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Thread: HardWired - Upgrades and general build diary

  1. #1
    Greetings, one and all!

    My name is Matt, and I have no idea what I'm doing. Still, I managed to build my own FeatherWeight, HardWired (assuming nobody has that name already) which was...
    Well, let's just say I battled it against an old DVD player, and the DVD player won. Here it is in its current state -

    I will get some more photos up when I can but my camera is battery-less at the minute...

    I made the entire thing for around 60, taking inspiration from the likes of Bitza and Sumpthing. Unlike Bitza or Sumpthing, however, HardWired isn't really competitive at all. That's where this build diary comes in!
    I figured that I might as well post my ideas and plans for the robot here, as well as the progress so that you can see how I'm building it and indeed, how often I'll need the fire extinguisher. Looking at some of the build diaries here and there, there's been some great bits of advice exchanged, and I was rather hoping that this could be the same, since I literally have no idea what I'm doing. I'm a decent enough driver, but when it comes to building the thing...

    So, specs. The robot is made from a single aluminium box -yep, no chassis, it's just one great big piece of aluminium that's been bent into shape - and it's about 2mm thick. Got two 12v B&Q Drill motors + gearboxes directly mounted into it, with wooden wheels w/ bike tyres directly onto the drill shaft. It's using some awful, awful homemade speed controllers that are basically bits of servo and microswitch glued together, and it runs on 12v at the minute. The wedge did lift up, once. Then, the plywood broke.

    Plan is to made a steel (?) box section frame for the robot to add some weight and to make it a lot tougher, and then mount that inside an aluminium box, as well as have a more tough baseplate to mount some Gimson 24v motors onto, with some chunkier wheels too, maybe upgrade to 4WD through some chains/belts or something. Obviously have 24V batteries in there as well, but I'm hoping to add a linear actuator or something to be able to lift up the wedge at the front, which will also have a tougher frame on it to stand up against the spinners out there.

    I am in two minds though, I'm changing that many things in it, that I might as well call the new machine HardWired II and enter the old setup as Hardwired I in a competition, have it get taken apart by a spinner, because it'll definitely look good!

    Probably should mention too, I'm going a video build diary on Youtube for a 'rebuild' of the first HardWired, as well as the second, sort of in a comedic fashion i.e. Top Gear and the idea of the first one was for it to get absolutely destroyed afterwards in a competition, hence leading on to the second one... That was the plan in any case, whether or not it happens is another thing completely.

    So yeah, just going to be documenting any plans or building work here, any advice at any point is greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by Flag Captured; 24th May 2013 at 23:01.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Glad you found the Bitza thesis inspiring! Very impressed you made a working machine for 60.

  4. #4
    Yeah, well done, mon!

    ?Not knowing what you're doing can be an advantage because er.. um....

    Because er...

  5. #5
    MudnuK, it definitely is... I mean, seeing some of the engineering skill that goes into some of these machines can be flat out terrifying! Hopefully this project will show that it's something that anyone can get involved with though, I know that's what made me apprehensive about building one at first!

    PJ, I definitely did! Bitza's a very well made robot, and it was the build diary that made me realise I'd be able to build something on the limited budget I had! As it turns out, I did get a bit of help with that 60 (Aluminium was donated, reused a lot of wires from other items, wheels were recycled and so on) but I'm quite proud of the fact that I've done it! Thanks!

    And Bacon Wizard - it definitely is an advantage in many ways. Get to see so many cool light shows and bits of fire when I wire things up wrong! Thanks, appreciate it!

  6. #6
    We definitely found it's do-able on a budget, but to make something 'effective' is proving a real challenge. Then again we only attend the full combat events really so that really is the best of the best.
    That reads like I'm saying WE'RE the best, I'm not, I'm all the other machines are!
    Last edited by PJ-27; 25th April 2013 at 19:56.

  7. #7
    Aye, that is always a problem... It puts things like high-power motors and hardox armour out of the question, so you need to get a bit more creative with what materials you use and how... that's why I'm trying to use more cheap, recycled materials and just design a frame that can take the shock of getting hit my a spinner or something. I did want to design a rolling frame that would just absorb the hit from a spinning weapon, something in the style of a FBS but obviously not powered, if that makes any sense... I don't know how successful that'd be though, especially on this design

    And I know what you mean! I can imagine it is a congregation of the best, the championships... definitely seems it!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Flag Captured View Post
    I did want to design a rolling frame that would just absorb the hit from a spinning weapon, something in the style of a FBS but obviously not powered, if that makes any sense... I don't know how successful that'd be though, especially on this design
    As a concept, I think that's a cracking idea. It's the whole arms-race thing innit: weapons and armour are both pretty serious now, so we have to try and out-design current bots with new ideas: I'm working on armour that absorbs the impact using bushes and springs etc, load-spreading etc, rather than just resisting the blow as best as possible.

  9. #9
    Thanks! It was an idea I'd had when I saw HypnoDisc vs Splinter - following the spin of the disc can dramatically reduce the damage, so why not make a frame that does essentially the same thing? It'll take a lot of engineering with the spinners we have in the competition now, but I'll give it a go! Might only be good for horizontal spinners though...

    That does sound a great idea too, love to see how that turns out! I think impact absorbing will be the way forward for armour, Hardox is expensive and heavy - something like that will definitely open up possibilities for more weapons and designs!

  10. #10
    To be honest you could easily get some 8mm mild steel, weld up a box and make a robot that is spinner proof and cheap.

    But it's not interesting, it's not remotely aggressive and just wouldn't be fun.

    The real challenge is making something that's effective and on a budget.
    It can be quite disheartening though when you see other machines that have hundreds of pounds spent on them, tools that you simply don't have and engineering skills you'd only obtain from working in the industry. But that isn't the only road to success.

    Take Guilherme and his machine Galactus. Fastest spinning weapon at the champs this year. The brushless setup cost him ~50 new. Design smart, buy smart.

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