Monday, December 23, 2013

Moto 2014 Predictions

Just because I'm not going doesn't mean I can't make predictions!

Everyone's gonna be hard-pressed to beat Demise again, but to be honest I don't think anyone in this field can do it. Maybe Itsy Bitsy Spider? I can see Bar Buster coming a distant third unless Sean can make Gyroscope a competent fairy this time around.

1st: Demise
2nd: Itsy Bitsy Spider
3rd: Bar Buster

Lots and lots of tough spinners this time around, and in all varieties too. Last year's champ Low Blow is gonna be hard to beat, but wedged spinners like Algos and Four Minute Warning might have what it takes. Also, Slim Pickens has been constantly improving with each tournament and could be a shocker. However, I wouldn't count out the several drum bots either. Klazo, despite never really doing well, is always a threat, and Gyroscopic, Poco Tambor and Maelstrom are all very potent as well. Another dark horse is Ferocious, who could bring back the 4WD ant scene.

1st: Algos
2nd: Low Blow/Vile Ant
3rd: Slim Pickens

A very diverse Beetle field as per usual. The Robojackets fleet looks potent, as does Franklin champion Grande Tambor. Mondo Bizarro is going to be hunting for revenge, and bar spinners like Maniac Kathy and Scrambles round out the spinners. Trilobite and Thunder Child are also mixed in there, as well as Revenge of Dr. Super Brain. There's also Wedge of Destruction, one of my favorite beetles in ages, as well as Dragon Con runnerup Slim Margins. Slopapotamus and The Hammer are also back to go for another shot, and both of them are extremely potent spinners as well. Then there's Big Data, whose builder made a full-body brushless motor last year, and Cyberkitty Salad, Charles' latest crazy contraption. All in all it's anyone's game and I probably won't be surprised no matter what happens.

1st: Grande Tambor
2nd: Trilobite
3rd: Misdirected Aggression

As usual, the hobbyweights are the least-populated class at Motorama. However, there's some nice variety here. Pneumatic flipper Jumbonator is back, and the giant Trilobite named Isotelus Rex looks ready to lay the smackdown on some spinners. The only question is if Cataclysm will go quietly... I don't think so. There's also Fiasco's successor, Vortex. If it can live up to its predecessor it will be tough to beat as well. Jeremy's Warlock and Attrition are gonna have to try hard to beat such a tough field, and Enigmasaur is the wildcard. If its builder can learn from its mistakes at Franklin, it could also be a factor.

1st: Isotelus Rex
2nd: Cataclysm
3rd: Vortex

And the Sportsman class, as usual, gives us some fantastic variety as well as some great action. Upheaval's looking for revenge on Jack Reacher, or at least its successor Magneato. Team Solo's back in the action too, after a 4 year retirement, with Knuckle Buster back in action. I'm looking forward to seeing the builder of Rim Tin Tin fight again. Mike's two sportsmen, Nyx and his new build Spanky, could also take the class by storm. Piston Wax also looks fearsome, its 6lb counterpart came third at Bot Blast and proved its potency. There's also Sinister Scorpion, another bossing design from Jeremy that could do well. Rounding out the class is Uberclocker, back for another shot at the crown. However, only one robot can stand atop the wackiness that is the Sportsman class. (Hint: It won't be Creebot :P)

1st: Nyx
2nd: Upheaval
3rd: Knuckle Buster

Finally we arrive at the biggest class at Moto, and the one with the least amount of fitting preview images. Tetanus is back for one more shot, as is Shaka. Alex's new drumbot ReEnforcer also looks vicious. If Atomic Bumble actually finishes in time this time around, it could be a tough contender as well. I'm also eyeing both Jamo's new 30 and Hardcore Robotics' entry, Suitcase Nuke. If it's anything like Last Rites it could be a vicious competitor. Charles also returns to the featherweight scene with... whatever his preview image suggests... The Magnificent Poncho also takes my vote for favorite name in the class, in a class with a literal truckload of hilarious names.

1st: Suitcase Nuke
2nd: Tetanus
3rd: ReEnforcer

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December 2013 Update: Registered for Pennbots!

Team Ignition is all signed up and ready to go for Pennbots' Downtown Dog Fight on March 22, 2014. I have pretty much all the parts I need for FireArrow v2, so now it comes down to finishing Nocturne up. I still need about 100% of the electronics for it, but that's about it really. So, since I don't want this to be some boring "oh hey i signed up for something bye" sort of thing, I'm gonna talk about Pennbots a little.

Pennbots is probably a lot different from Bot Blast. For instance, it's a smaller event that draws in a smaller crowd, and most of the competitors (at least from what i've seen of past years) are young kids who are doing it for fun. This is evidenced by last year's BW runner-up Demonator, a  4WD toy with some plastic on it. Another difference is that the arena has *le gasp* pits. Two of them to be exact. I keep fearing I'm going to accidentally drive into one and lose out on an easy win. Also a problem is a lot of the machines are designed to take advantage of this, so I'm pretty nervous that Nocturne's gonna go out early. Especially if Mondo Bizarro comes back and wrecks face.

In other news, Motorama registration closes tomorrow, so I'll probably post predictions then (yes, even though I'm not going).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Late Fall Update - No Fall Fling?

Apparently Fall Fling isn't happening. Shame really. Still really no updates on either robot, as it looks like now my next competition won't be till next year's Bot Blast. Still gonna try to get the electronics for Nocturne together before winter falls, I really wanna test that weapon.

Good luck to everyone working on bots for Moto, hopefully you won't have too many issues :3

Might post predictions once registration closes...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

For those interested in following my path into the robotics world...

I briefly mentioned in my Bot Blast post that Titan Tech Industries has put together a neat little fighting-robot kit. It's probably the cheapest on the market right now (at only about $215 for everything, as opposed to Kitbots, which is closer to 600 for its cheapest kit, and Fingertech which basically needs an entirely new frame to be competitive), and it comes with some of the best parts out there. However, some assembly is required (the frame needs a 5/64'' hex wrench to put together, and the UHMW/Garolite need to be cut, but honestly it can be done with a good pair of scissors and a steady hand), but there's no soldering needed and it shouldn't need too many repairs (IIRC all it needed at Bot Blast were a few tweaks after it got battered by Ripto). They're also working at getting some weapon kits out that should be modular with the basic kit, and they should be relatively cheap.

Link is here:

 After helping me reach third place at Bot Blast, it's the least I can do to advertise their stuff ; )

Nocturne plus FireArrow Rebuild

Not a lot of news recently, things have been slow in the robot world as I return to school for the year. My next planned competition is the Pennbots Fall Fling, usually held in late November. FireArrow is currently in pieces and is awaiting a rebuild. However, that's not the only robot I'm planning on bringing...

In early August, the chassis from a robot previously known as Tainted Black went up on eBay, and I got my mom to buy it (Using my money of course :P). It came about a week later, and so far we haven't done anything with it. My planned name for it is Nocturne. Mainly for the League of Legends character, but also from the Calvin and Hobbes comic "A Nauseous Nocturne". I love those things :3

Secondly, we are rebuilding FireArrow from the ground up. Most of the electronics will stay the same, but we are experimenting with a chassis milled out of a solid block of 7075 aluminum. My dad already has the block and most of the main shape milled out, but we have a long way to go before it's finished. Also on the menu for upgrades are wheelguards made out of UHMW and a sloped back end, so spinners can't bite it as well (as we learned against Guildenstern this is important).

Hopefully we'll have both robots ready for Fall Fling. Still about a month and a half to go...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bot Blast 2013 Event Report

Holy crap I never updated this with the build report :P

So this is the finished build of FireArrow, Ready for Bot Blast.

Bot Blast definitely went well, even better than I had thought it would be.

After a 5 hour drive we arrived at the event and picked out a spot in the pits. We were one of the last ones to get there, so there were few spots available. I parked between Nate from Team Mutually Assured Destruction and Team Omega (didn't catch the builder's name). After getting through safety checks and the driver's meeting, the first round draws were made, and I was up against one of my most-feared robots: Guildenstern. Its vertical bar won it a tournament earlier in 2013 and its driver was definitely experienced. While I put up a good fight, especially for my first ever robot battle, I came up short and FireArrow lost a wheel late in the match. Then a big hit tore a chunk out of FireArrow's rear end, knocking out a drive motor in the process. I couldn't move and was counted out.

After the fight I wasn't too disappointed about my loss, I mean it was my first fight, and I had done a lot better than I thought I had. My one problem was that that motor was toast and we had no spares. Fortunately, Guildenstern's driver let me borrow one of his spares, and we couldn't have been more grateful. We got FireArrow reassembled before lunch and awaited our first loser's bracket fight.

A Glorified Doorstop turned out to be my next opponent, and while it was really well engineered, it lost its first match after its tires came loose from its hubs. It also turned out to be really slow, and after a brief scare in which I found myself flipped and unable to self-right, I got it back under control. The judges handed me an easy win.

Next up in the loser's bracket was Weed Wacker. It managed to win its first fight by knockout but broke its own weapon in the process, and it lost its second battle easily. Its builder was also having issues getting it to work, and he used his 20 minute postponement to get it ready. Once the match began it was all me, getting under him and slamming him into walls like no tomorrow. Another easy victory.

TTI Wedge, a new robot kit built by the same team as Guildenstern, was next for me, and I wanted revenge for my earlier loss. I definitely got some. We didn't know who was going to have the better wedge, and it turned out to be FireArrow. I got in more slams than he did, and he wasn't really able to keep me on his wedge. The judges gave me my third win of the competition.

After another break I was up against Dust Pandemonium, a Robogames veteran with a vicious "blender" weapon. It had had some technical difficulties after its last match, but he was able to get them fixed in time for the fight. I got in a lot of rams early on, but Dust Pandemonium was able to get under me and in the corner for some grinding late in the fight, and I was worried that I'd lost. Not the case, as I was given the decision. It must have been a really close call.

Next up in the brackets was a rematch with Guildenstern. I was scared, especially after last time. However, I was almost handed an easy win when his transmitter wasn't communicating with his reciever. However, he got it running just in time to stay in the fight. Despite some huge gouges taken out of FireArrow's front wedge, it sustained no damage during the fight, and I was able to get some good slams in and win on a judge's decision.

At this point I was one of the three robots left in the antweight bracket. Honestly I hadn't expected to get this far, and I was excited. I had a legit chance at the finals at this point. After assessing the minor damage done by Guildenstern and using some duct tape to cover a chunk taken out, we were ready for the loser's bracket final against Ripto, a well-built vertical spinner with an excellent driver. Its beetleweight counterpart won the championship at Bot Blast last year, so I knew it could dish out damage. I did a great job avoiding his weapon early and managed to flip him onto his back three times, but his first hit bent the axle on one of my motors, meaning I only had one wheel drive. From there I was tossed around the arena by Ripto's disc and eventually onto my back. Ripto then tore off the rear panel, exposing the electronics. I tapped out at that point, wanting to lose as few parts as possible.

I really wanted to toss FireArrow into the rumble, but with the bent motor we really couldn't. Thinking back I could have swapped out gearboxes (we had fixed the broken gearbox in between fights) and probably would have been fine...

After the three championship battles it was time for the awards ceremony. I took home third place in the antweights, and also the other builders voted me as the Best Driver. I was shocked, I had no idea I was that good. But apparently I was. After the awards ceremony we went out for dinner and drove home. I had a great time and am definitely looking forward to my next event.

Pictures I took from the event are here:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hello universe!

This is the first post of this blog. It will mainly be about my robotic projects, including the upcoming antweight, FireArrow.

So yeah, just wanted to get this out there. Once everything comes in the building will commence! I can't wait!