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Thread: Team Health & Safety - First Time Builder

  1. #61
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    Alright, thanks for your help. This morning I hooked them through, soldered them up and shrinkwrapped them, with the end result looking like this:

    IMG_20170713_123526.jpg

    Tested it as well, and the setup is indeed fine. Very nice!

    This conveniently brings me to two further conundrums. The first one is regarding the link:

    IMG_20170713_135246.jpg

    I'm thoroughly puzzled as to how to mount it in such a way the socket doesn't move upon the link being removed or put in. Currently it's just floating around, which needs to be addressed. But how? I tried screwing it in, but it kept moving about.

    Conundrum number two is regarding placement of the receiver.

    IMG_20170713_135523.jpg

    Current placement has it ~very~ snug between the right motor mount and the servo, but I fear this will make it rather susceptible to shock damage. It's mounted on velcro so some movement is possible from front to back, but sideways it can't go anywhere.

    IMG_20170713_142028.jpg

    Alternatively, I also turned it around to give the antenna more room, and I also placed it on its side. This removes the problem of it having no space to move laterally, but then it leaves not that much space for the antenna.

    So what is wise?

  2. #62
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    This is bordering on spam to such an extend I expect Monty Python to walk through the door and ask me what I'd like for breakfast.

    Anyways, with the innards being pretty much complete at this point I sought to solve some niggles that popped up.

    First item on the agenda was actually getting everything to fit in the rather crammed space. Now, I will admit that I didn't really design the thing around the parts I had available (as it is, I had to change my battery simply because the other one wouldn't have enough space)

    After carefully nudging everything towards the little blobs of emptiness dotted around the chassis, this is what it looked like:

    IMG_20170714_161316.jpg

    Okay, that's very good... but does the top plate also fit?

    IMG_20170714_160844.jpg

    Why ofcourse! This immediately brought my attention to a new problem, mainly the lipo being a nosy little shit and peeking through the lifter slot like a toddler wondering where those strange noises are coming from.

    IMG_20170714_172340.jpg

    There, that's better. Stay in your room Timmy, we'll explain when you're a teenager.

    Second item on the agenda was the socket for the removable link. It was still floating around, which meant that when you took out the link part of the electronics would move with the link. Yes, I know we're all friends here guys, but sometimes it's time to let go.

    IMG_20170715_095537.jpg

    A few tie rips did the trick. Best part is that the back end will be covered by the wheelguard anyway, so these things should be safe.

    Now, time for a weigh-in!

    IMG_20170713_205046.jpg

    Gosh, that's right on the money for some tasty upgrades I'd say. I have a few more ideas, but for now, here's This Is Not A Drill in its current form:

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Zenith; 15th July 2017 at 08:15.

  3. #63
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    Today was the first day of actual testing, and there immediately was a problem.

    IMG_20170716_141829.jpg

    Testing alongside Bob Saget (another of our Dutch Euro entries) the two 1000rpm motors seemed badly underpowered, with This Is Not A Drill only really able to move about slowly. With a little help though, I came to realize that yes, ofcourse 12V motors are going to have lackluster performance if you use a 2S LiPo. Borrowing the 3S LiPo from Bob Saget seemed to bring it to life, so hopefully this is the biggest hurdle to overcome in the final few weeks until the Euros.

    I aim to redo some of the internals (some connections seem to have loosened up more than I like) as well as getting the lifter finally on there. I don't need to do much for that, but all in all it is also a job that can end up taking more time than anticipated.

    In the mean time, I also set to work with external properties of my monstrosity.

    IMG_20170716_082603.jpg

    Gotta love matte finish on metal - it almost looks like the wedge is also made of plastic.

    As it is though, my goal here is simply to get it functional and entertain. I've already learned so much through building this thing that I can't wait to put my newly found knowledge to work in a possible next installment.

    But first you will have to suffer through a bit more of my mediocrity ofcourse. Muaahahaha!

  4. #64
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    Oooooh good evening ladies and germs, have we got a show for you tonight!

    I must admit that after testing yesterday, I felt rather dejected. The bot never seemed to struggle at all driving around at home, but once I tested it in the arena with the wedges on, it had quite a rough going. Ofcourse, the arena in question had a rough plywood floor scarred by feather, raptor and heavyweight fights, but compared to how other beetles drove around I felt it needed to fare much better than it did.

    Lending a 3S battery seemed to solve much of the niggles, but still I felt uncomfortable. Part of me was already looking where it had gone wrong (as it turns out, I didn't go for the 25mm 1000rpm motors but for a smaller variety) and even contemplated a rebuild.

    but today, I chose to grit my teeth and soldier on, determined to find out whether I could find out what was the matter.

    The first issue was mixing. I want to drive with 1 stick, but presently, forward is North West and backwards is South East. As it is, the Spektrum DXe can only be programmed with a special cable which sets you back over 20 pounds. Ouch, but alright, that should be no biggy.

    Second issue was the drive. When going forward the left seemed to lag behind, so I ran through the internals. As it turned out, one of the motor connections was loose, so I resoldered it and that was that.

    Aside from the switch to MOAR POWAH I also learned another simply trick from other teams. You see, my link is rather far into the bot, which makes prying it out quite fiddly.

    IMG_20170717_153022.jpg

    Easy enough - just attach a tie rip at the end. Job done. Check out my color coding too - a mindnumbing nerdgasm.

    IMG_20170717_153311.jpg

    Much better.

    IMG_20170717_220155.jpg

    Now, when it comes to the insides I'm pretty much done at this point. Ofcourse, there's going to be a bigger battery in there (which I already fitted and well... it fits) and the servo prong will be longer and made from aluminium.

    IMG_20170717_213209.jpg

    This did mean though that after a year of tinkering and save for a few minor alterations (and a BANGING PAINTJOB OFCOURSE), This Is Not A Drill was done.

    IMG_20170717_220350.jpg

    The inside of the lifter, and everything seems to fit just so. Let's have a hurray for Cardboard Assisted Design! I'm still contemplating on running an extra arm between the servo and lifter arm for more power, but this really hinges on how the aluminium prongs will do. I'd rather not physically attach the lifter to the servo if I can help it, simply to avoid shock damage finding its way inside.

    IMG_20170717_222011.jpg

    There's weight enough for it though - it's 1200g in its lightest setup (with a few bolts missing, so 1250g to be safe).

    However, there was still one thing eating away at my brain. How would it drive with all the titanium in place, as heavy as it will probably have to be in September? I chose a smooth floor, and hoped for the best.

    You be the judge. Bear in mind that this still is with 2S.



    I need to still do some work on the other anti-spinner setup (that requires a shorter lifter blade) and I'm probably going to engineer some kind of a belly-pan to make sure all of you drum spinners don't eat the screws that are protruding underneath.

    And I can go crazy with the paint too! Wheeeeeee!

  5. #65
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    So what's this silence then? I was on vacation, of course.

    When it concerned the bot itself there were a few hurdles still to overcome. First, there was the slowness. Easy fix - just a bigger battery and all was well. Here, have a look at the difference:



    Another issue was that it wouldn't selfright properly as well - so time to get creative!

    Testing indicated that if the robot lied on its lifter, it couldn't get enough force in there to lift itself. However, when I held the chassis perfectly horizontal and the lifter had some space to extend itself a bit it worked just fine. So I had to fashion something to keep the chassis horizontal.

    After having a look the solution was quite simple - at either side of the chassis the bot has two screws that hold the mount for the top plate in place. If I made two little ears of HDPE and mounted them in the same place, the bot would automatically roll onto it's back and enable it to selfright.



    And by the gods, it worked. No clue whether it still works with some titanium on the front, but I'm approaching this with a thorough 'Just Here To Boogie' attitude.

    IMG_20170811_172805.jpg

    After dotting the t's, crossing the i's, submitting a dyslexia exam and adding a mascot I can now finally say This Is Not A Drill, weighing at a modest 1325g, is now ready to be packed for the Euro Champs in three weeks. Hopefully it'll put up a good show and it'll still work once I put it in the arena.



    Looking forward to seeing you all there!
    Last edited by Zenith; 11th August 2017 at 16:58.

  6. #66
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    i love it!

  7. #67
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    Thanks! I'm just hoping it'll still work upon arrival and if it does, that it'll put up a good show. Either way we'll have a laugh probably.

  8. #68
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    European Beetleweight Championships
    hosted by Kinematic Events in Marlow,UK the 2nd of September 2017

    IMG_20170902_065344.jpg

    I must say that prior to departure I felt both giddy and apprehensive in evenly measure. Even though I've experienced countless events over the years as both crew and teammember (including two TV filmings at the start of the millennium) Ihad never actually built something myself.

    So despite lots of familiarity, this was still going to be an entirely new experience for me. I approached the ordeal with a firm 'Just-Here-To-Boogie'-mindset; I didn't expect to win anything, I was simply going to be there to have a good time and maybe learn a thing or two.

    This is also the entire philosophy behind building This Is Not A Drill. I like machines that don't really care about having the fastest, biggest baddest weaponry, but simply entertain.

    Nevertheless I was also apprehensive,as I dreaded the tech check and feared whether my soldering would withstand the violence within the arena. On top of that there was also the matter of the lipo being visible from the front of the robot– if any horizontal spinner would get a hit in the right place, the entire robot would go up in flames. Still, I also like my stuff to be reliable, and with a chassis built from 15mm interlocking HDPE it seemed I'd at least done my best to ensure it wouldn't lose any internals during its first outing.

    IMG_20170901_171901.jpg

    But anyway, 'Just here to boogie' and all that. The day before me and fellow participant Niels (Bob Saget) flew to Bristol where we were met by Sarah, who would provide us aplace to stay during the weekend.



    In the early morning of the day after,we set off in the direction of Marlow, and I felt myself getting morenervous the closer we got to our end destination. Above all though, I couldn't wait to open my crate (compatriots Dennis and Stef from MSR brought it over a week prior) and start getting TINAD ready for its first fight. Nothing much needed to be done – just top up the lipos and bolt it all up.

    IMG_20170902_103227.jpg

    The venue was a grammar school and in the theatre of the building the people from Kinematic were busy setting up everything. All of us Dutchmen were put together (also because of our different power leads) so naturally, our pit room came to look like this:

    IMG_20170902_115233.jpg

    Soon enough, the draw for the firstround was made and This Is Not A Drill was paired up in Heat E with:

    IMG_20170902_115917.jpg

    Bourbon, a drumspinner with a very cool looking hexagonal drum design which I've always admired, and...

    IMG_20170902_111514.jpg

    ...Wideboi, which has a similar HDPE construction paired with magnets underneath topush other machines down the pit.

    Meanwhile, TINAD went through techcheck without any issues, and the waiting for popping my combatcherry was on.

    IMG_20170902_115653.jpg

    Now, heats were put into the arena alphabetically, so I figured I had some time to snoop around, take some pictures and spy a thing or two from the opposing teams... but when I was in the other pitroom and they started calling out for Heat E, I quickly ran back to our Dutch enclave to retrieve TINAD and report to the arena floor.

    Firing up TINAD was by itself also quite fiddly, as the link is in a bit too deep so it takes a moment for the link to find the right hole (that never happens to me elsewhere, honestly). Soon enough though, I was ready. I noticed that TINAD was struggling to find grip on the steel floor, so apart from it already being quite sluggish it was definitely not going to win any pushing matches. I just figured I'd drive around a bit, get a feel for the arena and maybe I could last longer than 10 seconds.



    And it did, amazingly. Swerving around the ring I figured I'd also open the pit eventually, but soon after Bourbon thought to put the 2mm Titanium on the front to the test and sent me flying across the arena. TINAD ended up on its roof and I tried to self right, but after a failed first attempt the servo showed for the first time why it won't be in the next machine.

    You see, the servo in question has the nasty habit of overloading the system if the prong on it is restricted in its movement, which renders the entire machine unresponsive. So when I moved the lifter further than the possible range, TINAD killed itself and laid turtle as it was counted out...which reminded me that I'd forgotten to put a clever text on the underside.

    IMG_20170902_131537.jpg

    On a positive note however, mascot Tina had survived her first fight unscathed. The rest of the bot seemed fine too - I feared beforehand whether the mounts of the wedge could be ripped out by a vertical spinner (effectively rendering the entire chassis useless) but all was well.

    IMG_20170902_121557.jpg

    This was the sum damage from round 1. Not bad.

    (continued in part 2..)

    (Thanks for the Denny family for shooting the fights!)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Zenith; 6th September 2017 at 04:27.

  9. #69
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    The European Championships 2017 Report - Part 2

    IMG_20170902_131549.jpg

    Originally, I'd planned to use as many setups as possible to see what worked and what didn't – as it was, I was treating this tournament also as a means of research for the next incarnation. So for the next fight, I swapped the big wedge for the two wedgelets and put on the Titanium lifter.

    Afterwards, I watched some of the other fights and talked to the various other builders. It reminded me of the general sense of community amongst roboteers – tools are borrowed, people help each other with parts and/or repairs... it was awesome to experience it for myself. I also struck up a conversation with James Pearson who, with his machine Catalyst, was one of the few other lifters in the Euros. Seeing evolution after evolution online I love the thing for its simplicity, and little by little it has inspired me to evolve my own lifter as well.

    IMG_20170902_145646.jpg

    But for now, TINAD still had to do a loser's melee. I was pitted against 8-Bit Warrior (a 2WD brick) and The O'Neill (a 4WD brick). Originally Anvil 3 was also in the melee, but it was substituted with the K-Nex bot which was torn up during the first round. So no spinners? Alright then.

    But that's when the Gremlins popped up. You see, right after the first round I ran TINAD through the motions to see if anything had stopped working... but it was fine. Both the weaponry and the drive were working so I only had to change the setup and charge the batteries.

    So along comes the time to activate the bot in the arena, and the left side of the drive is dead. TINAD is moving in circles. I'm urged to take it to the pits and try and fix it in two minutes, so I run back, unbolt the top, and halfway through undoing the bolts I decide to give it another try.... and the drive works just fine.

    With some screws still sticking out halfway I run back, put it in the ring under a stern 'Just in time' from the arena marshall and awaited the countdown.



    The fight itself seemed to go okay and all, until the K-Nex machine engulfed TINAD and the lifter got stuck inside it. I was able to move my passenger to the edge of the pit,but with part of him resting on the top of my wheels I couldn't move.So basically, I lost because a K-Nex robot sat on my face.

    I bet you've never read a sentence like that before. Whoo, a story of firsts!

    TINAD was out of the main tournament, but I didn't mind it that much actually – it meant that I could just enjoy the day a bit more. I took the time to completely disassemble TINAD's drive, taking off the wedges, wheelguards and wheels to see what was what.

    IMG_20170902_141700.jpg

    After removing quite some hair from the axles I tested the drive again, and it seemed perfectly fine. I figured that maybe the receiver contact for the left drive just got squished a bit, which would explain why it worked again when I partially unscrewed the top.

    But was I going to go without any more fights? Ha, ofcourse not.

    You see, by this point Catalyst had been knocked out as well (epic fight with Tempus that was, by the way), so I figured it was as good an opportunity as any to square off with James. Together we put ourselves down for a whiteboard, being told we could immediately jump in with the two bots already in the arena – Kamikaze (I think it was at least – I haven't seen the fight back yet) and Disharmonic Motion. Seeing these were both spinners I almost felt guilty for dragging James into this, but we went with it anyway. I did up the final few bolts (I had added some groundscraping prongs atop the wedgelets for the Gladiator) and went on to experience which, for me, was the absolutely highlight of the day.



    The fight started with me nudging DHM's belt off the weaponry, so that was already one spinner disabled. But then there was the beater of Kamikaze remaining... and soon enough, both me and James ended up upside down. What followed looked like two drunk people trying to get up from the ground, as both James's and my positions were awkward enough to hinder proper selfrighting... but after a few attempts and under a loud cheer, both Catalyst and TINAD eventually got right way up. Kamikaze was then disabled, so now it was down to me and James. Now, I knew I had NOTHING to threaten James with other then foul language, so I just started driving around and coax him into making a mistake.

    The superiority of his machine clearly shone through though – he lifted me cleanly off the ground a few times, but wasn't able to get the wide bodied TINAD (no fatshaming here honestly) over. Eventually though he finally caught me in his trap, and with me riding atop his wedge he plunged himself into the pit. Great stuff.

    IMG_20170902_164235.jpg

    Lifterbros!

    Then, there was the Gladiator - the glorious chaotic slugfest where everyone who is willing enters the arena, and the fight goes on until there's only one working robot remaining. I was amazed that after three fights, not only the bot was working without a hitch, but also mascot Tina was miraculously unharmed. Dammit, I brought that mascot so it could be splattered into a million pieces!

    IMG_20170902_165958.jpg

    Drastic measures followed.

    The fight itself for me was all about survival. I knew that the ridiculously OP lipo aboard TINAD paired with the small drive motors would enable it to drive waaaaaay longer than just 3 minutes, so I was curious how long it could keep going.



    As it turns out, quite long. Despite getting some proper hits it managed to get to the final four, when the fight was halted and restarted... but when it restarted, TINAD didn't respond. Once again, that cursed servo was rendering the robot motionless. I reckoned I was out at first, but then decided to try and disarm the lifter on the transmitter, and then turn the transmitter off and back on. Lo and behold, TINAD suddenly coughed back into life.

    I was however up against The O'Neill, the very tough pushybot which had pushed me around during the loser's melee as well. I managed to escape its clutches for a while but before long, he had me where he wanted and suspended me over the pit.

    IMG_20170902_173839.jpg

    Second place out of 19 ain't that bad!

    All in all, I absolutely adored my first experience as a builder on an event. Huge thanks go out to Kinematic for doing an amazing event, and all the teams present. Great people all around (too many to mention individually), and overall just a great laugh.

    Me personally, I thoroughly enjoyed just taking the bot apart and doing it up again, with the fights being a bonus. I went to bring some entertainment to the event and I hope I managed to deliver – as far's I'm concerned, This Is Not A Drill will be back again next year, with possibly a second entry as well if time permits.

    Rest assured that the new build will be fully logged in this very same thread. Peace!

    IMG_20170902_173431.jpg



    (Once again credits to John Denny's son for taping the fights!)
    Last edited by Zenith; 7th September 2017 at 07:53.

  10. #70
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    I'm glad you liked the hex drum. And I'm very pleased I didn't damage your gorgeous bot too much in our first round fight!

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