11-25-00 Saturday

Having returned from Vegas competition in one piece (the hammer, that is...) I can't post any trip reports until the end of the season. However, one cool thing to tide you over is this 3D viewer technology from Autolycus that allows you to get a 360 degree view of something in a fast, compact way without any plugins! They were scanning all of the robots for the new website. It's actually a series of frames taken while the object is slowly rotated on a turntable. In this case, the object was me. Check it out... The guys from Autolycus were great, and I can think of all kinds of interesting applications for this technology...

11-03-00 Friday

The titanium arm is back from the heat treaters and we're making some modifications to improve performance. At left, Jon Foreman machines a "little off the top" of the arm. He's the only person I know crazy enough to machine hardened titanium, hardened steel, Thompson rails, and a variety of other exotic materials. Machining titanium according to Jon: "Crank up the speed like hell and don't stop for anything." I was on hand to put out the small smoking bits around the mill. It helps to have really sharp mills to begin with. Why don't you stop for anything? Because if you dwell, even for a short amount of time, you work-harden the piece in that area. At right, I'm working on a part called "The Egg" because of its shape. It's basically a steel weight that adds mass to the end of the hammer.

11-02-00 Thursday

Started machining support brackets for the hammer arm. The supports were damaged in my match against Hazard and needed to be replaced. Originally they were made out of 6061-T6 Aluminum. This time I'm going for 2024-T351. It should be much stronger. Unfortunately, my wallet is much lighter (to the tune of about $200 for a 24"x24"x1/2" plate). I should be able to get several pieces out of the plate, though, and with the CNC machine, it should proceed rather quickly.

10-24-00 Tuesday

Team Deadblow announces super heavyweight entry: Deaderblow. Um, no just kidding. This is actually a picture of my first prototype for Deadblow. Note the actual 8 lbs. sledgehammer and the big-ass go-kart wheels from Northern Hydraulic. This will be a part of my new "history" section coming soon. And yes, work continues on Deadblow 2000 for Vegas. The titanium arm should be in thursday, after which it will go to a place that treats metals to make them harder. I'm shooting for final assembly on Nov. 1.

10-19-00 Thursday

Minor updates to the crew page. Transmitted the AutoCAD files to get the hammer arm water-jet cut out of titanium at a not-altogether-unreasonable price. The structural 6061-T6 aluminum arm was starting to fatigue by the end of the rumble. This will be the first part of Deadblow to be fabricated by an outside vendor. Coincidentally, it is also the first part that's not made out of an aluminum alloy or mild steel. The new arm will be 3/8" thick and will have the hammer head integrated into the arm. I have added holes so that I will be able to bolt on more weight if necessary to increase the kinetic energy of the weapon. Now we'll see if the "pecker" jokes persist! Still haven't put the new sprockets in yet. It turns out that getting tossed by the saws bent my right rear axle. At least I landed butter side up.

10-16-00 Monday

Updates to website including the addition of this page. Should be installing those new sprockets right about now, but it's alot easier typing in this update.

10-14-00 Saturday

Hey, I'm on the
Comedy Central splash page! At least until next week...

10-11-00 Wednesday

Deadblow makes its first TV appearance winning against a very heavily armored Alien Gladiator, shearing the hammer head clean off, leaving a stump. I enjoyed watching the hammer fly over the back of the robot in slow motion... Special thanks to Jackson's Hardware in San Rafael (a real class act and with a long-standing relationship with ILM) for letting us film the "hardware store" segment of the program. And yes, the "Death Stick" is a real hammer for sale. In fact, they even have Death Stick brand safety glasses.

10-10-00 Tuesday

Finally mailed my entry form for BattleBots Las Vegas Nov. 16-19. Also made travel arrangements for myself and my crew.

10-09-00 Monday

Solicited bids on titanium fabrication, but due to the holiday some of the businesses were closed. Wow, I think I may need to find some sponsors...

10-04-00 Wednesday

Drive tests. May have geared the wheelchair motors down too far. It's sloooooww.... Guess I'll have to order some more sprockets and re-size the chain. Um, maybe I'll work on the website a bit.

10-03-00 Tuesday

Added a spacer to the mounting brackets for the drive tensioners this is to keep the chain from hitting itself around the S-wrap. Also sized the drive chain for the new gear ratio.

10-02-00 Monday

Removed the 1/4HP DC motors and returned to the wheelchair motors from Long Beach 1999. Couldn't gear the motors down far enough with two stages and the available space, and while the top speed was higher, I need the low-end torque for positioning the weapon in close-quarters combat. The wheelchair motors have a worm drive built into the right-angle gearbox, which eliminates the need for the heavy sprocket (relatively speaking). This weight will be used for the titanium hammer arm (if I can get it going in time). Mounted these motors in the chassis.

09-28-00 Thursday

Machined new chain tensioners with thicker walls. The old tensioner fatigued at the set screw and eventually failed. The new tensioners are twice as thick, and have snap rings on both sides to keep the idler axle in place.

09-26-00 Tuesday

Flipped both on-board so that the regulators point towards the front of the robot. Had to drill new mounting holes in the rear bearing brackets. Also re-plumbed some of the leaky air lines.

09-14-00 Thursday

Hey, I'm in an article for an online magazine called Red Herring. Probably shouldn't have rattled off all those technical specs on the Energizer Bunny...

09-11-00 Monday, the official home of Team Deadblow goes online.