Dozer Combat Robot Status Report
January 2000:

Inspiration, Design, Aquisition, Redesign, Pay-Per-View, Redesign, Redesign...

January marks my return to the world of robotic combat. I nearly got started building a robot two years ago in early 1997, but external circumstances precluded my time and financial investment. 1998 is well known for the troubles surrounding robotic combat. The uncertainty of an event actually happening and my engagement to my Fiance kept me sufficiently occupied at other activities: working on my other project, road racing, and playing paintball to name a few...

So, it was time to dig out all of my old Robotics notebooks, separate all of the then "Robot Wars" notes from the BEAM robotics notes, and start refreshing my memory. I also spent most of December and early January getting caught up on the website reading of all of my favorite builders. From there it was time to come up with a Theme, a basic design, and a team.

The rest of January was spent in notebooks, parts catalogs, scale drawings, fullsize mockups, and the like. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to hit "the big unsolvable problem" halfway through construction. I'm perfectly happy to hit the 150 "smaller solvable problems" along the way, that's how we learn stuff. But, I'm on a budget, so I can't afford to start over time after time.

The design process went something like this: Start from our concept (more on this next month). Figure out how it should move, actuate stuff, etc. Then figure out what it would take to generate all of that movement. Then, start buying stuff, and transfer the dimensions of the large and important bits onto a scale drawing and figure out how to make it all fit in the shape we've dreamed up. Meet with master-bot-builder Dan Danknick of Team Delta who points out the achilles heel we've just designed in. Redesign to fix those flaws. Then, watch the January Battlebots Pay Per View. Get totally freaked by a few of the things we see and what they mean to our design. Redesign to deal with this. Etc. Etc. Get the picture?

At this point, there is a design complete with layout of all internal components and connections. Sometime in February we'll be starting actual fabrication. Step one is to get the tube frame assembled, so it will start to take shape very quickly from there. Bear with me, I'm trying to plan a wedding, design and build a robot, AND figure out how to document the process!

On to February

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