PROJECT 9: Testing

You're in the home stretch. This is the last project. Here, you will clean up loose ends such as adding strain relief and managing the antenna. Next, you'll tune the radio and perform your first test run. If all goes well, then you'll finish up the top armor, and tidy up the last few details before going into hardcore survival testing.

Caution: Eye protection is required for all cutting, drilling, and grinding operations in this project. Caution: Review all of the general power- tool safety protocols described in Chapter 5 of Kickin' Bot (Cutting Metal), as well as the sections that correspond to the specific tools used below.

Part 4: Final Touches

This is the last part of the process. You'll be taking care of the little details that could easily kill you in the arena. High impact forces can case connectors to pop right out. You'll be taking care of all those next, as well as insulating any remaining exposed electrical terminals, and checking your chain tension.

click on an image to enlarge it

  Grind a little line using a Dremel tool with a cutoff wheel (full face protection, please) in the socket-head cap screw on the master power switch to help you keep track of the actual position of the switch.
  Apply hot melt glue on connectors that can pop out, such as the PWM signal driver leads (at both the receiver and speed control sides), as well as on all of the other servo leads going into the receiver. You don't need to smother the connectors in glue. Just apply a dab to the connection point to give them a little extra resistance to being tugged out.
  Apply the number tape mentioned in Project 7 to the PWM leads on both the receiver side and the speed control side. Pull off the masking tape after you've applied the numbers, so you don't get confused.
  Stretch some electrical tape over the unused receiver channels. The exposed pins carry power and can short out, causing damage to the receiver.
  Apply liquid electrical tape to all of the exposed electrical (screw) terminals on both speed controls.
  Make sure that the chains are still tensioned properly. They will stretch over time, and you may have to add more spacers under the tensioner blocks.

Make sure the receiver battery stays plugged in by putting a piece of electrical tape around the plug and receptacle so that half of the tape is on the plug and half is on the receptacle, as shown in Figure 17.10. Also make sure that the main battery power stays connected by slipping an 8-inch long cable tie through both of the roll pin holes and tightening it down (also shown in Figure 17.10). These procedures should be repeated every time you change batteries and are listed in the sample preflight checklist in Chapter 20.

Put the top cover on, insert all the screws, and tighten them down.

Congratulations. You're done with building. Now test this robot until it breaks, as shown in Figure 17.11. Keep breaking it and fixing it until it doesn't break anymore. If it can survive this kind of abuse, it's going to take one tough robot to kill it in the arena. Now you have all the skills you need to build your own combat robot. Good luck!