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 Part B

"We have the technology."


Here's just about everything all mounted on the frame in drivable format. It's really jammed in there, and because I only loosely lay out how things will fit in the design the last few pieces of pneumatics always end up looking for a home amongst the sprockets and bearings.
I machined a block of Delrin to make a quick receiver battery clamp. I'm not sure why but I've always had a real problem with mounting these things in my other robots - there's just something unwieldy about them. But from now on I'm using solid state DC-DC converters so that I have one less charging port to deal with at the event.
These are the vertical risers that formed the side frame. I took the precaution of milling slots in the sides to reduce the weight. The flanges sticking off the end are used to screw the top frame on, completing the box. It was a lot of work getting that mounted but last thing I needed was to permanently weld everything in.

The red shop rag is protecting all the critial stuff from weld spatters.

Here's everything crammed in place: blue nicads toward the back, power distribution bus in the middle, Vantec and receiver toward the front. Behind the nicad packs are the black and silver pneumatic regulator and pilot valve.

As usual, the night before the event is when the final armor goes on. I used 3mm thick carbon fiber laminate, cut with a thin abrasive blade on an air grinder. It flung carbon and resin dust everywhere but it sure was easy. 6-32 screws fastened it to the steel frame.
The final beast. Yes that weapon sticks out as far as it looks, and served to be a real liability in a fight. See below.

There were real problems with this robot when it was done. First, too much weight hung forward over the drive wheels (on the swivel caster) so I lost a lot of traction, making it even harder to drive. Second the geometry of that 9 mile long weapon made it impossible to get lined up on anyone, or have to torque to keep it lined up when in contact with an opponent.

But it was too late to fix any of this, so I just had to hope for the best and have fun regardless of my performance.

The Event

Mike Regan of Team Vicious cruise over to my house so we could carpool in the roadtrip out to Phoenix. Ever since Mike and I met at Robot Wars'97 we've been good friends, probably because he's a chronically easy guy to get along with. Here's the truck packed with gear - Venus Probe, Deathtrap and Sabre.

To the right, our hotel suite at the beautiful Sunspree Resort. It was about 108 degrees when we arrived but some kind person had cranked the room A/C down to 78. There was much rejoicing.

The area beneath this tower at the resort was set aside to house the event. It was nice to be out of the sun and (almost) the monsoon that blew through.

To the right, Mike inspects the cement seams to see if they are going to be problematic. They weren't.

The arena begins to take shape. Organizer Bob Pitzer built it in his driveway and then hauled it to the hotel, where we carried it about 19 miles across the grounds to the cement.

Mike peels the protective covering off the 4x8' sheets of polycarb. It was harder than it looks, plus you ended up with about 6 Coulombs of static charge when you were done.

Bob does his He-Man impression in the nearly completed arena. Randy and Mike observe in silent awe. One competitor later remarked that the arena was "quaint," barely escaping with his life.
Dennis Millard talks about his robot, Gator, to Chris Baron. This was the first robot event since Robot Wars'97 so it was great to see so many of the "old gang" together in one place again.

Gator had an electric saw on the front. And a cool inverted plastic cup protecting the antenna on the top.

Chris Harriman with Carnage, a highly feared entry in the 25kg class. Chris used some surplus servo motors to spin those wheels to horizontally deliver the broadaxe on his opponent. It rocked.
Christian Carlberg brought Toecrusher, 25kg, which he explained to me as his interpretation of a wedge robot. The spikes it is standing on provide a tapered barrier to an opponent driving into him. But they're hinged along the central axle to provide clearance on uneven terrain. (Like that slab seam Mike was checking out above.) It had hyper sticky tires, too.
Mike Regan's block of steel and wheels and points known as Deathtrap, also in the 25kg class. Powered by dual Astroflight Cobalt 40 motors, it had a keen lifting arm driven by two actuators. Note the 1960's Hot Rod approach with asymmetrically sized wheels, compensated for via the chain reduction.
And then there's Bob, who not only got the event together but brought Whiplash and an autonomous entry as well. How he has any energy left for his great attitude is a profound mystery.
Without apology I'll tell you I have NO pictures of the fights, though there are some up on the BotBash website. I was just too busy.

Chris snapped the square tube steel on Carnage and had to beat it back into tolerance. The problem with winning is that you have to keep on fighting in short order. This leaves very little time for any necessary repairs.

Tony Buchignani's robot, Saber, tasted the edge of Carnage's axe.
Mike worked furiously during the day to keep his motors cool in the high heat of Phoenix. He was discharging a 7ah gel cell in four minutes into the Cobalt 40s so things were getting toasty.

When the compressed CO2 ran out he just placed it on one of the circulating fans.

There were all sorts of other cool things that happened at the event that I lack pictures of:
  • Christian dripping TrackClaw all over his slick tires to soften them - and making a mess on the floor
  • Tony's sigh of relief that Carnge didn't cream the Vantec controller in Saber
  • The sparks that came off of Deathtrap when Carnage took him on for the title
  • Andrew Lindsey's terrible luck of frying his Vantec the night before the fight, while down with a cold
  • About sixteen people wearing Mr. Spock ears. And those were just the women.
  • The total lack of decent food at the resort
Overall it was an excellent weekend. Venus Probe managed to win only TWO points ahead of Chris Baron's robot, ELSFODDAD. I didn't pick those points up during the sumo or the face-off, so they came from good driving over the obstacle course. Another example where learning how to control your robot can have greatly unexpected results!

Team Delta will be back in 2000!

Back to Part A

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