Featured This Month
44 Robot Combat Event Safety
Primer by Kevin Berry
45 So You Built a Bot, What’s
Next? by Kevin Berry
46 Designing and Building a 12
lb Fighting Robot by Peter Smith
48 Designing a Combat Robot
Drive Train by Steve Judd
49 Scorpion ECSs by Kevin Berry
44 SERVO 05.2006
Robot Combat Event Safety Primer
● by Kevin Berry
Rule #1 — Don’t do anything
stupid or dangerous.
Rule #2 — In the absence of
checks and balances, even the most
veteran builder will violate Rule #1.
I have been the “safety puke”
at many small combat events. While
most folks think that “newbies” are
at the greatest risk — and there are
a few careless ones — in my experience, it’s the veterans, eager to
get back in the box after a frantic
damage repair session, that tend
to violate basic safety rules.
There are two main areas of
safety at events: Pit Safety
and Robot Safety. Pit Safety,
involving mostly tool use and
industrial type accidents,
might be the topic of another
column. Here, I’m going to
introduce the basic elements
of Robot Safety, as detailed
in the Robot Fighting
League’s standard rule set.
Like most rule sets, there’s
a scar for every rule!
All bots should have a
power switch or link, and a positive
indicator light when bot power is
on. A separate switch/light for drive
and weapon power is even safer. All
bots, whether five ounces or 340
pounds, should have their wheels
off the table or ground at all times
except when in the box just before
a fight. Weapons must have covers
on sharp edges, and positive
restraints, except when in the box.
Restraints come off last thing before
a fight, and go on first thing after.
Radios MUST ONLY BE POWERED
ON after checking out a unique
frequency clip from the controller.
Too many times I’ve seen someone
accidentally turn on a radio and
energize someone else’s bot.
Lastly, THINK and WATCH!
There are myriad examples of
builders preventing others from getting hurt, doing something stupid,
or observing a problem with an
unattended bot and taking positive
action. Rule #2 mentions “checks
and balances.” This puts the onus
right on the builders, not just the
overworked official safety puke! SV