Event Report: Bayside Robotics’ First State Fights #2

This past weekend I attended Bayside Robotics’ second event, and it certainly proved to be an interesting day.

1lb – Someone Else’s Problem

Someone Else’s Problem and Pocket Apocalypse after winning the tournaments

This was the event where Someone Else’s Problem finally came into its own. It originally started its life as a 3D printed design that was hardly able to stand up the the force of its own weapon, went through two design iterations that I never actually competed with, and finally reached its current configuration with its carbon fiber frame. I finally got to take it for a spin back in July, but a bit of bad luck getting stuck on the “pit”, followed by my receiver plugs getting disconnected to fully knock me out of the tournament. Since that last tournament I shrink wrapped the connectors to prevent a repeat of the disconnection, and I charged the batteries, but it was otherwise already perfectly ready to go.

The first two matches went alright, eventually going to judges decisions that went my way, but the unique combination of centrifugal/gyroscopic forces with my weapon still haven’t been tamed and left me more often than not bouncing around the arena with little control. After this, I decided to try turning my max weapon speed down as an attempt to get better control. (I have the weapon set up on a 3-way switch which only gives me off-1/2-full speed control.)

I didn’t immediately get to try the adjusted tactic out though, as my next opponent forfeited the match. What is notable about this is that it wasn’t a typical forfeit where he was unable to get the bot working before the start of the match, he had just come out of a victory relatively unscathed. He told me that he believed that my bot would cause more damage to his bot than he would be able to repair for the next round, so he strategically chose to work his way up through the loser’s bracket rather than risk being more permanently knocked out of the tournament by facing me. I think that this marks the first time that I have won a match based purely on intimidation.

My next match placed me against Sleep Deprived, the very well driven Viper kit that knocked me out of the previous tournament. The rematch went my way this time, with the decreased weapon throttle giving me much better control, sending me to the finals. Sleep Deprived then worked its way up through the loser’s bracket to face me again for the final match. I managed to disable one side of his drive again, but then pit maintenance oversights caught up with me.

After my second match of the day, I noticed a chip had been taken out of my motor pulley. Rather than risk it becoming an issue, I decided to replace it, but I had forgotten to bring loctite with me to the event. After the next match I should have checked that the screws were tight again, but since I didn’t it resulted in 3 of the 4 screws falling out and remaining one hanging on by a thread. The result was that the pulley came loose and allowed the belt to fall off, so I had to resort to pushing him around the box for the rest of the match until it went to a decision in my favor. 5-1/2 years after building my first antweight I had finally made it onto the podium!

While the bot is looking a bit rougher in a couple spots after the tournament, I would be happy to throw it right into another one with just fresh batteries and replacing those lost screws. There isn’t a lot that I see as easy opportunities for improvement at the moment. I’m a little disappointed that I have to turn the destructive capability down a notch to get things a bit more controllable, but I still think that is an improvement overall.

The one other failure I had in the tournament was the gearbox on one of my Silver Spark drive motors. Both now and in July I had a gearbox fail by having the first pinion in the gearbox start spinning on the shaft rather than driving the next gear. I suspect that there might be something batch related there, because I have yet to see similar issues with motors that I purchased at earlier or later dates than those two, and I thought that the more commonly seen failure modes were seeing the gear teeth get chewed up or something get bent. There aren’t a lot of more durable options at this weight class than the Spark motors with bearing blocks, but I now have a couple 16mm planetary motors coming to try out as a potential avenue for durability improvement.

1lb Plastic – Backlash

Backlash after its first match.

Backlash did about as well as I expected, seeing as it was a first attempt at the class, and a fairly rushed last minute attempt as well. The first match started out okay, I got a few hits in, but then the weapon broke, followed shortly by the frame. Between the poor performance of the design, the need for a replacement drive motor for Someone Else’s Problem, and the challenge of keeping up with trying to get everything charged and repaired for 3 bots, I decided to drop Backlash out of the tournament and promote it to spare parts.

I may one day return to the 1lb plastic class, but I think that it is different enough from the design constraints that I am more accustomed to that I have much to learn before I can hope to reach any similar level of success.

150g – Pocket Apocalypse

While Pocket Apocalypse came away with the first place in the competition, unfortunately it only amounts to a bit more than a participation prize. While there were several other fairyweights that signed up for the event, only one showed up, and that one only ever got one side of its drive working in the box. While I’ll take the trophy to add to my collection for showing up with a working bot, I hope that I can have a good competition to really earn it next time.

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