quick to follow.
That is where we left
Troublemaker. It returned
to Robot Central 2.1
pounds more lopsided
than it had emerged.
Once our competitive
robotics days turned to
FIRST and other pursuits,
we never had occasion
to fix the spinner. That’s
precisely what we aim to
Since we seemed to
have trouble with the
spinner in every
competition, it is
apparent that it could benefit from a
redesign. We need a better way to
keep the weights attached to the
cables, or we need some other
implements at the end of the spinner
instead of the weights.
Perhaps it is for their sentimental
value, but our first instinct is to see if
we can make the weights work. Since
the problem area now seems to be
the end cap, we just need to design a
way to make those end caps less
vulnerable. The intuitive solution is to
recess the endcap into the weight
itself, like recessed lighting in a newly
We could recess the end cap by
partially drilling out the through hole
in the weight with a larger bore drill
bit. Even with the weight otherwise
unattached to the cable itself, the
endcap should stay recessed when
the spinner is activated because the
centripetal force would keep the
weight at the outer end of the cable.
What if a completely different
design might be better? Maybe after
three years of competition it was
time to try a totally new weapon
design, one that wouldn’t be subject
to the same problems as the weights.
As we brainstormed ideas, two main
concepts rose to the forefront.
The first would go for a different
style of weapon. Instead of blunt
force, what about a cutting weapon?
A sharp cutting weapon had
apparently worked well against
Troublemaker in BotBash 2002, and
after our experiences in competition
we had a better understanding of
different solutions to the central task
of combat robotics.
Our initial design with the
weights sprung from the idea that
imparting as much force as possible
to the opponent had the best chance
of disabling it. This sounds good in
theory but again, not all opponents
are so easily vanquished. As we
discovered, many competitors go to
great lengths to armor their bots.
Troublemaker itself is a good
example, sporting two layers of
quarter inch thick 7075-T6 aluminum.
No amount of blunt force will do
much to that.
Surely, some opponents are
vulnerable to the spinning weights,
Would the small amount of travel
the hammers had before crashing
into the side of the spinner dissipate
enough force to prevent serious
injury to Troublemaker? Could the
blade design really deal some
damage? What kind of hapless
targets will we go crazy on when
testing these designs next time (our
printer robots, perhaps, from the
August 2103 issue)?
Stay tuned for the destructive
conclusion of Troublemaker’s
weapon redesign. SV
SERVO 04.2014 17
BLADES OFGLORY? HAMMER THROW?