2006 Improvements - planned
The 2006 theme is Hope and Fear: The Future. Given Robo's rather
Road Warriorish aspect, I think he's going to stray on the fear side -
the smooth, clear art-deco look just doesn't seem to fit - and is a bit
of a stretch, given Robo's rough and ready fabrication :-).
Since we're going to have a lot more watts to play with this year, more
lighting seems in order, along with some electrically driven motion.
Colors seem to be drifting towards desert camo, but that's tbd.
Black would be traditional but a mite warm during the day.
Perhaps not strictly artistic, but I want it anyway - more tunes!
speakers worked fine w/ the shuffle last year, but louder would be
better, as would more songs.
Nothing like a punch list for those little (and not so little) jobs:
- First of all, I got tired of having to run my truck every day to
charge up RoboShaw's battery. Since we run a 60W halogen
headlight and about 15 watts worth of CCFL tubes, after running all
night (well, until 4 am or so) we're easily half way through our 80
amp-hour deep discharge battery. So let's run an
alternator! Turns out there's not much room and I end up taking
the torque converter apart so that I can squeeze a drive pulley in
behind it.... and that turns out to be a custom drive pulley, since
getting a really narrow 3V (the narrow kind of v-belt found on small
alternators) pulley is not easy. A rebuilt one-wire (internal
regulator, no weird wiring) alternator from EBay (orig. for a Chevy
Sprint - one of the tiny Nippon Denso units) and a 3V280 V-belt from
McMaster-Carr and we're set. I even took some pictures
of the machining process, but not enough. I still need to work
out the slotted arm for the top of the alternator; that's coming
next. I tested the unit wired up to RoboShaw's battery; the
engine powers it just fine and we have a happy 14.5 volts at
idle. Hooking up the headlight places a light (heh) load on the
engine just as one would expect.
- Next comes the rest of the torque converter improvements.
Turns out the shaft holding the sprocket and the driven pulley has
gotten kind of hammered out in the keyway... I'm replacing that whole
assembly with proper bearings and some hardened, keyed 5/8" shafting I
got from McMaster-Carr. The bearings are from SurplusCenter.com
(Burden Sales); they're also sending a voltage gauge and ampmeter to
help Robo keep his watts about him.
- There was a misfeature in last year's design that placed an undue
amount of stress on both the lower tiller arm bearing and the rod ends
on the push-pull rods when Robo-Shaw flexed. This led to a broken
weld on the lower tiller arm bearing which made steering more difficult
than it should have been. This year I'm replacing the dual
push-pull rods with a single, large-diameter rod with much larger rod
ends. The simple steel-on-steel bushings that I used for the
tiller arm bearings are being replaced with some 1" diameter pillow
block bearings that did yeoman's duty on the kid's go-kart for years;
they're noisy but solid.
- Paint - RoboShaw was finished last year just in time, and the
last minute work focused largely on lights and tunes. Last fall I
was able to spray (rattle can) the frame with gray primer after
cleaning the exposed metal with Metal-Prep (phosphoric acid).
This year I want a proper paint job so Robo doesn't rust up so
bad. The alkali dust seems to remove every trace of oil...
- Better storage & carrying capacity. Drinks, mixers,
warm clothes, extra water - all these things need to come along.
Last year I strapped my father-in-law's old army foot locker on the
rear; this year a more solid approach is needed. I sure want some
lap blankets on Robo - I and several passengers were half-frozen on
some of the outer playa excursions.