22 SERVO 02.2017
first place trophies, even if the name
was odd. The worst was Spazhammer
in 2006. A 24 pound Hobbyweight
hammer robot that hopped. It fired
pneumatic cylinders into the arena
floor. A BASIC Stamp ran the whole
show, reading the radio, sequencing
the valves, firing the hammer. But
even with a 100% weight bonus, I
couldn’t squeeze enough valves in
there to allow it to turn
effectively. Lost two fights and
never fought again, but I got
that competition’s ‘Coolest
BD: If you could build
anything you wanted, what
would it be?
EM: I’m fascinated by
CNC tooling. I have my sights
set on building a CNC gantry
for my plasma cutter.
BD: What was your
favorite toy growing up?
EM: Who says I’ve grown
up? I’m 45 and still play with
toys. I guess if you mean when I was
a kid, LEGOs and Erector sets. That
silly RadioShack electronics kit with
the springs. Anything that let you
make something else.
BD: In 10 words or less, describe
your design philosophy. Make it
EM: Doesn’t matter if it wins.
BD: Favored design aid?
EM: I’m a fan of printing things
1:1 on my laser printer and attaching
the print to the material I’m cutting to
use as a template. Still haven’t
mastered working in 3D yet.
BD: Favorite tool?
ED: My bandsaw. Nothing beats
treating aluminum like expensive
BD: What do you feel like the
biggest change in combat robots is
since you started?
EM: Back when I started, we
were still figuring out the difference
between lexan and lucite, and using
screwdrivers for drive motors. Now,
stores have popped up everywhere
online. Custom-made parts are easier
to come by. Ditto for the CNC options
available. The 2. 4 GHz radios are
definitely a great advance — and have
made running an event much
smoother. No more frequency clips,
no more radio impound, and much
more competitor-friendly to boot.
BD: Talk about what goes into
getting an event like Moto going each
EM: A good bit of legwork. We're
fortunate to have a great venue and a
good event to work with. There are a
half dozen or so of us working on it,
and we all have our little area of
expertise. Jim Iocca handles
registration — which is by far the most
thinky part of the whole thing. Jon
Durand orders the tables and chairs
and announces the event; Alan Young
and Al Kindle handle safety concerns;
Joe Provenzano fixes just
about everything there; I mail
the paperwork out and set up
the insurance; Beth (my very
tolerant wife) handles the
brackets and schedules the
fights; and Zach O’Donnell
injects common sense when
needed. Then, we all come
together at the event. After
doing this for 10+ years,
we’ve got it down to a
science, I think. We just
picked up a few new officers
that will have to find their
niche. Welcome aboard,
Photo by Ed McCarron.
EO Row, Motorama 2016.
Photo by Ken Franklin.
The view from the back at Motorama 2016.
Photo by Ken Franklin.