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.