November 2016: Painting the chassis, attaching the Polycarbonate
There was never any question that Tauron was going to be red and black, and after more angle grinding and smoothing off the rough edges, Tim started on the spraying. The exoskeleton itself would be black, with polycarbonate sprayed red for the drive section sides and back, and black for the weapon section. The weapon bar itself would be black, with the business ends sprayed red.
Martin Woodward of tecmedi had designed us a brilliant bull's head logo, which would be displayed on the finished robot.
November 2016: final installation
Tauron was designed so that the side panels were permanently fixed, but the top and bottom armour panels on the drive section and all the panels on the weapon section were removeable. With the side panels now in place, I set to work on the final installation of the motors, speed controllers and batteries.
The strips of red LEDs were more than just decoration, they fulfilled the requirement to have a visible indication that the link was in and Tauron's power was on. The all-important link was accessed via a hinged flap on the back.
November 2016: one week to go
Tauron was finished by now, but although earlier versions had been test driven, there simply hadn't been the time to drive the fully loaded version, and Tauron was very close to the weight limit. At this point we hit a snag; the weapon section was too heavy, so occasionally it would get wedged on the floor. If you look at the photo of the completed version here, you can see two of the castors that were supposed to support the drive section (two each on the top and bottom). However, it was clear that they weren't in the right place, and the support needed to be further forward.
This meant yet more welding and re-painting for Tim during the week, and we knew that the single castor fixed on the outside was far more vulnerable than the original design (that had them fixed from the inside), but losing two of the heavy castors gave us the added bonus of bringing us msore safely within the weight limit.
December 2016: The Day before the Drive
This was it. The day before the drive up to Scotland. Tauron was ready. The van was ready. Hopefully we were ready too. But then…
Whilst doing the final tests before loading Tauron into the van, the night before the trip… our weapon motor decided that now was an excellent time to die on us. Oh dear. After trying and failing to get it to work until 4am, we couldn’t get it to work. We were certain that we’d have to pull out of the competition. I send off a few hopeful messages to teams that might be able to help, then went to bed.
The next morning, we thought that that was it. After months of hard work and effort, we were finished. But then my phone lit up – I’d had a message from Gary Cairns (PP3D). Incredibly, he’d managed to source us a new, identical, weapon motor, and even better, the team that had the motor were based in Scotland! So, we drove up to Glasgow with the intention of buying the motor off them in the pits. It turns out that the team that we bought the motor from was Team Phantom – we can’t thank you enough guys, we wouldn’t have made it in the arena if it wasn’t for your motor, hopefully we’ll meet you in the arena in the next series! Sean if you’re reading this, I owe you a drink.