The Typewriter Repairmen 2013 NURC Robot

This is The Typewriter Repairmen's page for the 2013 National Underwater Robotics Challenge, a competition put on by Arizona Promoters of Applied Science in Education in Chandler, AZ.

The Typewriter Repairmen is a family robotics club. Jim, the Principal Instigator, is a "retired" mechanical engineer. He has worked with the local FIRST high school robotics team NERDS for the past eight seasons as an engineering mentor, and discovered that it's about the most fun thing there is. Janet, his wife, has a Masters degree in Systems Engineering, and works at Ft. Huachuca. Jim's brother David is an Electrical Engineer at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory, and also runs a side business Cathode Corner, which sells neat electronic gadgets. Jim and Janet's son Steve, who is nuts about robots, is also a mechanical engineer.

Link to the 2009 NURC robot notBob

Link to the 2010 NURC robot Babs

Link to the 2011 NURC mission

Link to the 2012 NURC autonomous robot Biff

All through the project we have been posting videos on youtube.

Contact us at

June 7, 2013

NURC is here! Steven has to work all day, but I got Gary to help me test both ROVs. We had to do a little work to notBob to get him going. We were able to qualify in second place with Babs. Tomorrow morning we need to use up the rest of the charge on the batteries in both battery packs, then charge them with the solar panels. The Bit Buckets are having some problems with the ROVotron control system. The UA team (Kevin) is making progress converting their AUV to an ROV, for the night time mission.

June 5, 2013

NURC is almost here! The competiton starts Friday. I'm driving up to Chandler Thursday, so I'll be there in time for the driver meeting Friday morning. I will bring NotBob also. We might use him as an overview ROV to help us negotiate the nebula, and possibly rescue Babs if needed.

Steven made our intro video. It's amazing!

May 31, 2013

We got the nebula tested, and decided it is really challenging. We cut off every other strip, and it is possible to see a little bit, but it's easy to get tangled up and disoriented. We suggested that the real one be made with the strips narrower, and spaced further apart. We brought the nebula prop to Tucson, so the Bit Buckets could play with it. They got their ROV mostly working, but they have a lot of work to do on it still, including working on the balance/weights, and getting the camera mount servo working properly.

We also wrote our tech report.

Be sure to view the latest videos on our youtube channel.

May 27, 2013

Steven came to visit so we got some more drivng practice. We also worked on making Babs less likely to suck pieces of the nebula into her thrusters, by adding screen to her. And we started making props. We made a small part of the nebula, using some 0.7 mil plastic sheet. It was too flimsy and didn't really work. So we got some 3.5 mil plastic, and made a larger one. We decided the strips would need to be weighted, so we added a galvanized nail to the bottom of each strip. We made the nebula a bit small, about six by six by five feet tall. We will try it today during the daylight, to see if we can drive into it and see what the tether does. Then if it works, we'll try it at night to see how the visibility is.

May 25, 2013

Gary came to visit, and I kind of swiped him from the Bit Buckets as our copilot. We are low on people this year, because several of our team members have started other teams. That's a good thing. Kevin started an AUV club at the U of A, and they are competing in the autonomous NURC. David and Gary got a bunch of students on the FRC team Bit Buckets interested in NURC, and they are building an ROV using design concepts from Babs, but with several refinements.

Gary got to do some driving practice using Babs, fetching diving toys. He also suggested that we might want to reconfigure the controls, putting the camera tilt control on the right finger buttons, instead of on the top pad, so that it's easier to manipulate the camera while doing fine driving maneuvers.

May 24, 2013

I've been out of it for the past month, with Shingles. Ugh. But now it's getting better and I can do stuff again. So I took Babs for a little dip in the neighbors' pool. I was even able to retrieve a few diving toys! I never was very good at piloting ROVs, I need a lot more practice, and probably more skill.

We plan to keep Babs pretty much as-is for the NURC mission this year. But we do need to figure out how to keep her from snagging the plastic strips of the nebula. One idea is to encloser her in a screen, but we have yet to figure out how to do that.

May 7, 2013

Steven signed us up for NURC. We plan to use Babs to complete the normal NURC mission.