Hi Everyone, Well, as promised, I'm delivering. Robotica '98 is being held at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in building #2 (around the back of the main building), Bay F, which is about 280x80 - almost the same size as Herbst Pavilliion at Ft. Mason except the ceiling is only 14 feet high. I also took Bay E which is the same size, so if we need to we have TOOOONNNNNSSSSS of space. Bay F could be used to store stuff and locked up. We'll have security and parking a plenty for free.
Now my question is this: who would like to have the party on Friday and a public event on Saturday and Sunday. We can do that but it changes the game quite a bit. The Cow Palace would handle all the ticketing through their own box office and Bass, so that's not a problem. Insurance would be dramatically increased and there would have to be real entry forms, more security, etc.
So, let me know. Dan and I are leaning toward a public event, but please let me know what you think. So, good news for now and I'll be keeping you posted.
P.S. I figure that the arena can be built on Friday with one unit taking an hour. So competition could be all day Saturday and Sunday.
6/24/98 - Well, its been a few days, and I haven't done a thing with
the robots. Our camping trip, however was AWESOME! We went to Lake Pillsbury,
about 3 hours north of where I live in Novato, CA. It was kind of out of the
way from the main lakes, so there wasn't that much of a crowd at all. We went
with some friends and I have to admit it was the best camping I've ever done!
I'll post some pictures here soon. Best part of the trip is when I pulled
a 24 inch squawfish out of the lake (YES, 2 feet long!!!) Everybody was going
nuts and saying they've been fishing there for 10 years and never seen a fish
that size caught from the lake. Apparently squawfish are harmful to the trout
in the lake, so it is a good thing to get rid of them. They aren't good eating,
but I was able to turn him in for a whopping reward of $2.00!
Anyway, I plan on getting some good work done on the robots over this coming weekend. I bought some new, better pillow blocks for my geardown systems on the wheels, these have a much better ball-bearing for the shafts, and the wheels should turn a lot easier when they are in. If I have time, I'll start clamping down all the electronics in a more permanent fashion. I'm going to be using mouse pads for internal padding for the electronics- I got a whole bunch of SGI mousepads from work and they'll work great for cushioning material! I will probably be putting some pictures up here in the next week or so, I took some good shots of Hercules with my digital camera last week, and I'm trying to decide which ones to post here. So, stay tuned!
In other news, sadly it looks like one of my Robot Wars heroes, Dan Danknick from Team Delta is calling it quits from robot competition after all the crap going on about the RW '98 legal issues and for work-related issues. Dan's letter on the Team Delta website explains it much more thoroughly than I can here. Best I can hope for is that Dan will come back to RW if things end up working out in the long run. Thanks for all your help and advise, Dan! Good luck!
6/18/98 - Took the 6/16/98 e-mail letter
sent to me from Steve Plotnicki from Profile off the front page- it may have
been a fake (but some people think it was the real thing).... More word on
that to come.
Robot News: the frame reinforcements on Hercules are DONE! You could probably run over this thing with a truck and not bend it! I also reinforced the chain-drive system, I may make a few more upgrades to keep the chains' tension consistent. Next step is final setup of electronics- but not til next week.. I'm going camping this weekend! Mmmmm..... nothing but fishing, canoeing, relaxing for me! The weather's supposed to be perfect! Can't wait!
6/15/98 - More letters have been released to the Robot Wars Community about the Legal Issues: Marc Thorpe's mail to the Robot Warriors, and a letter from Profile to Marc with an attached letter from Mentorn (UK Robot Wars), then Marc's response. Check them out if you would like to know all about who is saying what!
Hercules is coming along well, I made some modifications to the caster wheels over the weekend (spaced them further forward and further apart), giving Herc better suport in the front. I also got the second RC Interface board working perfectly! Yippee! Thanks to Dan from Team Delta for his suggestions on getting the boards to work properly! Herc was zipping around the parking lot very well! I'm running out of weekends (going camping this weekend, etc.), so I am planning to do a little bit of work for an hour or so on Hercules every night this week, and by Friday, I want to have all the electronics mounted properly, including batteries, speed controls, etc. with all the wiring out of the way. I also want the frame reinforcements to be in place and both side caster wheels mounted (currently only have the bottom ones on-need to put some on top so I can drive when flipped). I'm also planning on reprogramming my Futaba 9ZAP radio to accellerate smoothly, as the robot is now so fast on startup that is is uncontrollable. I still need to put on Junior's 'arms' too. I sure wish I could find some SMALL caster wheels! Does anyone know where to find some 3/4 or 1 inch diameter swivel casters? Something medium duty would be great! I can't seem to find them anywhere! If all goes well, I should have everything but the armor complete on both robots in a couple weeks. I'll keep you posted!
6/11/98 - Looks like there WILL be some kind of robot competition event after all! (Even if it is invite-only, it will still be good to get my robots out there!) Coming this August to a location to be announced in San Francisco, ROBOTICA! Here is the letter I got from Gary Cline, who is organizing this 'event':
I'll be out of town next week starting tomorrow, Friday. I'm going to DC to accept an award from the Department of Defense at a special banquet. And no, this is not another Bad Monkey story.
So, before I go I wanted to write all the good guys and give you some news. Check out my new site at www.clineworks.com/robotica.html to view my plans for a robotic event.
While I'm gone, if anyone has any suggestions relating to my page or the event, please write me and I'll respond when I get back. I don't intend to be like a dictator on this thing at all. I do have plans to make the page cgi-enabled and get a data base going of guests.
If you would like to attend, please let me know and also what robot(s) you'll be bringing and in what weight class(es) they're in - assuming the identical weight classes as last year.
Also let me know how many invitations you would like. I'm not sure right now about people under the age of 18 (unfortunately or otherwise - depending on who you are), but I don't want to exclude anyone from coming. Anyway, let me know how many invitations you want with a breakdown by adult and minor.
With a little luck and a break in the weather, we might be able to pull this thing off. As far as the whole Mentorn and Robot Wars thing is concerned, I'm staying as far away from that sinkhole as possible.
And last, I'd like to give my sincere thanks to all you guys who've given me such great support and encouragement through e-mail and/or on the forum. And a special thanks to Dan and Carlo. You guys are champs! In fact I think I'll nominate you both for Grand Wizard of SORC!
So, have fun! And get ready to rumble...
Check out the Robotica site and get involved!
In robot building news, I got the new RC interface boards from Team Delta today, they will be going into Hercules on Saturday! I'll let you guys know how it goes.
6/9/98 - Once again, the accusational fingers are pointing every direction. Steve Plotnicki has released another letter to the Robot Wars public. Man, I wish things would just be decided one way or another, this is getting crazy not knowing. Also, the Society of Robotic Combat (SORC) is being formed for an independant group of advise-giving and possible independant competitions. If you would like to become a member, please visit the Robot Wars Forum and sign your name under the SORC thread. This group may allow us to have a greater voice in the future of Robot Wars, so if you haven't done so already, sign up!
6/5/98 - Profile has attempted to shut down the Robot
Wars Forum, most likely to avoid having to deal with competition events.
You can read more about their action here.
I went ahead and archived the May 1998 reports, just to keep this page tidy.
On to the robot building status: Hercules is coming along well. I was able to do a little bit more frame welding the last few days, and making plans on the frontal reinforcements of the robot. I also ran a few more experiments with my RC interface boards from Team Delta for my 4QD speed controls, and it looks like one of the features that Dan added into the board (automatic sensing of neutral position), is causing me a problem where one motor side will reset its assumed neutral stick position to the current position (sometimes at full-throttle extension!). The only way to reset from this mode is turn everything off and back on. This of course will not do, so Dan is sending me a couple new boards to try with the neutral circuit disabled. (Thanks Dan, you RULE!) If all goes well, I will be taking Hercules to work with me in a couple weeks to show off to the coworkers who keep bugging me to see the progress. It will be a good chance to get some exposure and let people know the status of the events surrounding Robot Wars right now. I know I've said it before, but once these controllers are working for me, Hercules just needs his armor! I'll be visiting the scrap metal yard in a few days to get some more stainless steel sheets. I'm still using the Titanium for most of the robot armor, but there are a few areas I'd like to have stainless steel in place. This weekend is pretty much shot for robot work (the in-laws are in town), so probably no update for a week or so. Besides, I'm sure you're getting sick of hearing from me all this trivial stuff, right? Well, please contact me and let me know what you guys think of all this controversy surrounding the Robot Wars event and let me know what you think of the changes to this site! Til next time...
6/1/98 - Finished the new format of the links page. Check it out! Its a lot cleaner in the table format. Keep me up to date on any additions or changes!