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 Towering Inferno Image Gallery

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Toiling away in the pits [image: iQx2 Behind the Bots 5.0 Screen Show]

It's very important to wear clothes that match your robot, should you become separated! [image: iQx2 Behind the Bots 5.0 Screen Show]

After losing to powerful horizontal spinner Ripkin in the prelims, Towering Inferno looks to be in pretty good shape [image: Team Poison Fists]

But if you look closely, you notice that the titanium yellow arm got so bent that it couldn't rotate anymore [image: Team Poison Fists]


New flames & double the fenders

The only place in a 2-bedroom apartment to store a 220lb robot...

New cart for easier maintenance, transport, & safety, thanks to pit crew boys Nick & Dave
New chain guards & sprocket setup--more speed reduction for this build

Pods are skinnier & can be adjusted to a wide or narrow stance

New custom chain guard from SystiMatic

Laptop computer with Pro/Engineer software from PTC! Preview of version 2 of the bot


360 SpinImage from the event [image: Autolycus & BattleBots]

Hanging out before the event [image: Mr. Tentacle]

If only I & the JuggerBoys could hold him like this, he could be a walking bot! [image: Ray Alderman]

Pete & I setting up for Towering Inferno's first fight [image: Ray Alderman]

Pounding on Nerd Killer while getting shoved around [image: Daniel Longmire & BattleBots]

Set up in the red corner [image: Daniel Longmire & BattleBots]

Getting scooped by Bad Dog while pounding on his top [image: Daniel Longmire & BattleBots]

Hammers a-flyin' with FrenZy [image: Daniel Longmire & BattleBots]


Brooks Institute of Photograpy student Steve Jacob borrowed Towering Inferno for a day-long photo shoot

Far more menacing in Steve's shots than in mine--these are just the quickie polaroids to check the lighting, not the real prints

Without a light in the middle, the lexan's nearly invisible--really highlights the wheel fender contours

Steve also did the shots for the 4/2001 Independent article. Contact me if you are interested in purchasing prints or having Steve take pictures of your work


The finished bot!

The new fenders really enhance the aesthetics of the wheel sections

Thanks to all of my sponsors who helped out on this bot--without them, it would be see-through

The motors are removed here so I could re-mount them more sturdily

Funky kaleidoscope shot of the inside of the bot


Andy Weinberg machined this female wheel mold, so we could pour & mold urethane directly onto it instead of bonding on strips of tread. The mold & parts were sent to Rodney Sewell at Urethane Rubber Inc., who poured the 1/4" tread at his shop

Bottom view of mold. It's laid flat, the spacing is adjusted with 1/4" pins, clamped down, then liquid urethane is poured in & sets up. We've got a great chemical bond and I drilled some connecting holes to add a mechanical interlock--the tread should stick!

The 1st sheet metal cone fender mounted up for fit. 6 will eventually go on, reinforcing the wheels, stiffening the rectangular panels, and deflecting blows

Closeup shot shows slots & welded tubing behind sheet metal, used to mount fender to wheel with nuts & bolts--additional nuts & bolts will hold the fender to the rectangular panel too


Towering Inferno after a feisty, messy demonstration outside of Paradise Machining. Owner Warren Johnson didn't mind adding a bunch of holes to his driveway

It took a couple of crew guys almost all day to clean the bot & the driveway, and I'm still finding little bits of relish here & there...

Unfortunately, I got the best hit on the mayonnaise & not something less gross--ruined my whole outfit on that one shot--we were directly in the line of fire

I was disappointed to find that the pinata had no candy in it and that stuffed animals just squish & bounce back when whacked with hammers


Towering Inferno posing for his cover shot for Design News Magazine [photo: Jason Bardis & Kim Kulish]

Photographer Kim Kulish gets down for the perfect angle on the shot [photo: Jason Bardis & Kim Kulish]

View from floor level [photo: Jason Bardis & Kim Kulish]

We had to rig up a double-wide paper background--nobody told Kim how big the bot was, so he assumed it was the size of a breadbox when he packed his gear & showed up! [photo: Jason Bardis & Kim Kulish]

Some serious lighting equipment [photo: Jason Bardis & Kim Kulish]

Quickie polaroid image from professional camera shows how the lighting will work--way better than my $200 digital camera...[photo: Kim Kulish]

Then we did shots of me running scared. From what? You'll see. Here's a hint of what the cover will look like [photo: Kim Kulish]

The final magazine cover!


Towering Inferno during his first assembly--wow, he's big!

Takes up most of a project table in the UCSB Mechanical Engineering machine shop

I painted the hammers different colors so I could distinguish right from left while driving

The wheel sections will be reinforced by sheet metal cone sections

Seen from end on, it's a triangle in a circle, plus a couple of enormous hammers

Hammerheads are easily removed for swapping if necessary

The business end of the former bricklayer hammer

Closeup of drive sprocket, shoulder assembly, and clamp to attach arm to shoulder

Shoulder with clamp removed, showing 10 boltholes--that oughtta keep the arm in place

The triangle really doesn't extend beyond the circle--this is just a funny perspective

Wheel sections with serious lightening holes are bolted to polycarbonate rectangular panels

A dozen prism-shaped clamps hold the big prism panels together

Both prism pods rotate independently on the main tube shaft

Initial polyurethane tread bonded and screwed on, courtesy of sponsor Urethane Rubber Systems in Santa Ana--nice guys!

All electronics (battery, radio, speed control, motor) are shock-mounted to outer triangle panels and spaced around to (mostly) balance the wheel

The triangle panels of the prisms rotate on hefty bearings that we machined down to save a few pounds--I wish the flanges were red instead of blue...


Bracket part, fresh from Bell-Everman, ready for assembly

Red anodization gives it that patented Inferno look!

One of Bell-Everman's CNC mills, caked with aluminum chips from making Towering Inferno's wheel sections

Near-finished part--next step is removing, doing rough bandsaw cut of arc, then re-milling arc completely

These are already bandsawed & awaiting the final finishing pass on the arc portion

Next steps: anodizing, then bonding on a polyurethane coating for traction

The whacking hammers: bricklayer hammerheads on chromoly rectangular tubing arms, reinforced with tool steel inserts

Lots of grinding & power sanding turned the blunt claw nice & pointy

The panels that will bolt onto the "shoulders" to clamp the arms to the bot. They'll look even nicer once they're anodized red...

Countersunk on both sides for weight savings & for reversability, should they get tweaked

I put the large sprockets on a diet

Some aluminum braces to provide an internal truss-style structure to the prism sections (I never used these--the structure was already hella strong & stiff as it was)

Planned it out on PAD (paper-aided design) with some scissors & tape before cutting the aluminum angles

Closeup of how I snipped the aluminum & then bent & had it welded to get the right shape

Initial test piece of the sheet metal cone section to attach to the wheels, courtesy of new sponsor Begneaud Manufacturing. The final ones will have more bends & be smoother. Alan Breaux did the drafting after I described the parts I wanted [photo: Russ Green]

The real sheet metal cone pieces, fresh off of the laser cutter at Begneaud, ready for bending and then welding short tube segments on for bolt mounts. Brent "Bubba" Reinhardt did the laser posting & cutting [photo: Russ Green]

One of the final pieces right after bending, ready for tubes to be welded on by Don Monac [photo: Russ Green]

Depending on the chosen configuration (and weight constraints), Towering Inferno will run with 6 or 12 cone segments. Thanks to Don Begneaud for letting Russ Greene mastermind this project at his shop! [photo: Russ Green]


Working on Towering Inferno in Pro/Engineer Computer Aided Design software

Hey, I learned how to do some basic rendering in Pro/Engineer!

All of the major components except the hammerheads are now added

Comparison of wheel segment locations: centered or near ends of bot, with different sheet metal cone configurations

The final bot will of course have cone sheet metal sections on all parts of the wheels

2 pods: hidden lines view

2 pods: dimmed hidden lines view

2 pods: hidden lines removed from view

2 pods: simple rendering

Another view of the pair of pods

Note the sheet metal cone sections added to 1 wheel section

Hidden line view of assembly of 1 pod

Shaded view of pod

Bracket part--12 of these hold the pods' panels together

Early version of the wheel section--3 of these turn each of the structurally strong triangular prisms into circles

Motor mount concept that I never ended up needing



LEGO prototype model, to see how Towering Inferno handles

Requires fancy wheels from the old 8880 Super Car (motor axles pass through the wheels to drive the arms beyond)

Motor wires get tangled up after about 3 seconds of driving, but that's long enough to get the idea, sort of...

It's ultra-funky to watch the model in action--very manic!
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