Monday, February 24, 2014

Bot Blast July 2013

I've been falling into this trend of posting weeks or even a months after the fact (actually it's not even a trend anymore; I just haven't been posting). This will hopefully stop as soon as I've settled on one website with a stable blogging system. (I currently have, where I'm playing around with Drupal,,, and this site). I have to say, I probably wouldn't have gotten around to posting this if it weren't for my awesome cousin Alex, who was fascinated by the mini battle bots.

So. How I unexpectedly built a mini battle bot over night:

I had just finished fixing up the 42" TV I had recently crufted, and went over to MITERS. Dane and Ben were working on their last minute robots. Charles had extra motors, battery packs, and a seat in mikuvan. And why not?

I started with a previous ant weight battle bot frame that Charles had laying around.

I found a piece of round steel stock that the motors fit in perfectly. It helped make the bot heavier in its center. I milled out the middle section to allow for the motor wires to exit.

As for the wheels, I turned them on the MITERS lathe and used o-rings for the tires.

I ran over to the MIT COOP to get a notebook with a good flexible plastic cover to use as the ramp. It worked surprisingly well; nothing could get underneath, because it slid along the floor (unlike the metal ramps that are about a millimeter off the ground).

In the last hour before we left for Pennsylvania, Ben helped me solder up the electronics. It drove minutes before getting packaged up for the long drive.

One the ride down, we brainstormed possible names for the last minute ant weight. To name just a few: The-Dead-Hooker-Under-A-Rug, Hooker-Under-A-Rock (suggested by Jullian), and Speed Bump. 

Bot Blast 2013 Competition:

My relatives live 40 minutes from the competition, so I invited them to come out and watch. My uncle Ted, and cousins Alyssa and Alex made it out to watch, and can be seen in the stands of some of the videos. 

My first match was against Jameson's DDT, an impressive bot with a high speed horizontal steel saw. The notebook cover did pretty well against the saw. I thought it would get torn to shreds, but it was able to scoop underneath and protect itself (there was no way I'd win this match; even if it were a tie the judges would rule DDT more aggressive). My only hope was to not get severely damaged, please the crowd by deflecting DDT to fly around and make loud noises, and to have fun. 

Unfortunately, Jameson was able to get a solid connection with the side aluminum wheel support, causing the axle to pinch and leaving Speed Bump immobilized. I tapped out before getting further damaged.

My second match was also against Jameson with his 3D-printed Cake Slice. This was a fairly even match; two wedges battling it out. Cake Slice got stuck near the end. I probably could have won the match by leaving him stuck, but I tried to be a good-sport and freed him. The judges ended up ruling Cake Slice the victor. 

The tournament was double elimination, so that was the end of my first battle bot competition.

During a break, Ben practiced trying to fling Speed Bump with his Glorified Door Stop like he had done the night before in MITERS. 

Credit for the videos goes to Jullian and Charles.

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