Team Vortex Robots - Vortex
Progress Report - March 19th, 2001

First, I'd like to thank the people at Ruxxac Carts for donating this "Ruxxac Fold-Flat" cart. I'm going to be hauling my robot around the airport in a huge trunk, and I wouldn't want to have to haul 100 lbs of trunk, robot, and tools around the airport without it. This thing is great - It folds up to just two inches thick, so I can just collapse it and bring it on the airplane with me (Unlike most competitors, who are from around California, I have to travel from Ohio).
In other news, Vortex came back from being welded! These welds were done by Denny DeWeese and Butch Weidner at the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, Ohio. After a little fiasco involving me putting a part on backwards resulting in the frame being twisted and having to break apart several welds and have them re-weld them, Vortex's frame is nice and level, and really, really strong.
Next, we installed the side armor. Step one: Using our brand new Makita angle grinder to work the welds down a little, so that we could lay the armor down flat on the frame.
The next thing we did was to drill and countersink the armor. We're using only flat head screws on the exterior, so that other bots can't take the head off the screw. Something interesting we learned is that a company called Weldon produces a weird and wonderful kind of countersink - It has 0 flutes, but rather a hole that goes up at an angle from its cutting edge (It's sort of hard to describe, I'll try to snap a picture of it for the next report). It produces the absolute cleanest and smoothest countersink I've ever seen.
Next was the most annoying thing we've done to this point, tapping the holes we drilled in the frame. The little 10-32 tap kept slipping while trying to get it started, but we eventually got through all the holes.
We had two steps left. First, we marked where the drive axle came out of the armor, and used a 1 1/2" hole saw to cut a path for it. Next, we cut a few cooling holes around it (positioned behind the wheel for safety of the drivetrain). We're going to add a couple fans in to these holes to help keep the motors cool. Next, we put the armor on (There's a pic of this a little later).
The next big event occurred this afternoon - I needed some custom shafts for the motors I'm using (as noted last progress report), and they were finally finished today! It's a 3/4" shaft with a keyway, brazed to a piece off the original Dewalt Hammerdrill spindle.
The finished product... almost. We still need some pillow blocks from Grainger to support the one end, but otherwise the motor setup is complete.
The most exciting thing that happened this weekend - We got Vortex's wheels on, and can roll it around on the garage floor now! Next step: Assembling some Nicad battery packs, so we can wire this thing up and take it for a spin around the garage :)

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