Getting Ready for the 2nd annual B9 Build off



WOW, its been a year since the first build off! Where has the time gone! This year I think I will feature the resurrection of a dead torso and the problems that can and do occur with fiberglass. My original TimK torso that was damaged by a local paint shop here in Dallas. It was a beautifully prepared torso when it went in for a show room finish. We had added the SEM bumper coating material for the orange peel texture effect. Apparently that had a reaction with the solvents in the paint that was used. It caused a cascading reaction which melted portions of the torso. In an attempt to fix the problem, the paint shop dug into the gel coat into several areas further damaging the torso. Months of work and Bondo sculpting were ruined. In addition to that it looked like the torso had been dropped because the bottom of the torso had an impact fracture and raw fiberglass exposed (which they denied). We are going to show you how to fix that!

Most of us have used Bondo or similar products but most do not use it correctly and get suboptimal results. Unless you are a paint and body expert most simply do not have the exposure to master the use of this product and technique so this build off should help to select the correct product and how to use it. As we start to make our B9’s mobile we will start to see stress cracks pop up if they are not prepared correctly so we need to prevent this before they start to show up.

We will cover:

  1. Torso prep
  2. Bottom ring support to prevent stress fractures
  3. Donut prep including truing the donut for the rockler bearing and trimming it for twist locks.
  4. Selection & Proper use of Fiberglass Resin/Epoxy, Bondo, Dynaglass, Evercoat, Kittyhair and glazing putty
  5. Electrical setup of the B9 to allow for simultaneous AC and DC usage safely.
    • This includes a detailed parts list and schematic to disengage your motor controller when your robot is charging so he wont take off on you unexpectedly while still being able to entertain the public safely.
  6. Use of the CF3 sound system and the 12 channel RF
  7. Roboduino programming and use in your robot
  8. Using RC relays for remote activation of robotic functions
    • Remote control of the Soil sampler
    • Remote control of the claws and arms
    • Remote control of the bubble lifter
  9. Making Collar Ribs and Vents with Acrylic stock & Jigs
  10. How to prep and use the Replica neon back plate
  11. How to assemble the Brain cup and Finger Light assembly
  12. Copyright & Licensing issues. Fact vs. Fiction.  An open discussion on what you need to know when you take your bubble headed booby to conventions and organized events.
  13. Live Web Chat with Dick Tufeld on Saturday.
  14. Droid races – for those that dare!!!
  15. The entire event will be be viewable on web camera and live chat at
  16. Plus tours at the machine shop, paint and body shop and polish shop (for those that need their domes nice and shiny)

Updated Neon Wiring Diagram

Craig Reinbrecht has been working on enhancing his neon hookup diagrams and has done an outstanding job. He has incorporated my infamous “Photo-Op” circuit and has made the setup as simple as possible. On the 2008 Build off DVD Craig goes over setting up the neon circuit correctly. This diagram is an enhancement to that process and makes it even simpler. 1 word of advice. For those who have or are considering a 16 row neon you will need 2 neon transformers. If you have a 12 row neon you will need only 1 transformer. Also, if your batteries fall below 30% power your neon will not function properly. It is a built in safety mechanism in the Tech 22 transformer. It is not in the product manual. It is also recommended that you have a separate amplifier for the neon apart from the speakers to guarantee a bright response whenever your robot talks. With that in mind; Craig has provided a recommended amplifier wiring diagram. It isn’t required but it is strongly recommended because if you use just 1 amp, if you turn the volume down the neon may not respond correctly. That’s why you want 2 amps. The amp you use just for the neon can be from a pair of old powered computer speakers so it doesnt have to be a new or expensive purchase.


Beefing up the Hip Suspension


dsc03364Once I started to traverse over obstacles with a fully loaded torso and the robot was being shaken I noticed that the gas shocks were not keeping the torso/hip level. At first I thought I had sheared the cross bolt to the hip motor cam on the Dewert motor but upon careful examination that was not the case. The gas shocks were not strong enough so I  replaced the 4420 gas shocks (which were only giving approximately 25lbs of lift support each) with the Mightly lift model numbers E 95859 (4048)  which yielded approximately 60 lbs of lift for each shock. (remember there are 2 shocks used for the hip)However this was too much for the dewert motor to move but it did flex the aluminum sub waist plate! So I tried 40 lbs shocks. Those work good but they are not the best. I need to review the physics books to figure out the optimal strut strength for a 100 lb load.  There has to be a math equation to figure this out. In the mean time I lengthened the long arm of the hip rotation assembly and shortened the cam to decrease the fulcrum effect on the motor so the downward weight of the torso would not have as great of an affect on the motor (so the motor would be more effective as a brake when not in use). It still may be necessary to find a motor that has a brake but time will tell……