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Thread: Team Death: 24 Hour Beetle

  1. #1

    Hyperion (BW)
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    With the completion of our heavyweight, which we'll still be managing and updating / fixing where necessary, myself and Colin looked for other things to do. We've a few ideas coming up, but for now we've decided to try to build a beetleweight in 24 hours. To clarify, that would be 6-7 sundays, as we tend to do about 3 hours 30 to 4 hours per sunday, rather than doing an all nighter and spending 24 hours together doing it in one go.

    A long while back, I bought a load of BW components, with the intention of building my own bot, however a housemate later and lots of waving goodbye to motivation, that never occured. I do however, still have the components. So last sunday, I took them over to the workshop and myself and Colin decided to try our finger at something much smaller and lighter than our HW tunred out. But on top of that, let's see if we can do within 24 hours of work!

    So on Sunday, we took count of all the parts I'd collected for a beetle, and got to work. Colin had already thought of a basic design, using a PVC pipe and another material to make a basic T shape, with electrics all squeezed in there, and a wheel at each side of the machine. Colin had recently been to a car boot, and got a box of varying scrap metal parts, where we found two circular pieces of metal that fitted almost perfectly over the pipe, and some of the scrap metal left over from the HW build, these were welder together over the pipe, using a damp cloth to cool things down quickly enough to not melt or set the pipe on fire, to give us our basic T shape. We checked the battery fit within this T, and thankfully it did! Panels were cut out of both sides of the metal T, to give us more weight to play with.

    Next, we hit lots of road bumps. We couldn't get the solder to melt and shape accurately using irons available at the workshop. So I took them home, and have soldered all the motors to their wires. I'll later solder the XT60 caps to all the motors, and i'll take my 60/40 Tin/Lead solder and my soldering iron next Sunday session as these together seem to work infinitely better than what is to hand at the workshop for some reason.
    Colin also cut out a layer of plastic to cover up the hole in the T, as this is where the battery goes, so we need to protect that all we can. We also found out the beetle motors, mount and wheels we had all fit immensely well inside this pipe, considering i hadn't relayed any information about the parts I had bought. So this is the basic shape - at this moment nothing is secured on, except for the chassis T, everything else is floating here.
    We've not got any solid ideas for a weapon at this point, although we know where it'd need mounting. We also need to modify the ESCs, VEX #29s, to ensure they work correctly with the higher voltage we're using here. I've been linked to a how to guide, so i'll be looking at doing this soon. So from what we can see, other than some screws i've already ordered, we're pretty good to go, with no immediate parts obviously missing from my collection of prebought BW parts.
    At the end of our first 4 hours, we have the basic shape done, and confirmation of parts fitting in there. I took another 20 minutes at home, soldering the motors to their wires, so next week we should be in a good place to pickup and keep up to our 24 hour time frame.

    So this is what Team Death are currently working on, other than updates and repairs to The Mean Machine. Hopefully we'll be able to succeed in our 24 hour plan, and not only do ourselves an achievement, but show that with a bit of ingenuity, anyone can build a beetle in not much time at all.
    Last edited by Redirect Left; 10th July 2018 at 19:22.

  2. #2

    Hyperion (BW)
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    It's Sunday!
    Which means more beetle mania, not that sort of beetle mania, the destructive sort. After today, myself and Colin were a little burnt, however we got to work in the sun outside, which is nice. As you can tell, myself and Colin are not exactly sticklers for tidyness, but we manage! This is our work surface in mid electrics for the controllers.
    Our 'table' is actually a reuse of the hydraulic lift table we got for the HW and Grantham, but it has a good second use!

    We spent most of our time today getting the motors up and running, we edited our little Vex controllers and after a bit of staring at it going 'Hmm', we got the wire splicing we needed done, and we should be able to run it as needed without anything being damaged from over volting. We are now in a position where both of our drive motors, and their ESC are up and running, so our next set of electrics will be the weapon. Speaking of which, this is currently planned to be a drill bit doing a bit of damage at the front of the T shape, as shown here. The motors i soldered wires onto last Sunday were purposefully given longer than necessary cables, so we can cut them down to size easier later on, as we're not entirely sure of the internal wire layout yet.


    In order to get our motors fitted in the right place with their brace, we had to heat up the plastic pipe with a blowtorch, then pressing down with the brace to force the pipe into the right shape with a flat side to put the screws in. These are still awkward to get in though, as there is a lot of faffing about to get the screws in there, given the motor is also in there, its a tight spot to get screws around.

    Overall, after about 8 hours of the 24, we're doing well. One of our largest concerns were getting the ESCs modified as needed, but we did that, and that all worked first time, so we quickly got the other done whilst we were on a roll. So all of our traction is currently sorted, and the electrics left are mostly just transmitter and weapon related.

  3. #3
    Nice work. I'm looking forward to seeing the drill in action!

  4. #4
    I have been plagued by Thunder bugs while building the beetle weight today
    which gave me a great idea for the name of the Robot.....THUNDER BUG .

    It was Adams birthday this weekend so he was unavailable for the build
    session so I set to on my own with orders to make a note of the building time.

    I spent a couple of hours trying to reduce the weight of the chassis by drilling
    lots of holes which is quite heavy steel, I then worked on the drive for the weapon
    which is basically a drill hub mounting connected to the drive motor by a flexible
    coupling and a hour was spent lining these up.

    We had worked on the vex speed controllers last week and I decided to see how
    the Robot so far performed with the wheels on.
    After a quick solder job to the battery connections I was ready to try it out and
    I was very pleased with the response-it was quick and the sticky wheels
    worked a treat on the quite slippy surface.
    Afterwards I decided to weigh the whole bot and it was 88 grams over weight
    I'm confident we can shave off a few more grams by changing the rc battery
    and more drilling ect.
    For the record 6 hours build time to add today
    Last edited by team death; 22nd July 2018 at 16:04.

  5. #5
    Thunderbug is Go!-I have spent another 6 hours on the beetle weight this
    weekend and Thunderbug is 95% complete, all the wiring is finished apart
    from a fuse to protect the lipo battery, Adam had bought a fuse to put in
    the beetle but because space is at a premium I will have to use a simple car
    fuse probably rated at 30 - 50 amp max-if the Robot draws more amps than
    that there will be a serious fault somewhere.
    I spent most of today removing any surplus weight including electrics and
    then modified the wheels of the Bot-I found the grub screws difficult and
    I couldn't find a Allan key that fitted so I re fabricated them.
    So with all the elements in place it was time to try it on the kitchen floor
    and it was good-very good in fact, it drives well but will need some getting
    used to and the drill motor worked fine too.
    Because each motor has its own esc i'm wondering what would be the best
    set up on the controller-at the moment I have been using the left and right
    steering sticks for forward and backwards which isn't ideal.
    The weight of the Robot is now 1.5kg and there's still the fuse and some
    fixing screws to fit-I don't really want to drill any more holes in the Bot
    so I will discuss with Adam the possibilities of a smaller main battery and
    take some video at the next build session.

  6. #6

    Hyperion (BW)
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    Another Sunday, another 3hrs 30 pass.

    Over the week, i acquired a few extra batteries, some 1000mAh and some 850 mAh. We decided to use the 850mAhs in this bot, and the others will be spare, some may end up in Hyperion, which i recently purchased. However, Thunderbug was previously using 2200mAh, far too high really. The 850mAh saves us both a lot of weight, and a lot of space internally. Putting it together, it all seems to work fine, although the TX is fairly sure the RX is constantly out of power, this seems to be due to it expect 4x 1.5v batteries, when we were using 4x 1.2v, we can either ignore the horrendous bleeping of it, or get some different batteries., or... just take it apart and unplug the speaker, given it gives on-screen display of everything.
    We also figured out that one of the motors was running in reverse, so a quick unsolder and soldering later, the wires were swapped and hooray, same direction!

    We got Thunderbug running for a test, including weapon test. It all works! Although, during testing, we found a weakness that some of the bots slowly undo themselves over bumpy and rough terrain, which isn't too much an issue for an arena, they're usually not a roadside bit of tarmac! We'll however definitely see if we can do anything about that. Next week we'll need to confirm the weight of it to make sure the battery has given us the weight we needed to lose, and beyond that, its probably a lick of paint and some final testing and it'll be be just about complete, I reckon!


    An overall image;

  7. #7
    Tornado versus Thunderbug Grudge Match.........I never got to battle Tornado during
    my Robot Wars years so that's the grudge.
    Thunderbug is now mechanically and electrically complete, Unfortunately Adam was
    unavailable this week so I worked on the Robot myself.
    I had ordered a different rc battery on e bay to give us the 6 volts that was lacking
    in the previous rc battery, and though slightly bigger I managed to squeeze it into
    the Robot.
    The removable link turned out to be an headache but I finally got that sorted
    using a TX connector looped and a 30amp fuse just after to protect the battery.
    Everything is well compacted into the but there's a little bit of room for foam padding
    and the Robot weighs in at 1.4 kg exactly so we can afford a little more polycarb armour
    if required, I intend to paint it through the week a nice dark blue with clouds and lightning.

    So to the grudge match.....I discovered a rc model of Tornado in the attic so the first
    battle will be against it
    DSCN2295.jpgDSCN2300.jpgDSCN2301 (2).jpg

  8. #8

    Hyperion (BW)
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    We're pretty much time up with our 24 hours, but that isn't a problem! The bot is now ready and complete.

    Colin gave the bot a snazzy paint job and decor over the week, and it now looks a lot better than just some pipe and metal with wheels.
    We went on to test the bot to ensure smooth running, however during this, we somehow managed to break one of the gearings on the motor, and the wheel was spinning loosely and mostly unpowered. After a quick switch out and soldering later, back up and running! From this test, we altered the channels, and have got a much easier weapon control option now, as before it was tapped onto the thumb sticks in a very awkward manner. So hopefully this will turn up at a BW event soon enough!

    Colin finally got his match against Tornado during this testing, don't feel too bad for the RC Tornado, it didn't have a controller, and we opened it but it would have been a very long job to rewire it for DSM(X) or AFHDS control, instead of 27MHz - it was all being controlled from a single board instead of seperate bits for each part.

  9. #9
    Another build diary reaches its conclusion and climax.
    This week Adam and myself attended the Robodojo in Sherburn in elmet
    Adam made his own way up from Wakefield -two hours plus due to a train
    I went by car and got slightly lost but found it eventually.
    Thunderbug was ready to do battle for the first time and here's
    the video link of what happend.
    A special Thank you to Chris for filming and original video.

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