VI Report 9 - 4/30/01

Talk about long overdue for an update! I know, it has been more than a month since I have posted a build report. I have been spending most of my "free" time working on the robot though. I'm very close to finally rolling!

So much has happened 'bot wise over the last month, I don't know where to start reporting. Any way you cut it, this update will likely be longer than any two previous ones combined. If you actually read these things, this might be a good time to fetch yourself a Coke, because your gonna be here a while ;)

I left off the last update working on attaching the 1/4" AL plate to the bottom of VI's frame. Here's a shot of the happy idiot standing beside the finished product :p

Here's a pic of the bottom of the frame. You can see all of the 2" spaced 1/4" flathead countersunk screws here. It came out pretty good considering I was using a hand drill to make the holes and do the countersinking. "Countersinking..." is that even a word?

I have a lot of pictures on steps I took to modify the clamps I purchased to use as motor mounts. I don't think I should waste time posting them with descriptions though, as I have decided to go a different route in mounting the motors.

I will say they go on my "Wasted a lot of time." list though.

For one thing, the width of the clamps didn't lend itself well to the tight spots I have to cram VI's guts into. Here is a pic of one of the awkward positions I tried to use them in.

I'll get around to the new mounts I plan on using later in the update. I'm trying to stick loosely to the order in which the work you are reading about happened.

Changing the subject, here is a shot of me modifying the EV warrior to get rid of the factory tabs they have. Go Dremel Go!

In my best directors voice:


Here is a shot of the 20' of 10AWG wire donated to VI by a local (AND BEST AROUND!) car audio shop: "New Wave Audio"

Thank you Chris!

I soldered some of the 10AWG donated wire to the motor terminals, followed by some heat shrink. This was more difficult that I originally expected, due to not having a good soldering iron. My 40W Rat-Shack iron barely did the job.

When I originally made this mod, I planned on the wires comming directly out of the back of the motor (I have since changed direction to coming out the side with new mounts) so I cut some tabs in the back of the EV housing to pry up and attach the wires to.

Finished weapon motors. I haven't decided if I will do the same with my drive motors (also EV's).

Here is some 3/4" and 1" keyed shaft I ordered to replace the non-keyed stuff I had. Not shown is the key I purchased afterwards. I decided to go this route to mount the weapons/drivetrain rather than use pins like I had originally planned. Wasted a nice chunk of change on the non-keyed stuff though... another lesson learned this month (noticing a trend here? ;).

Here's a pic of the finished saw blade to #40 sprocket marriage. The bolts are loc-tited in and the whole assembly slides on the keyed shaft. The blades will be placed on the shaft, keys placed through the sprockets, and collars placed on either side of each blade.

Frisbee anyone?

This is a shot of the blades slid onto the shaft (without the keys or collars). Take a good look, because the frame mounting plan changed after this shot was taken.

Okaliedokalie, lets talk sprocket to EV shaft attachment. This was one of many areas I was stressing pretty hard about.

I'm using 5/16" ID, 1/2" OD non-oil impregnated bronze bushings to "bush up" the EV shaft to something usable. Here is a pic of my patented horizontal press that I used to get the bushings into the sprockets.

Here are the cogs with the bushings pressed into them. Diet Dew for reference and as usual, thirst suppressant. The condensation on the can makes you want a frosty beverage yourself, eh?

Shown here are the two #35 10T sprockets that will turn the drivetrain and the two #40 10T sprockets that spin the saw blades.

Cutting the excess bushing off. The bushings were about 1/4" longer than the sprockets, so they overhung.

Cure: Hacksaw and Vise

Using the good ole file to smooth down the bronze.

The four sprockets with the bushings filed down.

My first attempt at making the 5/16" ID bushing slide onto the 8mm shaft of the EV warrior. I put some sandpaper around the shaft of a screwdriver and was running it back and forth through the bushing. Didn't work too well. The shavings you see on the vise are not from the sandpaper, but for the earlier filing I did.

Revisiting the "bore it out" task with a file. Thank you to "Vraz" from the BattleBots forum for the idea!

Note the cheesy UHMW handle for my file, works groovy though.


A pic of all the EV's lined up wearing their new sprocket hats. Ohh... aint they purty?

They aren't connected yet though, still need to have a pin through the sprocket and EV shaft to secure the whole assembly. Friction is holding them in place in this pic.

Next order of business, drill a 1/8" hole through the cog. A roll pin will go though the hole and motor shaft when everything is finished.

With my crappy drill press I ran a good chance of messing this up, and sprockets are pretty expensive. So a lot of setup went into making the hole as straight and in the right place as I could.

Drilling through the 3mm hole in the EV with a 1/8" bit (they already have a 3mm hole through the shaft) to make it match the 1/8" hole I made in the cogs.

The duct tape is to keep any stray metal shavings out of the motor and prevent any marring on the shaft by the vise.

I didn't have the 1/8" pins yet so I put some framing nails through the holes to make sure they lined up. I have since received the pins I ordered and they fit through the holes great too. Woohoo!

I have been working on a battery holder too for my two el cheapo 17AH Portalac's I now have to use. Here is one failed attempt to bend some 1/8" AL into a usable shape. I have been working with some 1/4" lexan I purchased since and I'm close to having a usable holder with it, instead.


Speaking of lexan... This is the layout for VI's armor. It is all cut from 1/4" lexan. I still need to cut the top piece to allow for the blades to turn through it and access to the cut-off switch. That will come later.

Example of playing with lexan. I have been toying around with different ways to mount my electronics using lexan, I love the versatility of this stuff. Besides that, clear is cool!


More playing. I'm not going to use this layout, but this was my first experiment with mounting the electronics on lexan. Not enough room to use as shown, and the relays this close to the ESC's was a bad idea for several reasons.

One last playing with lexan bit. This is the start of the fore mentioned battery holder.


Well, close to it anyway. This is all that is left from a 3' x 3' sheet. I see purchasing more of this stuff in my future ;)


This is what I get for waiting so late in the game to weight all my stuff. After checking all my goodies on the bathroom scale I came up at LEAST ten pounds over, and that was without a few components I had yet to add. Stress.

VI was going on a diet.

One thing that had to go were the cross sections along the bottom of the frame. The batteries were going to set on top of them too, making an addition of MORE materials neccessary to accommodate them (the batteries would stick past the top of the frame on the beams). So cutting these helped preventing the addition of more weight.

But wait, theres more!

Not done cutting. This shot is a "before" pic of the center section of the frame that the blades were going to be supported from.


Haven't grinded down everything and made it clean in this pic.


The plan is to support the blades from the sides only now using two mounted bearing per-side. Removing this material also solved a huge problem I was having getting the weapon motors into the confined space under the center support.

Here is a better look at the UHMW mount I made to support the weapon motors back-to-back. Not going to use them now that I have a much better mounting solution. But I had to put a pic up because it takes a long time for a guy with no lathe or milling machine to make something like this. This DEFINITELY goes on the "Wasted a lot of time" list.

This is one of the two identical UHMW pieces I purchased off of eBay. I used it to make the mount above and I still plan on making some chain tensioners out of the second piece. It has some type of thin rubber bonded to one side, neat stuff. It makes me wonder how they got the rubber to stick to it.

Motor mount solution formulae follows.

Ingredient one: 4" Muffler Clamp

Setting up to weld. The "U" bolt was put aside from the muffler clamp, didn't need it.

Ingredient two: Piece of 3/4" x 3/4" Square Steel Tubing Clamp

Shot of the square steel tubing welded to the bottom of the clamp. Also in the picture is a EV clamp I purchased from "Kirwan" (aka, John H.) from the BattleBots forum. Thanks John, they rock!

It's just sitting in the muffler clamp here, not welded in... yet ;)

Here they are with the paint removed and welded into place. I tilted the tightening screw to the side to allow for a lower clearance of the whole assembly.

And a shot in front of the pieces of frame (yet to be welded in) that the drivetrain mounts will be bolted to. The slots in the frame pieces will allow the motors to be adjusted for chain tensioning.

It amazes me how little things (or what I perceived as a little thing before doing it) can be so time consuming.

For example, the slots in the above brackets took longer than I anticipated to make. Measuring, measuring again, marking, drilling holes, Dremeling/filing/Dremeling to make the slots "slots"... It all adds up!

Still cuttin'

Bunch-o-Dremelin' / filin' Dremelin' later:

Lining things up to make matching holes in the motor mounts.

One down, one more to go.


Well, almost...

The mounting brackets still needed to have holes drilled and tapped in the top to hold a bearing that supports half of the rear drive axle.

Here's a peak at the finished product. The bolts will be replaced with Grade 8 hardened stuff, but you can get the idea I think.

This month I also ordered one of the cool R/C Power Duck" antennas and installed it on my radio. I just emailed a rep from the website since I could not find the antenna locally, then a follow up phone call later I purchased the antenna directly from the manufacturer.

Other modifications to the radio include converting the left stick (throttle) from a ratchet style control to a spring style, like the right stick works. To those of you who have the radio, this will make sense.

The ratchet to spring conversion was easy. Just called support for my radio, told them what I wanted to do, and for three bucks (including shipping) I was on my way to springin'!

Note: No modification took more than the tools shown in this pic. If you have some pliers and a phillips screwdriver these mods are too easy!

Lots of cool stuff came in the mail this month too. Here is a delivery that came on the same day, man I was stoked!

Top of pic are wheels/hubs I ordered from Team Delta. Bottom of pic is un-opened package containing some of Pressure Drop's armor I picked up from Derek Young on eBay.

On opening the Pressure Drop package I found that Derek had included a bonus piece! In my case, I liked the bonus piece TWICE as much as the item I bidded on!

(Piece on top is what I bidded on, one on bottom is bonus... Thank you Derek!)

The armor from another angle:

Can you tell I dig this guys work? Automatum rocks!

Sorry, one last armor shot with some dude in pj's holding them. These are the coolest non-family items in my house right now. Whatta' bargain at less than $40! ;)

Okay, back to work. Now that I had my wheels in hand I was really motivated to get these guys to poke through the bottom of the plate on VI.

I make my marks on the inside of the frame with the wheels inside, then drilled holes into the four corners of the marks so I could see what material to cut away from the underbelly of the robot.

It's easier to maneuver the jigsaw around on the bottom than inside the frame.

I little filing left to do in this pic, but you can see the rear holes are cut. I ended up having to remove a little more material that I would have liked, but the wheels fit through the holes nicely.

I will cut the holes for the front wheels after I get everything in the rear of the robot assembled and I can make sure I am putting them where they need to go.

The wheel poking through the hole.

Finishing up the update, (just how many Cokes did you go through?!) here is pic of the motors on the new mounts, rear wheels poking through the bottom, batteries loosely in place, saws on (without weapon motors), etc... Shown is only a fraction of the guts that will go in. I'll get around to showing pics of everything in soon, but that's another update...

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