Most of the robots last year had reasonable armour and this year the armour would probably be better, therefore most cutting weapons would not damage robots enough to completely disable them. As oxyacetylene weapons were not allowed something to flip our opponents over was the next best option.
The blade we built would need enough power to lift the maximum weight of the heavyweight class (79.4 kg) so something with a bit of clout was required. Spikes were added to the front to allow ramming damage to wooden robots.
At the time I was having a bit of trouble with the ABS system on my Ford Granada and so a replacement ABS unit was purchased from a local breakers. The Granada ABS system uses an electric pump to pressurise the braking system to 160 bar (around 2400 PSI) and this seemed the ideal way to provide hydraulic power. The pump was connected to an old bottle jack and it worked a treat. The jack eventually had a new base manufactured (pictured) as the original cracked during welding.
The pressure was released from the system to lower the blade by using an electric motor to open and close a valve. The Ford pump and the motor operated valve are pictured on the right.
The finished robot was able to lift more than it's own weight as pictured below. This is Steve being lifted - and no it's not a fix, it is actually lifting him from the floor.
(remember - we were the first to use this method - lots of interest at the show)