by Chris and Tiffany Olin
many vertical spinner robots struggle
with turning. Sleeping in one
Saturday morning daydreaming about
bot designs, it hit me that I could
actually use the gyroscopic force of
the spinning blade to move the entire
bot. The first prototype was about
three-quarters of a pound, a bunch of
parts taped to an aluminum plate,
and a motor on a tilty piece that spun
a small scooter wheel. As afraid as I
was of the rubber on the wheel flying
off as I spun it up, it actually worked right off the bat.
Gyrobot took another half year to come together.
Improvements and some re-designs later, I have a pretty
good idea of how to make this arrangement effective.
One thing we knew we were not going to receive with
Wrecks was any kind of weight bonus. Many competitions
allow a weight bonus for walking bots, though what types
of walking designs get that bonus are up to the Event
Organizer. With that said, BattleBots said nothing of the
sort this time around, so we built it to the normal limit of
250 pounds. What they really wanted people to bring,
however, was something new, innovative, cool, surprising,
exciting ... things that would capture the audience
(figuratively, not literally). We also had something to prove;
that anybody could come out with something totally unlike
any other bot done before and rock. We didn't win, but I
would certainly say we rocked. In that aspect, we totally
won. We proved that it is a viable design.
SERVO: Did it live up to your expectations?
Chatterton: It didn't quite live up to them. It's okay
though; we learned a lot and now know what needs to
happen for Wrecks to — as I like to put it — stomp face. The
control was wonky, the blade was a bit slow, and it had a
hard time self-righting. All three of those things we're
already working on the improvement for. Also, we'll have a
bit more time to add to the "intimidation factor." When it
returns, it will be fearsome and ruthless.
SERVO: How did you pick your robot/team name?
Chatterton: Our robot’s name was actually suggested
by Orion's girlfriend, Addy. Gyroscopic walkers (including
both Gyrobot and Wrecks) lumber around in a very
tyrannosaurus-rex fashion, so she suggested the name
Blade-o-saurus-rex. Unfortunately, this was a bit long for TV
purposes, so we shortened
the name to Wrecks.
SERVO: What did you
learn from your BattleBots
technical act of building
yields several technical skills.
A lot of it is applying skills I
already have. Some people
say that it's just pointless
destruction. However, there
is a whole aspect of it that
many people overlook. Yeah,
it's a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoy fighting robots.
What I care about more than winning, though, is the
audience. I want the audience to enjoy it because when a
bunch of kids see cool fighting bots, they often want to
learn more about it. With that comes all kinds of interest in
science, math, physics, etc. I've already learned a lot, and
there are always little things I'm picking up here and there.
The real treasure is how much other people are inspired to
learn. I'm a huge proponent of education, and if just one
kid sees one of my bots and is inspired to learn, then in my
eyes the design is effective.
Team Witch Doctor
In this year's BattleBots tournament, Team Busted Nuts
Robotics put the whammy on their competition with their
multi-bot Witch Doctor and Shaman.
Busted Nuts Robotics is made up of four talented robot
SERVO 09.2015 63
Wrecks' 28" 35 pound blade. With
the motor at full speed, this blade
spins over 250 miles per hour!
Micah “Chewy” Leibowitz milling a frame
James Arluck grinding
away at AR400 steel.
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