Subscribers will be the first to know about new events and
new rules. Of course, subscribers to SERVO Magazine can
read through back issues to learn from some of the best
builders of the past.
The Box is Locked
It’s almost “Robot Fighting Time.”
It’s the time all of us robot builder’s have been waiting
for: the return of BattleBots to TV. This year, the hazards
are randomly activated by an all new computerized control
panel. Pete Lambertson remains the man in charge. Behind
him is Trey Roski, co-founder of BattleBots. There are also a
couple of thousand screaming fans chanting to see some
robot fighting action. Join them on ABC, Sunday, June 21st.
You won’t regret it. SV
56 SERVO 07.2015
Commentators Florian and Rose sit right next to the
BattleBox while they describe the fights going on inside.
(L-R) Kenny Florian, Chris Rose, and Molly McGrath
host the show.
An Awesome Trophy Deserves
an Awesome Trophy Stand
Veteran BattleBot builder, Mark Setrakian from Team
Sinister is a special effects artist who builds amazing robots
that are sometimes just too pretty to destroy (he can do nasty,
too; he was co-champion in 1995 with his robot “The Master”).
For the return of BattleBots to television, Mark once again
shows his technical prowess. Axis 2 appears at first glance to
be a five-fingered robot hand that slowly rotates a clear platter
on which rests the coveted Giant Nut. Moving one finger at a
time, the hand slowly rotates the trophy at a constant velocity
while the arm underneath remains stationary.
The motion is hypnotic.
After talking with him at the event, I learned that Axis 2 is
really a five-legged walking robot, as you can see in the photo
of it walking on his workbench. When it is holding the trophy, it
is really just “walking on the ceiling.”
After watching the trophy rotating for the better part of an
hour, it occurred to me that a simple pre-programmed motion
would accumulate small errors that would eventually spill the
precious object onto the floor.
Mark explained that the Giant Nut has a small centered dot
attached to the bottom. The platter is clear, and the palm of the hand
contains a camera looking straight up (that camera view is shown in
the photo in the upper left window of the computer screen).
Mark wrote a general gait generator program that runs on his
Apple MacBook Pro. The gait generator allows the number of legs to be
a variable, along with phase angles and other subtleties. When Axis is
started, it just walks toward the dot. Once the dot is centered, the robot
walks in circles around it, giving a self-correcting constant rotation of
You can literally watch it for hours.
Special Effects master and
robot builder, Mark Setrakian
built Axis 2 — the robotic
hand that displays and
rotates the Giant Nut trophy
on the main stage.
Mark's general gait generator
program controls the hand from
his Apple MacBook Pro.
Axis 2 is really a five-legged robot, seen here
walking on the workbench
in Mark's shop. Photo
courtesy of Mark Setrakian.