Off season projects

I know that us FIRST junkies can’t go the 9 months without a hit, so I’d like to know what off-season projects you do/robots you build. I built a robot for a school project (great excuse) called Dex. She has a wireless video camer with full pan and tilt (thank you ebay! it was $1) AWD, 4 wheel steering, and a monocoque chassis. I used stock RC car transmissions with Fisher Price motors and an old Basic Stamp RC. It also has a trailer that can raise and fire Estes rockets (no pics of it, sadly). the other robot in the second pic is my team’s bot from '04. Andy A and I have also been working on fitting an old cult RC car, the Grasshopper, with a Victor and Fisher Price motor. The results have been phenominal! The victor worked perfectly with an RC control unit (once calibrated) and the FP provides almost too much power… almost ;-). It’s powered by two 7.2V packs wired in series, which makes for good top-end on the FP. I don’t have pictures of it yet, but they are coming. Any questions about either project email me at

Post your projects, preferrably with pics!

small dex and leo.jpg

small dex and leo.jpg

That looks awesome, must be fun working on it, and also driving it around! :yikes:

How did you put the FP motors in the Clodbuster transmissions? Did you pull the pinion and put on a different one or make an adjustable mount or what?

I pressed (hammered) a new gear onto all the FP motors and just swapped them in, the RC motors and FP have the same mounting points. Though the one on the grasshopper took a little shimming to get to mesh right. It is impressive you recognized the trannys as the Clodbusters :wink:

My friend and I are trying to restore our 2002 robot to use as our show/presentation robot. Apparently our 2002 OI/RC broke, so we made the decision to scrap our 2003 robot and use the parts to restore our 2002 robot. No pictures as of yet. Anyways, so far we’ve only painted the frame and mounted two wheels.

a very cool project to work on. very nice. now when is Dex and team 95’s robot competiting? are they doing Zone Zeal, Stack Attack or First Frenzy? :ahh:

i have worked on several projects. one of the best that me and one of my team member made was the HexCrawler. it was pretty cool (atleast it taught me P-Basic). and Edubots are always fun to play with :slight_smile:

anyone know how to pull off the pinion gear on the fp without a gearpull? as i dont have access to one.

As many CDer’s already know, one of my projects can be seen here.

Do you have access to a press? If so use that and press the motor shaft out of the gear.
Or, if you don’t mind loosing the gear, just use a dremel and cut the gear (gear only, not the FP shaft), in half, then just pry apart. It’s pretty time consuming but it doesn’t require a gear puller or arbor press.

I don’t have access to anything but a vice and hammer to remove/add gears. All i did was hammer on the gear (very carefully) and to take it off tighten the vice around the FP axel (but don’t snug it) so that it’s under the gear, and use a nail of other available metal rod to hammer out the motor shaft. This has worked well for me, but it requires patience and care, you can easily screw things up.

I will also add that I did this entire project with nothing more than my toolbox of tools and a hand drill, hehe, talk about match-drill…:cool:

We are using ***** **** to ****** **** to the ******* while ******* is still ****. We call this ********* because ***** is not *********** to the ******** *******. This is nothing compared to our ******** ***** which will allow us to ******* **** ***** the *** *******.

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Basically we have gone over our robot weaknesses and researched methods of improving them. We are now doing team building exercises, which are mini projects to train our new members. That is about as close to off season projects as we have gotten.

We have spent the better half of the last four months on planing and finally running an awesome Lego league competition. We also worked a little on a old robot we pulled out, but we ran out of time to finish it up before build season starts.

Over the summer we had the site remodeled. The project was led by Ellery . The PAW room was moved out due east and the old PAW room was turned into a museam that has everything X-Cat from 1992 (no not the robot, FIRST has it) to 2004. We have a new rug (straight from Atlanta formerly known as the Newton field) and a new paint job. The site looks sharp.

Whaddya know. I put up my website files from school by mistake. :o
Ah well I guess they’ll do.

Our team split into 4 or 5 groups to work to different areas, like pneumatics, programming, autoCADing, and electronics, to gain some experience before the build period. :stuck_out_tongue:
It has actually worked pretty well so far, and seeing as we dont have much time left, good luck to us. We also tried to get an adult mentor for each group; we got 2 alumni (last years seniors), teachers and parents to come in and work with a group once a week. It worked out really well, when we were on task. And when the two programming groups weren’t fighting over the computers.
(Hey! It’s not my fault the other computer wasn’t set up! so WHY did they keep stealing MY computer… :mad: )


nope no press or even a dremel. i tried the vise and hammer way but i guess i wasnt hitting hard enough :stuck_out_tongue: i was pretty scared id bend the shaft or something of the sort. hammer + motor just doesnt mix well for me. and i was wondering… if i didnt care about the pinion anymore, as long as i got it off and the motor in good shape, are there any other ways? i have only limited access to a very limited tools

Well, you could try to rig up some contraption involving clamps, though that may prove to be tricky. If you have a torch of some kind you could try heating it up and pulling the gear off, a good propane torch should only be $20-$30 with a tank. If that seems to scary you could also try taking off the gear with a grinder. If all else fails attack it with a hacksaw. If you’re really worried about hurting something with the hammer/vise technique, strap a softer metal (aluminum or copper) to the hammer head so that you won’t scarrify anything.

How about a drill press? You can use the drill press to try and push on the shaft to force the gear out. Not too good for the drill press though. Like what James said, hacksaw is good, it’ll take some time. Maybe buy some metal lubricant at an automotive store, like the stuff you use to loosten rusted bolts (but I think that only really helps when it’s rusted shut).
Worse case senario, clamp the pinion rock solid in a vice, then sit there with a file or an angle grinder and tear away at the gear until you get somewhat close to the shaft. Then just try pulling/ pounding it out. Yeah, and it will be very time consuming.