Saturday, October 4, 2014

MIT Mini Maker Faire 2014 Event Report

It's been awhile, hasn't it? I haven't updated this blog in two months! Here's what went down between then and now:

-FireArrow got a new wedge so the self-righting issues were fixed
-Nocturne got finished

MIT's first annual Mini Maker Faire was this weekend, and they had a robot competition hosted by Jamison Go, who built DDT. Since it was the first year for the event (and only two weeks away from Franklin, the bigger tournament around the east coast) not many people made it out, but it was a great competition nonetheless. Here's how my two robots did:

Fight 1: FireArrow vs Puppy
Since there were only six ants, it was decided to run them round robin. My first opponent was Puppy, a 4WD wedge built by Team Metal Volcano. They had decided to come up and test their robot for Franklin, and it was a solid build. The new version of it featured pink 3D-printed parts and some thicker armor all around. I had some flashbacks to Antelope when I first saw it, and knew I'd have issues getting under it. However, despite some early flips (which were mitigated by my robot's new wedge modification) I was able to be in control most of the match. Eventually, he ramped off my wedge and flipped himself, and I was able to control him entirely from there. FireArrow wins a deserved judge's decision.

Fight 2: Nocturne vs Derp Bot
Derp Bot was a last-second build by an MIT student, and it was the ideal cannon fodder: held together by duct tape, servo drive, and a spinner that'd be more at home on an antweight. We had been struggling to get Nocturne's weapon to spin up, and those issues were prevalent again here. However, after a few tries it got going and absolutely tore into the duct tape, leaving an entire side open. I got another couple of smaller hits but nothing like that first one. Late into the match I hit the arena's kickplate, and one of Nocturne's weapon teeth cracked. Looks like they were too brittle for combat. Eventually Derp Bot is counted out and Nocturne moves on.

Fight 3: FireArrow vs Spinzilla
Spinzilla is Brandon's ant, and it featured a VDD kit blade, carbon fiber armor and a very high-up weapon assembly. His spinner wasn't really able to get a good bite on my wedge, so I was able to slam him around for a while. Eventually, his lipo managed to fall out. I thought the match would end, but apparently not, so I kept ramming him around. Then, late into the match something truly bizarre happened: I slammed him battery-first into the wall, and the battery fell into the small gap that surrounded the arena. It was tethered to the wall! It eventually freed itself, but that was about it. No surprise I won this one.

Fight 4: Nocturne vs Robo Rooter
Alex's brutal hubmotor spinner, Robo Rooter, was my next opponent. This was one of the beetles I was truly scared of. I knew I'd have issues with my weapon so I decided to go into his weapon rear-end first. This seemed to work for a while, despite the damage I was taking to the corners. Eventually I got the weapon spun up and I got one good hit on his wheelguard before it stopped and wouldn't start again. At this point I was just hitting him with all I had and trying to survive to the next match. I got caught on the seam at mid-arena and then got punted one more time by Robo Rooter, and this time I couldn't move at all. No clue why, I just couldn't move. So I tapped out. Taking the robot back to the pits, we found out that the last hit had severed the connection between the power switch and the robot, meaning it couldn't move. Other damage included a bent weapon shaft and some very deep gouges in the UHMW sides. Needless to say, Nocturne was done for the day.

Fight 5: FireArrow vs Glass Cannon
Glass Cannon was another "built at the last minute" bot from a MIT student. This one featured a deadly looking vertical blade, but in its first match it cracked in half on the first impact, and so since was held together with pink duct tape, ballpoint pens, and dreams. Since the builder was AWOL at the time, Jamo drove it. It was a fairly simple match, with me getting under, him glancing off my wedge and bouncing off two walls of the arena, and so forth. Eventually the weapon stopped, and that was it. FireArrow wins again.

Fight 6: FireArrow vs Cannon
Oh boy. Here it is. The one ant I was legitimately afraid of. Massive vertical eggbeater. However, it wasn't all bad, there were kids behind me in the seats cheering for me. And the fight was a lot of fun too. Tons of heavy hits and big slams, and he got me flipped a few times. Eventually, though, I lost a drive motor, and the last two big hits killed FireArrow entirely. These were at the very end of the match though so it still went to the judges, but they passed it to the crowd. Since I was the wedge, they of course said Cannon won. We took it back to the pits and found the drive system a mess. The axles were bent, the bearings had broken and we didn't have the tools to fix it there in the pits. This meant we had to forfeit the last round of the round robin. However, since I won the first three fights, I had a good enough record to tie for second with Spinzilla. In my opinion, I came second, because my victory over Spinzilla in the main competition would have been the tiebreaker. They wanted to do a tiebreaker match, but with neither robot in condition to do so we decided to put a Spongebob pinata on a giant coin-flipping machine (don't ask) to decide the winner. I lost the sponge toss. So officially, I came third.

Still, it was a fantastic event with a lot of great people, and I got to see some pretty neat stuff when I wasn't competing (like Chibi-Mikuvan). Now, to prepare for Moto!

I will upload the pictures I took tomorrow and edit them here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Nocturne is near completion!

Despite being unable to make it to Bot Blast, Nocturne is closer than ever to being a finished robot. Recently, the weapon assembly was finished (just need to add the steel weapon teeth) and the drive was mounted. We're going to Velcro some of the more important internals (ESC, battery, etc) so they don't get knocked around as much.

Here's a weapon test:
Of course that was before we decided to mount the wheels internally so they don't get damaged as much. Also changed since that video was taken is the front of the robot. That front point has been milled off so it's harder to damage.

Here's a picture of how Nocturne looks at the present moment:
It will be ready for October's competitions as soon as the weapon teeth are attached and the power switch is mounted.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bot Blast 2014 Event Report

Bot Blast was a ton of fun as usual. Nocturne was not finished in time to compete, but FireArrow was ready to go so we packed it and our tools and set out for Pennsylvania. We arrived, passed safety, and got ready for our first fight with no issue at all. This year, my spot in the pits was in between Kyle, who was running the 3lb Ripto, and Jake from team Orbital Activity, who I met at Pennbots, with his new antweight drum Empire. Matches started on time and FireArrow managed to get a bye to the second round.

Match 1: FireArrow vs Don't Ask
Don't Ask was a last-minute 4-hour ant build by Tim, the builder of Scrambles the Death Dealer. It was a UHMW box with an undercutting sawblade that reminded me all too much of DDT in its first match. My plan was to wait for his gyro forces to expose his rear end and then go in for the kill.

As the match started, his unpredictability got the better of me and left some good scratches on my wedge, dealing some slight damage as I pushed him around and sending him flying whenever he got a good hit. Eventually, a good hit from his blade flipped me onto my back, and I spent a lot more time than I should have trying to right myself. I knew it could, but apparently the floor had less traction than my driveway so I
had issues trying to right. A good charge into Don't Ask's blade flipped me right side up again, so I was able to push him around and stuff. Near the end of the fight one of FireArrow's silver spark gearboxes let go so I only had one-wheel drive for the last 10 seconds or so of the match. Based on this damage I lost the match on a split judge's decision.

Match 2: FireArrow vs Nuff Said
Nuff Said was exactly how I saw it on Youtube: A long, 2WD box with two low titanium wedge forks at the front. We had replaced the broken gearbox from the battle from Don't Ask but we unfortunately didn't realize that it had claimed the other gearbox too. After a few rams into the wall the other gearbox fell apart leaving us with 1.5 wheel drive for the rest of the match. However, Nuff Said had bigger issues than that, they had some massive radio reception problems that allowed me to win the match on a judge's decision.

Match 3: FireArrow vs Slice
The team that brought 3 antweights to their first event was a family from New Jersey, and the drivers were bright young kids who showed a lot of promise. Slice was their first robot and as so wasn't very strong, its weapon had very little force and couldn't right itself. I pushed it around for a while, it got stuck on its side a few times (I was nice and knocked them onto their wheels again) but eventually it got flipped onto its back and counted out.

Match 4: FireArrow vs Velociraptor
Velociraptor came all the way from Washington with a vertical sawblade and an excellent driver. Nate and Slim Pickens had already defeated Velociraptor, so I was going to try to use the same strategy he did and charge into him from the side. This was a basic "slam-him-around-the-box-until-the-match-ends" fight with Velociraptor only gaining the upper hand once or twice, getting to my steel back end and sending some sparks flying. Their titanium wedge was a non-issue, I was able to get under it easily. Despite more paint scratches it was a fairly easy match, with FireArrow taking another judge's decision.

Match 5: FireArrow vs Hercules
I saw Hercules fight last year, it was a promising little lifter bot with a pretty big weakness to spinners. It had managed to make it to the final four with me and I had to take it down to take home a trophy. The first charge proved his wedge was lower than mine, so I had to go around the wedge to get him into the walls. A few times I was able to wedge myself in between the lifter and the chassis, and I used this opportunity to shove him around. FireArrow won once again by judge's decision.

Match 6: FireArrow vs Antelope
Antelope's newest incarnation was a 4WD wedge bot. It looked pretty tough to drive around so I knew I was going to have to outwedge it. They were using their solid wedge attachment for this match, after their finger wedges lost to Slim Pickens in the winner's bracket final. Holy crap I could not get under that thing. He was always able to get under me, drive me around and flip me over. I knew I wasn't going to win, but with 30 seconds left in the match I got incredibly lucky: I got to his side and was able to somehow stick his wedge into a seam between the wall and floor. Antelope got counted out and I was moving on to the finals!

Match 7: FireArrow vs Slim Pickens
This was it. The finals. I was up against Nate, who had made it to the finals going 4-0 and undefeated. I knew this was going to be close. The match started with both of us getting under each other several times, with me getting the first big slam of the match. We were both trying to outmaneuver each other. Not much else to say, it was a wedge final. However, one good slam got Slim Pickens stuck on its wedge horns, and since it couldn't move from that position Nate tapped out. FireArrow takes home the antweight title with a 6-1 record!!!

FireArrow's overall record for its first full year of competition is 15-3, and to be honest that's outstanding. I can't wait for my next event, whatever it may be, and hopefully we'll be there with two robots, as Nocturne creeps ever closer to completion.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bot Blast 2014: Thoughts on the Opposition

Bot Blast is less than two weeks away! I thought I'd pass the time by checking out the competition (posted on and writing my thoughts on the two classes I'm fighting in, the antweight and beetleweight classes.


Team Sandman
Weapon: Hinged Wedges/Plow
Notes: Bot Blast 2012 Best Driver, getting totally redesigned for this competition

Antelope is currently one of two 4WD antweights signed up and currently looks awesome. Its front plow is going to be an absolute pain for spinners to fight, but I think I'll have little issue getting under it with FireArrow. However, the matchup between two skilled drivers will be very interesting to watch...

Fear Rating: 3/5

Weapon: Vertical Eggbeater
Notes: Moto 2013 runner-up

I've never fought an eggbeater before so this'll be interesting. Hopefully it'll be similar to the vertical spinners I fought last year. If it is it shouldn't be too hard. Still, it'll have more throwing power and that makes me nervous.

Fear Rating: 5/5

Cutting Edge
Revelation Robotics
Weapon: Wedge
Notes: New robot and team

Brand new team, they've entered 3 antweights in their first event. I think they'll be overwhelmed, especially if one of them gets thrashed by a spinner. The low build quality on two of them interests me, reminds me of old style antweights. I think I can get under or out-drive it for an easy win.

Fear Rating: 1/5

Orbital Activity
Weapon: Drum
Notes: Built Mr. Smiley at Pennbots, promising young builder despite his bots being low-tech

Another likely low-quality robot that'll be defined as one of the scrappiest bots here. Despite using a saucepan and servos, Mr. Smiley was a decent bot, so hopefully we'll see similar quality here. That is, if it can get through safety... Against FireArrow, it shouldn't have much trouble, as drumbots normally don't cause much trouble.

Fear Rating: 2/5

Team Gyroscopic
Weapon: Vertical Eggbeater
Notes: Incredibly powerful, Bot Blast 2012 Runner-up

Similarly to Cannon, this thing scares me. However, like Cannon, if I can use its KE to my advantage, I could pull off a win. Gyroscopic lost two years ago to a solid brick when its wheel fell off after a large hit, if something like that happens again I should be golden.

Fear Rating: 5/5

Conn Bots
Weapon: Servo Lifter
Notes: Competed last year, went 2-2

Hercules is a pretty well-built robot, and it has the lifter to distance itself from wedge bots. I'm not sure which one of us is lower, but if it's me I should have no issues.

Fear Rating: 3/5

Hungry Like the Wolf
Team Kapbotiks
Weapon: Overhead Spinning Bar
Notes: New robot from old team

If we meet up, it'll be my first time facing a horizontal spinner. Depending on how stable it is and if it can self-right, we'll see how well I do. All I can predict is that I won't be leaving the arena unscathed.

Fear Rating: 4/5

Nuff Said
Don's Robots
Weapon: Wedge Forks
Notes: last competed 2 years ago

If it's the same as it was 2 years ago, it'll be a low robot built by an experienced team. I'll have to avoid the forks and hope he doesn't out-drive me.

Fear Rating: 3/5

Sky Rocket
Revelation Robotics
Weapon: Servo Lifter
Notes: Kit robot, new team and robot

The kitbot entry from this team interests me. Again, this is going to depend on the competence of the team (running 3 bots at your first event is going to be a MAJOR hassle) and which one of us is the better driver.

Fear Rating: 2/5

Revelation Robotics
Weapon: Angled Spinning Bar
Notes: Probably the lowest-tech robot here

This was once really bad looking but has since been updated, and now the bar looks like it at least some power now. It still is on an odd angle and I don't think it'll do very well, but it's better than before. It might deal some minor damage to my wedge but that's about it.

Fear Rating: 2/5

Slim Pickens

Mutually Assured Destruction
Weapon: Wedge
Notes: Completely rebuilt from last year, Moto 14 3rd Place

Alex and Nate have assembled an awesome antweight wedge that I hope I get matched up with. Me and Nate are pretty equal in terms of driving skill, so it'll be a great fight either way.

Fear Rating: 3/5

Team Headbangers
Weapon: Horizontal sawblade or metal bar
Notes: previously known as Antamantium Rage

If it still has the sawblade, I'm sure it'll be a fairly easy match. If it has the bar, it'll be tougher but I think I can tough it out. Not sure how strong Brandon's spinner will be or even if it'll be working in time for Bot Blast, but I'm confident I can take it down.

Fear Rating: 2/5

Weapon: Vertical Sawblade
Notes: Went 0-2 at its first competition last year

I like Uber-Saw because it's TF2 themed and it's got a cool color scheme, but like with other vertical sawblades I can't see it doing much damage. Its saw has pretty large teeth though so I can see it throwing other bots pretty far. I think I might get knocked around a bit in this fight, but it'll go down similarly to my fight with Guildenstern where for most of the match he's beached on my wedge.

Fear Rating: 3/5

Team DinoBots
Weapon: Vertical Sawblade
Notes: Western team comes to Pennsylvania to play. I believe this robot has made numerous event finals.

Veliociraptor reminds me of Guildenstern in that it's a mainly UHMW vertical spinner with an experienced builder at the helm. However, it uses a sawblade instead of an offset bar, meaning it probably won't have the damage output Guildenstern did. I'm not gonna count this one out just yet though, knowing its capabilities.

Fear Rating: 4/5

Viciously Circular
Mutually Assured Destruction
Weapon: Wedge and Vertical Spinning Bar
Notes: Previously known as Endgame, this robot won the Robogames Junior Ant class under a different owner

A vicious new robot under Nate's ownership. It's got a powerful weapon, but I don't know how good its wedge is. I don't have a good track record against wedged spinners so I'm scared of this thing either way.

Fear Rating: 5/5

Wedge Bot
Joe's Robots
Weapon: Wedge
Notes: New robot

I've never seen this thing before, but apparently it has a wedge. Can't base much off of that but its builder is very experienced.

Fear Rating: 3/5


Team DinoBots
Weapon: Vertical Drum
Notes: Numerous event finals, one of the few robots to beat a 2-time world champion

Holy crap. I did design Nocturne's new bar to beat Wetas but this is like if Weta took steroids and then ingested 300 pounds of manliness. It scares me.

Fear Rating: 5/5

Black Raspberry
Joe's Robots
Weapon: Vertical Drum
Notes: New robot

Again, can't base much off this, but once again the builder is very experienced so I can expect the best from him.

Fear Rating: 4/5

Team Kapbotiks
Weapon: Wedge
Notes: New bot from old team

From the preview pic, it looks like it'll be a solid rammer. Since I have a horizontal spinner my only hopes are that I can deal some fatal damage quick.

Fear Rating: 3/5

Counter Shock
Don's Robots
Weapon: Vertical Eggbeater
Notes: First time this robot has competed in 2 years

Counter Shock did pretty well last time it went out even though its weapon wasn't working for half the event, so if its weapon is working this time it'll be even harder to beat. Experienced driver, builder and a solid robot here.

Fear Rating: 5/5

Dumb Post Motorama Idea #1 (Titanium Edition)
Team Cookin' With Gas
Weapon: Wedge
Notes: Super fast

I lost to this bot twice at Pennbots. There aren't pits at Bot Blast, but he can still ram me all over the arena. Aiming for those exposed wheels is my best bet.

Fear Rating: 3/5

Team AstroBots
Weapon: Finger Wedges
Notes: New team and new robot, 3d printed frame

One of the big things I picked up from last year's Bot Blast is that 3D printed frames don't hold up well. This gives me hope that I'll escape another solid wedge whooping by the damage I'll cause, but we'll see. Despite being a new team the builders have competed before, so they aren't exactly green to the sport either.

Fear Rating: 3/5

Mondo Bizarro
Team Headbangers
Weapon: Vertical Eggbeater
Notes: Reigning champion

Like I said, I designed Nocturne to take on Weta kits, but they're still scary. I'm incredibly nervous that I'm gonna get torn apart.

Fear Rating: 3/5

One Fierce Javelin
Fierce Robots
Weapon: Wedge
Notes: New robot from Gene, did well at USATL

Gene always brings some insane robots to events. Here's another wedge with insane speed, too. Just like with DPMI, I'm going to have to take out those wheels fast or I don't think I'm going to have much of a chance.

Fear Rating: 4/5

Pizza Party
Team Cookin' With Gas
Weapon: ???
Notes: New robot, new builder, supposedly a joke bot?

I have no clue what this thing is, but it's supposedly going to be an entertaining beetleweight built by Alex's friend. With that in mind I think I got this.

Fear Rating: 1/5

Play 'n Krazy
Bone Dead Robotics
Weapon: Vertical Eggbeater
Notes: Came third last year and won the Highest Hit award

Nocturne was designed to take on Wetas, and this one should be no exception. PK is a little bit weaker than Mondo, and its driver is less experienced, so it should be a slightly easier fight.

Fear Rating: 2/5

Purple Boxer
Kelley PA
Weapon: Wedge
Notes: Slow but torquey

I saw Purple Boxer at Pennbots and it looked incredibly resilient to attack. Mondo Bizarro hit it and despite sparks flying it didn't take much damage. If it's as tough as USS Monitor was (I lost to it at Pennbots after hitting it once) I don't think I'll win by KO. My best bet is going to be to outspeed it and aim for the wheels.

Fear Rating: 2/5

Raptor 2.2
Team DinoBots
Weapon: Wedge
Notes: 2-time RoboGames champion

This thing is the definition of beetleweight brick. It's a 2-time world champion and scares the hell out of me. I think if I can get to its back I can leave some scars, but I ain't winning this fight in a million years.

Fear Rating: 6/5 (yes you read that right)

Ripto 3.0
Twisted Sick Robotics
Weapon: Vertical Disc
Notes: Bot Blast 2012 champion

I fought the antweight version of this last year and lost to it. Hexxus, a similar design to Nocturne, fought this thing and lost to it 3 years back. Horizontal vs vertical usually ends with the HS winning but Ripto scares me so much.

Fear Rating: 5/5

Scrambles the Death Dealer
Asylum Robotics
Weapon: Horizontal Bar
Notes: Bot Blast 2013 Rumble winner

This'll be a fun match. Scrambles inspired a lot of aspects of the current incarnation of Nocturne, and two similarly-designed horizontal spinners would be an entertaining match. Plus, Tim would probably be yelling references for half the match, so basically this would be the best fight ever. The redesign of his robot is looking pretty scary too. It'll have more range and I think more power, so I'm not sure I'll win.

Fear Rating: 3/5

Conn Bots
Weapon: Undercutting Bar
Notes: Came 4th last year

Slugger's a cool bot but it only won one actual fight last year despite it coming fourth. It's also made entirely of UHMW, which my bar is designed to damage. As long as I can get around his bar I feel confident that I can win this.

Fear Rating: 2/5

Team Cookin' With Gas
Weapon: Suplex Lifter
Notes: Brand new beetleweight

Inspired by Kyle's Jukid, Suplexor looks like it'll be an entertaining addition to the beetle class this year. However, it has weak front armor that I think will be easy to tear into, and the design as a whole looks kinda weak to spinners.

Fear Rating: 1/5

The Subtle Destroyer
Team Sandman
Weapon: Undercutting Blade
Notes: Incredibly powerful friction-driven weapon

Another undercutter that scares me. If it lands a hit on my bottom frame that could be it for Nocturne's weapon. However, last time it fought it was rather slow so we'll see.

Fear Rating: 3/5

For the mantis class all seven robots look like they'll be tough contenders. My predictions for the class are that it'll be very entertaining no matter who wins.

Can't wait to be there on the 19th! Nocturne is coming along well and over the next 3 days the frame should be completely assembled. FireArrow is still waiting on the ESCs and switch but they'll be here any day now.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

USATL 2014: Day 3

Day 3
This is it, the last day of fighting. Still lots of bots left in competition, so let's see who will take home the championships.

ToothFairy vs That Yellow Mouse
Somehow, That Yellow Mouse has made it to the third day without fighting once. That's because it postponed its first match against Federal MT to day 2, then forfeited that match. It's a yellow robot armed with a front wedge and what appears to be Pikachu's face or something similar. It's fighting ToothFairy, who is exactly the same as last time we saw it. Hopefully its weapon works this time.

3, 2, 1, fight! ToothFairy is still having weapon issues. Yellow Mouse shoves ToothFairy into the pulverizer, and smoke is pouring out everywhere. It takes another hard hit from the hammer on its weapon, and after driving around a little bit fire starts pouring out of the top of the robot. It stops after driving around while on fire for a while, and ToothFairy taps out.

Touro Classic vs Witch Doctor
And up to the middleweights! Touro Classic and Witch Doctor are unchanged from yesterday. Winner moves on, loser goes home.

Fight! Both bots spin up to speed. There's some maneuvering, and Witch Doctor knocks Touro Classic out of the arena in one hit! That's the end!

Killa KT vs The Mutt
The Mutt took a forfeit from the absent Frankencat to get to this point. Both robots are unchanged, I have no clue if The Mutt's weapon works yet or not.

Fight! Doesnt look like The Mutt can spin. Killa KT immediately gets under and plows Mutt into the wall, and maneuvers The Mutt into the pulverizer several times. Mutt appears to have lost one side of its drive, and Killa KT easily gets The Mutt back under the hammer. The punishing blows of the Mutt appear to have knocked out The Mutt, and they tap out. Killa KT continues plowing through the loser's bracket.

Mrs. Plow vs Little Bill
Cortana forfeited to put Little Bill here. Mrs. Plow is a lot more promising as a wedge bot.

Fight! Both bots jockey for position. Mrs. Plow gets under and shoves Little Bill into the wall twice. Mrs. Plow manages to use its momentum to flip Little Bill on its back, and Little Bill stops moving. Mrs. Plow maneuvers Little Bill into the hammers, and there's some slight movement from Little Bill. One more slam from Mrs. Plow knocks Little Bill onto its back end, where it's stranded. Little Bill is counted out.

Ziegenkase vs Touro Maximus
The 120-lb The Big Cheese, after beating Polar Vortex on a split decision, is now in the heavyweight semis. His opponent it Touro Maximus, who has beaten Tanto and Shrederator in one hit so far in this bracket. Will the Cheese get the ultimate upset? It's time to find out.

3, 2, 1, fight!! Big Cheese zooms under Touro Maximus and immediately into the hammer. Touro escapes and two big hits from Touro warp the wedge of Big Cheese. Touro Maximus gets under the underside of Big Cheese, we see some parts go flying, and the Cheese taps out. It has no bottom protection, so when Touro Maximus got under it was chewing on exposed mechanics.

Electric Lawn Gnome Supremacy vs Aquiles
Two more undefeated drumbots in the lightweight class. Winner moves on to the winner's bracket finals. Loser moves down to the loser's bracket.

Fight! The two drive out at each other. Aquiles zooms behind Electric Gnome and knocks it onto its back, then punts it into the wall. A chunk of Aquiles' tooth is sent flying, and Electric Gnome is no longer moving. The Gnome taps out.

Touro Light vs Tetnis
More loser's bracket matchups. Tetnis and Touro are both very impressive spinners. Touro has beaten bar spinners before, Tetnis has a very powerful bar that totalled UBRuined yesterday. This match was postponed once because Tetnis had some weapon issues.

Fight! Touro zooms out and gets around the back end of Tetnis, causing sparks to fly. Touro lands hit after hit, loosening the top plate and eventually flipping Tetnis on its top and then its back. The belt of Tetnis is missing. Tetnis is counted out after this brutal onslaught and Touro does a series of impressive flips to celebrate.

And with that fight, we go to lunch break. Some bots are tested during the break.

General vs Touro
Middleweight semi final action time. The two biggest names in Brazil are about to fight each other for the first finals spot. Both bots have been absolutely dominant to get here. General's already beaten one Touro bot on its road to the semis, so let's see if it can do it again.

Fight! Both bots spin up. General gets under Touro, sparks fly, Touro is knocked up into the air. General;s weapon is stopped and there's some fork damage on General. A big slam from General knocks Touro into the air, and then Touro gets underneath. General's trying to use Touro's force against it, and it does work, as after a few more slams and more sparks, Touro is knocked out of the arena with the force of its own weapon. An impressive knockout victory for General.

Federal M.T. vs UnMakerBot
Now for an almost carbon copy of the last match in the lightweight division. Federal MT is a lightweight General. UnMakerBot is an American Touro.

Fight! Both robots spin up to speed. The first hit sents both bots backwards and Federal MT is sent on its back. Federal MT self-rights and there's another hit where UnMakerBot comes on top. A third hit is huge and sends Federal MT hurtling into the air, and there's some wedge damage on Federal MT. UnMakerBot is under again and grinds the underside of Federal MT, almost immobilizing it but with the Federal escaping at the last second. One last hit knocks Federal MT into the air and it's comboed with a brutal pulverizer hit. This wombo combo is too much for Federal MT to deal with, so it's counted out. UnMakerBot advances to the winner's bracket final.

Blue vs That Yellow Mouse
Oh wow, there's Eiffel 65 playing in the background before this match. Blue is using its green wedges. Yellow Mouse is unchanged.

Fight! Yellow Mouse is having some issues driving in a straight line. There isn't any contact for a long time. Blue is very slowly nudging Yellow Mouse into a hammer, but Yellow Mouse escapes. A big hit flips Yellow Mouse onto its back and it's slammed into the wall. That Yellow Mouse is pushed under a hammer, and several blows come down before That Yellow Mouse is counted out.

Mrs. Plow vs K2
This'll be interesting. Mrs Plow has shown to be a resilient wedge bot, but K2 has that hinged wedge on the front that's been absolutely devastating to every brick it's fought. However, K2 has had a tendency to explode in its matches, so maybe there'll be an upset.

Fight! K2 spins up again! Mrs Plow rides up the wedge, sparks fly, and a second hit flips Mrs Plow on its back. Some careful maneuvering from K2 gives Mrs Plow a pulverizer hit, but another hit knocks Mrs Plow right side up again. There's some good pushing from Mrs Plow and then K2 gets in some more strong hits which flip Mrs Plow end over end. Mrs Plow is flipped onto its back, and now panels are missing from Mrs Plow. One more hit from K2 beaches Mrs Plow on the arena bumper, and despite the Mrs Plow team's best effort to use the force of their pulverizer to unstick their robot, it's counted out and K2 wins the match.

Black and Blue vs Killa KT
Black and Blue are back from being trashed by Touro yesterday. Killa KT has been absolutely dominating this loser's bracket, let's see if it can do it again. Blue still has the wedges on from its match against That Yellow Mouse, Black has its steel plow.

Fight! Killa KT tries to dodge Blue and does a decent job of it. KT is able to shove both bots around at once, while Black and Blue have some issues doing so. Both clusterbots take a hammer shot, one intentional and one by accident. Killa KT reverses Black into the wall and then pins Blue to the wall. Killa KT almost scoops up both bots at once but is unable to. Black is stuck under the arena bumper by Killa KT and the match is stopped for an unstick. When the match restarts, Killa KT gets a good push on both robots, slamming Blue into the wall and also nearly getting Black into a pulverizer. The rest of the match consists of Killa KT playing the divide and conquer game, maneuvering the two clusterbots around. Time runs out with Killa KT pushing Blue into the wall. Killa KT takes the judge's decision, ending the clusterbot's run.

The Big Cheese vs Witch Doctor
Yep, these two again. Last time they met Big Cheese won after Witch Doctor blew up its weapon controller and took a split decision. With the weapon going, will Big Cheese be able to take it? Especially after its loss to Touro Maximus? We're about to find out. Brad has put the "In queso emergency, I praise to cheesus" meme in between the two driver cameras. The cheese jokes never get (m)old.

3, 2, 1, fight! The Big Cheese powers across the arena and charges at Witch Doctor. There's a pulverizer hit on the weapon, and another. Witch Doctor escapes and delivers some powerful hits to the Cheese, knocking The Big Cheese up and over and back again. The Big Cheese seems to have lost a drive motor. The Big Cheese takes a pulverizer hit and then stops moving. The count out goes down, and Witch Doctor has his revenge.

Blue vs Touro Light
And we're back in the lightweights! Blue has its plow back on, Touro Light is completely unchanged.

Fight! Blue powers across the arena and into the pulverizer, taking a shot. The first weapon hit sends Blue sky high. After a few more hits, Touro Light's weapon stops entirely. Touro is stuck under the bumper but frees itself. Now that Touro Light's weapon is stopped, this is Blue's fight. However, Touro is able to turn Blue around and give it a few whacks from the pulverizer. Blue then pins Touro to the wall, and again. The torque advantage here is really too much. Touro appears to be stuck again, and it's counted out. Blue is moving on.

Electric Lawn Gnome Supremacy vs K2
The longest name vs the shortest name in the lightweight loser's bracket. Spinning drum vs spinning disc. Who moves on? We're about to find out.

Fight! Both bots spin up. there's some big hits, and K2 is flipped onto its back within seconds! It takes a pulverizer shot to its belly and that's it for the #1 ranked lightweight. Electric Lawn Gnome Supremacy is moving on.

Ziegenkase vs Polar Vortex
And to see who's facing Touro Maximus in the heavyweight final, we have a grudge match! The Big Cheese beat Polar Vortex by a split decision earlier, and in an attempt to remedy that, has opted for the solid wedge over the forks. The Big Cheese, hopefully, has been repaired from its second big beatdown today from Witch Doctor.

3, 2, 1, fight! The two bots charge at each other and Polar Vortex gets underneath. Some more maneuvering, and The Big Cheese is almost sent out of the arena with a big slam. Polar Vortex gets to the side and nearly hits itself with the pulverizer, but dodges it. There's another slam from Polar Vortex. The Big Cheese has stopped? Looks like those two big spinner matches took its toll. Polar Vortex wins and is moving on to the final.

Killa KT vs Witch Doctor
More middleweight loser's bracket action. Killa KT has come a long way from its first round loss, Witch Doctor is looking for some more dominant wins.

Fight! Killa KT tries to get around the front wedge of Witch Doctor and drives itself into the hammer doing so. Witch Doctor gets a few small hits, and then a bigger one which sends Killa KT into the air. Then, Witch Doctor gets underneath, charges across the arena, and sends Killa KT up into the air and across the arena bumper! Killa KT is out of the arena!

UnMakerBot vs Aquiles
Lightweight winner's bracket finals time. Two big drums, one from America, one from Brazil. Only one can take the first finals spot.

Fight! Both bots spin up to speed. The first hit knocks Aquiles into a corner and it takes some hammer shots. There's some maneuvering where Aquiles tries to get around UnMakerBot, but the silver drumbot does a great job keeping the drum facing Aquiles. The second hit sends a chunk flying from Aquiles' drum, and it stops spinning. Aquiles drives back over to its side of the arena and taps out. UnMakerBot advances to the final in its very first competition!

Polar Vortex vs Touro Maximus
This could be it folks. If Touro Maximus wins this match, it takes home the heavyweight title. If Polar Vortex wins they go to one more match to decide the championship. Polar Vortex is, of course, running the steel scoop.

This is the match we've all been waiting for, folks. 3, 2, 1, FIGHT! Polar Vortex charges right at Touro and does a great job avoiding the drum, pinning it to the wall. Touro gets to the side and knocks Vortex up but there's no damage. Polar Vortex gets under Touro Maximus, lifts it up, there's sparks as Touro Maximus' drum grinds up the bottom of Polar Vortex's wedge, and it's stuck on the bumper! Its wheels are spinning but it can't move! Touro Maximus is counted out! Polar Vortex wins!!!

Of course this means there will be one more fight to decide the heavyweight title. However' that's later on.

Federal MT vs Blue
Federal MT is currently unchanged. Blue is using its plow.

Fight! Blue comes charging out at Federal MT, and... Federal MT isn't moving? Oh there it is. The weapon is spinning, but Federal MT seems to be missing a drive motor. Blue flips it with a big charge, and so now it's just derping around and grinding on the floor. Blue charges across the arena again and plows Federal MT into the wall and under the pulverizer. A few hits flip Federal MT right side up, but the robot has stopped and is counted out. Blue continues its dominance in the loser's bracket.

Touro vs Witch Doctor
This is it everyone. The middleweight loser's bracket finals. The winner faces off against General for the title, the loser goes home.

Fight! Both bots spin up. Or are they? Touro is not spinning! However, Witch Doctor can't seem to get under the little wedge feet the Touro Team has added. The first hit knocks Touro up and over but that's about it. Touro takes a solid pulverizer shot as it attempts to dodge Witch Doctor. Witch Doctor has more torque and shoves Touro into the hammers, taking a few solid hits. It then pulls a reversal and force feeds Witch Doctor a pulverizer shot. Witch Doctor then pins Touro to the side wall. The match was paused for an unstick, but there seems to be no need as Witch Doctor drives away. Touro is still pulled from the wall. 1 minute left as the match resumes. More jockeying for position, and Witch Doctor finally starts landing hits, with him almost beaching Touro on its side. Witch Doctor tries to shove Touro under the hammer but misses and eats a direct shot from the pulverizer. This causes smoke to start pouring out the back, looks like the speed controller broke down again. Time runs out as the Touro team looks incredibly excited about disabling Witch Doctor's weapon. Unsurprisingly, Witch Doctor takes the unanimous judge's decision.

Electric Lawn Gnome Supremacy vs Blue
The lightweight bracket is finally winding down. In this fight we have Electric Gnome, who knocked out the dominating K2 in its last match, and Blue, who took out Federal MT in a grudge match. The winner of this match moves on to the final against UnMakerBot.

Fight! Gnome spins up while Blue charges out, then takes two hammer shots as it repositions. There's a small hit from the Gnome, but its weapon isnt as powerful as it was in its last few matches. It's able to pop around Blue a few times before Blue sticks itself on top of Gnome, stopping both robots entirely. The match is paused for an unstick. Blue immediately shoves Gnome into a hammer. The Gnome finally gets its drum back up to full speed, but takes some more hammer hits as it tries to reposition. Blue takes a few hammer hits as it tries to dodge around the drum. Blue finally goes at the drum, and Blue takes two big hits before we hear something break off of Gnome's drum, sounds like a tooth. Yeah the drum's definitely missing a tooth. Blue shoves it into the wall and it seems to have stopped moving. The drum is still going, but the wheels aren't. However, time runs out before Electric Lawn Gnome Supremacy can be counted out, but the decision easily goes to Blue.

Blue vs UnMakerBot
And right after that, Blue is back up for its shot at the finals! It's still got the plow from its previous fight. UnMakerBot barely seems to have a scratch on it.

3, 2, 1, Fight! UnMakerBot spins up. Blue comes out swinging. UnMakerBot pops Blue into the air once, then twice, then a third time which pops Blue over to the other side of the arena but flips UnMakerBot onto its back. UnMakerBot calls for an unstick, as it is able to drive upside down but was unable to move. UnMakerBot spins up but still not moving. Blue pushes it along the floor. UnMakerBot moves a little bit, and stays in the fight. The drumbot gets a big hit on Blue which knocks a big chunk out of the plow, but it's moving too slowly to stay in the fight and is counted out. One more fight between the two will decide the lightweight title.

Witch Doctor vs General
And now for the middleweight finals. Witch Doctor is coming up from the loser's bracket, beating all sorts of comers after burning out a weapon controller in its second fight. General brutalized the winner's bracket, defeating rival Touro in its last match to get here. If General wins, the middleweight bracket will be over. If Witch Doctor wins, they'll have to fight again.

3, 2, 1, fight! Both robots spin up. The first hit pops Witch Doctor into the air. Do does the second one. Witch Doctor gets General to a pulverizer, and you can hear grinding as General's weapon chews on the hammer. The next hit flips Witch Doctor onto its back, but it can still move. Or can it? It appears to have stopped. Witch Doctor taps out! Your champion is General!

Blue vs UnMakerBot
Lightweight finals time. Blue's already won once, but UnMakerBot got some big hits in and definitely didn't get here by a fluke.

3, 2, 1, fight! Blue charges out. UnMakerBot isn' spinning its drum. Oh, now it is. It flips Blue over onto its back, but it appears to be a little unbalanced. Blue pushes UnMakerBot across the arena and nearly takes a pulverizer hit. UnMakerBot flips Blue around a little more, but drives under the hammer and takes a few hits. Blue does a good job dodging UnMakerBot's drum and pushes it into the hammer again. UnMakerBot gets another hit in before being pushed into the wall again. And another small pop by UnMakerBot. And Blue gets another slam into a corner. UnMakerBot gets two more big hits in, and then time runs out. The judge's decision goes to...UnMakerBot?? The people in the stream seem to be mystified by this, but it was very very close.

Polar Vortex vs Touro Maximus
This is it. The last match in the tournament, and the last chance for a non-spinner to take home a trophy at this event. Polar Vortex is still using the steel scoop. Touro is still looking very very strong.

The box is locked, the lights are on, it's heavyweight finals fighting time! Touro Maximus spins up, makes contact, and causes sparks to fly. A hit damages Polar Vortex's tires, and there's more sparks before Polar Vortex gets under and beaches the drumbot onto the bumper again! Is that it?

Nope, the pulverizer comes down and frees Touro Maximus. The fight continues. Polar Vortex comes in and pushes Touro into the hammers for a shot. Then there's more sparks, and then Touro spins up to full speed. And more sparks. Touro Maximus gets underneath and starts tearing into Polar Vortex's linkage, and it pretty much is able to stay there and tear into the underside of Polar Vortex. When Vortex gets free we see chunks of rubber go flying. We see puffs of smoke coming from one of the bots, as Touro is being whaled on by the pulverizer during this onslaught, and we time runs out with more sparks flying. However, there's a controversial hit after the match ends where Touro hits Polar Vortex and sends it flying. What happened there?

The judges make their decision. The winner is Touro Maximus!!

Congratulations to all the winners down in Florida and good luck with whatever competitions you're going to next!

Monday, May 5, 2014

USATL 2014: Day 2

And here's today's fights. Thanks again to Brad for having this livestream running so I can archive the matches here in text form.

Day 2

El Gran Rey Cholo vs Hurricane Cindy
Our first match of the day is a match in the 120lb loser's bracket. Cindy lost to Touro in a vicious knockout, Cholo broke down against Frankencat. For both of these robots, this is their last chance. If they lose they're out.

3 2 1 Fight! Cholo seems to still have issues. Cindy comes out and gets some good hits on Cholo. Cholo spins up, still with drive issues, and Cindy is able to grind up the back end of Cholo. Cholo is still sluggishly moving around, and there's some noticable damage on Cholo's top. It's still moving only enough to not be counted out. Then Hurricane Cindy makes the decision to drive into the arena bumper at full speed and stops moving. A cheap win, but a win nonetheless for Cholo. Maybe next time they'll actually move out of their square.

Marvin vs The Mutt
Both bots are silver drum bots. Both lost their first match. Who moves on? We're about to find out.

Fight. Mutt's weapon isn't spinning, but he does a good job juking Marvin's initial charge. there's no contact made for a good half minute, and then Mutt takes the upper hand, shoving Marvin into the wall. Marvin narrowly misses the hammer, then gets maneuvered into it by The Mutt. One, two, three, four, FIVE solid hammer hits dent the top of Marvin, and it escapes. Mutt pins Marvin to the wall again. After this there's more boring maneuvering, neither bot seems to have their weapon working, and then Marvin stops entirely. Mutt wins by knockout.

General vs Touro Classic
Back up to the winner's bracket now. Touro and General are both big names from Brazil. Touro's attached a wedge to the front so it can attempt to stave off General's forks.

Fight. Both robots spin up. The first hit causes sparks and flips General on its back. General tries to self right, Touro gets another big hit and seems to have some driving issues afterwards. General hits Touro a few times while inverted, and Touro's drive is working again. Oh wait, now it's spinning in circles. Another big hit knocks General back on its top, and then sparks fly as General hits Touro hard, then sends it flying. Twice. Touro stops moving! General wins!

Touro Maxmimus vs Shrederator.
Ohhh boy. This is the match everyone's been waiting for. Touro Maximus, the most feared robot at this tournament after annihilating Tanto, is facing off against the fresh-out-of-retirement full body spinner Shrederator, formerly known as Phrizbee from BattleBots. Its internals have been upgraded from the last time it fought and it's ready to square down against the sleek bull from Brazil.

3, 2, 1, Fight! Both robots spin, Shrederator is kinda wobbly. Touro is up to full speed, there's a hit, sparks fly, and... Shrederator stops moving entirely?! That's it?? Touro wins by knockout and continues its one hit KO record. Post fight review shows that the battery connection was severed on that one hit, stopping the robot dead.

Black vs GLaDOS
Black is back from its close loss to Aquiles yesterday, and it seems GLaDOS has recovered from its beatdown yesterday courtesy of K2. Black is sporting its plow setup.

Fight. GlaDOS is up to speed fast and gets two good hits on Black, but after every hit GLaDOS has a chance to shove around the drumbot. There are some hits, but it seems that GLaDOS isn't spinning as fast as it was. Black takes advantage of this, slamming GLaDOS into the wall hard. GLaDOS has now stopped spinning entirely. There's a close pushing match in the back corner of the arena, then Black drives straight under the hammer, taking a solid hit. Black can't really get a good position to shove around GLaDOS. Black tries a sit and spin maneuver as the match ticks down. After the match ends we see a puff of smoke and apparently fire from GLaDOS. Black wins the judge's decision.

Aquiles vs K2
Two undefeated robots in the lightweight division. Aquiles never spun up in its first fight, so there's no idea as how powerful its drum is. There's no question, however, as to how powerful K2's weapon is, as it caused a massive lipo fire at the end of yesterday's fighting.

Fight. Both bots spin up and the first hit knocks Aquiles into the air. Aquiles answers with a massive uppercut that knocks K2 up, over and onto the wall, and there is smoke pouring out of K2's undercarriage. Aquiles is moving on.

Maelstrom vs Killa KT
And we're back down to the middleweight loser's bracket. Both these bots lost pretty fast, so it's a chance at redemption for these teams.

Fight. Maelstrom is still kinda shaky spinning up. Killa KT gives no craps and plows straight into it, stopping its spinning. Killa KT maneuvers Maelstrom into the hammers, and Maelstrom takes several hits. Maelstrom is no longer spinning. Killa KT takes a hit from the pulverizer. Killa KT has most of the control over this fight, wedging Maelstrom into the corner and keeping him there. And then the entire shell of Maelstrom breaks from the top bars! Maelstrom is shoved back under the hammers where it takes hit after hit and is eventually counted out. Wait, no that was the end of the match. The judge decision, unsurprisingly, goes to Killa KT.

And now we go to break. During the break, we see Shrederator being tested, and it looks functional. Excellent. Hope they've fixed that battery problem.

Tanto vs Polar Vortex
We're back with another heavyweight matchup! Tanto has recovered from its match yesterday and is ready to face off against the unique Polar Vortex, still in the fork setup it used against Ziegenkase yesterday. Tanto is sporting a Team Toad flag, thanks to the fact that they helped the British team get Tanto ready for this match.

Fight! Tanto still has some slight drive issues but wedges under Vortex first. Neither robot really takes the upper hand early as there is lots of jockeying for position. Both robots take a hammer hit. Polar Vortex is unfazes, Tanto's top has fallen off and it's stopped moving. Is that it? Yeah it is. Tanto is out of the competition.

Tetnis vs UBRuined
Tetnis made it to the second round of the loser's bracket after forfeiting to teammate GLaDOS in round 1 and then taking a forfeit from RIP in its first loser's bracket fight. Tetnis is a non-invertible box with a set of horizontal spinning hammers at the front. UBRuined has been repaired from yesterday's match against UnMakerBot, got a much-needed bye into this fight and still has an undercutter.

Fight. Tetnis spins up as soon as the fight starts. UBRuined is a little more hesitant but does get spun up. There's one tap between the two robots and then there's a big hit which sends UBRuined skidding away, and a wheel falls off. UBRuined is still skidding around on its weapon but can't really move. UBRuined's weapon then gives out, and that's the end for UBRuined.

Black and Blue vs Touro
Both Black and Blue have their plows on. Touro is unchanged. Only one of these 60lb bots needs to die for the match to end.

Fight. Black and Blue are pretty tentative, and they both eat a direct hit from Touro's weapon, the hit on Black actually causing the arena camera to bend lower and give us a worse perspective of the fight. Both clusters are still alive. Touro's weapon has stopped. There's a little infighting involving Black and Blue, and Touro spins back up. The next sends Black out of the arena, and that's the end of the fight. Touro wins.

Mrs. Plow vs Electric Lawn Gnome Supremacy
Mrs Plow and Electric Gnome both dominated their first matches to get here. Neither bot has changed.

Fight. Gnome spins up, Mrs Plow tries to stop it and gets a shower of sparks in return. The next hit flips Mrs Plow on its back, and the wedge won't work anymore. A third hit flips Mrs Plow back right side up, but they've stopped entirely. There's a count out, and your winner is Electric Lawn Gnome Supremacy.

UnMakerBot vs Touro Light
Both these bots are silver drums. Both beat horizontal spinners to get here. Who's the better bar killer? Let's find out.

Fight. Both robots are up to speed. They're kind of tentative to hit each other, and the first one sends Touro Light flying. So does the second. Smoke starts coming out, and a third hit sends sparks flying. There's smoke everywhere, the drum stops, so does a drive motor, and the last hit of the match props Touro Light in a way that it can't move. UnMakerBot is moving on.

Witch Doctor vs El Gran Rey Cholo
Both bots are very nasty vertical spinners from Florida. Witch Doctor's replaced the burnt weapon controller from yesterday.

Fight. Both bots spin up, Cholo is still fairly slow. Witch Doctor speeds behind Cholo and flips it over with one hit! El Gran Rey Cholo can't drive inverted, so that's the end for Cholo.

Blue vs Federal M.T.
Federal M.T. is the lightweight from Team Uai!rrior and is essentially the same as the team's middleweight General: A wedged robot with a vertical spinning disc. It got this far thanks to a forfeit. Blue's got the anti spinner plow on for this match.

Fight. Both robots move out and Federal MT gets the early upper hand, knocking around Blue all over the place and getting some good hits in. Eventually Blue is knocked under the hammer where it takes a few good hits.  Federal MT is relentless with its hits, continuously knocking Blue into the air. Blue keeps coming at Federal MT, but each time he does he gets knocked a few feet into the air. Eventually Federal MT pins Blue against a side wall but is forced to let go. A few more hits from Federal MT and the match ends. Federal MT wins the judge's decision, although massive props are given to Blue for surviving the 3 minutes.

Touro Classic vs Octobot
Both bots are completely unchanged from their last matches. Touro Classic has already inverted a spinner once here, so let's see if it can do it again.

Fight. Both bots spin up. The first hit knocks a piece off of Octobot and sticks Touro on its side, while Octobot starts smoking. Touro sticks itself on the arena bumper, and we see Octobot still moving in its smoke screen. Touro gets off the arena wall and moves in to attack Octobot again, and then we see all sorts of fire coming from Octobot. That thing is seriously on fire. It gets counted out and the crewbots go in to put out the blazing Octobot.

Proton Shaker vs Killa KT
And after this latest lipo fire break, we have two school teams up against each other. Proton Shaker's still red and blue and has a spinning drum. Killa KT is still a paintless wedge.

Fight. Proton Shaker is up to speed. Killa KT gets under, shoves Proton Shaker into the hammer and a belt is knocked off. The drum stops moments later, and Proton Shaker takes another hammer shot. Now it's pinned against the wall. The drum is not doing any damage whatsoever to Killa KT. Proton Shaker drives under the hammer itself and takes a hit. Proton Shaker is then driven under the hammer again by Killa KT and there's some noticeable damage to the back of the drumbot. Proton Shaker somehow gets to the back of Killa KT and is able to pin the wedge in a corner, but the match ends with Proton Shaker pinned against the wall. Killa KT takes another decision.

General vs The Big Cheese
General and Big Cheese are both coming off fairly tough matches against Touro Classic and Witch Doctor respectively.

Fight. The first hit inverts The Big Cheese, and so does the second one. Big Cheese is able to maneuver General into the hammers for a shot. The next hit from General is massive, sending The Big Cheese flying and killing it. General moves on.

K2 vs Black
And back into the lightweights for one more fight. K2's been repaired from blowing up earlier today, and Black is coming off of a fairly dominant victory over GLaDOS. Black has the plow setup once again.

Fight! K2 is not spinning up its weapon at all and is able to use its wedge to maneuver Black around the arena and into the hammers early. Black tries a sit and spin maneuver, but K2 gets Black to the hammers again. And again. There really isn't much Black can do against K2's wedge. And there's another hammer shot. K2 is absolutely dominating this match. K2 gets some more pins in. Black goes back to the sit and spin technique and it works for a short time, knocking K2 away, but K2 gets Black back to the pulverizer again. The match ends with Black being pushed around by K2. K2 wins by a judge's decision, even though it doesn't have its weapon.

Polar Vortex vs Shrederator
The last match of the day is the semi finals in the heavyweight loser's bracket. This is it for Shrederator. It lost in one hit against Touro Maximus earlier in the tournament, and so it's in the loser's bracket now. Polar Vortex is using the steel scoop for this match.

Fight. Shrederator spins up to speed and hits Vortex on the wedge, but bounces back and takes a hammer shot. Vortex pins Shrederator in the corner and lifts it up, but Shrederator is back to life. A chain is seen dangling from the bottom of Shrederator but it seems inconsequential. Shrederator spins up again and pinballs off Vortex's wedge, then comes in for another hit. This one damages one of Polar Vortex's wheel hubs. Vortex is tentative to hit Shrederator, but it pinballs off the wall anyway. There's more hits and more sparks, but Polar Vortex gets Shrederator stuck in the corner again and that seems to be it for Shrederator's spinning. It's stopped, and it doesn't spin up again. The rest of the match is Polar Vortex dominating with its wedge. The match ends with Polar Vortex rushing Shrederator and tipping Shrederator up against the wall right as time runs out. You probably don't need me to say this but the winner of the match is Polar Vortex.

That's the end of Day 2 fighting. Tomorrow is the last day of the event and there's still lots of bots in contention. Massive props to everyone still in the tournament and good luck to everyone tomorrow.

USATL 2014: Day 1

So I got bored, and decided to write up every match that was streamed this week down in Miami. Here's Day 1.

Touro vs Hurricane Cindy
Our first match of the day is a middleweight fight. Touro is the #1 ranked middleweight in the world, hails from Brazil, and is incredibly dense and compact. Its weapon is a vertical drum. Their opponent is Hurricane Cindy, a relatively new robot featuring a horizontal disc and a hinged wedge.

Fight! Touro spins up while Cindy comes in with the wedge. The first hit pretty much warps Cindy's wedge to the point of uselessness, but Touro isn't moving. Sandy takes this opportunity to land some blows on Touro's chassis, but can't seem to deal much damage. Eventually Touro starts moving, uses its drum to get under Hurricane Cindy and chew it up. One big hit removes Cindy's hinged wedge from one of its hinges, and the bot stops moving. Hurricane Cindy taps out.

Black vs Aquiles
Down to the lightweights for this one. Black is a wide rectangular machine with a thick steel plow in front. Aquiles is a small, sleek looking drumbot from Brazil.

Fight. Aquiles is not spinning its drum, surprisingly. Black moves out to ram Aquiles, but Aquiles has more torque and hangs Black up on one of the spiked bumpers. Black can't move but a well-placed pulverizer shot knocks it down. The rest of the fight is a very close and boring push match, with Black getting some pulverizer hits on Aquiles, but Aquiles winning most of the pushing matches. Aquiles wins a unanimous judge's decision at the end of the three minutes.

Touro Maximus vs Tanto
For the third match in a row we have a sleek Brazillian drumbot, this one's called Touro Maximus and is a heavyweight. Its opponent is Tanto, the only robot hailing from Britain at this event. It features two Hardox forks in front and is supposedly the most resilient robot in the UK. Let's see how it holds up.

Fight. Maximus spins up to speed, Tanto comes out at it, the two maneuver for a bit and the two collide... WHOA! Tanto is sent up into the air and over the arena boundary, parts flying! Touro Maximus wins! but what's this? Touro Maximus is on fire! Its batteries are on fire! The crewbots go in and put everything out, and the tournament is paused for about half an hour for the smoke in the arena to clear.

El Gran Rey Cholo vs Frankencat
El Gran Rey Cholo is a robot built by a high school team that won one of the 120-lb competitions last time BattleBots came to Miami. It features a spinning drum. Frankencat is a new middleweight with a very similar design, but is lower to the ground and is fully invertible.

Fight. Both robots spin up, Cholo tries to come out with the back end but seems to have drive issues. Frankencat tries to deliver some hits but can't really get a bite. Some sparks fly from Cholo's weapon, Frankencat's drum doesn't seem powerful enough to really do damage. Cholo's still trying to limp away from the wall, and more sparks fly from Frankencat's weapon. Cholo finally exits its square at a snail's pace, and Frankencat shoves him straight into the wall with its weapon at full trot. This slam seems to fix some of Cholo's drive issues as it's moving a little faster now. Frankencat gets to the side and keeps gnawing on it, but this is a really boring drum v drum match. Frankencat is doing a great job driving and maneuvering around Cholo's weapon, but it looks like that slam stopped the weapon entirely. Then Cholo stops dead. Frankencat tries to line up a hammer shot but pushes Cholo too far and almost hits itself. Cholo gets counted out in the last few seconds of the match.

And now we're going to lunch break. So many breaks...

Electric Lawn Gnome Supremacy vs Little Bill

Electric Lawn Gnome Supremacy, shortened to "Electric Gnome" for this competition, is another low, silver drum bot. Little Bill is a basic invertible wedge.

Fight. Both bots come out, Gnome's weapon isn't spinning, after a nudge from Bill it gets up to speed and that thing sounds fierce. one big hit gets Little Bill stuck on the bumper. Another hit knocks Bill upside-down, and the wedge has stopped moving. A third hit knocks the front wedge panel loose. Little Bill taps out.

The Kombattan vs Black and Blue
The Kombattan is your basic double-wedge design. Black and Blue features the lightweight named Black from earlier, and its teammate Blue, who looks almost exactly the same. Blue has some green wedge prongs to help it get under things.

Fight. Black and Blue both look faster than The Kombattan, though neither can really get under it. The Kombattan tries a spin-in-place maneuver that looks fairly effective. Kombattan gets under Black and shoves it in the wall, but no harm seems to be done. The Kombattan keeps spinning, then tries to get under Blue from the side but misses and wedges itself under the bumper. Blue tries to free its opponent in an act of charity, but because it's only half the weight of the larger bot it fails to do much. The clusterbot moves back to its square and then the match stops for an unstick, but it looks like The Kombattan isn't stuck and just died when it hit the wall. Black and Blue advance.

Polar Vortex vs Ziegenkase
Polar Vortex is the latest robot from Team Toad. It features a 4-bar lifting scoop, but instead of the bars lifting an arm, the lifter lifts the entire chassis with the bar attached. Ziegenkase was supposed to be another multibot, but one of the two bots never came, so it's a 120 lb robot fighting in the heavyweight division. The one half of Ziegenkase that did show up is named The Big Cheese and is your basic cheese wedge-shaped robot. It's even painted yellow. Polar Vortex usually has a large steel scoop as its weapon but it seems to have swapped it out with a pair of forks to control its opponent better.

Fight. The two come out at each other, and there's a wedge stalemate. Cheese almost gets under but Polar Vortex knocks it aside and shoves it in the corner hard. Polar Vortex goes for the lift but Cheese gets away at the last second. After some maneuvering Cheese gets underneath and surprisingly is able to push Vortex as a pretty fast clip. Then Vortex slams Cheese and vice-versa. Despite the 100-pound weight difference this is a very balanced fight. Vortex gets to the side and tries to lift, but he only gets the wheel of Cheese and so can't do anything. Vortex very narrowly dodges a pulverizer shot. Polar Vortex does a nice wheelie as its weapon retracts and then inverts The Big Cheese. More maneuvering, with Vortex apparently trying to flatten Cheese's tires. Then The Big Cheese, with its motors exposed (there's no bottom plate on it, apparently) drives under the pulverizer and takes two or three very small and insignificant-looking hits. It still seems to be moving fine though. Then Vortex gets a good ram, lifts The Big Cheese on its side and keeps it there, all the while eating a blow from the pulverizer. Those things aren't as effective as they were 10 years ago. The Big Cheese gets down, but time runs out before anything else happens. Amazingly, Ziegenkase wins a split decision.

Cortana vs Mrs. Plow
Back down to the lightweights for this one. Cortana is an invertible 4-wheel drive box with a vertical spinning weapon. Mrs. Plow is a basic wedge.

Fight. Cortana seems to be the faster of the two and spins up its weapon then charges at Mrs. Plow. Mrs Plow gets under Cortana while avoiding the weapon and slams it into the wall. Cortana can't seem to get any purchase on Mrs Plow who shoves him into the wall across the arena without taking a single hit and tries to prop it on its side. Cortana is now making some grinding noises when it moves, it seems a chain got misaligned or something. Both bots have some traction issues and there isn't much contact. Mrs. Plow gets another impressive slam on Cortana, then lines it up for an impressive pulverizer shot. This is clearly Mrs. Plow's fight. Cortana rides up Mrs Plow's wedge again and there's a single spark, looks like Cortana's weapon finally did something. Another few rams from Mrs. Plow and Cortana starts smoking heavily. Cortana taps out during the count out.

Proton Shaker vs Octobot
Proton Shaker is another 2WD vertical drum. The only difference is this one isn't from Brazil. It's also painted blue and red, which helps distinguish it from the silver drums here. Octobot is an octagonal full-body spinner.

Fight. Both bots spin up to speed. The first hit stops Proton Shaker's weapon, but Octobot is driven into the wall and stops moving entirely. Octobot is counted out without moving anywhere else.

RIP vs Touro Light
RIP is essentially a lightweight Last Rites-a pentagonal robot with a massive spinning bar. Touro Light is yet another Brazilian drum. Actually, both of these robots are from Brazil.

Fight. Touro Light comes out flying, but misses RIP entirely and slams into the red square wall hard. RIP manages to get up to speed during this time. Touro spins up and knocks RIP into the corner, and RIP takes several pulverizer shots while trying to move. Actually, it never really moved at all. The top of RIP looks kinda bent, and RIP is counted out.

The Mutt vs Witch Doctor
The Mutt is a new robot with sloped sides and a wide drum at the front. It also proudly features its name on top, which seems to be a dying tradition of sorts. Not many bots with their names on them anymore. Witch Doctor competed last time BattleBots came to Miami and ended up taking home the professional championship. It's a low, wedgy box with a narrow vertical drum at the top of the wedge.

Fight. Witch Doctor does a no-nonsense rush over to Mutt while the drum spins up and knocks Mutt onto the bumper and eventually onto its back. Mutt's having some drive issues and a second hit sends some parts flying. You can see Mutt's wheels turning, but the wheels are just short enough to not touch the ground. Mutt gets counted out while Witch Doctor spins down.

UBRuined vs UnMakerBot
UBRuined looks a lot different from the last time I saw it. It's now a longish blue box with an undercutter blade, as opposed to the Moros-esque overcutter I saw it with last time. UnMakerBot is a brand new drumbot.

Fight. Both bots get up to speed almost instantly, and after a few light taps, a big hit causes UBRuined to be sent on its back and shrapnel to go flying. UBRuined stops moving entirely, while UnMakerBot is able to move around just barely with its drum, which is now unbalanced. UnMakerBot moves on.

Marvin vs The Big Cheese
Marvin is a boxy, 4WD drumbot not unlike Frankencat. The Big Cheese is back in its intended weight class and is exactly the same from the last time we saw it.

Fight. Marvin spins up but can't get a purchase on that very well-done wedge of Big Cheese. Marvin attempts to get to the sides but really can't, and The Big Cheese gets under. Marvin escapes but Cheese gets under again and makes a beeline for the pulverizer. Marvin takes several shots, and afterward has some driving issues. Big Cheese takes a hit from the other side pulverizer (remember, the hammers are controlled by the competitors, so one side's hammers are controlled by each team), but this is really The Big Cheese's fight. Marvin takes one more hammer shot before time runs out, and there's no surprise that the winner is Big Cheese.

K2 vs GLaDOS
K2 is the number one ranked lightweight in the country and sports a vertical spinning weapon on top of a wedge. GLaDOS is a new robot that was supposed to have fought once before, but its opponent forfeited. It's a low boxy robot with a low wedge and a vertical eggbeater. As you may have guessed, GLaDOS and Cortana are on the same team.

Fight. GlaDOS has some major issues spinning up its weapon, while K2 drives over with its weapon spinning at full speed. The first hit starts up GLaDOS' weapon, but knocks it onto its back. K2 goes in for another hit which knocks it back onto its wheels. The weapon is going now, but it isn't moving, and so K2 goes in again. Up and over it goes, and one more hit opens a battery and causes smoke to erupt from GLaDOS' chassis. That's the fight.

General vs Killa KT
And after the break for the lipo fire, it's time to go back to fighting. General is another Brazilian robot with two wedge forks in front. In between them is a thick, red, vertical spinning disc. Killa KT is the middleweight from the Mrs. Plow team and is essentially a middleweight edition of it, pretty much a 2WD wedge.

Fight. General spins up and charges at Killa KT, knocking it over in one big hit. Another few smaller blows from General, and Killa KT taps out. As General spins down, we see sparks and a chunk of something fly out from General, no clue what that was about. The count out goes anyway, but it doesn't matter.

Maelstrom vs Touro Classic
Maelstrom is a red and black full-body spinner with a pretty neat spiral paint scheme. Touro Classic is the last of four drum bots from Brazil. It's essentially a boxier version of Touro.

Fight. Both bots get up to speed, but Maelstrom is kind of shaky. Touro has some movement problems, but the first hit between the two knocks Maelstrom into the wall and stops its spinning. It doesn't spin up again. Touro spins up to full speed and after some grinding on the shell, knocks Maelstrom onto its back. It can't self right, so Touro Classic wins by knockout.

ToothFairy vs Blue
ToothFairy is another wedged vertical spinner in the vein of K2. Blue is the same as it was before, except it's swapped out the green wedge array with the plow Black was using in the middleweight fight.

Fight. Both robots come out at about equal speed. ToothFairy's weapon isn't moving, and it manages to beach Blue on its wedge before stopping entirely. Some smoke is seen from the top of the robot, and an unstick is called for. The match restarts and ToothFairy is very barely moving. Blue beaches itself on ToothFairy's wedge again, and ToothFairy taps out.

Octobot vs The Kombattan
We're now into the loser's bracket for the middleweights. You've already seen both these robots before, and neither have any changes from their previous bouts. Both of these bots lost their last matches from hitting the wall, so this'll be interesting to see if either of them can avoid wall-related fatalities.

Fight. Octobot spins up to full speed, and Kombattan is...also spinning? Octobot delivers a big hit to Kombattan and sparks fly, and Kombattan stops moving entirely. Octobot rides up Kombattan's wedge, causing sparks to fly, and The Kombattan is counted out.

Frankencat vs Touro
Now for a winner's bracket matchup in the 120 lb class. Both of these bots won their matches fairly handily, so we'll get to see who has the better robot here.

Fight. Both bots spin up but neither are really moving. Oh wait, there they go. Touro gets the better of the first exchange, and the second clash flips Frankencat on its back. Smoke starts coming out and Touro grinds on Frankencat's rear end with its drum. Frankencat stopped moving after the second big hit, and Touro moves on to the next round.

Proton Shaker vs Black and Blue
Two more robots you've seen before. Two more robots that have won their first matches. Both Black and Blue have their plow setups on. Proton Shaker is unchanged.

Fight. Blue plows straight into the wall while Black takes an early hit from Shaker's drum. The clusterbot pins Shaker to the wall early, and one of them takes a hit from Proton Shaker's drum. Black flanks Proton Shaker and shoves it into the hammers, but Blue pays for it with a big hit. The numbers game is really too strong for Proton Shaker to deal with, as they're able to get Proton Shaker into the hammers multiple times. Blue is pushing so much that there is smoke coming from its tires. The clusterbot is pretty much dominant so far, they're able to get around Proton Shaker most of the time and avoid the drum. The match ends with the two clusterbots pinning Proton Shaker between them. A unanimous judge's decision goes to Black and Blue.

The Big Cheese vs Witch Doctor
The last match for the day is the impressive Big Cheese, who's beaten both Polar Vortex and Marvin so far in 2 different weight classes, and Witch Doctor, who dominated its match against The Mutt earlier today.

Fight. Big Cheese is hesitant to attack Witch Doctor... Oh wait, the match needs to be restarted, as the pneumatics for the pulverizers weren't ready.

Once the match actually starts, Both robots come out and Witch Doctor goes right up and over Big Cheese. Smoke starts coming out from Witch Doctor's weapon, and we see fire shoot out from the back end. Witch Doctor is still driving OK though, looks like the weapon blew up. The Big Cheese gets Witch Doctor into the pulverizer, landing two shots. Early on this is Big Cheese's fight, but Witch Doctor gets Big Cheese on the wedge and manages to overturn it. Witch Doctor gets a few impressive slams in before Big Cheese gets under it again and gets it into the hammers, with the pulverizer landing squarely on Witch Doctor's chassis. Down, down, down comes the hammer, landing lots of hits. Witch Doctor seems unfazed though, as it comes back around and shoves The Big Cheese into a hammer as well. Big Cheese is then able to hang the hinged wedge of Witch Doctor on the lip of its wedge and uses this advantage to bring Witch Doctor to another pulverizer. There's a couple more good pushes from Witch Doctor, but The Big Cheese gets one more good run to the pulverizers in with the hammer landing squarely on Witch Doctor's back. Witch Doctor ends the match with another push, but Big Cheese wins the judge's decison, although it is a split decision.

Onto day 2!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Video from Bot Blast & Pennbots plus Nocturne Redesign part 1

Uploaded my video from Bot Blast and Pennbots:
Bot Blast:
Downtown Dog Fight:

First sketches of Nocturne's redesign are being worked on now. Initial plans are for an aluminum bar with tool steel teeth, a rear wedge to keep from side stranding and invertibility. Hopefully I'll finish drawing it up soon.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pennbots Downtown Dogfight 2014 Event Report

The Downtown Dogfight went incredibly well. We managed to cobble Nocturne together in time (Thanks for the rush order Titan Tech!) and brought both bots down to Harrisburg, PA for this weekend's competition. We met up with Alex, who had my pulley together and we assembled the thing, got both bots through safety and were ready to battle.

Match 1: Nocturne vs Junkyard
My first match of the day was a beetleweight fight against Junkyard, a last-minute entry with a 3D printed chassis, Lexan armor and duct tape wedges. My 1000RPM gearmotor jammed up again so I only had 1WD for this match. I spun up Nocturne and tried to move out to hit him, and I tore off some duct tape, but really didn't scratch the Lexan at all. Eventually he got under me and shoved me down the pit.

Match 2: FireArrow vs Don't Get Pushy
Don't Get Pushy was a 4WD box made out of carbon fiber that came third at its first event and was driven by a nice young kid. When the match started I got under him and after some driving managed to pull off an impressive slam into the pit. FireArrow was moving on.

Bonus Match: D-12 vs Mondo Bizarro
While I was waiting for my next match Brandon asked me to drive his Biohazard toy, D-12, against his drumbot Mondo Bizarro, as he didn't have a second driver. I agreed to it and popped it into the arena. I have to say I wasn't expecting to win at all, but I have to say I did fairly well. I pushed him around for a while before he popped me onto my back and then shoved me into the pit.

Match 4: FireArrow vs CrocBot
The only antweight with an active weapon was my next opponent. CrocBot has a massive servo lifter on it that it used to flip its previous opponent into the pit. In our fight, it managed to flip me, but when I self-righted I hit Crocbot in a way that made it stop responding to its driver, so from there I was able to shove it into the pit. FireArrow gains its first knockout in 9 matches.

Match 5: Nocturne vs USS Monitor
Nocturne's loser's bracket match was against USS Monitor, a very heavily-armored box with a cool articulated drive system. The gearmotor was working again but I still wasn't used to driving Nocturne, so I was having a hard time. Nocturne got some good hits in, causing sparks and dealing damage, but one big hit knocked me into the pit, sadly. Nocturne goes out with a 0-2 record.

Match 6: Nocturne vs Dumb Post Motorama Idea #1
Since someone needed time to fix their robot, Alex took all comers with his derp wedge thing. I accepted his challenge. The first match I got shoved into the pit, same with the second, though I was causing damage. On the third match, I wanted to take out the wheels, but he drove himself onto the edge of the pit and I shoved him in. Nocturne won a fight!

A side effect of this fight was that the motor mount bent and the weapon motor was at a 45 degree angle. However, the irony with this is that the weapon now completely cleared the pulley (beforehand it very slightly clipped the bottom of the pulley), but the gearmotor was jammed again and I didn't feel like fixing it again.

Match 7: FireArrow vs Dave Graham's Robot
I have no clue whether Dave Graham's Robot is named after the robot builder or the rock climber, but either way it was an interesting robot using what appeared to be a BattleBots toy system and an Erector set plow. It was driven by a promising young driver. My first ram actually flipped it, and it couldn't self-right, so I shoved it down the pit. Onto the final!

Match 8: FireArrow vs Little Wedge
Antweight final! Little Wedge was built by the same fellow that made Weed Whacker, who I fought at Bot Blast, as well as USS Monitor, the beetleweight I lost to earlier. Its wedge hooks seemed potent and I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to get under its low ground clearance. However, once the match started I outmaneuvered him, got under the side, and went for the simple pit maneuver! Team Ignition wins its first championship!

Match 9: Antweight Rumble
And now it was time for the rumbles! FireArrow was still in top condition so I tossed it in, so we had all six present antweights there and ready to fight. Once the rumble started I pitted Crocbot, but it got put back in the ring, so after some maneuvering I got both it and Don't Get Pushy down the pit, but then drove in myself! I had no regrets though, it was a fun rumble. At the end only Team Runaround's Baboon Butt was left standing (Excellent name by the way).

Match 10: Beetleweight Rumble
The biggest and in my opinion the most entertaining fight of the day was the beetleweight rumble. Pretty much every single beetleweight from the event was in it, and I threw in Nocturne for fodder (We had decided to rebuild it from the ground up at that point so why not?) with only one wheel turning. I survived much longer than I thought I would, keeping the weapon spinning and damaging a few robots, including 2 Taps, a nasty vertical spinner who I really wanted to damage at some point, but eventually Mondo Bizarro took off my wheelguard and the other wheel stopped turning, leaving me with no drive but a working weapon hanging on the edge of the pit. The last hit from Mondo Bizarro actually bent the weapon bar, and we ended up face-first in the massive pile of robots that was the pit. Purple Boxer ended up winning, so congrats to him.

I also got a cool poker-chip esque win pog that serves as a nice little souvenir, as well as a piece of paper commemorating my first place victory.

I also learned some things about battery C ratings and why buying Nocturne as a whole was a pretty bad idea :P

Congratulations to everyone that competed and I'm looking forward to Bot Blast!

Official Results (so I don't forget them later)
Champion: Flea Wee
2nd: Flea Catcher
3rd Place Tie: Bar Buster and Little Red Riding Hood

Champion: FireArrow
2nd: Little Wedge
3rd: Dave Graham's Robot
Rumble: Baboon Butt

Champion: Mondo Bizarro
2nd Place: Demonator
3rd Place: 2 Taps
Rumble: Purple Boxer

Long Distance Award: Team Adventure Bots (Don't Get Pushy and Linus, a line-following robot, came all the way from Ohio)

Damage Award (or something of the sort, I wasn't paying attention at the time): Junkyard (They managed to get duct tape stuck on the ceiling of the arena, definitely something I haven't seen before)

My photos from the event are here:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pre-Pennbots Update

So several things have happened in the past few months or so since I last posted. First of all, all the parts for Nocturne came in, but once we wired the thing up...
Nocturne pre-catastrophic failure.

First things first, we had a weapon test. The bar spun up fine, but the pulley (which had been drilled out wider than it was supposed to) snapped almost instantly under the force and left us without a weapon and needing a larger pulley and belt to get it running at top condition.

Also, after realizing why I should never trust cheap mixers from RobotMarketPlace (hint: they're cheap), we tried to get the motors running with dual stick. We screwed up something wiring wise (Thinking something to do with BECs, but we don't know) and both TinyESCs we were running got fried. I made a decision to not have that happen again and go with Vex controllers for next time around, but without motor controllers, a belt or pulley around in time for Pennbots we had to pull our new beetle out. A major shame, as the beetleweight competition looks like it has some major competitors this time around.

FireArrow went together without a single hitch (well maybe one). We didn't have weight to make the thing self-right with our new steel wedge, and we also didn't have weight for any form of wheel guards, but we were able to do some nice chassis milling, and also have some motor protection/self-righting mechanism in back:
Dat booty

That's 4130 steel, a lot stronger than the aluminum we were using earlier, and a lot heavier too. After learning that FireArrow couldn't self-right no matter what material wedge we used my dad crafted this bar as a very nice solution. Wheelies a little now but that can't be helped.

And now, the finished photo (minus paint):
Ta daaaaa!

Not sure if we'll have time to paint it in the upcoming days, but FireArrow is all set for Saturday. Hope a few more ants show up, if not it'll be fairly boring. But hey, at least my beetle envy will get me through the day :P

See you guys at Pennbots!