deck will be a very cool weapon that took me two months to source the parts for. I'll have pictures of that next month (weapon keywords: cylinder, kPSI, carbide, LN2).
The abrasive-mode cutting head in action at 6000 RPM. I'll say no more. (The full picture is in black and white so I could give you a high-res view that wouldn't take all day to download. You'll still get the idea.
I'll have a sticker affixed here saying "If you can read this, you're dead."

On to June

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