Monday, 27 November 2017

Hobgoblin II

Hey, remember this?

No, I barely do either, but how about this.

Yeah I made that. Somehow.

Yes a few months later,  not much wise and certainly not richer it was Robot War-ing time again. I have annihilated most of the memories of the rebuild/revamp of Hobgoblin for whatever reason (such is the way with robo-trauma) But I have enough pictures than I can probably drag out a rough timeline out for those interested. All 3 of you. Two of which are blood relatives.

So this is where Gob has existed in hibernation for the months since S2. On the floor. Used as a shelf. I expect a letter from some Abused Robotics Foundation soon.

Anyway, the thing about gob in its current state is that it has no real damage (bonus of lasting less than 5 seconds) and since I tweaked it, it functions! However functional it may be it still kinda just sucks.  The drive was feeling anaemic and clunky. I left the last post on my first set of higher voltage testing. I concluded after some monkeying about that this was defiantly the best option. and set about overhauling the electrical system.

The drive was going from a single ESC to two, allowing a greater current handling ability and  therefore less "why does my robot not move" syndrome - a terrible affliction. In addition to this the voltage was jacked up from 6s (22.2v) to 8s (29.6v) to get a bit more grunt out of the cheapy ebay drive motors.

This basically meant twice as much shit in the same space. I was already struggling fitting everything in! This called for drastic streamlining of my electronics system. Now, since I identify as a British local council from the 1970's (message me for pronouns) my solution was to build some kind of ugly flat block to house all my problems in. Thus TOWERING RAGE was born.

Yes, I have stacks. Mad stacks.

a HDPE (shock absorby) and aluminium (heat sinky) set of shelves was my of getting the electronics footprint as small as possible without making anything awkward. Entrance through the ground, two floors of Ragebridge's  with en suite cooling and balcony with wire view, the penthouse taken over by the contactor, relay and the RX.

This was clamped in place by two pieces of watercut 5mm aluminium, bolted into the heatsink and mounted to the frame by a standoff.

You get the idea. This also became one 'wall' of the battery box.

Batteries. Oh yes. I now had a better idea of the current required in a heavyweight, especially one with a low voltage lynch motor trying to make 20 odd kilos of hardox twat around at several thousand rpm.

The drive was on four 4ah 4s packs to give 8s 8ah while the weapon was four 4ah 6s packs to give 16ah 6s. Yes I know my drive voltage is higher than my weapon. Ass backwards is our byword at Team Hobgoblin.

Finished electronics unit and stack o' lipos. You can also see a removable link block I originally intended until they changed the rules - Links needing to be accessible from whatever way up the robot is.

I also ended up making these 30mm standoffs to join everything together along the width of the robot, I felt they were quite a neat solution to holding everything in place. They are 6082 alu with a threaded portion one end and tapped hole the other.
Next on the list of upgrades was some form of can support for the weapon motor. There is a possibility that on large impacts and shocks that the rear of the motor can move backwards and... well... fall off. In order to limit the possibility of unintended arse detachment I designed another aluminium clamp that would join to the existing motor mount that keyed into the front bulkhead.

The watercutting wasn't brilliant on the soft alu so a wee clean up on the belt sander was required, alongside a cleanup of the bores. The small hole was just drilled out and the larger one required the boring head on the mill.

 #safetyphoto #actionshots #workpiecenotactuallytouching

The front bulkhead had a pocket milled in it to take some thick foam to support the batteries and a slot milled along it to key the motor support to the frame.

its all kinda coming together! nearly done right? (yeah no, s3 applications hadn't even gone live yet if memory serves)

Now eagle eyed readers may have spotted some other watercut bits and bobs that came alongside the motor support. These were some steel parts instrumental to unfucking the drive.

The printed pulleys were a cheap neat idea but they felt way too delicate, especially now the drive power has increased. The pulleys were now steel, with a bronze bushing pressed in and another one in the wheel. The steel plates key to the boss of the pulleys then bolt to the wheel hub. This is all retained by a 35mm circlip

You can get a bit better of an idea of the assembly with this picture, just imagine the steel hub.

Again, a bit of a convoluted solution to a stupid problem. I think I want that written on my headstone.

These are the same wheels as the first Hobgoblin.

The finished front wheels, they run on polished hardened steel shafts. a lot stronger than their printed counterparts.

The driven shafts at the rear work in much the same way, except the steel plates are threaded for the wheel to bolt onto and the pulleys are keyed to the shafts.

Okay so roughly about this time the application had been sent off and the waiting around for an answer had begun. I wasn't overly hopeful seeing some of the upgrades on existing machines, and some cracking new builds

A few days before the deadline, I had an email asking to see Gob spin to confirm how the weapon worked. I stopped the rebuild and redesign to quickly chuck the old setup back together to get a clip for them. When Mentorn ask, you don't say no!

So lumpy still but it does the rotating thing! Right now that that's out of the way, strip it back and on with the Hobgobgrades!

Welcome back to yet another episode of "Stupid Objects Taken On Public Transport" Any Brighton and Hove locals who spotted a gormless youth toting a large silver lump around in early 2017...yeah that was me. I'm probably on some more watch lists now.

This is the main bulkheads being taken down to have the front wedge cut off. This was a semi radical design change as I felt the wedge was more of a hindrance and was busy hiding the weapon from the opponents.

The whole panel was mounted up in the mill and cleanened up. It began feeling oddly small at this point

Now, the side armour also needed shortening to match the bulkheads. In an ideal world I would have just recut the hardox panels and adjusted the mounting points - but I elected to take the cheapskates route and just slice up those panels too. They were slit with a grinder and then cleaned up with THE MOST LEGIT MACHINE SETUP EVER.

I don't claim to be an engineer or a machinist. Now you know why.

Another fairly large Hobgrade was the addition of some actual bloody armour. The current sides were 4mm hardox and... well that's it. Any decent knock would bend and buckle that.

If you look at this pre-fight OG Gob you can see that its just a single thin plate of hardox on the side

 I didn't have the weight or budget for thicker steels so I went with the old crowd favourite, HDPE. Strips of 1" thick went over the existing hardox.

The reasoning behind it is having something soft and thick protecting the tougher core. The principle is proven, my execution is whack sub optimal

Both sides of Hobgoblin!

Assembled side, all the shortened parts lining up and working well. The black also works quite well to break up the purple and green colour scheme.

That side of the robot needed a few more bits of machining. Robot Wars rules were changing, meaning that the removable links needed to be accessible even if the robot is inverted, which meant i had to change my intended positioning. I elected to put them in the side of the robot where they could be pulled even if the robot was upside down.

Simple slot milled allowed the links to be a really tight fit. and not too exposed.

I elected to put the powerlights on the "shoulder pad" panel above the links.

Which meant holes in hardox. A job for the milling machine. I made myself some witness marks so I could double check placement and not screw up a part I didn't have spares for.

Close enough! You can also see where the links bolt to into the robot .

The link wires being run through. Lots of heatshrink and shielding to stop the cables rubbing and being damaged.

I employed this style wherever I could to try and minimise faults - so there's at least one documented case of good intentions on Hobgoblin!

Some rather snazzy decals were also applied at this point! Great, now I can't forget what I named my robot!

More or less at this point in the build the phonecalls went out in waves. Hurrahs for the confirmed and commiserations to the rejected. It was a bit disheartening seeing some of the incredible and unique machines made by friends knocked back. But all was still weirdly silent in Camp Gob (and it's much nicer associate, Coyote) About a day after all the yay/nay we got out calls, we were in! As reserves!

All the fun of being at robot wars with only 90% of the stress! Fantastic, I was so happy to be given a second chance to prove that Hobgoblin could do more than trundle 6 feet forward and fall over! Aiming for at least 8 feet and a twirl before it fucks itself up this time.

Being reserves we kind of had low expectations (good!) We basically just had to turn up and well, just work.  So with that great news behind me, the build powers on!

Onto the last big machining job for gob.  The huge timing pulley used on the first version was just a bit too huge and fragile to be much use. Also the beater was geared very conservatively. Spin up was gutsy and instant but it was just far too damn slow

To solve this a toothless, smooth aluminium pulley was called for. The smooth surface would act as a kind of ghettoclutch which would let the belt slip on huge impacts and save the weapon motor. I also reduced the weapon gearing from 2:1 to 1.5ish:1 which brought the beater into the 3k range theoretically.

LEM170's just don't have any fucks left to give, I'm pretty sure they would spin it up on 1:1 just fine. Incredible motors really.

 A 6" billet of 6082 aluminium was turned into a suitably gob shaped lump

Final job was getting the pulley set up in the mill and the square bore (which engaged on the square portion of the beater) machined in.

I then machined some new spacers to keep everything lined up.

It fits! and the belt tension was perfect. Not too tight, not too slack.

All mounted back onto the frame and starting to look all gob shaped again.

With the belt installed. The motor pulley is the same one as before.

Side note, to all those "put a self righter in it" comments... WHERE. HOW. SOME IDIOT DESIGNED THE ROBOT WITH NO SPACE HELP.

Like any sensible Heavyweight builder, the most appropriate place to wire up your robot is the kitchen.

Hey, needs must!

Now anybody who paid attention to the full 12 seconds of Ole Gobbo's television career will know that it has slight issues with being able to function inverted. Comments sections everywhere have said to put a self righter on it. well, the self righter shop was closed today so I had to get a bit creative.


Stupid solution to a stupid problem? Works for me. Yes giving Hobgob some 80mm nylon castor "ears" should prop it up enough to make the rear wheels touch the ground and be able to hobble(goblin) around.

It also makes HG 200% more cute? Where my anthropomorphic HG cosplay!? I am a very lonely man.


You get the idea

It exploded and the side fell off.

It had got to the silly part in all my builds where I have to keep taking the fucking thing apart and doing some ghetto arsemagic to it to fix some overlooked, yet highly critical wobble.

Some HDPE blocks cut from the same stock as the side armour. This has a milled out portion which alows the wedge to be mounted to the front without fouling on the wheels. It also can act as a bit of hypothetical shock mounting

The wedge. "wedge" A rather lacklustre effort comparatively I supose but as a reserve (not guaranteed a spot) and with only a few days and no money left a length of 10mm steel L channel was perfect front material.

Heavyweights are so insane that they'll bend 8mm hardox with a good hit... so kind of whats the point. I'll spend £25 and have enough material for a spare and have it a material that I can bend back with a hammer on my pit bench.

Some final wiring and jiggery pokery

The theory!

Both back wheels touch the floor and I can move it around fine as it is.... but we'll see

The probable reality.... well if it lands like this without the beater going I'll have bigger problems, I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.

And that's a goblin the day before we shipped out to Glasgow! A bit of an odd build truth told as a lot of things felt simultaneously  ready to go but at the same time totally unfinished. Plus building knowing you are a reserve slot, you're burning a time and money up on a hope. Luckily it paid of for us! More on that below.......

Obviously, spoilers and stuff from here on.

After a slightly convoluted trip from Brighton to Glasgow via Sheffield and Solihull, we had made it to the studio in fairly decent condition. Matt, our driver (both robot & car) had the most sleep out of the three of us sensibly.  There was a bit of milling around getting our pit bench set up all our passes and meal tickets (I immediately lost mine so was often hungry during filming) Despite what anyone who helped lift the robot thought, we were well in weight and our wiring loom passed inspection fine.

The above was our safety check in the arena, checking spin up, spin down time failsafe and mobility tests. We passed without hassle!

Then about 6 hours of waiting in the reserve corner with Tauron and Coyote! Tauron was first in, and then later on after Deadlock failed to really move during its testing Jamie & Co were in to the main show!

We had been waiting most of the day for Point Blank, the robot we were replacing to turn up. They did and after a few hours of rushing to finish their robot, a decision was made and we were in! It felt wonderful trundling all our gear over to the pit area to be alongside our friends at Magnetar and Coyote!

Our heat was a bit of an unkind one, the very sleek and powerful Push To Exit and the incredible Magnetar. Oh well, we weren't expecting much anyway. This just about sums it up! Flipped, fried and hobbled(goblin) Mind you, with Magetar in the fight it could have been so much worse.

Our second fight was against our reserve corner buddies and all round knockouts - Coyote! It just felt like fate at this point. With the problems with Goblin that came apparent during the melee we didn't hold out much hope for a win, but we could at least go out to a fantastic looking machine and a very kindhearted team.

Here is probably my absolute favourite photo from all of my time at Robot wars. It also gives you a sense of scale!

We lost fairly early on to be honest. We were having problems to start with but when coyote snapped the belt... well that's all she wrote!

I'm proud we managed to have a few nibbles at house robots, shearing the bolts on shunts axe head and popping a pin on Sir K's arm. We also appear to have knocked an actuator motor loose and chewed up the wheelguards which I had no idea of until watching it back!

The wiki has a much better write up than I can do, and there's no point repeating it here. I don't think any of us are fully sure of exactly what went wrong in what order as we had to leave fairly promptly after being eliminated. This meant we had to be total bastards and palm goblin off on to another roboteer (Calum from coyote is a saint!) as Matts car was in pretty bad shape with the extra couple hundred kilos of robot and tools! We got it out of storage the Friday before the episode!

Big thanks to all my opponents and fellow competitors who made the competition and the nights after absolutely mindblowing. To all the mentorn staff who made the series what it is but most of all to my team mates.

Andy my pit crew and Matt my driver. HG2 would not have been possible without you guys. Just remember....

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Hobgoblin 2016/2017

Hey. This.

I made this.


Yes indeed, it is that program about Robots having some kind of War. Fantastic. I somehow managed to blag my way into an entry slot despite not being qualified to even consider thinking about designing and building such a thing. This is how I managed it. Kinda.

Heavyweights are stupid. I half thought this beforehand but the design and build of one confirmed it. The sheer size, weight, complexity and strength required is absolute nonsense. It's a super hardcore challenge to get everything to work and function. That was the lesser problem, if you invest yourself and enough time and effort you can work through anything, finance on the other hand was an issue.

Simplicity and reliability has a price tag, and it's a fairly large one. NPC motors, vyper ESC's and a few Optipower packs and you'll have a  fairly bulletproof platform which can easily power itself to victory. However this is several thousand pounds. From the time between the start of the design and the competition (2.5 months ?) I worked out how much of my paycheque I could divert and still make rent, coupled with savings I had. Worked out to about £1400 tops. Seems like a lot, but heavyweights are stupid.

Ebay became a really close friend and ally during this whole adventure. I managed to get some great deals on things like motors, wire, connectors and some material stock.

I managed to snag some motors which ticked a lot of the "heavyweight drive motor" boxes, 24v, 500w (very on the low end but enough to move a weapon around) and had what looked like a sensible pinion cut into the shaft. Oh. and they were £25. Take that £350 NPC!

It turned out the pinion was very sensible indeed, it was a nice metric pitch and a low tooth count so I could have a single stage of gearing. Simpler and cheaper! I worked out that a 5:1 ratio would give me about 11mph which, again is low but should be okay to trundle a weapon around. I then found I could fit a slightly larger gear in the height and space so the end ratio was closer to 5.5:1. Slower but I wanted to give the system as much advantage as I possibly could.

In other Bargain Brushed Bonuses I managed to acquire some very large, very powerful motors to use for the weapon. The Lynch 170 is an immense piece of engineering, and that's the smaller one! 24v and 4kw constant and they have absolute bags of torque.

They came with a V pulley and trantorque which I removed (after some effort)

I could then start pushing around the pile of parts and proceed with Pretend-O-Botting posthaste

Can see the heap of Hobbyking Lithium that I intended to power the beast with. Some people have their issues with the Nanotech range, but from personal experience they have been absolutely flawless, better than "proper" brands I've used.

Having a rough idea of the layout and enough parts to accurately model things, I began work on the CAD model of the robot. Slapdash is probably a bit kind. I smashed out a bare bones model of what I wanted, because the deadline for RW applications was drawing close - and applying with an artists impression is better than just a pile of bits!

The model ended up being largely broken as my PC conked out 80% of the way in. Luckily I was able to retrieve a copy of the main assembly and shove it onto my work laptop but although  some
detail was lost, I managed to hammer it back into
a working state.

For the size and complexity of the robot the CAD model is hugely basic. Avert ye eyes Ellis Ware

Because of the sheer scale and holyfuck-ness of this project there was so many things that could go wrong. Stuff could just not fit or not be assembled in the way I anticipated.

One of the hallmark catchphrases that has been hammered into my head over and over during my short time in engineering is "trust, but verify" I had faith that I hadn't designed a total broken mess of aluminium and steel that would only be able to put together on a screen... But I'd better double check... for sanity's sake.

Luckily in my current line of work a lot of dicking about prototyping is done with 3D printing and we had a pretty decent setup. I set about making an exact scale HobGob, one tiny solid model then a larger "kit" at quarter scale. This would let me have something physical and colourful to shove under the collective RW nose but, more importantly I could see IRL that shit was where it was supposed to be.
Don't talk to me or my son ever again.


Long story short, it went together fine!

Somehow with enough smoke, mirrors and #buzzwords Robot Wars decided to accept my application. It was an amazing opportunity that I'm still stupidly grateful for, especially considering there were so many fantastic robots that didn't make the cut or pulled out due to time constraints. It was an honour to be a part of it.

And so, the build began.

This is the state the shed started out in... it got much, much worse as the panic build set in.

For quick assembly, as this robot had to just exist within like 6 weeks (heavyweights are stupid!) I elected to go with the tried and tested waterjet jigsaw puzzle style of frame.

Its a mishmash of 30mm, 25mm and 20mm aluminum and 4-8mm Hardox

Much of the material was suplied from stock by the cutting place but they didn't carry any alu thick enough, or the right grade. Not for the last time, eBay to the rescue! I managed to snag a pretty intense deal on 30mm 6082 plate as it was an offcut that I could fit both bulkheads onto.

 It seems every build I trump my previous record for "most bullshit heavy parcel" but bugger me, was this a nice suprise to come home to.

A big o pile of 6082, just what the doctor ordered!

 A quick once over showed that all the holes were where they should be, and I was (still am) hugely impressed by the cut quality on the 30mm profiles. On the right hand one there is bugger all taper, and the left one has a bit of a rough patch but is miles better than I was expecting


Its nearly done now, right?

Here I am just filing the slots for clearance so they fit together and add a bit of mechanical strength so the bolts holding the frame together are not in shear. I'm also marking out the holes for drilling and end tapping. Still constantly mocking the bot up to see if there are any cock ups...none so far!

Not in chronological order but so much of this build happened ontop of itself that its just easier to do it by category.  I'll just go through and detail the secondary machining and finishing of the aluminium parts here

 To accommodate the faceplates of the motor, the gearbox blanks needed to be faced down by about 12mm. Fairly simple operation and a decent amount of material removal. After this the hole pattern was picked up and drilled out and the bore adjusted for the 'lip' on the front of the motor.
 One freshly faced housing vs the untouched watercut blank. If I was doing this now and had more time I would have just totally machined these from plate but I was under pressure so needs must!

I didn't trust myself not to cock this up royally so a helpful reminder that this was a MIRRORED PART.

Forget what HR departments tell you, belligerent notes scrawled on any available surface  is an excellent way of communication.

All the countersinking was done with Super Happy China Import mini drill. A gift from my dad a few years ago and its come in super handy for just simple hole enlarging and countersinking when I can't be arse to slog the thing up to work to use the big mill.

Yes, before you ask I am painfully aware of the fact the part weighs more than the rest of the drillpress and I find it hilarious.

Counterbores were milled into the bulkheads to give the dead shafts a little extra strength. Due to general incompetence (and laziness!) the largest slot drill I had was 22mm and I didn't fancy enlarging it with the boring head.

Solution? Just make a stepped shaft. 25 down to 22 isn't a huge deal in my brain but its still an unbrilliant solution.

Finally my love of boring on the mill could be restrained no longer and I whipped out my head and set about precision mangling the Bulkheads to accommodate their rather chunky bearings.

These parts were brought too and from work on public transport... so if you were travelling around the south coast of England up to London around October time and saw some poxy skinhead waving around some big lumps of aluminium... that was me!

Bad photo (in keeping with tradition) but the Lynch motor mount had been countersunk and cleaned up. I elected to mount it using the 8 (10?) outer M6 holes as it meant the whole assembly was marginally lower profile and I trusted it more than the 4 closer M8.

I mean, the engineer or clever person would use both sets but I'm not either so.... moving swiftly on!

This is supported in the frame by 4 M8 bolts end tapped into the front and a large 30mm dia aluminium standoff which ties it to the frame via M10 countersunk.

Better idea of how the motor mounts, if you were wondering. Plus you can see the crap slowly starting to fester!

Righto, onto the drive system. Simplest and arguably the best solution to wheels that have intense grip is a plastic hub with bike tire screwed to it.

Ebay was my source of bike tire

And it's green. A E S T H E T I C

I also picked up some 5" HDPE round from my favourite online plastics store   alongside some suitably green plastic and some polycarb, both of which ended up not being used

Commence wheelification!

Finished wheel with the two dead shafts that go up the front of the robot and totally act as a structural member   They are 25mm dia with a step down to fit into the counterbores in the bulkheads. They have been tapped to M10

Then came the cutting of the tire. I just used a box cutter to slit the tread (AND SPENT WAY TOO LONG TRYING TO KEEP THE PATTERN ALIGNED) and trim the fat off the side of the tire

They were then just screwed around the hubs. Nothing fancy or simple and it yielded quite a pleasing result. A knobblier tire would have been better... but they weren't as green!

Continuing the drive theme, here is one of the gearbox shafts.

Yo dawg, we heard you like walkin, so we put steps on yo step, so you can step while you step.

This was one of those stupid solutions to stupid problems caused by money/time being in rather sparse supply. There was supposed to be a step down to 12mm at the end of the 25mm shaft to go into a bearing to support it that end (all 25mm bore were too large and would have interfered with other bores) The reason for the 17mm step is because I couldn't afford a 25mm keyway bushing, and I had no time to lose. The largest I had was 17mm, so 17mm it was!


Onward to  more lathework. I bored out the MOD 1.5 gears to 17mm (after buying a replacement as I already bored one out to 25 before realising my chronic bushing deficiency)

Once the bore was done they were faced and the boss machined off.

They game from gearsandsprockets. Who, as the name suggests, sell novelty pens and pantyhose.

Broach o clock!

One of the shafts had a ratty keyslot milled in it, and keeping in traditon with my high quality standards I only have a picture of that one.

Ignore the coupling. That just ended up on my desk at the time as a result of a sporadic outburst of actual engineering.

An finished(ish) drive assemby!

It done all went together like wot how it woz supposed to guv, honest!

However, the time had come to do something I was dreading. Talking on camera. Yes, it was at this point as the filming date loomed closer that film crews came around to interview the teams, and probably to check up that there was a robot there that looked vaguely working.  I quickly assembled old Gobbo into a semi reasonable state and swept the worst of the roboshit off the bench.

Ultimately it wasn't as bad as it could have been, the two guys who came down to film me were excellent, I'm just not the best at speaking or general human interaction at the best of time, and on camera its even worse! I'm just glad it won't ever be seen due to the lacklustre performance of HobGob... #spoilers

Buoyed up by them seeming semi impressed by goblin, i.e. not just pointing and breaking into unstoppable laughter, I had a nice little energy injection into the build. Fuck knows it needed it!

Work had me holed up in Scotland for a few days which sucked a bit, but their pay cheques allow me to do all this robot lark so I can't bitch too much.

However when I returned I had a package from Ferrous Frankie's Steel 'n' Rust Bargin Bin

Yep, it was a load of watercut hardox which made up the outer shell of my goblin

Here is my wedge, another slab of hardox which has been bent from a single piece. No welds to break and no extra heat into the material.

Panels slowly being fitted,  a fair amount of drilling and tapping for bolts to hold it all together.

All the armour plates on goblin are held on with a mixture of M10 and M12 buttonhead bolts

The guards that protect the drive wheels and pulleys has been  ground and filed to slot in to the aluminium and be captured by the top and side armour.

The top is being lined up for its mounting holes.

G clamps make up for a lack of hands and team members. One man builds can sometimes be a juggling act!

Beefy! Starting to look pretty tank-like by this point!

I'm sorry? What was that about beef? THIS is the beef. 40mm of Hardox 500 expertly plasmacut.

It is starting to all get a bit serious. Seeing the frame in the flesh did give me a slight twinge in my water about what the hell was I doing but when this beater dropped on my doorstep it suddenly all seemed very, very real.

Beater on floor, you can get a better idea of scale with the broom and you can see it has a super crisp cut quality for being plasma cut.

Now I've machined beaters before, as this picture of the successful featherweight "pendulum"weapon I machined a few years back shows but something this heavy, brutal and just so damn intense is a whole other kettle of fish.

Long story short, I didn't die.

That was the biggest twat of a machining operation I have ever done though.

The impossibly immense twattery stemmed not from the actual machining, but from the lathe being *just* slightly too short to be happy. I solved this by removing the thread chasing dial and a couple covers, and jacking the cross slide way the fuck out.

Machining the rather hench HTD8  pulley out to fit on the beater. I left a portion of the beater un turned down, then machined a square bore into the pulley.

This is a really horrible way of doing it, I mean, if it was done properly it would be fine. I kind of had no option as I this pulley was about half the price of the cheapest billet of aluminium to make a toothless pulley with more support

Needs must, and it got done just fine in the end. Post machining the beater needed a touch up with a grinder to fit the bore nicely as it wasn't totally square (plasmacutting fun)

The completed assembly. Things were starting to reach fever pitch at this point and I left basically the defining feature of my robot until the last possible moments. BECAUSE I HATE MYSELF?

Oh. And this tank track belt is just mind hobboggling. I can fit in it, and I'm not in any way small!

Heavyweights are stupid.

With much of the fabrication and physical build out of the way I could unleash my borderline artistic tendencies. The "vibrant" colour scheme of the renders I had thrown on during my RW application are probably a good 50% of why I got on. Boring robot painted purple becomes interesting robot... who am I to judge?

At this stage it all basically devolved into  PAINT THE BACK WHILE I WORK ON THE FRONT.

Stuff was hanging from the ceiling to dry. Meaning Bumblebot-Prime here kept backing into them and ending up with purple streaks on my everything. Dangers of the job I spose.

Coming together. Notice the contrast between the watercut edge finish on the main bulkheads (pretty sexy) and the armour mounts (total arse)

The top panel lining up with the link mount nicely, getting ready to lay out the holes for drilling and tapping.

The semi-pointless shoulderpads were added with some nice #branding in the way of vinyl decals cut at work... thanks Jim!

You get the idea, I like purple shit.

Shout out to muh homebois montana gold. Take note kids, and you too can replicate the hobgoblin look!

Fast forward a little ways and suddenly Hobgoblin is ready to take its first steps!

Sub optimal performance (but hey, why break tradition) but it fuckin moved. Unimpressive to everyone but me but it actually moves. When I want it to. Like some kind of robot or something.

Seriously this was a genuine achievement at this point. In the back of my mind the whole way there was serious doubt, shit like "it won't even move it will just burst into flames as soon as you poke it" the fact it trundled about quite happily in the driveway was a really nice moment.

If only we drove it about for more than 3 minutes..... OH WELL.

No time to stop as there were about 3 days left before it was off to Scotland for the filming!

Just a few minor parts left to make, like these little bits of steel which kinda like, hold the damn front on. Yep. Totally minor, nonessential parts!

Getting the wedge mounted, and hey look, An Heavy Hardox Beater!

To counter this all too progressive step forward, I took two back. The eagle eyed among you may notice a drive motor is ever so slightly not in the robot at this point.  It was such a blur at this point I genuinely forget why. Noob shit probably.

Near enough to being done, for me to quit taking photos. Had bolts to put in and a wedge to sharpen but other than that it was as done as it was gonna get.

Upside down goblin! Like the robo-slut it is it seemed to love being on it's back so much it spent the majority of it's television career in the same position. DAMNIT GOB I BELIEVED IN YOU.

And thus, the build concludes, it is all a bit of a mess and as I mentioned at the start the timelines are bound to be at least a little cocked up basically due to so much stuff happening. And Hobgoblin is a relatively simple robot!

Other scratch builds like the new Pulsar are magnitudes more complex and cutting edge. So much effort  and thought goes into these things, I think the fans and audience sometimes fail to appreciate this, because before I did one I sure as hell didn't!

I won't go into the event details too much as quite frankly, due to a mix of fatigue and alcoholism my memory is patchy at best. Most of the photos I took there could potentially contain the cardinal sin of ~SPOILERS~

It involved being in a very cold warehouse, marvelling at the wonderful (and weird!) creations people had made, lots of waiting, photos, interviews then finally trundling back to the hotel and propping up the bar talking shop with various people till 3 or 4 in the morning.

I am so very,very happy to have been a part of it all.

I'll address the elephant in the arena now I guess. "why didn't goblin work good or at all" As painful as it is to admit, the old adage PEBCAK (or rather PEBRAT for robots) In short, I done fucked up.

In an attempt to turn up/off the current limiting on the ESC to give the drive more grunt and must have turned it the wrong damn way. Bruh. Bruhhhhhhh. This turned it all the way down so the robot really struggled to move forwards and just noped at any attempt at turning. I found this out in the arena.

Well I know not to do that ever again ever. I love it when your dumbshit moments are on national television!

As soon as we got back from losing our fight we had to pack up and give our pit table over to another team so we couldn't open or check the robot then and there. First thing after unpacking (after sleeping then going back to work the next day!) I whacked the current limiting off and it was.. well

Well it does the thing at least... I know what to do now. Double up on the drive escs, no limiting, and jack the drive voltage up to 8s

Even better. I hope to have time to work more on goblin soon, I think it has potential to be a half decent robot. Its never gonna win titles but its not designed to do that. I build what I wanted to build within the budget I had.

Thanks for slogging through this general butchery of the English language with blatant cynicism and forced dank memes - at least the pictures were pretty.

Any questions, comments or particularly inventive insults can go to

Don't panic, and try not to die