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Robart II (1982 – 1992)

As the upper body of ROBART II was fabricated from a length of PVC irrigation pipe, only four components were made of fiberglass. The left photo below shows the initial configuration, constructed on my patio in Monterey, CA, while attending the Naval Postgraduate School. The mobility-base housing was a plywood mockup to verify critical dimensions associated with mounting the gel-cell battery and wheelchair motors.  Having served its purpose, this mockup was cut both laterally and longitudinally into four symmetric pieces, which were temporarily glued back together with small wooden slats, thus creating the mold for a fiberglass replica.  After the cloth and resin layered over this mold had cured, I cut the bridging slats from the inside and collapsed the supporting assembly, resulting in the all fiberglass base seen in the right photo.

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The second fiberglass component on ROBART II was the flying-saucer-shaped cowling seen in the right figure above that filled the gap (see again left photo above) between the top of the PVC body and the plexiglass-dome. This black cowling was formed around the perimeter of a fiberglass disc upon which all the head components inside the dome were mounted. The third fiberglass component on ROBART II was a small circular mounting fixture for the head-mounted Polaroid sonar transducer, seen attached to the black cowling just above the aluminum ring on the right side of the photo below. The sacrificial wooden form for casting this fixture was turned to shape on the lathe.

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The fourth and final fiberglass component was a 24-transducer sonar array, mounted just below the head cowling, which replaced the aluminum ring around the top of the PVC body shell as seen in the photos below. The left photo shows the fiberglass ring, which was fabricated in a plywood mold and then turned and drilled on the lathe, being test fitted prior to installation of the Polaroid transducers. The right photo shows the completed sonar array with all 24 transducers installed.

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