Team Kaizen

Robots Live! Grantham July 2017

Hey Everyone!

Grantham was a revolution. If you aren't interested in all the stuff below, the takeaway from this is you should attend a live robotics event at least once in your life and The Honey Badger was utterly destroyed.

After a drive down to Grantham, we arrived fairly early and the Badger was "tech checked" as per the FRA regulations before 11am. This was the bit I was secretly dreading as I've never had a robot checked. The Badger, being the "blasted thing" it was, decided that one of the speed controllers was going to not work properly when the transmitter was switched off and it very nearly failed the check as a result. However, the wheel was moving so slowly afterwards, it passed the check with a comment saying I needed to address it. Fair enough, glad it passed mind. :D I was also told that I could only use the flail at half power rather than at full power because of the arena which only had netting over the "roof".

Once done, I was getting ready for the melee match when my neighbour arrived with his featherweight robot in bits, called Bruiser. Turns out he had issues getting parts in on time and was building it at the event on Saturday. I assumed my robot was and decided to get the drive batteries charged up. However, after getting it all charged up and plugged back together, one side of the robot's drive failed. I couldn't figure out what was going on in time and the robot consequently failed to make it to the melee match on Saturday. I eventually wired in another speed controller but was still having electrical difficulties so I could go forwards but not backwards on either wheel. However, the second melee match was subsequently cancelled so the Badger did not fight on the Saturday.

Sunday came and I worked out one of my soldering attempts was rubbish and one of my crimps had worked loose. Solving those meant I finally had full control again and the Badger was finally ready for its combat debut along with Bruiser.

Watching Robot Wars/Battlebots is cool. Watching it live is cooler. Taking part in the event itself is downright amazing. With all 11(!) robots in the arena, we got the 3... 2... 1... activate and the fight started. Either through lack of traction or bad driving, the Badger veered off to the right, hit one of the other competitors (This was the prototype Straddle as I found out) and I lose drive on one side. Either this was because it had grounded out because of shrapnel on the floor or the wire popped out but either way, I couldn't get away. Then another robot hit the Badger and I lost the weapon and all drive. With the robot immobilised, the house robot came and hit me with its hammer. Then the house robot pushed me towards one of the corner hammers, operated by one of the audience and that hammer went to town on the Badger. The armour caved in very quickly, the paint shattered and the groans from the other drivers rose up (along with the announcers going crazy at this). After a number of knocks, the FW version of Eruption (which I found out is called Explosion) finally flipped the Badger out of the arena. It landed with such a thud. :(

After the fight, several members of the organisers and the other competing teams came to inspect the carnage. The weapon motor survived all the blows and the drive motors nearly did (one briefly seized up) but the shell was caved in and the chassis had been smashed. I claimed I could fix this and I gave it a damn good go and I did briefly have it running again before the chassis damage grounded the robot and I decided to call it before the match started, Bruiser, having took no damage, subsequently had a LiPo fire in the pits following the second melee. Lucky no one was near it or the battery in the robot.

The Honey Badger returned home much worse for wear. The shell had been beaten into a sort of dome shape but the chassis damage remained and the other speed controllers burnt out. I bet if I wired up the batteries to the motor, it would move again.

I've now started on building a new version of the Badger, this time using HDPE for a chassis board rather than wood and will use Carbon Steel for the shell. Watch this space. ;)