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: https://www.youtube.com/playlistlist=PLv7PDQZG0Fu2CQ_NduACrmEwCcmnIaQN

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: http://imgur.com/a/64RmO

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!