***BIG BANG ROBOTICS SEPTEMBER 2004 UPDATE*** It?s been a stormy hurricane season in Florida already this year, but while evacuating from Hurricane Frances we did manage to stop in Huntsville, Alabama for a weekend full of bot-fighting action. Robot Assault 2 was held September 3rd-5th and continued the tradition of great events put on by South Eastern Combat Robotics (www.secr.org). The venue was in an historic cotton mill, which lent the event a gritty post-industrial feel. Better yet the pits were spacious and well lit, the arena was rock-solid, and SECR kept the whole show moving nicely the entire weekend. We took Heavy Metal Noise to the competition and had a couple of good fights, but it just wasn?t our weekend. One of our master power switches apparently is no longer 100%; it got knocked into the ?OFF? position about halfway through two of our fights, so while our weapon was working great, the drive train died. This is a part that had never failed before, so it may be that it finally accumulated enough wear and tear that it needs to be replaced. That is a tough way to lose, but the good news is that we didn?t suffer any other damage. ?Greenwave?, a vicious horizontal blade spinner that was pitted next to us, went on to win the middleweight class even though his weapon bearings melted down about half-way through the competition and he ended up fighting his last fights as an improvised wedge. As we mentioned in a previous update, a new robot combat DVD series has been released. ?Metal Munching Maniacs? is now available through a variety of retail outlets (visit http://www.bigbangrobotics.com for a direct link to this DVD on amazon.com). There are five episodes currently available, with more on the way. If you can?t attend a competition, these DVDs give you a great look at the best fights! In other news, our new 24?x30? metal workshop gets its final inspection today, so soon we?ll be building in style. Heavy Metal Noise is due for a major redesign that, among other things, will incorporate Fenner Drives? timing belts and pulleys in the drive train for the first time. This completely updated version of HMN will feature a modular construction that should allow us to completely swap out the weapon assembly between matches. Our strategy is to have a variety of interchangeable weapons that can be customized to the particular opponent we face, sort of a ?Swiss Army Knife approach?. And finally, last week we had a brush with fame ? Helen Greiner, the founder and CEO of iRobot, gave a keynote speech at the Florida Government Technology conference. I had a chance to meet and speak with her, but best of all I leapt at the chance to pilot a PackBot ? the very same robot being used to clear caves in Afghanistan and to support field troops in Iraq. (http://www.irobot.com) SWEET! Jay Johnson www.bigbangrobotics.com ***We use Fenner Drives PowerTwist Plus belts and Trantorque keyless hubs in HMN and highly recommend them for your power transmission needs.*** ANTI-SPAM MESSAGE: We hope you enjoy our occasional updates but if you wish to be removed from this mailing list, just send an email to bigbangrobotics-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx and put "unsubscribe" (without the quotes) in the Subject line of the email. Thanks!