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Drum beats the sounds of success for Pulsar 
Drum beats the sounds of success for Pulsar 

Drum beats the sounds of success for Pulsar 

Added to MTDCNC by Proto Labs on 07 September 2016

As a self-taught designer, Ellis has created robots from a young age, being a prominent name in the European robotics scene since his early teens. Throughout this time, he travelled with his parents, Peter and Tara across Europe in their motorhome, attending events and competitions to hone his skills and raise his profile in the sector. He now manages Ranglebox (www.ranglebox.com), his niche organisation in the robotics community, providing small-medium scale robotics products and consultancy to a variety of European clients.

He first came across Proto Labs when looking for local engineering companies, having been contacted to be a contestant on the BBC show, Robot Wars. Needing high specification parts, with very little lead time, Ellis thought his chance at Robot Wars was just a dream – thankfully this was not the case and work began to create Pulsar. 

Ellis’ ‘rebel’, Pulsar, is a 110kg fighting robot with attitude. His aim was to create a machine that was practical, yet impressive, and this is something he certainly achieved. With its energy-transferring drum flywheel and the deafening sounds it generates, Pulsar is not a robot to shy away into the crowd.

With his designs at a progressed stage, Ellis needed support to make his plans a reality, conscious of an ever looming deadline from the BBC. With mere days to go before needing to be ready for a gruelling filming schedule, the Proto Labs team stepped in to offer their support.

To create Pulsar, Proto Labs CNC machined a series of components including the wheel bearing holders and weapon motor mount bulkhead, both integral elements of the robot’s form and function. Three axis machining of two grades of aerospace aluminium were used to give Ellis the properties he needed - Ali 6082-T6 and Ali 7075-T6.

Less than three days after Ellis’ original order, he collected his parts, bolted them into the machine and headed to Glasgow for filming. With several elements left to complete on the robot upon arrival, it was a race against time to be ready before the filming and battles commenced. 

After considerable effort and very little sleep, Pulsar was finally complete at 3.30am on the first day of filming and ready to meet its competitors. Numerous battles ensued and the team were so successful as to reach the final!

Ellis knew that timing was the determining factor in Pulsar’s development and believed Proto Labs quick response time was integral in his success:

“Timing was crucial for me, I only had a few days to go from my designs to needing the high specification parts in my hand and heading up the motorway for filming. It was a very emotional process, with so many cliff-hangers, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was amazing.”

“Proto Labs really supported me throughout and I was so pleased to get to the arena with Pulsar to compete with my dream. I’m hoping to ride the wave after Robot Wars, and work with Proto Labs in my own business and maybe even in series 2!”

A very satisfied customer!

If it wasn’t for Proto Labs’, I wouldn’t have made it to Robot Wars – Ellis Ware


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