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Fire-fighting Robot
Fire-fighting robot, RCX controlled with onboard water tank. Speedy, accurate and fun response to any smallish scale fires you might happen to have.
About this creation
This is a remote control fire-fighting robot. I have previously built a flamethrower, so now I have something that will put out fire instead of cause it. This is actually a remake of a much poorer model I made about two years ago. I prefer this version because it has the ability to sustain the water spray for longer, thanks to its controllable high-volume hose. This version is more compact and has a boom that can lift the jets above the fire.

The propulsion is provided by two motors geared 1:5 that provide skid steering. They are powered from an external, operator-controlled battery pack. There are two castor wheels providing stability, allowing the robot to traverse most terrain.

There are three nozzles, two of which are small gauge (the nozzles are the same as used in the flamethrower - inkjet refill syringe needles). The high volume jet can be switched on and off by the operator, the flow rate being controlled by a pneumatic clamp that squeezes the tubing. This has an elastic band tensioner so only one pneumatic line is needed to control it.

The nozzles are mounted on electrically powered turrets. The micro-motors are controlled via the onboard RCX, using an infrared signal from the operator. There are several oscillation patterns that allow the operator to concentrate on the general aiming, with the turrets automatically spreading the water. The jets are grouped onto the limited number of turrets in a specific way. One small jet has vertical rotation, the idea being that the direction of the robot can be changed to adjust the direction of this jet horizontally. The other two jets are both mounted on a turret that has full 360* horizontal rotation, as well as vertical rotation. This allows for accurate positioning of the high-volume jet.

The turrets are mounted on an extendable pneumatic boom, which has elastic band tensioners to allow more positions to be achieved. This boom is usually retracted when manoeuvring the robot as it shifts the centre of gravity forward when extended. This allows the jets to fire down onto the fire, and reach over obstacles or debris. It also increases the range, which is particularly useful for the high-volume jet.

The water supply is carried on the robot, directly over one of the drive wheels. The container is a drinks bottle specifically selected because of the soft plastic from which the lid is made. This gives it an excellent seal around the pipes. There are two pipes for the water jets (one for the high volume and the other for both of the small jets). This is amply supplied by a single air pipe, which is pressurised using external hand pumps. Unfortunately I do not have the parts to construct an automated pump.

The overall fire-fighting method is to fill the bottle, manoeuvre towards the fire and partially extend the boom, beginning to target the fire with the small jets. The robot edges closer to the fire, keeping the largest flames extinguished. The boom is then fully extended, and the high-volume hose can be used to extinguish the fire quickly. The closest comparisons to this robot are the fire trucks made by Jacub Maur, and those competition robots you occasionally see that put out a night-light candle with a little propeller. Night light? This robot puts out small bonfires!
To be fair, the aforementioned robots have fire targeting as one of their main features, which is currently not implemented on my robot. This is mainly because it is quite difficult and thus a separate project altogether, something I would probably implement with infrared detectors.


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   Overview with nozzles in foreground

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   The turrets and nozzles

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   Here you can see how the bottle is held(bottom), the pneumatic clamp (middle) and the retracted boom (top)

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   Boom extended, with the simple RCX mounting visible

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   Pneumatic clamp open (i.e. jet turned on)

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   Clamp closed (i.e. jet turned off)

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   Front of the robot, with gearing and layout visible

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   The nozzles again


 I like it 
  April 11, 2007
thats really cool! can you make that into a flamethrower? (fill the bottle with something flammable, and tape a little stick with some burning paper on the top of the barrel) if you do, make a video! (you are not need to do it)
 I like it 
  January 20, 2007
have you try'd putting out a candle with that?
By David Hyman
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Added April 20, 2006
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