TORNADO - The Team with the Comedy Flying Cow


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10/5/01 - Got a call from Alex at Mentorn, regarding Robot Wars Extreme. They want us to take part in the All Stars tournament (mini knock out tornament with 16 well known and recognised robots), and pull a Land Rover on TV! We were hoping to do a few more things, so Alex made a note of it and we may take part in Tag Team as well. There will be no pinball and sumo this year - unfortunate as we would have liked to take part in one of these two. Stayed behind after work and cut the metal for the battery clamp and spikes. There's still no reply from Tripod, so we're looking at two hosting options - one with Easily and one with Ed from the Storm team.

11/5/01 - Ed's offer beats Easily hands down, so we're going with that. We're going to have a proper domain now - - plus no adverts, a decent amount of webspace, and minimal likelyhood of deletion! (I would say no likelyhood, but it depends if we battle Storm at some point and make a mess of them...!) In light of the problems ourselves and others have had with Tripod, we don't recommend them as a host for your site...

12/5/01 - Went to Peterborough with Bryan to look for more foam for the tyres. Found a couple of stalls at the market - we will have to get back to them with details of what we need. Again tried to get hold of the guy at Buckmore Park about getting hold of more tyres.

13/5/01 - Finally managed to get hold of the guy at Buckmore - he's happy for us to continue collecting tyres from there.

14/5/01 - Ordered the furniture foam for the wheels from TS Covers in Peterborough. Cut the silver steel for the new removable spikes at work at lunch. Spent the evening working on the weapons motor cradle and chassis mounts. Planned the side bars, stand and trolley.

15/5/01 - Bryan asked at work about getting the discs done in the machine shop, however it seems that we might now not be allowed. It doesn't help that the people we need to speak to are away at the moment! Managed to get the various bits of tube for the spikes cut however. Also, the new domain finally came online - we are now at - many thanks to Ed from Storm.

16/5/01 - The hiccup at work has been solved, as the right people were in today and said no problem! Bryan plans to spend two of his holiday days later this week at work, machining the steel parts of the discs... Made another trip to Scottys today to get more grinding discs, ground down a lot of the welding done earlier in the week, and started work on the new side bars. In doing so, we blew up another angle grinder - I don't think you're supposed to be able to see the commutator glowing through the opaque plastic casing....!

17/5/01 - Busy day - Bryan and I took the day off from work to work on Tornado. Bryan machined the steel discs in the machine shop at work, while I travelled around sorting various things out. I got more welding gas from Team Plant, and made what proved to be a futile trip to Peterborough to pick up the foam for the tyres - the supplier had cut two pieces and stuck them together, which was useless to us! I returned to work to salvage the steel tube from an old sheet metal rack - it was bizzare to be grinding outside while my colleagues worked away inside. Also we cut up some material for the weapon. Spent the evening finishing the new side bars, and having a major removeable spike production session.

18/5/01 - Bryan finished the rest of the steel discs at work, and then started work on the aluminium machining at home. Meanwhile I joined Ed from the Storm team on a big Titanium scrounging session. It was a long but sucessful day, and we came away with quite a few bits if Ti, certainly enough for what we would like to use in Tornado this year! It was also very interesting to see the techniques required to weld Ti... Many thanks to Ed for inviting me along, and having seen the powers of a master blagger in action, we have some work to do of our own...

19/5/01 - Took a visit to the Buckmore Park kart track on the way down to see my parents. Found a few more tyres. Started work on our sponsorship proposal pack.

20/5/01 - Went to the kart track at Buckmore again - picked up a few more tyres. If anyone needs front slicks for their robot, we have a lot that we want to give away - please get in contact.

21/5/01 - Spent the evening finishing off the motor cradle and working on the robot carrying cradle/stand.

22/5/01 - Went to Peterborough at lunch to collect the foam for the tyres. The guys there got it right this time fortunately!

23/5/01 - Bryan got most of the machining done on the first disc - we have two sides and two steel rings that all fit together. Andrew spent the evening working on the carrying cradle.

24/5/01 - Got a call from Alex @ Mentorn, firming up some more details about Extreme. Bryan got a visit from the rep from BM Steel, who didn't realise that our purchase was just for Robot Wars and not for work! Bryan spent the afternoon drilling the holes in the first disc, while Andrew spent the evening finishing the carrying cradle and starting work on the trolley. Also, we finally got a reply from those idiots at Tripod, accusing us of using the site as a remote loading store for images and video... we sent them a scathing reply - our advice is not to even consider Tripod as a host for your site.

25/5/01 - Joel at work gave us some good ideas about turning our MIG welder into a TIG - if we can do it we will be able to weld aluminium and titanium... Bryan and Andrew stayed behind in the workshop after work, drilling more holes in the disc and machining 6mm and 8mm inserts for the side bars and chassis. We spent the evening tapping out the holes in the disc, and working on the trolley.

26/5/01 - Continued work on our Sponsorship proposal in the morning, while Bryan got the bolts for the weapon from Scottys and turned up the blank for the motor pulley. Finished the trolley in the afternoon, figured out how to finish the motor cradle, and put the rear inserts into the side bars. Still no sign of Dave - we were expecting him back from holiday today!

27/5/01 - Fortunately Dave got back today, he had a flight delay which meant an extra nights stay in America. This years wasn't the best of chasing holidays - there was only one good day, with 23 tornadoes on the ground, but it was raining too hard to see any of them! We spent the afternoon at a BBQ organised by Ed of the Storm team. We didn't get anything that productive done - we had the usual chatting session, looked at various parts of our robots (including scaring George Francis with our new weapon - his reaction is not printable!), and messed about with radio controlled cars for a while. Hmmn, time to buy an IC engined one I think...

28/5/01 - Worked on the CD and website. Dave worked on speed controller schematics and Bryan worked on disc parts, breaking the belt on his lathe in the process!

29/5/01 - Rung Mentorn and spoke to Alex and Val. Sorted out more details about this years events, and some interesting facts emerged (for those who don't yet know). There are 12 audition places at the publicised live events that will form auditions for some people, however most will still attend an audition at Park Street before the filming of Series 5. Given that filming is scheduled to start on August 23rd, the set will be used for filming the Dutch show for a week before that, and the last live event is at Wembley on August 12th, it is likely that auditions will start at Park Street around the 14th/15th August. Also received some very good news - Dave has managed to get some FETs from SGS Thomson (ST), which will mean he can get on building the speed controllers. Finished the side bars (they're a lot bigger than last years as the picture shows) and started working on the weapon mounts in the evening.

30/5/01 - More work on the weapon mounts, however most of the evening was taken up fixing my car exhaust! Dave is making progress on the speed controller designs, we should have schematics soon.

31/5/01 - We didn't get together tonight, but that didn't mean we weren't working... Dave continued on the speed controller designs, and Andrew worked on the CD.

1/6/01 - Dave went and got the rewound motor (the one that gave up at Robot Rumble 2001) - it looks pretty good, and should be a bit more resistant to burning out - we will use it to power the weapon. Bryan got the 101 Ambulance out of storage - we need to fix the brakes if we are to use it as transport to Extreme - and worked on the weapon mounts in the evening. Andrew went to Mackays and got some more steel and aluminium. Also the FETs arrived from ST - many thanks to them for their support.

2/6/01 - Placed first RS order for speed controller and weapon parts. We spent some time working on the 101 - I sorted the exhaust, and tried the grinder I thought I'd burnt out a while back as I needed one with a brush on it - result, lots of smoke! Bryan worked on the brakes, and found a bleed nipple was stripped, so we have parts to order, and it's going to have to stay on Dave's drive for a while... Made two visits to Scottys in one day, for rivets for the motors (to stop the magnets moving), a selection of M8 hardware, and another new grinder! Robot work was a bit piecemeal - we got some work done on some of the removeable spikes, and did the finishing touches to the new side bars, but we spent more time tidying the garage! Many thanks to Chris Smythe who helped us by grinding a load of spikes - he left in a hurry when he got a call saying his girlfriend had wrapped his car round a post - yes, that blue Fiesta we spent ages welding... Worked on our sponsorship pack in the evening.

3/6/01 - More work on spikes, and got the weapon mounts into the chassis for the first time! This meant a very large amount of welding, and we ran out another big cylinder... Everything lines up as it should, and it gives a good idea of what it's going to look like. The disc sits almost central (it's a few mm off centre), and Bryan will produce spacers so it stays where it's meant to be. We can get the motor in and out on it's cradle, while the disc withdraws from the front - at the moment it is held in with 12 M8 bolts, but we plan to add another two M10s so that the axle becomes structural (and stops the front of the chassis getting crushed).

4/6/01 - Went and got more welding gas at lunch. Continued on the weapon mounts and front chassis welding in the evening, and discussed a possible motor cooling system to use in the pits. Got started on the new battery clamp - it's going to be a 50mm wide, 5mm thick titanium bar - it shouldn't break! Started looking for polycarbonate suppliers.

5/6/01 - Bryan drilled more holes in the weapon mounts at lunch, while I continued to find possible polycarbonate suppliers. The brake parts for the 101 arrived - we spent much of the evening fitting them, and then found that there's a leak on the vacuum circuit as well! Robot work continued - finished the battery clamp, and looked at another few details on the weapon mount. Found that some of the welding we did yesterday has moved some of the bolt holes so things don't line up as they should - it will need sorting out. Continued looking up the polycarbonate suppliers later in the evening, while Dave continued on the PCB designs for the speed controllers.

6/6/01 - Took the afternoon off work to ring round plastics companies. Got a big list to visit on Friday! Spent the evening working on our motors - welded all the cases up - we now have five working ones giving us two spares.

7/6/01 - Bryan machined the weapon motor pulley, while Andrew spent the evening at home working out the details of the polycarbonate sourcing trip tomorrrow. Dave continued on the PCBs.

8/6/01 - Took the day off work to visit a load of plastics companies to try and get some armour. Managed to get enough to armour us for Extreme, and also one possible offer of sponsorship! (We later decided not to take up this offer.) Dave continued on the PCB designs, while Bryan machined the belt v-grooves into the disc and skimmed its outer edge. Did the first trial fit of the disc and weapon motor with belts into the chassis - it seems like everything will fit as intended.

9/6/01 - Dave continued on the PCBs, while Bryan continued work on machining for the weapon.

10/6/01 - Prepared the top and bottom armour for Ciba (who have now changed their name to Vantico) to perform the titanium lamination. Ran the disc up for the first time (without teeth, only two belts, and from an 8 amp power supply) - there is some big work to do still. Cut out some of the metal from of the front of the chassis that was fouling the disc and jamming the bolts in the mounts - this will have to be redone. Started work on the battery compartment packing.

11/6/01 - A day of good news! Bryans father (Noel Moss) has received the armour, and it should be back with us in about 2 weeks. The Araldite 2026 glue we are using is the recommended glue for Makrolon, which is the grade we are using for the top and bottom armour. 2026 can be bought from Aeropia or Buck & Hickman. Also, Noel has given us a cheque to cover one of our spare motors and another set of chains - many thanks! Dave also brought good news - our PCBs are in the pipeline - many thanks to Bassetts. Spent the evening working on the weapon mounts and drilling the 10mm holes in the disc axle. We had to make a suds tray for the drill, as drilling 10mm holes in a 26mm diameter silver steel bar requires cutting lubricant - we used one of the car washer pumps bought last year to supply the flow! We managed to weld an upright to the back of one side of the weapon mount, hopefully this will keep the chassis open and allow the mounts to be fitted easily. There's still a lot to do however, as we've got the other side to do and inserts to put in both sides.

12/6/01 - Reasonable progress - but time is starting to get tight now! Bryan got the teeth into the disc for the first time at work in the afternoon. Managed to get the weapon mounts sorted - welded both uprights behind the mounts, and put the inserts into them so that the mount bolts in with an M10 bolt, plus rewelded the front uprights on either side of the chassis. The axle and vertical mounts now slide in and out without the aid of a hammer, and all the bolt holes line up! Also worked on a few bits of the battery compartment armour and packing. Discussed the electronics and disc thrust bearings - we need to get an electronics order in by Thursday (15th) to make sure we will have everything to build the speed controllers etc...

13/6/01 - Bryan got the last belt groove into the disc in the workshop after work. Finished the final detail of the weapon mount welding - plated over the ends of the cut chassis tubes, and ground it all down. Tested the alignment and fit of the weapon belts and pulley - the last groove needs some extra machining, and the motor pulley is too close to the motor. Got some help from Chris Smythe in the evening grinding more spikes - thanks Chris! Welded all the spikes again, ready for final grinding. Worked on some of the rear armour mounts.

14/6/01 - Bryan sorted the remaining belt groove on the disc and the motor pulley positioning in the workshop in the afternoon, while Andrew cut up some bar for the thrust bearings and spare motor pulleys. Got a load of old computers from the IT department to use for weapons testing - thanks to Peter, our IT guy! Not a lot got done in the evening, Andrew sorted out our stock of nuts and bolts while Bryan machined more weapon parts in his garage. Dave worked on the mechanical detail of the speed controllers.

15/6/01 - Started servicing my car, but had to work on the robot because it started raining! Started work on the battery packing to fit both the Hawkers and Kiels. Worked out the details of the battery cabling, and decided to make the Kiels into packs so getting them in and out will be easier.

16/6/01 - Finished my car servicing, and thus could concentrate on the robot. Finished the battery packing, plus cut and drilled all the armour apart from the front and top/base (which is still at Vantico - Ciba have changed their name!). Dave did all the mechanical work on the first speed controller, and started on the second.

17/6/01 - Checked the fit of all the armour, and started the speed controller mounts. Drilled all the remaining armour mount holes, and welded all the nuts onto the chassis. Dave did the mechanics on two more speed controllers, and started on the spares. Bryan had been working in his garage all weekend, and turned up on Sunday evening with a box full of bits - we now have thrust bearings for the disc, a nearly complete spare disc, spare motor pulleys, axle spacers and tubes, axles and wheel tubes, chain guides, and some 8mm inserts for the chassis bottoming feet. Bryan also cut the front armour.

18/6/01 - Cut the motor pulley into two, made more teeth for the disc, and cut the spare weapon axles at work. Started work on the speed controller mounts.

19/6/01 - Made up removal straps for the Kiel batteries at work, and the PCBs arrived from Bassetts - Dave immediately started to build them, with help from Jon Turner and Jeremy Arnold - many thanks guys! Started work on the spare aerials in the evening, and continued work on the armour and speed controller mounts.

20/6/01 - Made up the motor pulley indicators, and mounted the control box. Got a bit of shopping done - spare hinge and more bolts from Scottys, boxes and blowlamp gas from Focus. Started work on the chassis bottoming feet, and finished the speed controller mounts and spare aerials. Dave is making rapid progress on the electronics - the transmitter modifications and weapon control box are nearly complete.

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