54 SERVO 06.2016
ombat robots have a special place in our
hearts. They’re how we got started in
competitive robotics, and they’re what led
us to SERVO Magazine through one of
our early mentors, Dan Danknick. We
built our trusty 60 lb bot Troublemaker in 2001
and competed in BotBash until 2003, culminating
in a second place win where we were nestled in
the standings between BattleBots™champions.
We still look back fondly on the good old
days of building bots in the garage with our dad
— drilling, bolting, and cutting while Boston’s
timeless guitar melodies played in the
background. After BotBash, FIRST took over our
robotic attention, then college, and then law
school, so Troublemaker sat dormant in Robot
Central for the last 13 years. Combat
competitions with heavier weight classes became rare, and
we began to wonder if Troublemaker would stay
Then, we heard about RoboGames — a robotics
extravaganza with combat rounds up to the heavyweight
(220 lb) class and a cornucopia of other events, ranging
from bowling to fire fighting to bartending robots and
everything in between. So, we started fixing up
Troublemaker with our eye on making a triumphant return
to combat in 2016.
Our long hiatus from the sport has positioned us well
to understand what has changed in the world of combat
robotics over the last 10 years. So, we prepared for “the
Games,” intent on discovering what precisely have been the
most important technological advancements of the past
decade for combat robots.
What explains the increased destructiveness of the new
crop of combat robots? Would our vintage 15 year old bot
be able to compete? Would our long-awaited return be
underwhelming like Guns N’ Roses or awesome like The
Eagles? There was only one way to find out.
One of the main technological improvements — and
perhaps the most salient for robot performance — has been
with batteries. We’ve detailed Troublemaker’s battery
evolution at length (see the February 2014 issue for the full
rundown). The bot has come a long way from 2001, when
its first incarnation was powered with hefty sealed lead-acid
by Bryce Woolley and Evan Woolley
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The Road to
CLEANING OUT TROUBLEMAKER FOR THE REBUILD.
IMPLEMENTING THE RAGEBRIDGE 2.0.
Check out this