Team Vortex Robots - Vortex
Progress Report - March 12th, 2001

I finally got Vortex's armor! A friend of my dad was kind enough to donate these sheets of 6061-T6 Aluminum (More on this later)

I spent a little while trying to think of just how to keep Vortex's nose off the floor - I didn't want to just drag it around, as the floor isn't totally smooth, so I was worried that it could get caught on a seem. I spent weeks trying to come up with the perfect way, before I found these Ball Casters as . They are absolutely perfect for this - The flange is 1/8" thick, so it nests neatly between my frame's second level and the outside armor. I have one on each front corner, top and bottom.
One of the changes I had to make from last time was fix the frame up so that the armor could lay smooth against the outer frame. I got a bunch of 82 degree flat head screws, then countersunk the holes. It worked pretty good, though we originally bought the cheap countersink and we managed to toast it trying to countersink the holes on the steel flange of the ball casters. I went back and bought the better one, and it went straight through that harder metal :)

The motor mounts I made before weren't quite up to the task, so I hacked up some spare 6061 Aluminum I had and made these braces. They serve 2 tasks. First, they hold the front of the motor up - I had to put a hose clamp on there before to hold the motor in position, but that shifted the motor and gearbox out of alignment, plus I prefer to have the clamps over the metal rear part of the motor. The second purpose is to hold the gearbox in its plastic casing - The metal end of the plastic gearbox case isn't secured by anything but friction, so my dad's friend thought it needed reinforced (Again, more on this later)
After getting a few of the modified motor mounts put together, I went ahead and mounted some of the motors to see how they fit.

More on what I mentioned above. A friend of my dad offered to donate the metal for my armor, and last weekend my dad and I went over to see him and pick up the metal. When we went, we brought Vortex's frame, one of our motors, and our CAD blueprints. Anyway, as a result of his advice, we're making a few changes. First is the motor mounts pictured above - He's the one who noticed that the front of the gearboxes came loose. Next is the little devices pictured to the left. The output shaft of the gearboxes was, well, just not going to work - There was almost no way to securely mount a sprocket to it, and it could slide out of the gearbox too easily. These are shafts that are made to be attached to a modified gearbox output spindle and go to the outside of the frame where they will go into a pillow block. This way, they can't come loose, and I can put a plain old 3/4" bore sprocket on there. Fortunately, the motor output was where the big sprocket goes, so other than having to buy some larger bore sprockets it didn't affect my gear ratio.

Also, there are a couple of other changes we decided to make. First, we aren't going to weld the entire frame, just the corners. We had bolted the whole frame together so that it would transport easily when we went to get it welded, however, my dad's friend (A retired engineer and inventor with 26 patents who was the founder of Laserplane and Spectra Physics) said that the welding, except the corners of the frame, was entirely unnecessary, that it was bolted up well enough and that the armor would stiffen it all that was needed.

The last change was to the weapon. We redesigned the weapon brace and pole, resulting in an increase in strength and a massive decrease in weight (we should come in within weight now!).

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