Over the summer I have been working to get Hercules and Barrel Roll set for their next competition. This week I finally got them both running, which is unfortunately one week too late to be able to compete in Bot Blast which was this past weekend. But that just means that I have more time to prepare for Franklin Institute.
Getting Hercules ready mostly entailed just moving everything over from the old version to the new UHMW unibody. Besides drilling a few holes and trimming the body here and there, I didn't have to do much in the way of construction. As pictured above, it only weighs around 14.5 oz which is just enough weight to put on some aluminum guards for the wedglets.
The body of Barrel Roll has gone virtually unscathed in it fights so far, mostly due to the fact that it couldn't drive in the direction of its opponent. At it's last competition, Motorama, I determined once and for all that the issues it was having was from radio interference. To fix this I removed the electronics and swapped the motors out because the old ones had some metal shavings in them which possibly could be causing the motors to produce emf which interfered with the radio. This helped a little, but was still not a solution. I added a pair of capacitors to each motor from the leads to the can to ground them. These combined with a capacitor in between the leads, for a total of three, would theoretically reduce the feedback from the motors. This finally fixed the radio issues that BR was having. Unfortunately this led to the discovery of more, albeit more minor issues. When I designed Barrel Roll, the ears on top were supposed to allow me to be able to flip myself back down to a proper orientation, in theory at least. In practice BR doesn't have enough traction to do this so I will have to come up with some way to remedy that. Also, the drum that Barrel Roll has on it now is okay, but it's only as balanced as the wood shop in my basement allowed. When spinning up to about 2/3 max speed it wobbles quite significantly. When I return to school I will have access to a machine shop again to make a better "drum", although I think the name wont be as catchy anymore...
My name is Michael Connerton. I am currently a mechanical engineering masters student at Case Western Reserve University. This website is a blog of my exploits into the world of combat robotics.