R/C Tank Combat

Tank #T001

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August 2005: After a disappointing battle in the spring resulting from malfunctions with the elevate, rotate and marker I decided it was time to modernize the Tiger's turret. The first generation turret was a bucket and a lid, making it difficult to get to everything inside. The second generation turret is built on a flat base, with a flip-top body to allow quick and easy access to everything.

The underside of the base is a 3/4" tall ring containing eight ball-bearings mounted on their side. This will support the weight of the turret, allowing it to ride easily over the deck. The entire base was coated with epoxy to make it waterproof.
 

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The first generation turret was made out of 1/32" plywood sides that were then fiberglassed for strength. It worked very well, so the second generation turret was made the same way. Unlike the first turret, however, the toolbox was integrated into the design and a little more detail was added to the cupola.

The key feature is the flip-top design, providing quick and easy access to everything inside. A steel bracket was made as both a hinge for the top and to support the mantel, barrel, marker and magazine. The bracket is secured to the base by four nuts and bolts so that it can be removed for maintenance and cleaning.
 

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The 3rd generation rotate mechanism uses a steel arm to turn the turret, welded to a 1/2" tube that goes through the deck. Two bolts connect the arm to the turret base, allowing the turret to be removed very easily for cleaning and repairs. The deck will be completely sealed, preventing paint from dripping down below. In fact, any paint that gets under the turret base will help the turret rotate more easily as it lubricates the bearings and makes the deck slippery.

The underside of the deck reveals the rotate mechanism itself. The 1st generation mechanism used a small friction wheel that was susceptible to paint and that didn't have a large enough wheel or motor. The 2nd generation mechanism used a strong motor and was protected from paint, but the slack in the chain didn't allow it to turn accurately. Furthermore, the turret couldn't be turned when the system was powered down. The 3rd generation mechanism uses a small, but powerful geared motor, pulleys and a belt to provide the best of the previous two designs (friction drive, strong motor, protected from paint).
 

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Here are the various parts used for the rotate, including the arm, bearings, pulley and the mounting board. The mount attaches to the deck with four bolts and has recesses on both sides for the bearings.

The heart of the design is the bracket assembly that provides:
  • a hinge for the turret top,
  • a mounting bracket for the mantel,
  • a mounting bracket for the marker,
  • dampening springs for the barrel,
  • lever arm for the elevate system, and
  • paintball hopper and feed.
Basically, the bracket assembly holds everything in the proper place and is strong enough to take the abuse of the battlefield.
 

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The new mantel (3rd generation) is a little more detailed than the first two, but uses the same design. The marker barrel fits snugly through the hole, while the scale barrel fits around the support and is held in place with a single screw. The mantel is secured to the mounting bracket with 8 screws.

The only change made to the marker from the previous design was the addition of a soldered right-angle extension for the CO2 line that keeps it away from the trigger and out from under the marker as it elevates. The inexpensive door-lock actuator has proven itself in battle in numerous vehicles and the Navarone Gun.
 

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