Alienware High-Performance Systems

How To:

       Welcome to our how to section this is the section on our site that we walk you through making a simple robot two wheeled robot not a full fledged BattleBot.  The quote below explains what we are going to be doing.  We would also like to say that we don't want you to just start buying.  We would like you to understand how to build the basics.  Please check out Team Coolrobots site for more help<<<<

"Building a competitive robot involves matching the proper motors with the proper batteries with the proper electronics.... blah blah blah. We're just going to buy the parts and put them together."-Team Coolrobots

First Steps Stuff to look at before starting  Tools What else is in a Robot?
Control Controlling your speed Power Choose Materials
Get sponsors Motors Bench top testing   Design  

 CAD/FEA

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FIRST STEPS

Ok, so you have decided to make a robot.  First we would like you to a realm that few have wanted to go but only a few have.   Ok, the first step is know the official rules not yours.  If you don't know these rules we suggest that you get them before you continue any further.  

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STUFF TO LOOK AT BEFORE YOU START

Here are some catalogs that you should have or have looked at:

  • MSC Industrial Supply Co. - Lots of stuff that you would need for a full fledged BattleBot

  • McMaster-Carr - Just like MSC with a few differences, online catalog only (unless you have access to one at work)

  • Grainger - Lots of motors and other stuff that McMaster and MSC don't have

  •     COMPANY POLICY - Grainger is a wholesaler, not a consumer retailer you must be able to produce several documents stating that you are a legal business [get the catalog for reference]

  • Digi-Key - Misc. electronics

  • Allied Electronics - Everything that Digi-Key doesn't have

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TOOLS

You will need:

  • Screw drivers

  • A hand drill [cord or cordless]

  • Duct tape [mans best friend also the solution for the hole in the ozone layer]

  • Patience [very important]

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WHAT ELSE IS IN A ROBOT?

There are several required items in a robot and some cool extras:

required:

  1. Speed Controller

  2. batteries or battery

  3. two motors

  4. chassis [frame]

  5. two wheels

extras:

  1. armor

  2. weapon

"Building a competitive robot involves matching the proper motors with the proper batteries with the proper electronics.... blah blah blah. We're just going to buy the parts and put them together."-Team Coolrobots

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CONTROL

RULE ALERT!!:  NO RADIOS CAN BROADCAST IN 72 MHZ CH. 11-60, IF YOU ORDER FROM TOWER HOBBIES THEY CAN SEND IT OVER TO FUTABA FOR ABOUT $40.00 - $60.00 TO HAVE IT CONVERTED TO A SURFACE FREQUENCY, 75 MHZ, WHICH IS ALLOWED

One of the most important devices you will need to buy for your robot is a radio controller.  We recommend buying a Futaba 6 channel PCM [pulse code modulation] controller.  This can be purchased at your local hobby shop or at tower hobbies.  If you have been trying to find the Futaba 6XAS or 6XAH don't bother these models have been discontinued and have been replaced with the 6XAPS which is about $70.00 more than the 6XAS and 6XAH, but unlike them it broadcasts in PCM [pulse code modulation] this is better than FM [frequency modulation] and AM [amplitude modulation].  One reason is that in BattleBots some types of bots are required to use PCM because it allows for fail safe easier than FM or AM.  This will take around $300.00 to buy.  If you would like some thing cheaper look at Airtronics or JR.  

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CONTROLLING YOUR SPEED

Ok so now you have a controller which I hope is the one I mentioned above.  This next device will control your speed thus the name of speed controller.  There are two types of speed controllers physical and electronic.  While physical is more reliable it doesn't give you as much control as an electronic controller would.  I personally recommend that you buy a electronic speed control.  When it comes to ESC's [Electronic Speed Controllers] there are primarily three brands to consider Novak, IFI robotics, and Vantec.  Novak makes mainly makes single channel controllers which means you would need two, one for each motor.  On the other hand Vantec makes dual channel controllers which means that you would only need one to control both motors.  Several things to take into consideration are the fallowing:

  1. how much are you willing to spend 

  2. quality

  3. reversible

  4. Volt and Amp ratings   

  • If money is not an option which unfortunately in this world it is I would recommend a Vantec or an IFI speed controller from their RDFR and Isaac series respectively.  If your wallet is tight I would say go with a Novak controller from there rooster series, these tend to be cheaper than Vantec.  If your really looking to save some bucks than go pick up an old R/C car and take the speed controllers from it and just use it.

  • Quality all three companies make excellent products so it's up to you.

  • I highly recommend getting a controller that has the ability to reverse,  If you choose not to you are crippling your robots mobility.  All three companies have controllers with the ability to reverse

  • Volt and Amp ratings are very important especially continual amp ratings.  These ratings are as fallowing:  Volts - amount of power that it can handle safely.  Continual Amp- this is the amount of amperage the controller can handle for large amounts of time.

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POWER

You need batteries for obvious reasons.  There are three main types of batteries, NiMH, NiCd and Sealed Lead Acid Gel Cells. Depending on the motor you buy your battery needs will change to find the number of amp hours you need click here.  For basics and for this tutorial I will be using Sealed Lead Acid Gel Cells @ 12 volts with 5 amp hours from Power Sonic which makes great batteries that are battle proven.

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If you want to use NiCd I suggest BattlePack or Power Sonic.

MOTORS

If you intend on having your robot moving around the arena or anywhere for that matter you better get your hands on some motors.  Try to look for motors with these characteristics:

  • Lots of torque (twisting force)

  • Full load RPM (Revolutions Per Minute very useful in calculating top speeds)

  • Input Voltage 12 - 24 volts (useful in finding correct batteries)

  • Stalling current

  • Average draw

Some good places to look at for motors are:

 

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BENCH TOP TESTING

Well congratulations you have gotten your basic internal components.  Now wire your motors to your speed control according to the instructions that came with your speed control. Also wire your battery to the radio receiver.

 

IFI Victor 883 is as follows:

I believe the IFI Thor is the same but I make no guarantees check IFI

 

If you are using a 24 volt system wire your batteries this way:

Drawing courtesy of Team Cool Robots 

I highly recommend using a fuse so you don't burn your speed controllers up.  I also recommend using different color wires (very important).

If anybody as Vantec wiring instructions please e-mail me!

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THE PERFECT DESIGN

No mater what anybody says, there is no perfect design, there may be near perfect designs but not perfect designs.  When designing your bot keep a budget in mind (I know it's hard but try).  Prices sky rocket when pneumatics, hydraulics, NiMH batteries, NiCd batteries, Titanium, and custom fabricated parts (that you can't make) enter a design.  

If you are looking for design files click here

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