[bigbangrobotics] Big Bang Robotics September 2004 Update

  • From: Jay Johnson <tallyjay@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Free List <bigbangrobotics@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 16:27:56 -0700 (PDT)

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

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

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

***We use Fenner Drives PowerTwist Plus belts and
Trantorque keyless hubs in HMN and highly recommend
them for your power transmission needs.***

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