abandon all hope ye robots who enter


 News: 2000 Archive

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2000 Highlights:

  • Slugger on BattleBots pay-per-view show
  • Missing Link does 2 episodes of Grownups prime-time UPN sitcom
  • Wheel guide, galleries, & InfernoTV pages appear
  • Overpowered Box gets 2nd place in middleweights & heavyweight Missing Link ties for 3rd in points at BotBash 2000
  • Robot-fighting music mixes made for BotBash & BattleBots
  • Mising Link & Dr. Inferno Jr. fight at BattleBots San Francisco and appear on Comedy Central show
  • New LEGO sparking machine: Sparky
  • Dr. Inferno Jr. fights at Vegas BattleBots
  • New web host

12.11.2000: New in InfernoTV is a short snippet from the Tonight Show, where Jay Leno came out to BattleBots with his robot Chin-Killa, did a couple of demo fights, and did some interviews & comedy. The nice long segment had a 1/2-second snippet of me furiously twiddling my radio controller, trying to drive Dr. Inferno Jr.

The new BattleBots season 2 episodes on Comedy Central start tomorrow. The commercials look very enticing (they got some cool footage of my radio controller in one of them), and those who have seen the first couple of episodes already say it's a riot. It's on at a new day & time. Watch for it on Tuesdays from 10:00PM-10:30PM, but tomorrow night is a special 1.5 hour show from 9:30PM-11:00PM, all with new footage from Vegas! Go one click deeper into Comedy Central's BattleBots site & you'll see some cool behind-the-scenes video and pictures from the pits, including some shots of the Infernolab t-shirts! [click here to buy shirts]

The Daily Nexus, UCSB's student paper, always runs a photo issue at the end of the quarter. They printed about 32 pictures (and lots of ads) to sum up the quarter's highlights, and in there was one of Jason Shock's cool pictures of me & the doctor. I can still hear him saying, "Look devious. Come on, give me your devious face. More devious!"


11.21.2000: What a blast. We just returned from Las Vegas after 4 solid days of robot mayhem at BattleBots. Pictures will follow soon. I signed a non-disclosure agreement that forbids me from giving specific info on the fights, so just sit tight & keep watching the show on Comedy Central. Speaking of which, there are 2 more episodes of the current San Francisco series (11/22 & 11/29), then a recap of SF/preview of Vegas show (12/6), then they launch right into the new Vegas series (12/12). Note that they're moving the show from Wednesdays at 10:30PM to Tuesdays at 10PM. If you've missed any shows, tune in from 2PM to 8PM this Saturday the 25th & watch a 12-show marathon!

Anyway, as usual, the pits were a pleasant place with lots of teamwork & helping & sharing & all of those warm fuzzies. Actually, they were cold fuzzies--Vegas was experiencing record cold temperature. I brought a space heater & a vibrating back massager to keep me happy. Competitors got to watch nicely-edited footage on closed-circuit TVs in the pits & the camera crews got some good color commentary from us as we watched the fights & gave blow-by-blow narration.

Thanks to the help & support I got from Mike, Lauren, Curtis & Maureen, Elaine & Dennis, and everybody else.

The Daily Nexus, UCSB's student paper, printed a big article on me & my bots on Friday the 17th. This newsworthy story snagged 2/3 of the front page & 1/2 of another page, bumping presidential election coverage to page 2. I think this is the biggest single article I've seen in the Nexus in the 6+ years I've been here. They also used it to kick off the launch of their on-line version of the paper.

Finally, since this news page is getting unwieldy & super big, I'm going to start archiving old news updates. Here's the 1999 News page.


11.09.2000: New t-shirts! Just picked up a big fat pile of new Infernolab t-shirts and they look snazzy. Same Infernolab artwork as before, but new sponsor artwork & a new orange www.infernolab.com URL on the sleeve, so when somebody asks you "Hey! Where'd you get that cool shirt?" you can just point to the sleeve. Thanks much to the Clutter Doc for hooking me up with the shirts--look her up if you've got a big organizing, remodeling, or moving project.

Dr. Inferno's locked & loaded & ready to put up a fight in Vegas. We leave in 1 week. Thanks to my returning pit crew babe Lauren & to my new crew member, Mike, the lifter of heavy things and cutter-upper of stickers.


11.01.2000: The Infernolab is now a power affiliate with Online Metals, a retailer of metals you can use for building your bots. Check them out next time you're buying some stock. You can order items right here through the Infernolab. Just click and you're on your way.

Only 2 weeks to go till BattleBots in Vegas. Dr. Inferno Jr. just needs 1 more part, a little fine-tuning, some stickers, and then he's all set to romp on the other 58lb bots.

Oh, and I got a couple of new pictures of Missing Link fighting Chiabot at BattleBots in San Francisco, the 1st fight of the whole event.


10.25.2000: Today's big news is the final & complete transfer of the Infernolab web pages from the old engineering server at UCSB to the service of one of my new sponsors, Adgrafix.com. Please let me know if I've goofed up any links or messed anything up in the transfer.

And please update any of your bookmarks or links that pointed to the old site.


10.19.2000: The big news of this week is that the Infernolab has a new sponsor, Magnetic Moments. Started by my old robotics professor, Brad Paden, Magnetic Moments makes some sweet electromagnetic bearings, a part for an artificial heart, and some other goodies. Also employed there are Randy, who was working on a heavyweight for Robot Wars 97, and Tom, who did the awesome paintbrush job on Bot Will Eat Itself way back when.

Upgrades to Dr. Inferno Jr. are coming along nicely. I've got a whole new replacement set of drive motors/gearboxes ready to install, & I've almost finished the adapters to run the big SystiMatic saws on his right arm. That just leaves 2 replacement "shoulder' parts that clamp his arms to his torso. Those used to be made of plexiglass, but they cracked & he was in danger of being disarmed, so I'm upping them to Aluminum.

The doctor has a 2-second appearance on Comedy Central's BattleBots show this week, in a recap of Alpha Raptor's fights on his way to his 2nd place finish. They showed a nice show of both Dr. Inferno Jr. & Alpha Raptor getting launched from the killsaws in the floor.


10.14.2000: Well, the show on Comedy Central is a big hit. I've been getting lots of e-mails, phone calls, & comments from friends & acquaintances. Congratulations to the BattleBots crew for their dedication.

Another aspect that's been taking off in the Infernolab is sponsorship. Many companies are teaming up with the Infernolab help me crank out bigger & better bots. Many thanks to Adgrafix.com for their funding & web hosting (in the process of switching over to them), Bell-Everman for consulting & working on Armed Forces parts for me, and SystiMatic for supplying Dr. Inferno Jr. with some super-nasty circular saw blades.

Also, I've decided on a name for my upcoming 12lb BotBash 2001 entry: Temper Tantrum. No page is set up yet, but here are some preview pics. The drive motors and axles were donated by Christian from Coolrobots. Of course, I use the term "donated" rather loosely--he suckered me into helping him move & I'm storing some of his old bot parts for an indefinite period of time...

I've got 2 more sponsorship deals in the works & will share more as soon as we get everything finalized. For more information on sponsoring the Infernolab, click on that little sponsor button above.

I've got 3 more InfernoTV videos: a newscast clip about BotBash 99, an old stop-motion LEGO Ministry music video, and the 1st Missing Link demo at a BBQ at UCSB. Thanks again to RobotCombat.com for hosting those huge video files (160MB of movies so far!). He's offering web hosting service for anybody interested--check it out.


09.29.2000: Just a quick note to let everybody know that BattleBots has announced their next event and ticket information. The entire event will be in Las Vegas from Thurs Nov 16 to Sun Nov 19. The public portions of the event will be on Sat & Sun afternoons & evenings. Here's all the event information and how to buy tickets. Now that it's a popular show on Comedy Central, the event might sell out quickly, so don't procrastinate too long on buying tickets!

Dr. Inferno Jr. will be returning, with some mild upgrades: replaced drivetrain motors & gearboxes, newer beefy wheels, strengthened weapon arm mounting, new batteries, and an improved weapon mount inside his reciprocating saw arm.

I've got some serious sponsorship deals in the works--the new Infernolab t-shirts are going to have many a corporate logo on them this time around. I'll have the shirts in a month or so, in time for the event. These sponsorship deals are also going toward Armed Forces, which should be ready to roll for the next event after Vegas. More details soon.


09.13.2000: Phil Putman sent me a video of Air Burial, his catapult robot. He teamed up with me & Dr. Inferno for the Hot Air multibot lightweight entry at BattleBots in Long Beach last year. See how far Air Burial can throw a cinder block!


09.11.2000: Another teeny weeny update. Just a few more videos to InfernoTV, really.

I've got a demo of the Coolrobots bot Slugger, a few more captures of the Grownups episodes with Missing Link, and a little fun documentary on LEGO Mindstorms RoboGladiators covering Coolrobots' Dreadnaught & the Infernolab's 2A, bringing the grand total up to 116MB of movies so far, with more on the way--if you're looking for a file server of big robot-related media files like the Infernolab's, check out RobotCombat.com.

Oh, and I sat down with some biiiiig paper & started laying out the components & body shell for Armed Forces.

Oh, almost forgot. My buddy Amber & I put together a few neat things for her underwater-themed camp at Burning Man (she was dressed up as a mermaid). We made an electroluminscent jellyfish and an electroluminescent wig. Wish I could've made it to Burning Man this year--last year was a hoot.

Last but not least, the on-line magazine Woof wrote an article on BattleBots and some of its builders, including a little press for Dr. Inferno.


09.07.2000: OK, teeny weeny update today. How much can happen in 1 day?

Unsatisfied with the InfernoTV layout, I've already revamped it to be a lot easier to navigate. I have also moved all of my files to the RobotCombat.com file server--huge thanks to Jim for not only doing some of the video captures but hosting 74MB(!) of movie clips. This added space has allowed me to put a handful more files up already. Look for more bot videos to come in the near future!

I've also added update dates on the <alt> tags on the Infernolab home page, so you can tell right away which sections have been updated. Just hold your mouse over a scribbly word for a moment & it'll pop up.

I also cleaned up lots of crusty old HTML code & slimmed down the web pages so they should load a tad faster. Just because I care...


09.02.2000: So many new things in the Infernolab that I wanted to get them all squared away before the big update:

If you caught the 1st episode of Comedy Central's BattleBots that aired on Aug 30 & repeated on Sep 2, you would've seen Missing Link put up a valiant fight against last year's champ, Ziggo. The meathead announcers mistook Missing Link's last-minute carbon fiber/honeycomb ballistic sandwich panels for blocks of wood...guess that's what happens when an NFL quarterback & a comedian discuss robots. The fight itself was great--Missing Link, even with 1 wheel gone, would not give up & kept at it until both wheels were gone, leaving him beached atop an arena killsaw, which terminated the fight in a huge shower of white titanium sparks. If you watch the commercials carefully, you can catch that shot. You can follow the championship standings on Comedy Central's site. Keep watching--the lightweight rumble should be aired in a few weeks, so we should see some of Dr. Inferno Jr. and some more of Missing Link.

Comedy Central is promoting the show in full force. Not only are they airing commercials round the clock, but they've been contacting the local media to encourage news stories on competitors before they appear on the show. The Santa Barbara News Press and the Santa Barbara Independent both ran stories about me & my bots & the TV show. Here is the short Independent article and here's the News Press article. Check out the media page for more Infernolab appearances, including this short blurb in the 8/26/00 TV Guide.

At long last, I have opened up the InfernoTV page, featuring video clips of Infernolab projects. So far, I've got the KCAL9 news story from 2/29/00, clips of all of the Missing Link appearances on the Grownups TV show (the 2nd Missing Link episode will be repeated this Tuesday night, 9/12/00, at 8:30 on UPN), and the old Dr. Inferno vs. Gigan epic driveway bout.

Other news to the Infernolab is that a totally cool local robotics company, Bell-Everman, got in touch with me after reading the article in the News Press. Owner/designer Mike Everman has put together some amazing mechanisms and machines, both at his current company and at his former job at AEC-Able, a local aerospace company where he used to work. He and his employees are quite taken with BattleBots and are gung-ho on making several parts for me and supplying me with parts & materials. With their help, Armed Forces will finally be coming together, though surely not in time for the November BattleBots event. Look for more info soon.

A few more minor updates and upgrades here and there: some new pics of Dr. Inferno Jr. at BattleBots San Francisco & a few pics of Missing Link at BattleBots San Francisco (thanks to my brother Byron), and the new Composites gallery where I've put up a few more pictures of some of the composite work I've done for my bots over the years. Of note are the Pyrex casserole-mold carbon fiber parts that will fasten together clamshell-style to be the body/armor of my upcoming 12lb for BotBash 2001. I have all the parts necessary to put the bot together--I've decided to give myself a challenge and try to put the bot together exclusively by adhesively bonded joints. No nuts & bolts...well, very few. Because I've been learning a great deal about adhesive bonding in aerospace applications for my research, I've decided to try to put this knowledge to use--it'll also help save weight on such a tiny bot & it'll look majorly cool without all sorts of bolt heads sticking out of it.

Phew! I think that's it for now! Stay tuned--much more is on the horizon.


08.15.2000: A few new BattleBots announcements. The "Prelude to War" intro episode will be on Comedy Central eight times during its premiere week, so you have no excuse for missing it! You can catch it at: 8/23 Wed 10:30PM, 8/25 Fri 8PM, 8/26 Sat 10AM, 8/26 Sat 5PM, 8/26 Sat 11PM, 8/27 Sun 11:30AM, 8/28 Mon 1AM, 8/30, or Wed 3:30PM. From then on out, the show will be just on Weds at 10:30PM & repeated Sats at 5PM & 11PM.

Good news is that Missing Link made it into the show in his ugly fight vs. Ziggo. Comedy Central told me that it will be in the first "real" episode, on Aug 30, repeated on Sep 2. I was fortunate to see a rough edit of the show, and it looks really really slick! They did a great job with it. I'd love to say more, but I'm not sure if BattleBots wants any details leaked. How did I get to see this advance show, you ask? Read on...

Comedy Central seems to be trying hard to promote the BattleBots show--they've been showing lots of commercials, they put it in the time slot right after South Park, and they helped me get hooked up with our two local papers, the Santa Barbara News Press and the Santa Barbara Independent, both of which interviewed me & will be running stories with pictures. Locals can read all about it in the 8/27 News Press & the 8/24 Independent.

On the robot front, I've ordered replacement motors & gearboxes for Dr. Inferno Jr. I re-assembled him for the newspaper last night, and he's looking pretty good. A few tweaks are needed here & there, but he'll be ready & robust in plenty of time for the next BattleBots event, which is scheduled for November 17-19 in Las Vegas, which will be used for a 2nd 13-show series on Comedy Central.

I've also made and cleaned up 2 slick carbon fiber molded pieces for the new 12lb bot for the next BotBash (not yet announced). Good buddy Christian at Coolrobots gave me a handful of motors/mounts/axles that will be used for this bot--I'll be really stressing these motors, so it'll pay off to have spares. I'm too short on cash to continue Armed Forces at the moment, but I'll be able to put together this tiny bot with parts I already have leftover from other projects, so it's sort of a freebie. Hmmm, if only I had some additional generous sponsors, I could continue work on my heavyweight 200lb bot. Hmmm... Anyway, pictures of the little bot are on the way soon (gotta think of a name first).


08.01.2000: New to the Infernolab is Sparky. Not a robot. Perhaps an addition to a future bot. Sparky is a 108V LEGO contraption. Essentially, it's a way to defeat LEGO's built-in safety mechanisms on their electric products & line up 72 AA batteries in a row then touch their ends together. Why? (a) potential future LEGO RoboGladiator weapon, (b) wanted to see what would happen, (c) gotta do something with all these LEGO pieces, (d) easier than building a Tesla coil, (e) just because.

On a more constructive note, I'm in the midst of a new 12lb bot for BotBash. I've done some overvoltage research and testing on the drive motors from Dr. Inferno, and the whole drivetrain seems to be up to the task, with just a tiny upgrade to the wheel mounts. Also, I've been figuring out how to make some molded composite parts. Up to now, all of the nifty composite materials I've used on bots have been boring flat panels. It's time to get into fancier 3-D shapes and contours. I'm starting off a little easy, making a part that already has a nice tool (mold) ready: a Pyrex cooking pan (in which I used to make my Super Lemon Chicken dinners). Our lab got ahold of some fancy graphite/epoxy weave intended for use in mold applications like this--it's really easy to shape around a 3-D object. Two of these pan-shaped parts, trimmed & assembled in a clamshell configuration, should make for a lightweight, stiff, and fancy chassis for a 12lb bot. I'll be curing the 1st piece tomorrow--if all goes well, it'll be pretty easy to whip out several more. One of the neat things about laying up your own composite parts is that you choose how many plies (layers) of the material to use, and you can reinforce certain parts with extra plies (at stress concentrations, for localized armor, where bolts are to be attached, etc.). Name is undetermined, but, in keeping with this year's simple & powerful entry, Overpowered Box, I think it'll be an Overpowered something or other. It'll be fun to see how much damage can be done with so little mass. Plus, somebody's gotta do something about all these off-the-shelf R/C trucks that keep winning this weight class!


07.17.2000: Infernolab's 1 year anniversary (scroll to bottom for inaugural news blurb)! Thanks for all the visitors & helpers over the year. I hope this will be the 1st of many many years of Infernolab combat robots.

I'm already well underway in upgrading & fortifying Dr. Inferno Jr. I've replaced his soft (yet grippy) foam wheels with beefier Colson casters. That went smoothly & they look great. I've also fixed up his reciprocating saw weapon. It just required a re-machined adapter to allow me to screw in his various weapons instead of attaching the intended teeny saw blade.

I'm in the process of getting lots of video clips captured to Quicktime files, getting them optimized for fast web downloads, and securing web server space to hold them. I've got a couple of them tentatively done, but I want to make sure everything's all set before releasing them. I'll probably have a dedicated video page, InfernoTV, to house them.

I've sent off some technical drawings to get the structural brackets for Armed Forces CNCed. Can't wait to get them back. Then the bot will start to take shape. I've decided to simplify it a little and outfit the arms with big pointy hammers instead of gas-powered chop saws--it'll be easier, cheaper, faster, and likely more effective. I might rename this bot Temper Tantrum--I have a feeling it'll look like a kid having a fit on the floor when it's in action. We'll see.

In the meantime, I put up a few more pre-BattleBots 2000 pics of the finished bots in my back yard, ready to pack up for the trip:



06.22.2000: Well, BattleBots 2000 in San Francisco is over. It was a great show & should make for a really fun series this fall on Comedy Central. We've been asked to not reveal the outcome of the fights or, especially, the winners. I'll just say a few vague things: I'm pretty happy with Dr. Inferno Jr. and Missing Link's performances ,there were some awesome fights, the upgraded arena weapons really mixed things up, and I've retired Missing Link. Yah, it's time to concentrate on bigger bots instead of keeping that guy chugging away. Oh, and Dr. Inferno Jr.'s drivetrain did great--he shredded some of his grippy foam tires, so I've already picked up some beefier Colson caster wheels, and I'll probably upgrade his cheap Chicago Electric power drill drive motors to beefier DeWalt ones.

Although Comedy Central had their own music to play during fights, which will probably end up on the TV show, they did manage to play my robot music CDs during the breaks and such. It's all about rights to broadcast copyrighted music and such.

Oh, since it was printed in the San Francisco Examiner, I guess it doesn't hurt to tell you that the very first match of the whole event was Missing Link vs. Chiabot (yes, a bush on wheels, more or less). Naturally, I bolted on the chainsaw for some shrubbery pruning. Thank god I beat the bush--never would've lived that one down...The Ziggo vs. Missing Link fight was also pretty spectacular and made the Sunday morning news on Ch. 7 (ABC?) in San Francisco.

Thanks to my great pit crew, supporters, and sponsors. You all really really helped.

KMart's overnight film processing has had my APS film for a week so far, so you can check out only a smattering of pictures from my digital camera, as well as a couple of shots of a bonding jig I designed & built for my research:



05.30.2000: I've been mega-busy working on Dr. Inferno Jr. to get him ready for BattleBots San Francisco 2000, a mere 2 weeks away. I'm in the home stretch. If you want to see BattleBots at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, hurry up and buy tickets soon. It's bound to sell out, especially considering that Comedy Central is going to be filming there & turning it into a series for this fall!

I did manage to get some other pics & videos up, during some time when I didn't have access to the machine shop:

That's it for now--except I'm about to get some parts machined for Armed Forces. It's time to start building BIG robots...


05.08.2000: Well, I leave tonight for LA, then get up early on Friday & drive to Mesa, AZ for BotBash 2000. I'm bringing Missing Link to fight in the heavyweight class, Tesseract for the open demo sessions, and, unfortunately, I did not finish Dr. Inferno Jr. in time to fight in the heavyweight class. I did, however, finish up his drivetrain, and it happened to weigh in at an even 30lb, which just happens to be the cutoff weight for BotBash's middleweight class. So, I've dubbed it Overpowered Box and will be entering it as a middleweight. I'm very happy with the way the drivetrain turned out--it's the strongest 30lb robot I've yet seen. I rode it around in my kitchen--it's fun! It has a little troubling turning with my 160lb on top, but it still zips forward and backward without complaining. It's just a simple aluminum and carbon fiber box, with hinged plates on the front & back (much like the original Dr. Inferno's skirts), and 4 power drill motors driving 4 wheels at 24V. I took some rough pics, but I want to clean them up before I put them in the Dr. Inferno Jr. gallery--I'll probably get to it next week. I think it will do well and, at the least, this event will be a testing ground for the platform begore I finish it up for BattleBots, which was just announced to be on June 9-11 in San Francisco.

I finished putting together the huge list of bands & songs that are on the BotBash 2000 soundtrack, "Music to Bash By", that I put together for the event. Check out these bands--it's all great electronic hard-hitting music to listen to while building or fighting your bots (or just dreaming about it...). Hope you enjoy it--I welcome any feedback on it.

Finally, a quick thanks to Matt Wilhelm for helping me print up the huge 6'x2' Infernolab banner, to Lauren Herold for getting the banner laminated and grommeted & helping me out at BotBash, and to Mike Wrobleski for cutting out all those little Infernolab stickers & sponsor ads to stick on my bots.


04.18.2000: Big new sponsor on board! Worldmachine Technologies, a leading web engineering and application integration company in Boston, donated big bucks to the Infernolab. These funds will go toward the cost of construction for Dr. Inferno Jr. & Armed Forces, the maintenance of Missing Link, and the costs of attending BotBash and BattleBots in 2000. Big thanks, guys!

Work on Dr. Inferno Jr. has been coming along--I've been spending most of my evenings in the UCSB machine shop lately. His drivetrain is reeeeeally close to being done, so now I'm starting on the weapons & plastic robot shell. If I don't finish him up in time for BotBash, at least I can enter his chassis in the 28lb middleweight class & beat on the light robots. I'll call it Overpowered Box, since it's meant to carry 60lb worth of robot but will be carrying only half that--it should really haul. I've got a few pics of the work in progress, but I want to concentrate my efforts on building right now, not documenting.

In robot-related news, I finished putting together the soundtrack to BotBash 2000. Event organizer Bob Pitzer asked me to draw upon my old DJing days (I used to be big into the gothic/industrial/techno scene) and put together some good hard-hitting electronic robot fighting music. I call the 6 CD set "Music to Bash By". If you make it to BotBash, please let me know if you dig the music. Hmm, I suppose the CDs would also make for good, agressive robot-building music...

I'd love to make copies & sell them at cost, but I'd have to check into the legalities of the copyrighted music, and burning CDs is mighty mighty time-consuming with my old 2X CD-R drive. At the very least, I'll put up playlists, probably with links to the bands' sites or to on-line music retailers so you can give them a listen.


03.28.2000: The promised gallery page is now up. I've finished a massive effort of scanning, copying, and organizing pics from most of the Infernolab projects over the years. I've tried to give credit on all photos from others, but I'm sure I missed a few. Please e-mail me if you find an uncredited picture up here.

Check out the following:


03.19.2000: Well, in the last update, I promised "Lots more web updates on the way in the very near future" and I wasn't lying. I've got 2 big updates & 3 little ones:

We're still ironing out the details, but my first major sponsor has jumped on board. Worldmachine Technologies, a Boston web engineering and application integration company, has signed on with some fat financial support. These funds will go toward finishing up Dr. Inferno Jr. (who's a pretty cheap project to start with anyway) and toward parts for Armed Forces. Hey, their company logo is even a big globe in a gear. How convenient will that be to incorporate with the Infernolab flaming gear logo!? I used to work with president and founder Eric Hansen way back when we worked for PTCG, designing and selling decision support software for the transportation industry (that is, our software told the trucking companies the best way to route their trucks).

The other big news of the weekend is that I finished the robot wheel comparison guide. In the search for the best wheels for Dr. Inferno Jr., I amassed a huge load of wheels and compared and contrasted their features and costs. I hope you find it to be a useful reference when picking up wheels for your robot projects.

Last but not least, I've got a few pics of me up on the Dante page. The pics are extras from the Infernolab t-shirt photo shoot that weren't up to snuff in my quest to motivate you to buy my shirts.

I also added a few more pictures to the new Missing Link gallery. I've got lots of pics ready for about 8 more galleries, but they're not quite ready yet.

Speaking of new pics, there are a few on the Dr. Inferno Jr. page, showing its progress. Lots more pics soon.


03.17.2000: Lots of new things in the Infernolab. Lots more web updates on the way in the very near future, too.

The biggest news is the opening of the Infernolab shop. Get yer red hot Infernolab shirts for only $15 shipped. What an amazing deal.

Speaking of renting, the UPN sitcom Grown-Ups asked me back for a second episode. They wanted the Missing Link back to show his thespian skills in another show. The 2nd show should air sometime in May. The 1st episode with the Missing Link will air on the evening of 03.20.2000. Don't miss it.

Which brings me to the Missing Link gallery. I'm putting together thorough picture galleries for most of my projects. Missing Link's is done, others are on the way. There are lots of shots of Missing Link's "costume" for the Grown-Ups show.

Also in the gallery are some pictures of a live TV appearance that Christian Carlberg and I made on the KCAL9 10 o'clock news last month. They put together a pre-edited segment with some interviews and footage of us working on our bots, then we had a live robot fight in the studio parking lot.

Work on Dr. Inferno Jr. is progressing. I made 4 motor mounts for his drivetrain, and I ordered a couple dozen wheels from McMaster-Carr & Tower Hobbies to find the perfect wheel for him. I'm going to turn the wheel hunt into a robot wheel selection guide very soon.


02.06.2000: As mentioned in the last report, work on Dr. Inferno Jr. is now in full swing. I've put up the first set of pictures of his components. More will be on the way soon. I pretty much have all of the main parts gathered--it's just a matter of making them all fit and fasten together. The doctor will be competing at BotBash in May 2000 and at the next BattleBots, wherever that may be.

I also added a quick & dirty sketch to the Armed Forces page to show what the finished robot will look like. Still amassing parts for it--any sponsorship will help speed it along!


01.31.2000: It looks as if BattleBots is becoming even more mainstream. I got a call this past week from a production assistant of a relatively new UPN sitcom called Grown-Ups. It's on Mondays at 9PM starring Jaleel White, the guy who used to play Urkel on Family Matters. Their writers wrote in a scene for a 24-yr-old whiz kid computer game company owner to chase one of his employees with his BattleBot after he finds out this employee is sleeping with his mom. It was a last-minute script change, probably prompted by a writer who saw the BattleBots Pay-Per-View commercials & researched it on the web.

So, I packed up the Missing Link & headed to the Sony studios in Culver City (recognizable by the Gone With the Wind mansion out front). The rehearsals on Thursday went well, so they wrote in another bit for Missing Link to chase around the company's brown-noser suck-up. I left the bot and most of my tools at the studios and came back the next day to find, to my horror, that they'd made my robot "cute." It now had bicycle light eyes with huge eyelashes, a blinky red "mouth" light, tassel streamer "ears", beige "fur" wrapped around the body, a circuit board stuck on the back, and a few biker/bondage studded bracelets here and there. It looked like a robot in drag or a poor puppy dog dressed up in awkward clothes. Ugh. Oh well, I still got to live out the American dream of chasing Urkel around with a chainsaw! The show should air in early March, and the "before and after" Missing Link pics are on the way.

The BotBash 99 video is available! For only $17.50 (incl. shipping), you get a fine 25-minute video featuring action in the pits, autonomous maze-navigating bots, the sumo shoving matches, and the all-out combat to the death (the best part!). Dr. Inferno and Missing Link competed in this event, both taking 3rd place in their weight classes. See how they pulled it off! This is a great deal--there aren't many other robot competition videos out there for purchase (if any), so it's a no-brainer. Go to the official Bot Bash site or send e-mail to Bob Pitzer now!

I've got a pile of 6 cordless power tools and a fresh TOMY Omnibot shell ready to slap together to create Dr. Inferno Jr. He will be a 50lb robot with tons more power than the original Dr. Inferno and scarier weapons. 5 of the 6 power tools (4 18V drills & 1 18V circular saw) were from Harbor Freight, a great big warehouse of discount tools. When you buy power tools knowing you're going to hack them up immediately, it's much more pleasant to buy the cheap imports instead of nice ones. The 6th one is a 12V Craftsman reciprocating saw that I've already beefed up to 14.4V.

Last, but certainly not least, the BattleBots Pay-Per-View aired this past weekend across the country. It was a great 2-hour show following the heavyweight & super-heavyweight robots we all brought to the Las Vegas BattleBots event in November 1999. I hope you had a chance to see it--it was a very slick production overall. Due to a goof somewhere along the line, I got credited as co-captain of Christian's Minion robot, while it should've been Brian Roe who got the limelight on that one.


01.06.2000: Slugger put up a decent fight at BattleBots Vegas on Nov 14. Christian and I had trouble with Slugger's chains breaking (even though they never broke during the several practice parking lot test runs...). If the BattleBots guys gave a prize for biggest tires on a robot, Slugger would have won hands-down.

You can catch all the BattleBots action on Pay-Per-View on January 29, 30, or 31, 2000. If you watch the video commercial on the Pay-Per-View web site, you can catch a quarter-second glimpse of me driving Slugger. Don't blink!

Work on Armed Forces is coming along slowly but surely. I snagged a great deal on a bunch of batteries and chargers on eBay's industrial equipment auction page, and I'm working with a Canadian machining company to CNC all of Armed Forces' brackets that will hold the body together. I had a good amount of money saved up for robot parts, then my car's transmission and clutch broke down, so funds are tight for robot parts--I was hoping my car would last long enough for me to trade it in on a new PT Cruiser when they come out this spring, but no such luck. Wouldn't it be awesome to haul around my big killer robots in this modern-yet-retro 30s-style delivery van? It even comes in a color called Inferno Red--how cool is that? So, due to the rapid draining of my bank account, sponsors are still needed. Hopefully, this Pay-Per-View event will demonstrate how robot combat can reach a large audience and companies can benefit from sponsoring contestants.

2001: archived 2001 News page

1999: archived 1999 News page

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