I headed up with my dad to meet up with Ellis and Pete Ware on Wednesday before the first day of qualifiers. We met at a stop off along the motorway and I moved all my crap out of our car into theirs. Also got to poke Rango a little bit. Machine looked sweet as fuck and Ellis had worked so hard to get it running in time. There were a few rough edges etc but it was mostly there. Massacre was in a surprisingly finished state. We turned up to the NEC a while later, after a quick lunch of pork pies and crisps as the security guys sorted out passes and that we were allowed in and could unload our gear into the Robochallange stand.
Massy and Rango in the pits. I was good to go, but Rango still needed some finalising. It had some overheating problems and would cook a few motors as the competition went on due to Ellis being given the wrong specification for the motors.
Robots. The robot on the far left is Binky which is a massive vertical spinner that had its way with a lot of the competition when it was running. On the Rango bench you can see the spare discs and some axe protection 12mm hdpe plate.
Pete and Ellis testing Rango in the arena. They were playing with the DX6i's settings to make it better to drive with the faster motors. Only thing I did on Massacre was charge the battery and check the wedge for optimum floor scrapeyness.
Shot of the empty pits. Empty because this was the day before the competition started.
This was on Thursday, the first day of the event. All robots had 2 fights today My first fight was a one on one (the fights are normally a 3 way) with a pneumatic flipper. This was known as H4 which was built by Mario. It got sold on. The new owner got it to 4th place but doesn't seem to know what they are doing in most maintenance or general robot fixing respects.
Defector, formally H4. The only fight I won. My belt tension went funny so I couldn't spin up quickly. I could have kept trying but it would have taken too long to get up to speed. Despite what the commentator was saying the weapon worked fine I just stopped spinning up and turned it into a pushing match, something I knew I could win.
Ghetto-bodge tensioner. Two flanged bushings running on an M10 bolt. I drowned this in grease and it seemed to work okay for the following fights, although it fell out on a big hit from Conker 3
Massacre back together after the tensioner had been added, the battery charged and everthing else checked over and tightened.
Just to prove I won! Hey, when you see success as little as I do you learn to take what you can.
Here is Drumroll, a very nice drum spinner built by the wonderful Jamie McHarg who is easily one of the nicest guys in this sport. I was drawn to fight this second, alongside another spinner, Conker 3. The drum was ripped out in its first fight and a bulkhead bent. It ran without the weapon for its second fight and Jamie managed to get it running again for the second day.
Some hard work going on Drumroll, actually since Jamie had to run drumless in this fight I suggested we name it simply Roll and tape out the drum part.
Here we see the line-up of robots for the fight. Massacre far left, Conker 3 middle and Roll on the floor on the right. I was looking forward to this fight. I was confident in my ability to spin up and it was hardly going to be a boring fight. I was hardly going to win, but I knew there would be at least one big bang.
Ouch! Conker went in for a bit of the old ultraviolence on Massacre. It bent both 8 and 3.2mm hardened steels. The dent in the base is right where the weapon ESC sat so that was cattled. I didn't realise this until I plugged the link back in to test it after the fight and got smoke pour out of the robot. However since we both kinda took each other out, Roll was able to take the win! Love it!
The damage wasn't all one way. I managed to bend Conker's beater by a fraction that meant it would just kill its own bearings when it span resulting in some lovely sparks from the fiction on the rollers.
Now all this damage, while entertaining, had left me without a working robot on the first day of a 4 day competition and with 2 fights left. A few people were heading back to the main Priory Casters/Robochallange workshop to do repairs and we went along to. Ellis to work on Rango a bit more and me to see if anything could be done on Massacre.
Once there I assessed the damage once again. The base being straightened was vital. I got some help from Dave Moulds and Mark Lumb in getting the bent bolts and stripped heads out of the base. Then the base was taken away to a press and after a while was mostly straightened again, of course not perfect but good enough. I then stripped out the damaged electronics to see if there was the possibility of a fix.
I swear this had capacitors on the front the last time I looked. I later found them floating around in the robot.
Yeah not so great. All the components seemed to have moved 5mm from where they should be. Verdict: definitely cattled.
Roboteers being a wonderful bunch of people I got lent a redbrick controller which was excellent as it meant I could have a weapon again!
Massacre back together! A few things still needed doing but at this point I had already seen 2 two o clocks in one period of being awake and was about an hour off seeing a third. This coupled with the 8am check in time for the event meant everyone was pretty damn tired.
Pictures failed to really happen as I had to properly concentrate on the few jobs I had left still to do after the late night/early morning straightening adventure. One of the things I did grab was a shot of Conker with the beater taken out. Alex had dashed out to RS components to get a new set of bearings and belts.
I also quickly made a more manly link cover out of some tube by drilling and tapping a hole for a set screw to hold it onto the shaft. Bodged, but much stronger than epoxy!
And then Massacre before its 3rd fight. Next to it you can see Defector again and down the right hand side you can see the solid brick of Endeavour. The fight took a while to start because Defector had to basically be taken apart in order to be turned on so me and Endeavour were stuck hanging around while the driver dashed around grabbing Allen keys and taking the back off the robot. The fight eventually started, I was easy on the weapon throttle as I was up against walls or being rammed a lot and didn't want to stall the motor out and kill the borrowed ESC. Eventually I was clear enough to try properly and I went for it. Endeavour went straight for me and pushed my wedge up into the bar, bending the wedge and maybes scratching the paint slightly on the Hardox wedge.. Endeavour then dominated the rest of the fight and won on a judges decision.
Did I do that? Oops. Bended wedge is bended.
Wedge is mostly straightened out without much effort. I like this material much better than those bastard hardened pain-in-the-arse steels.
Onto the 4th and sadly final fight for Massacre. This was against the vertical disc of DB10 and the electric axe of No Toy. Both of these things were quite worrying but I knew it was going to be an interesting fight regardless.
It was a very short fight for Massacre as it turned out but still pretty cool. Span up without any problems and I didn't helicopter myself upside down. Fight is here!
I managed to crack a panel on DB10. The inner Alumec structure is very stiff, the titanium outer armour flexed but the panel behind it didn't meaning there was a small crack. Not quite epic destruction but its something at least. DB10 also put some nice dents in the top, very nearly penetrated.
So this was Massacre out of the competition. Disappointed I couldn't do better but still it's better than last years attempt. With 2 days left of the competition I began making myself slightly useful and became pit crew for Rango and an extra pair of hands where needed.
I also had time to mess about too...
Rango was knocking its way though the competition. I'm hopefully going to bully Ellis into doing a proper write up and I can link it here. Luck played a part but once we'd fixed the controller heating problems with coke can and thermal compound and he had some new higher voltage motors donated to stop the motor burn outs he was well on the way. Fucked a few robots up in a fairly major way!
Drumroll was also doing well in the competition and had made it into the top ten with ease. It was drawn to fight Rango but unfortunately the motor on the drum got cattled in the fight before and the weapon shaft got banana'd again too! I lent Jamie my inrunner because it had the same bolt pattern and we got it together. Testing showed the motor drew too much current and blew a fuse. I'm so sorry Jamie if you are reading this!
He ran weaponless in the fight but sadly lost and placed 5th overall.
Notice the sneaky MassyMotor in there. Sorry again about that!
Random robot photo time, this is the successful and feared drum spinner, 720. Thick Alumec frame with Hardox armour and a titanium drum. I think the inrunner it has is the legit version of my chinese knockoff.
Ellis and Rango before going into the third place playoff. Tightening bolts and lubing the ghetto-tensioners.
Ellis (no Rango) after winning 3rd place! Because awesome robot is awesome and well deserved trophy is well fucking deserved.
Now where did I park my robot? We got all the featherweights together to to a massive group photo thing. My camera got handed to my mother so dubious pictures are not my fault for once.
The guy in the hat with crossed arms is me.
Pingu, a robot by Elvis. 3rd seeded featherweight in the country.
Massacre before any combat.
Massacre after a little bit of combat.
Overall I had so much fun and I'm pretty fucking sad now as it's the longest possible time until the next one. Not sure what I will do design wise. Something I'll spam here in due time. I am happy I managed to document my build and give myself something to look back on.
Thanks for dealing with the clusterfuck TL;DR worthy post. Cheers, Haz.