is a low to the ground wedge
robot, with sloped sides and a
titanium lifting arm. The robot
can operate upside down or right
side up (however, the robot has
better armor when it's right
side up), and it can use its arm
to self right.
● Frame: Carbon fiber sheets
and rods sewn and glued
● Drive: The 56-to-1 Sanyo gearbox
from Solar Robotics.
● Wheels: Modified Light Flight
foam wheels from Dave Brown.
● Drive ESC: Barello Ant 100 dual
5A speed controller.
● Drive batteries: 7.4V 145 mAh
● Weapon type: Lifter.
● Weapon power: 7.4V 145 mAh
● Weapon motor: Mini metal
gear high tech servo.
● Weapon controller: Servo.
● Armor: 1/16 inch polycarbonate
sheet, with .020 inch titanium
reinforcement in critical areas.
● Radio system: Seven channel
programmable JR radio.
● Future plans: Reinforce the
mounts that connect the armor
to the frame and raise the
bottom plates to give the robot
a higher ground clearance.
● Design philosophy: Let children
and rookies drive my robot
against saw robots during
demonstrations or exhibitions
and find out what breaks, then
fix it. “If it doesn’t fit, force it.
If it breaks, you needed a new
● Builder’s bragging opportunity:
Micro Drive has been my most
successful and reliable robot
for the last three years. He
has won two RoboGames
championships and got the silver
medal this year. He has always
placed either first or second in
every competition he has entered.
The first Micro Drive was built
in two days and I’ve spent
probably a grand total of a week
rebuilding or repairing it in its
three years of service. When I do
demonstrations at high schools,
Micro Drive is the primary robot I
use and I let the audience drive
it. Micro Drive was actually
built using nothing more than a
heavy-duty pair of scissors, a hair
dryer, needle and thread, glue,
and soldering iron. At next year’s
RoboGames, Team Hammer
Brothers better watch out,
because Micro Drive will be back
in full fighting form ready to
reclaim his title as RoboGames
Photos and information are courtesy of
Zachary Lytle. All fight statistics are courtesy
of BotRank ( www.botrank.com) as of
October 10, 2008. Event attendance data
is courtesy of BotRank and The Builder’s
Database ( www.buildersdb.com) as of
October 10, 2008.
PARTS IS PARTS:
2.4 GHz Radi Fail-safes
Robotic combat is a dangerous
sport in its very nature, and if
participating, one must accept the
safety risks that are all too often
present in the sport. In most cases
however, simply accepting the risk
isn’t enough, and something must
be done to negate this risk as
much as possible. One of the most
dangerous variables in robots is the
safety features of their radios.
Most FM receivers can easily
interpret noise from motors, speed
controllers, and even microwaves as
valid signals. With the amount of
● by Thomas Kenney
destructive spinners and other
dangerous designs in the current
competition circuit, it should go
without saying that even in the
smaller weight classes, this is a
serious safety hazard.
That’s where failsafes come in.
Featured prominently in FM-PCM
radio receivers, failsafes will
automatically have all channels go
to zero throttle or any other
position that the user specifies
when the transmitter’s signal is lost.
However, this does not solve
another all too prominent problem:
frequency conflicts. In large robotic
competitions or conventions,
another robot is bound to have
the same frequency as yours.
Fortunately, with the recent 2.4
GHz radios, this has become a thing
of the past.
Recent spread spectrum radios
such as the Spektrum DX series
have taken the R/C world by storm.
Unlike conventional FM transmitters
and receivers that connect through
corresponding frequency clips,
2.4 GHz transmitters bind to their
specific receivers, meaning there will
SERVO 12.2008 27