Some folks may wonder, what do combat robot builders do when they are not building or preparing for a combat event?
Well, some find other events and technical challenges
to keep the creative juices flowing. Many build for and
attend the Maker Faire. The Maker Faire has become one of
the must-go-to events since it began eight years ago. This
year, I became aware of a new event that was to be held at
the 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA.
The event is part of the Power Racing series. This event
requires teams to build an electric powered race car using
small electric kiddie cars like a Barbie Jeep, for example. The
teams are allowed to modify the stock machines
as long as the original body remains mostly
intact and the parts budget doesn't exceed
$500. Upon learning about this, I immediately
double-dawg dared my friends at the NIMBY
space in Oakland, CA to try and beat our team
at this race.
Our group consisted of a merger of Team
K.I.S.S. robotics and Team Plumb Crazy (Matt
and Wendy Maxham) — builders of the combat
robot Sewer Snake, among others. Together, we
became Team Kiss My Snake (KMS). We have a
history of competing with NIMBY and many
other teams in another event called Power Tool
Drag Racing. So, we knew that NIMBY couldn't
resist a new tech challenge.
I contacted Matt and we discussed what to
use for a drive system. We both have a lot of
very used parts from over 16 years of building
combat robots. The original design was
supposed to use two EV Warrior motors that
came from an electric bike and the speed
controllers that come with them. We also found
an old Barbie Jeep to use.
I didn't hear from Matt for a couple of
weeks, so I finally called him and he had already
built the car. When I went and saw it, the Jeep had a steel
frame with the EV Warrior motors mounted on it, a rear
differential/axle, drum brake, the front steering, the actual
Jeep body, and, of course, Matt’s trademark Red Harbor
Freight tires used on his robot Sewer Snake. Matt became
busy getting ready for combat at RoboGames 2013, so we
didn't do anything for a couple of months.
After RoboGames, I called him about one week before
the Maker Faire and Matt said he had some bad news. He
drove the racer and both of the speed controllers burned
up, so he figured we were done. I did some quick
motor/torque math and confirmed the EV Warrior motors
Team Kiss My
Snake Tears It Up
With A Barbie Jeep
by Steven Nelson
38 SERVO 10.2013
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