Lesson 5. Maintenance should be
a serious consideration when
designing your bot.
when we couldn’t get the bot back
together in time. You can use a spare
motor to quickly test if the electronics are
all right; an RC servo provides a good
way of testing the RX side.
Our fights resumed with Pure Dead
Brilliant taking on Traumatizer — the bot
Weta had defeated earlier. This fight was
much closer. Traumatizer’s blade failed
early on, then a little later the pulley on
the weapon motor on PDB came apart,
so our blade stopped as well. The fight
descended into a pushing fight and we
got what must have been a close judge’s
Next up was Weta against Sting. The
two drum bots went at it head to head
with Sting probably getting the better of
the fight, but the judges gave the fight to Weta. This was a
nice surprise for us.
Lesson 6. The judge’s decision is
final, so it’s pointless to complain.
It’s no good having plenty of spares if it takes too long
to use them. You need to be able to virtually rebuild your
bot in about 20 minutes. If a part of the bot would take
longer than that to repair, then have a spare part of the
sub-assembly ready to swap out. Try to use common sized
fasteners so you aren’t scrambling to find the right tool or
that uniquely sized screw that just fell on the floor! It’s
tempting when building a bot to hard-wire all the parts
together as this saves both weight and space. However, this
can quickly become a nightmare when you need to replace
a component. Use quality connectors between each part.
You can add a little tape to each connection to ensure they
stay together. It’s important too, that you are methodical
about tracking down exactly what has failed before taking
your whole bot apart. I once assumed it was an ESC that
had failed when it actually had just been a loose RX signal
cable. That mistake cost us placing at Motorama 2006
It does reinforce an important point, however. Defeat
the opponent within the three minutes and you’ll never
have to worry about the judges! We have lost fights we
were sure we had won, and now had won when we
thought we had lost. Judging is difficult and how you see a
fight may not be the way your opponent or the judges see
it. If a decision goes against you, you be gracious about it.
Sooner or later it all equalizes out.
Our last fight of the day was my favorite of the whole
competition. Surgical Strike versus Deranged. We had a
lucky victory over Deranged at Franklin in ‘09 but I was
under no illusions that it would be that easy again. We had
fitted our new hardened S7 blade and decided to go all out
That was our last fight of the
day. We saw a few of the other
fights, but Sloth versus Agent 3. 5 in
46 SERVO 05.2010