Chapter 2 - Return Of The Panda
Too much has happened lately to put things into correct order, so this is just to bring you up to date on events. At the start of this month, we finally decided to merge the MPM and R2 projects into one. There is no more need for separate projects and they were starting to merge anyway. We now have proper designs for MPM and we have been running the new drive chain on the old Panda chassis. We found out quite a lot from the 24V running: the robot is too fast; the belt needs to be very tight to stop slipping; the 4QDs tend to overheat quickly and need better cooling.

The cylinder that we had been given gave us lots of new ideas about possible attack and defence systems. This cylinder is pretty big (about 50mm bore x 200mm stroke) but we didn't have anything much else in pnuematics, so we enlisted some help - Siebe Maxam Pneumatics in Cornwall. I wrote to Gordon Coventry, their Sales and Marketing Director. He agreed that they would help out, so we went to visit them at their factory in Carn Brea. We got the star treatment by the team at Siebe and we have agreed terms on which to work. They also gave us demonstrations of their products and what they could be used for!

The afternoon was spent in their labs, looking at problems and solutions. The video here is a demostration of a 40mm bore cylinder, running at 5 bar (half max pressure). As you can see, it accelerates the load so fast that the 0.5sec capture speed on my digicam doesn't really catch it. The thing it's firing is a 80mm bore cylinder weighing about 3.5kg. Chris is having to hold onto the cylinder as the desk clamps can't hold it at this pressure. I'm not going to give too much away about what we discussed, as some of the ideas they have will give us an advantage over amatuer pneumatics users. Needless to say it was very interesting.
We now have to do some calculations and then Siebe will manufacture the parts for us. So, we have a busy week ahead! You can get an idea of the size of these cylinders when you notice the A4 catalogue next to these! We need to work out how much air we can carry on-board and then we can specify the exact requirements for the cylinders! Cool!
I also went to get our new wheels. These have been supplied by RS Karting in Crowthorne, Bracknell. You can see a selection of the stuff I picked up from Noel and the lads. We have plenty of spares and more on the way. These will give us better grip and much more robustness than the plastic wheels of last year. They wheel in the centre weighs about 3kg as a complete assembly.

We also have a new servo control system, but it's having a few teething problems at the moment - partially because we have the wrong pots in place. The chassis too is under construction, and I would hope we have a driveable MPM shell very soon.