Scarab Deployment Report:
BotBash 2000

First off, I need to say that we all had a blast. Despite the all-nighters I pulled in the days before, the excellent attitude of everyone involved (including friend and teammate Bob Kleemann, his girlfriend Natalie, and my lovely wife Kimberley) made it one of the most fun weekends I can remember.

Team Puppetmaster Robotics would also like to extend yet another thank you to Bob Pitzer and everyone involved in putting on BotBash. Also, I'm personally indebted to Dan Danknick of Team Delta for his support before, during, and after our brief campaign.

Ok,ok. Enough beating around the bush. What happened? Well, if you've seen the official results, you know we did very poorly. Why? Well, it was classic Newbie-builder syndrome, plain and simple. I totally underestimated some of the forces involved, and didn't take the time to properly understand the metalurgy and engineering required for certain components. Oh well, live and learn.


The first testdrive of the morning. The performance was much more promising after a full-nights battery charge (remember, I just got the thing together 24hrs before, so I hadn't even had time to charge everything properly!) Unfortunately, the first drive of the morning results in the first emergency of the morning...
I had only tapped one set screw in one of the spur gears (consequence of working without sleep: stupidity). This secured the spur gear to the key, but not to the shaft. During the the drive the spur gear worked itself laterally and the rollpin of the motor started whacking on the spur gear. Some of the damage is visible here. As a testimony to the strength of the gears, the drive train still worked fine even with the nicks, though!
Teammate Bob and I scrambling to get a second set screw into the spur gear. Thanks must go out (again) to Team Delta who just happened to have the needed tap, wrench, and tap fluid on hand. Fixed to good working order just an hour or so the navigation course event. At this point we were painfully aware that the belt tension was causing the tensioner to flex and that the pulley's were coming out of alignment. Trouble was brewing. We couldn't get the belt tension we wanted, and I was worried about dropping a belt in a tight corner.
No pictures of the navagation course... As I feared, the less-than-adequate belt tension resulted in the outside belt coming very close to off on some of the tigher turns. Here, I'm piloting Scarab up the ramp to our ill-fated first (and last) battle: The Capture the Flag event.
And here I am, not more than 40 seconds later. I charged straight at my opponent, glancing off of him (maybe not even touching?) and hit the wall. The impact sheared the threads off of the tiny little fasteners I used to attach one of the front bearing block mounts to the baseplate. This was the main point of failure, but once that bearing came off, all tension in the system was lost and belts went flying everywhere! The "oooh" from the crowd was impressive, as was the display of flying parts. Embarassing as hell, though...
Surveying the damage...
This bar used to be straight and those angles WERE square... I think this also officially marks the first appearance of my ugly mug on the web.
We breifly entertained the idea of quickly redesigning and rebuilding to get back into the competition. Here Bob is grinding off one of the bolt heads that's stripped the threads in the thin wall of the steel tube (another bad choice on my part). The bad choice on Bob's part? -> Failing to notice that conspicuously red canister near the door. I wonder if that ever held gasoline? Bob got a quick ass-whooping for trying to blow up my wife who was taking the picture. Soon after we gave up on trying to rebuild and concentrated instead on enjoying ourselves and not thinking about the fact that it was over 100 degrees in the hangar...
Here's the state we left Scarab in. Halfway disassembled for rebuild = totally non functional. Scarab is still in this state in my garage. After I move, maybe I'll rebuild it, or just scrap it for parts.

At some point I'll try to post more of the pictures we took of the competition. One last "Thanks" to everone. It was a blast!

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