Battlebots Vegas. We flew to California with the Razer and Mortis crews to take part in the second Battlebots competition, in Las Vegas.
We were not wery well prepared, however and had problems with the axe and speed controller. We got a bye in the first round and then managed to beat Malicious Mischief, despite the fact that the axe was not working. This put got us into the Quarter finals, where we met Punjar, a well-built, but unarmed, wedge. The axe was now working, but my speed controller interface got stuck in reverse and we were defeated on points. We need to do more testing next time...

24 October - Robot Wars UK Series III

Details of how we got on in UK Series 3, filmed at Elstree Studios, London.

Some of the preparations we made for Series 3 of Robot Wars UK. Mainly concentrated on increasing the power and reliability of the axe.

Testing the new axe the day before RobotWars filming, in the hotel car park. Interested spectators are the Cerberus team, our opponents the next day...
Our heat is due for broadcast on 17 March 2000 at 6:45 pm.

Made up a couple of new axes - one for Robot Wars and one for Battlebots in November (the weight limit at BB is higher, allowing us to use a larger axe).

Machined up an ally replacement for the Nylon stub axle for the lever that drives the axe. The Nylon was too flexible, allowing it to be pushed out of the bearing.

The new tensioner in place. It didn't last long, though - it broke during the fights, when trying the pull the axe out of one of our opponents (you'll have to buy the International Championship video to find out who!). I think our next design will have to do away with a tensioner altogether, using a much more rigid structure adjusted to exactly the right length for the chain.

When testing the axe, we bolted KHz to the floor of the garage. The M10 bolts took a lot of punishment from the recoil!

The existing front wheels only used needle roller bearings, and were therefore suffering bad wear under side loading. Looking at the GoPed we won at Long Beach, I realised that the wheels on that would be ideal - built-in ball races and nice grippy rubber. Ordered a few from the Line 1 Go-Ped Shop. Machined some of the rubber off them to lose a bit of weight and make them fit into the housings. As it turned out, we made them rather too narrow and they peeled off the rims rather easily - which would be the cause of our downfall in Series 3... For Battlebots Vegas we made up some more, but left them at almost full width and this seemed to do the trick.

28 August

BattleBots Long Beach
Got the BattleBots report finished at last, including several video clips.

21 August

Photos of the machines we saw at BattleBots

18 August

Us Brits done good at BattleBots! At the competition in Long Beach, California, We came second in the Duel, and Razer won the Rumble (melee). I also won the best driver award.
Short clip (760KB) of our fight with Nightmare. Full report soon.

KillerHurtz fights:

First round bye  
Second round Punjar won
Third round Nightmare won
Fourth round Vlad the Impaler won
Fifth round BioHazard lost
Sixth round Rhino won
Final BioHazard lost

1 August

Working on the new counterweight for the axe. Will be filling the space between the 4mm steel plates with 4kg of lead. Thank goodness for the higher weight limit (90.9kg) at BattleBots! If we fire the axe without a counterweight, the robot almost does a backflip from the recoil.

This shot also shows the axle about which the axe pivots (with one support plate and bearing removed). The axle is the splined output shaft from a Honda 90 motorcycle. I made up an ally cap for the near end to make the diameter up to the 17mm of the rest of the shaft, so that we can run a 17mm i.d. bearing at each end.

27 July

Attended an excellent shooting evening at Rebecca's parents' house. Having survived a duel fought with 18th century duelling pistols, loaded with blackpowder-propelled paintballs (we both missed), I thought I'd see what effect an 8-bore (50% bigger than a 12-bore - a lead ball fitting the barrel would weigh 1/8 lb, 1/12 lb for a 12-bore) shotgun had on our armour. Fired at the same piece of 9.5mm polycarbonate that we had pierced with the axe, from a range of about 10 yards - no penetration.

17 July

Pictures from the Bledlow Ridge School event on the 26th June.

11 July

A successful weekend spent tuning the axe.

26 June

Video clip (520KB) from the School fete at Bledlow Ridge, near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.
Featuring Miss Struts, Panic Attack, Centurion, Griffon, Challenger and ourselves.

15 June

Some footage (510KB) of the axe tests. Now that it's reliable, we can start tuning it...

13 June

First tests of the new axe. We had a few problems at first with bearings popping out and breaking the 1/2" chain(!), due to the increased power. Now working well. Click the thumnail for a pic of how the Montego bonnet target suffered...

1 June

Yesterday was our day at the auditions for Series 3. Went very well - KHz performed faultlesly, which is more than can be said for my driving! Huge number and variety of new machines.
See the official site for lots of pics (in the Archive section).

Got back to Oxford and thought I might as well make use of a deserted carpark for some testing. It's the first time KHz has ever been run for more than about a minute,,,

31 May

Some pics of the machines we saw at the auditions

28 May

It works! Just got KHz running again. Spent yesterday finishing off the software and hardware for the onboard mixer (Basic Stamp II). I'll be putting up details of it in the HowTo section, when I get a chance.
Works well - can now turn much more tightly. See the video (630KB RealVideo G2).
Hopefully get the axe fitted for the auditions on Monday.

26 May

Drilled and tapped 8 new M3 threads in the heatsink of the 4QD 200 amp speed controller, so that I could mount the other controller back to back with it. Made up a couple of brass guides to ensure that the holes were central (used the holes in the bus-bars as guides) and that the tap went in straight.
Fitted two 4mm ally side plates to the heatsink for extra cooling and to mount some power resistors that we need.

The auditions for Series 3 are taking place at the weekend, so have taken the rest of the week off to try and get KHz ready.

23 May

Made up some drive pegs, by turning down M10 high tensile bolts.
Pegs engage with spokes of wheel, with padding in-between to absorb shocks. Temporarily using some pneumatic hose - hopefully get some thicker rubber tubing.
Fitted the steering feedback pots. Clamped in place with an 'O' ring, so that they can be adjusted.
Works well. Around double the steering angle available that we had last year.

15 May

Photos from the St.Mathews Primary School charity meeting.

9 May

Eventually got the new steering finished.
Cap on the central ally post is eccentric, allowing the belt tension to be adjusted.
Dom cut out some new panels for the sides and rear. 6mm polycarbonate. The white film is just for protection. The rear had been cut by RoadBlock's cicular saw and one of the sides had been warped by the heat of the flame pit.

28 March

Finally, a decent steering arrangement!

24 March

Just received a couple of TeamDelta's neat little RC switches.
Ordered them from Adam Clark's E-Shop and they arrived the next day.
A lot neater than the servo operated microswitch that we used last year to operate the pneumatic valve.

21 March

New gearboxes almost complete. Single 10:50 gear reduction. Because the 10 tooth pinion has to be mounted on the 12mm motor shaft, it has a corrected tooth form, giving it a 22mm PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter - normally 20mm) - this leaves more metal between the base of the gear teeth and the shaft bore. This means that the gear centres are 61mm apart, rather than 60mm. That's a nice feature of 2 Mod gears - you just add the number of teeth together to get the distance in mm.
I'll machine down six M10 bolts to make the drive pegs. Each peg will have a rubber ring between it and the wheel spokes to absorb shocks.

14 March

Spring loaded catch to hold the axe back. Doubles as a safety catch.

6 March

Fitted the axe to the shaft. Bolted it on so that we can fit alternative heads.

5 March

Made up a new head for the axe. Took a paper pattern to a local engineering company and they cut it out of 10mm steel plate with their plasma cutter. I then welded on a 12mm silver steel bar, which is hardened by the heat, and ground it down to to a nice edge.

17 February

Gears arrived from HPC. Finish on inside face of 50 tooth a bit rough. Maybe they couldn't grind that face. Otherwise excellent. Six tapped holes are for drive pegs that engage with wheel spokes - avoids need for keyways in axle.

5 February

Turned up a brass adaptor for connecting the hydraulic hose to the Tank. See Pneumatics page.

The Hawker Energy Genesis batteries were delivered today. About 60 each for 12V, 13Ah from DMS.

24 January

Made a start at losing some weight from the chassis. Saved over 1kg from just the two centre bulkheads. Further progress has been delayed, as I managed to slice open my thumb with the hole cutter...

24 January

Started the rebuild. I'm redesigning the gearboxes. Currently using 15:36+18:40 giving a ratio of 5.33. The new box will just be one pair of gears, 10:50. Simpler, lighter and much stronger.
Faxed a request for a quote for the new gear design to HPC Gears. Got a very reasonable quote back within a few hours - within twice the price of a standard gear.

Thought I might as well take some pics of the old box - click on thumbnail.

15 January

Got some pneumatic hoses made up. See the HowTo section.

14 January

A new year and new contracts...
Just received our new contracts from Mentorn for Series 3 and the live event. It says we should aim to be ready by the end of May.
One change to the rules is that we are now allowed to use up to 36Volts DC (was 30V).