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Daring Fireball shooter XL5

Unortunately last week I found that the spiders seemed to have eaten all the electronic magic from the old 70's transistors and gubbins in my old Hacker radio, and after an hour of poking about with a multimeter I decided to remove the old stuff and replace it with "newer" gubbins.

Tonight I aim to get some bluetooth radio goodness going by hacking an old Jabra bluetooth earpiece that has singularly failed to of any use in taking calls, and  connect it up to a little amp circuit I built years ago as an Altoids tin amp for my guitar. I 'll then connect the amp to the lovely Celestion speaker in the old Hacker radio. (One of the fascinating things I found when dismantling was that the "tone" control was provided by a wad of folded loo roll)

I have also impulsively ordered a silver nitride 12V igniter which was dangled in front of me on twitter by Cool Components. I actually do have a project to  add this to... ages ago (2008) I built a "fireball shooter" for Dom. It uses Flash paper and flash cotton (not Adobe Flash) and an RC glowplug as the ingition source... but that proved unreliable, so we rigged a bit of fuse wire and a higher voltage source.

I'm already thinking of how I can make it into a repeater, prehaps with a rotating barrel?

I dug out this old video which shows the raw power of our Daring Fireball Shooter...



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ready for action

Just put the finishing touches to Meathammer
The whole setup works quite well.. I'm off to modelworld to run it through it's paces a couple of times.
The weak bits look to be the drive shafts, which I'd like to bulk up to at least 20mm and have some better bearnings for.
The battery packs are also a bit weedy, but we'll see how they last, and may invest in a few high output packs.
Of course it could also really do with running the 4QD 35's or 60's instead of the electronise speedies.. but we'll see how it performs and make amends.
Since I took this phot I've added a hinged scoop, so we can get under other feathers... it's a popular design in the states, should work over here.
I only need to wire in an LED to show power and then we are ok to roll.

The weakness of machines

All of the robots I have built have failed in fights, and usually at the axles/wheels, it's like a running joke.
So why should it be any different with this featherweight?
Meathammer was designed back in 2005/06 when using 4 drill motors was a bit of a novelty... it was made more novel still by mounting the epicyclic gear cages directly to the chassis, which unfortunately sends all the drive shocks back through the gearbox.

The original version ran for a number of fights at modelworld 2006? and even won some, especially the sumo, which favoured its very low profile.
I've just rebuilt the gearboxes with all metal gears, and tested it, and it seems it should last for at least one fight… but as I put it in the car after testing, I noted one of the wheels had nearly fallen off. Mark that bolt for Lockthreading!

All this got me thinking if I could make something less likely to lose a wheel, break a gearbox etc
I have a huge pile of bits and bobs that were destined for heavier machi…

robot rebuilds

For two years in a row I've missed out joining in with Ian Watts robot bash at the Uni. So I'm making sure I've got something running before it swings around again.

So I welded a couple of new gearbox cages into the 4 wheel push bot, and dug out a set of Electronize speed controllers. I fitted the titanium plate that has been cluttering the basement for a decade and have been doing some testing with a set of LiON batteries that used to belong to a cordless strimmer, which fell apart from overuse.


I've run it up and the battery doesn't really have enough life to power 4 motors, but is useful for testing. I've stuck some old NiMH units on a charge cycle to see if they have enough life for a bout or two. The only things I actually need to "buy" are a 2.4GHz radio set, as the old 40MHz stuff is against the rules these days, so I've ordered a Hobby King 4 channel set for £20 off ebay.

Strangely yesterday Mentorn emailed a bunch of robot folk to say Rob…