Spat will be my Antweight (limited to 16oz of weight or less) fighting robot.  Spat will be radio-controlled, and will do combat with my coworkers' bots and in local MURC events.

This page will be a build journal of sorts for Spat, since I only have concept sketches of what he'll look like right now.

July 17, 2002 -- Um, yeah.  So I obviously have done nothing to Spat in quite a while.  However, I have teamed up with some friends to work on a new Beetleweight (3lbs or less) bot:  "Martha Stewart".

September 14, 2002 -- Progress!  Last night I pulled out my old portable drafting table (haven't used that thing in years) and started a drawing to see how things could fit together.  Looks like I've got some more thinking to do.

Today, I fired up my trusty Dremel tool and cut out a couple notches for the wheels on one of the aluminum plates.  I then mounted the gearbox and a small Tamiya caster.   I was on a roll, so I soldered the connections to the SOZBOTS speed controller and fired it up.  Hey, it actually works!  Pictures below (thumbnails--click on 'em to see the full-size pic):

test.jpg (44909 bytes) test_side.jpg (29818 bytes) test_top.jpg (24849 bytes) test_front.jpg (28682 bytes) test_rear.jpg (36262 bytes)

This is just a testing platform, something I can test motors/gearboxes/speed controllers/batteries/whatever on.  The base for the actual bot ought to be a fair amount shorter.  The guts will likely be crammed a lot closer together than they are right now.  As it is, the test platform weighs in at a hefty 11oz.  Not much breathing room for an actual bot!

With the 9V battery and those 6V motors running the Tamiya gearbox at its lowest gear ratio, this thing is sloooooow.  I've got some work ahead of me yet...

September 11, 2002 -- I'm overdue for an update.  I received my order from SOZBOTS a couple days ago.  Haven't had much time to play with anything yet, but I did put the wheels together.  NOTE:  If you buy *anything* from Tamiya, you put it together.   Even the wheels.

I also went by the local hardware store a couple days ago and picked up a couple 4"x10"x0.064" aluminum panels.  They should work nicely for making a platform and/or amor for Spat.

I now have all the minimum parts necessary to put a basic test platform together.   Hopefully I'll be able to dedicate some time this weekend to putting these cool parts together and make something I can drive around.

September 4, 2002 -- The 6V motors arrived from today.  Those brass weights proved to be a bit of a challenge to remove.  I wound up using a Dremel tool, some channel lock pliers, and a big flat head screwdriver.  The first one was a bit messy, but the second one came off a little better.  I hope to come up with a method that is less stressful on the motor in the future, but the two I removed will be fine for now. 

I swapped these motors into my Tamiya dual motor gearbox (Item 70097) and applied 5V via 4 AA NiMH batteries.  I don't remember how fast the original 3V motors were, but the axle seemed to move fairly slow.  I've got the gearbox set up for the lowest gear ratio, BTW.  I'll test the setup with 6V, 7.2V, and 8.4V tomorrow and see how it goes.

I recently ordered a speed controller and some wheels from SOZBOTS, and I'm anxious for those parts to arrive.

August 31, 2002 -- Well, after 2 or 3 weeks of research and thought, I've finally settled on a design for my first Antweight fighting robot.   I've only got a single concept sketch that I scribbled down this afternoon at this point, and I don't really want to give anything away just yet.  I will give a clue, though:  spatula.  Some guys I've mentioned this concept to know what I'm talking about.  This afternoon I had an idea for a decent configuration to actually do it with.  The word spatula is the root of Spat's name, in case you didn't figure that out.

In the meantime, I have been gathering some parts to make the little guy with.  I have purchased and assembled the Tamiya dual motor gearbox (purchased at a local hobby store for $10.50), I've purchased a Hitec Laser 4 4-channel 75MHz FM radio and receiver from Tower Hobbies for $129.98 (including shipping), several 6V motors for the gearbox (to help longevity, since the Tamiya motors are rated at 3V) from for $1 per motor, and I splurged and bought a Novak XXtra synthesized (no crystals needed!) 5-channel receiver from ebay for $74.50 (plus $6.00 shipping). 

As you can see, this new hobby of mine isn't going to be terribly cheap--that's why I'm starting off in the Antweight class.  Next up, I'll be ordering a speed controller and some wheels from SOZBOTS.