April 2016: First Deliveries
So where do you get started with building a fighting robot, with no experience? Research. Lots and lots of research. Kudos to the Fighting Robot Association (FRA) website for helping me out there. The very first order actually arrived at the very end of April, it included the transmitter/receiver, XT90 connectors, and lots of wire.
Technical bit - Eventually, we settled on using a pair of MY1020 motors running at 33 volts, each powering a wheel at a ration of 8:1, giving us about 12-15mph. Tauron was going to be two wheel drive.
After months of research and picking out components, we starting building the first wooden rolling chassis.
July 2016: Wooden Prototypes
By July 2016 we were building the first wooden prototype rolling chassis to test out the drive system. It worked! You can see a video of the first time it was tested here. There were several different versions of this basic shape as we experimented with different positions for the wheels and motors and other internal components, and worked out the wiring. We learned very early on how important it was to strap the batteries down very firmly for test driving! By now I had also started the CAD (Computer Aided Design) for Tauron (again, I was doing this as a complete newbie!)
Of course even by this point we still had no idea whether or not there would even be another series of Robot Wars, but rumours said that an announcement was just around the corner…
October 2016: Full Scale Model and Application
Having been through two full scale wooden prototypes and settled on the final configuration, it was time to build the full-scale wooden prototype. Right at that point, on 11th October 2016, Robot Wars Series 9 was confirmed and applications opened the same day. They were to close on 22nd October, with filming on 2nd - 7th December. A scarily short window of time in which to prepare our application! We knew we weren’t going to have the full metal version of Tauron finished for our application, so instead we opted to show off a render of the Tauron CAD, and a more accurate wooden prototype.
Of course there was only one logical way to see it the robot would support the weight of all the metal, by performing the sitting test.
We filled in the forms, shot the application video and sent everything off on 19th October. We wanted to use as much Hardox as possible so we knew we'd need to get it cut professionally as we'd have no way to cut or drill it once it arrived. What with that and a 110kg weight limit there wasn't much room for error, and if we were accepted we knew we'd have to move quickly.