EVENT REPORT: CIRC (Central Illinois Robotics Club) Bot Brawl

November 8th, 2004

Well it has taken about three years but I finally made it to my first competition. First I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brian Schwartz of Team Python for all his expertise and help with the construction of tOBOR, especially the Ti. blade. Work on tOBOR was moving along well until we found that the Nimh batteries would not do the job. I ended up upgrading to lithium but allot of time was lost. Despite the fact that I tried very hard to avoid it, I ended up having to make the final touches the day before the competition (I hope to never wait this long again). I headed down to Peoria that night and stayed at a hotel so as to avoid the long drive early in the morning instead. So far I had only driven tOBOR for a few minutes in it's final form. The next morning I tried it out on the hotel room floor and a few accidental chips in the furniture later, disaster struck!! The shaft snapped off my one and only weapon motor. Boy it sucks not having enough money to stock up on extras. I ended up running out to a local Wal-Mart to grab some hinges and slapping on a piece of scrap 1/4" lexan. Voila, a boring wedge bot. Oh well, better than nothing I suppose. Here's how things went...

My first fight was against Kindergarten Orchestra, a spike bot with PVC armor. I had no idea of its speed or the driver?s skill but was confident my wedge could get under him. Luckily within maybe 45 secs of dancing around the pit he fell in. tOBOR wins the first ever win in the first ever battle of Team tOBOR. Whoo hoo!!! Below you can see a pic right as he falls in. tOBOR 1-0

My next fight was against Aluminum Sandwich. Seeing as his pushy bot was low but featured no scoop or wedge attachment, it was almost impossible for him to move tOBOR as long as I kept the wedge pointed at him. This match went on for a very long time as his wide frame made him difficult to move towards the pit. Finally I managed to push him in. tOBOR 2-0

With my weapon disabled that morning, Arsenic was the only ant in attendance with an active weapon. And what an active weapon! His brushless powered vertical disc tore up the competition and actually proved too powerful in the finals in which he self terminated after a violent recoil from a hit on ADD. Naturally I was less than enthused when I found I was facing him next. As with all vertical spinners, I knew their centripetal forces hinder their ability to turn and so my strategy was to move around his side as quickly as possible in hopes of either causing him to topple over or at least maybe he would not turn fast enough to face me. Well it almost worked. I got around his side but he managed to clip my wedge as I went in for the scoop. After a few minor hits on my thick wedge, one dug in a flipped me over. Unfortunately in the process he also cut my main power cord leaving the switch about a foot away. Because of having to quickly change to the wedge design, I forgot to make sure all holes were covered where the weapon motor normally would have been. Thus my main power cable was hopelessly exposed. Overall I was pleased with the lack of total destruction I knew Arsenic is capable of. tOBOR 2-1

My limited budget strikes again!! After examining tOBOR for damage after the arsenic fight, I found both COPALs to be stripped. I only had one extra however. hmmmm. I would have to go on with only one properly working drive motor. Luckily the other was not completely damaged. It was only stripped in the reverse direction. Still not great but much better than having only one side of the drive working. My next opponent was evil doorstop, a modified BB custom RC toy wedge with one heck of a driver. I could tell he had some practice with doorstop. I managed to last for about 1:30 when the drive problems finally cost me the match. When on top of his wedge with my operational side hanging off and the bad side only working in the direction that would drive me into the pit, I was out of options and fell in and out of the competition. tOBOR 2-2

Overall I felt it was a successful competition. 2-2 is not bad at all for my first time out especially considering the weapon trouble. I've heard of a lot worse. The event itself was great with a huge turnout (audience was a little too big though). I was quite blown away by the sponsorship. Tons of prizes were offered and I even won a subscription to Servo which is an awesome magazine. I can't wait to go again. Arsenic, I'm coming for you!!