After the semi-finals, both victors headed to the pits
and the Lincoln Welders tent for repairs. Tombstone got
some welding done on the frame that holds the spinning
weapon, and Bite Force got its wedge trimmed a little so it
wouldn’t drag on the arena floor.
I said earlier that the last hit by Tombstone in the semis
cost Ray the tournament. More specifically, because the
main battery packs he’d been using the whole tournament
had spilled out of the robot, Ray was concerned that the
packs may have been damaged. So, he directed his team to
switch to a backup set of battery packs for the finals. These
had tested out fine at home, but had not seen any combat
up to this point.
Tombstone uses four A123 packs for the weapon
motor: two strings of two packs, or “2S2P.” As soon as the
finals started, Ray noticed that Tombstone was not spinning
up as quickly as it had previously. This gave Bite Force a
chance to take a couple of slightly less vicious hits.
Ray theorized that one of the four packs was faulty,
meaning that all of the current had to flow through the
other pack. After the first couple of hits, that battery pack
caught fire and Tombstone started smoking. Eventually, the
weapon blade stopped turning all together. The match and
the tournament went to Bite Force.
Luck of the Draw
The lesson here is that to win the Giant Nut, you have
to win five fights in a row. It’s not enough to be the most
destructive robot. You have to have the toughness and pit
skills to keep your robot working through all of the fights.
Plus, you might need to resist the crowd yelling “Finish
Some really good destructive robots like Captain
Shrederator and WarHead had unlucky draws. Stinger and
Bite Force are really good wedges. These spinners might
have gone much farther if they’d had other clamp bots or
spinners as their initial opponents.
As for the finals, I’ve spoken to both drivers, and they
both agree that if Tombstone didn’t take the last hit against
Bronco and had his main batteries at full strength, the
outcome of that match might have been different. One
lucky (or unlucky) hit and a robot can be out.
I would have liked to have seen that fight.
Figure 10 (top left) shows Team Aptyx and Bite Force
with the Giant Nut. From left to right are team members
Teena Liu, Cory McBride, Travis Covington, and Paul’s
parents, Joan and Anthony Ventimiglia (not pictured:
In addition to the Championship trophy, there were
two “Giant Bolt” trophies awarded. The middle photo
shows Ray Billings with the “Most Destructive Robot”
trophy (not pictured are team members Justin Billings and
Rick Russ). Warhead won “Best Designer,” shown at right:
Simon Scott, James Cooper, and Ian Lewis (not pictured:
Gillian Blood Lewis). Each award also came with a $25,000
It was announced at the awards ceremony that the
Giant Nut and the Giant Bolt trophies are the same thread
size, so they can be screwed together. You can bet that Ray
Billings is already planning upgrades to Tombstone to verify
that fact next year.
As this issue of SERVO goes to press, we do not yet
know whether ABC will renew BattleBots for a second
season. To receive the latest information, sign up for the
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