BotBash 2002 Deployment Report

"If you can't stand the heat..."

Well, my head is still spinning after the frantic, crazy, amazingly hot weekend! I'll quickly state that we didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but we did much better than we might have done, given the circumstances. Tangled Marionette scored 7th place despite only competing in the KillBall and missing out on Capture the Flag and the Annhiliator altogether. Centrifugal Enforcer tied for 9th despite being just overweight enough to force some ugly compromises, and just quickly thrown together enough to cause some design and construction issues. All in all, we had a blast, and I'm very much looking forward to the next event.

I try to begin every event report with a set of acknowledgements and thanks. This year the list of deserving people has gotten long enough that I need to formalize it a bit. So, in no particular order, as I struggle to remember EVERYONE who I'm indebted to:

And finally, one last humongous "Thank You" to the most supportive and easy-going woman I know, my dear wife Kimberley. She bore the heat, the stress, and my frequent panic-induced mood swings with grace and generosity. She got her hands dirty when I needed her to (sorry about the splinter, hun), stayed out of the way when appropriate, and encouraged me to take the lead-driver's position on both bots, which ultimately meant more fun for me. I made a quip in last years report that I should buy her something nice and many readers have followed up to make sure that I did. Let me assure everyone that there's a lovely original painting over the mantle from last year, and I seriously doubt a second art purchase could properly express my gratitude for her performance this year, but I'm sure I'll think of something.


Image courtesy of Bob Kleeman
The proud parents on Saturday morning. At this point we figured that sooner or later Tangled Marionette and Centrifugal Enforcer would end up teamed up with (or against) each other since the 2-on-2 format was supposed to be randomly seeded. Kimberley had managed to get some driving practice in with the Marionette, but she was nervous, so as each match came up she pushed me to take over the controls. As it turns out, the "random" process setup all of the fights so that despite having two robots out of 15 total in the 13 pound class, we NEVER ended up in the same match together. Wierd.
Centrifugal Enforcer before its first match. Here we're still sporting the Acrylic top, but at least the lawn mower blade is running at full power. After the the blade ate the top in the first match, we went back to the original 3mm carbon fiber top but had to lose one of the 7.2v CP-1300 Battlepacks to keep under weight.
Image courtesy of Bob Kleeman

Image courtesy of Bob Kleeman
Tangled Marionette setup for the "KillBall" event. We run "upside down" to put the spikes up in the air. Turns out the spike length and spacing were just about perfect. We scored 3 or 4 goals, at least as many (if not more) than anyone else at the tournament. In fact, Tangled Marionette secured enough points during the KillBall rounds to finish in 7th place despite NOT competing in the other two events due to finally blowing up the gearbox on one of the surplus Pittman gearhead motors I've been abusing for two years. Lesson learned: Always make sure you can get spares.
And here's Centrifugal Enforcer after the first fight. As I pretty much expected, the Plexiglass top self destructed, probably from the same self-impact that opened up the side rail like a can of soda. Looks like there's a weakness in the design here: When Centrifugal Enforcer gets tipped up and the blade contacts the fighting surface, the "other end" of the blade can be forced down into the chassis. Looks like I need a bit more clearance and a more rigid blade and mounting system.
Image courtesy of Bob Kleeman

Image courtesy of Bob Kleeman
Setting up for another round of KillBall...
The extraordinary lengths we go to in order to get the blade back up to full power. At 7.2v the blade was just "OK". Back at 14.4v it was a lot more impressive, but I couldn't add the extra battery and still make weight unless we eliminated the carbon fiber top. So, here we've added the ultra- critical duct-tape in an effort to keep the wiring "in" and the crud "out". This is also a rare shot of the "back" of Centrifugal Enforcer, showing the HDPE rear panel and the nylon antenna brackets.
Image courtesy of Bob Kleeman
Aside from a little nick and my white-stickers coming off, the weapon blade survived in good shape.
Yikes. Well, with the weapon at full power and no armor between it and the chassis rails, a good bump from Alpha Pujo was all it took for the blade to "self contact" again and REALLY tweak the rails for a second time.
I also managed to clip the rear antenna mounts and send the Deans baseloaded antenna into the netherworld. This is all thats left of my Deans... At least this is on the replaceable portion of the antenna system and not on the "virgin" part of the antenna wire.
The Lite-Flite soft foam wheels didn't fare too well either. This damage occurred during one of my excursions getting stuck UNDER the arena border. This is the first time I can remember that my flat-as-a-pancake design strategy has worked against me. The floor-to-railing gap was just tall enough that a 2" tall Centrifugal Enforcer with 3" squishy wheels could fit quite easily and get stuck under the railing.
One last photo of the innards that reveals the chassis damage. Definitely need more clearance on the corners where the chassis is longest. At least with this method of construction the rails can be made in a big hurry, they're very simple.
My most prized "Trophy" from this event. Half a wheel from Team Cosmos' Neutrino, piloted under the name "Anaphoric Antagonist" by Tony Hall of Team Radicus.

More event writeup coming soon. Maybe some more pictures too!

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