Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The brake I bought from Harbor Freight was not sturdy enough to handle the 5052 aluminum we are using for the motor mount/ankle project. Steve cut and welded some spare pieces of angle iron and steel he had laying around to make a new brake...a large brake...a strong brake...BRAKE-ZILLA!

Steve fixed the motor mounts that were not bent correctly on the last build day and then get bent three more motor mounts sets.

We have four complete sets of motor mounts bent (ankle pieces still need to be bent).

While Steve was bending the motor mounts, I continued to drill the holes in spacer pieces.

We wanted to have one motor mount for display at the Robotics Championship Of The Americas on Friday, so Steve swapped out the metal lathe setup to tap four spacers and assemble the motor mount.

Brad's Center Leg

Tonight, Moose and Brad put together the internal center leg supports for Brad's R2. They started out by cutting the angle iron to length.

Brad and Moose took turns stick welding.

Brad removed the slag.

Brad and Moose dry fitted the braces and stood back to admire their work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Motor Mount Making

Steve, Clay, Brad, Jason, Moose, and I continued or work to make the modified Dan Baker motor mount/ankle sets. Steve setup the metal lathe and we collectively drilled pilot holes in each side of the metal spacers. After that was done, Steve changed the lathe around and we drilled out about half of the spacers to the exact bolt depth we need. On the next build night we will have to drilling the rest of the holes and tap the spacers.

Brad and I had to increase the hole that the motor slides into by using a router bit. We got almost have of the motor holes drilled before the bit snapped and Jason ran to the store to buy a new one.

After the holes where routed out, Clay uses the drill press and a sander attachment to smooth out the edges left by the router.

Steve and Moose setup the bending brake I got from Harbor Freight and tested out the bending process on a set of motor mounts. It turns out you get what you pay for. The bending brake is not sturdy enough to make a consistent bend across the entire motor mount because we are using 5052 aluminum. Steve said he will weld steel plates onto his bending brake to strengthen it and we will try again at the next build day.

Even though we need to fix the bends on these motor mount/ankle pieces, we placed a motor, wheel, and belt inside the mount to see how it fit.

Final Frame Sanding

At the build night tonight, I finally finished the sanding on my frame. The skins fit around my wooden frame without any gaps. I didn't take a picture because it looks like every other picture I have taken through the sanding process. Jason and Moose tried to glue the bottom piece of Jason's frame back together and support it with some scrap aluminum. If this doesn't work, then a new A&A frame piece will have to be purchased.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

BIG Motor Mount/Ankle Building Day

We had a really BIG build day where we mainly focused on the Motor Mount Ankle building. All the motor mount aluminum pieces were cut to size on a previous build day. Clay started us out by cutting out the ankle pieces on the band saw.

Moose and I worked together to slightly modify the Dan Baker plans for the motor mounts/ankles to shift the motor closer to the axle and move the spacer holes to allow for a plate to support a small omniball. Dan Barker's original design uses the omniballs in the outer legs like wheelie bars. We decided that we wanted to use them for actual support and have them touch the group all the time. During the week I got 16 sets of motor mount/ankle plans printed. Talon, Brad, and I used straight edges and razorblades to cut out two sides of the plans. That way we can line up the square edge of the plans with the square edge of the previously cut aluminum.

Steve and Clay cut the aluminum dowels close to the needed size. Steve setup his metal lathe for the aluminum spacers and everyone took a turn, with a little bit of training, doing metal spacer work. We first made sure one side was perfectly square and then took off sharp edge with the file. Steve then changed the lathe around to add a stopper and the second side of the metal spacers where cut and filed making them the exact size needed.

We then proceeded to mark and drill the holes for the spacers, axles, and motors. Talon marked the center point of all the holes and the rest of the crew took turns first drilling a small pilot hole with one drill press while someone else used a different drill press to make each hold the needed size.

Once the holes were drilled, Clay and I used a saw to cut out the motor holes and extend the size of the axle holes.

Brad, Jason, and Clay used files and Dremmels to slowly grind the holes so they were just large enough to house the motors.

Other Group Members' Outer Leg/Frame Projects

One of our builder/observers finally decided to start building her own R2 this week, so she bought the extra frame and one of the outer leg sets I had. Moose and Brad helped her glue them together while I looked on and heckled.

Today seemed to be the day to finish up odd R2 projects, so Jason tried putting together his A&A legs.

Moose pulled apart Jason's A&A frame to use one of the rings to determine how much sanding needs to be done on the wood frames we made. Moose, Talon, and Jason took some time today to put the frame back together.

Our Local Builders Group Turns One!

Our little builders group turns one this year so most of the builders met at a fellow builder's house today to celebrate and do a little building. The builders in attendance were Clay Cardwell, Brad "KITT" Edmonds, Jason "Dash" Neurath, Steve Schmitz, Eric "Talon" Culp, and yours truely. Today was the best weather day of the year. Pleasently warm in the sun and no wind to speak of. The crew got there around 9:30 AM to help empty out the barn and cleanup. I brought my tailgating table and chairs and it wasn't long before we had the barn and the whole yard setup for the party.

Brad's wife Serena made a couple of cakes. It was very cool to have an R2 cake for our birthday. Thank you Serena!

A couple of platforms for the pumpkin patch event last fall and they came in very handy today. Everyone put what they had in the way of built and in-process R2s on the platforms in the yard to show off what we have done to everyone in the group and various visitors we had throughout the day.

It has been awhile since such a large group got together; so once everything was setup, we took a little time to catch up.

I grilled burgers and hotdogs and the whole crew sat down for a lunch break.

One of visitors was Allison Pappas from the CREATE Foundation. Our builders club will have a booth at the Civic Auditorium next weekend for the Robotics Championship Of The Americas and she wanted to meet our club members and work out details of our appearance in a couple of weeks.

As the builders worked inside the barn. The R2 Builders' Widows sat in the sun and enjoyed the weather.

In the afternoon, a reporter for the Bellevue Leader stopped by to see what we have been doing over the last year and to take pictures.