of designs and elements that we thought could compete
with the likes of Overkill, T-Minus, and Dr. Inferno Jr. We
built our lightweight Troublemaker in 2001 with heads full of
dreams of carting it into the BattleBox. And though we had
a great time competing in BotBash against many BattleBots
vets, we still wanted to make it to the big stage, just like
every litigator dreams of arguing before the Supreme Court.
So, with BattleBots finally back, we weren’t going to
miss our chance. Each of our team members came up with
a different design — from multi-bots to combination drum/
flippers. Our most intriguing design was for a projectile
weapon. When the rules for the 2016 season were released
and we saw that untethered projectiles were being allowed
for the first time ever, we knew that what’s we had to do.
We had been out of the combat game for a while,
having last competed at BotBash 2003 (taking second place
with Troublemaker). We knew in the intervening years
robots had become exponentially more destructive and
heavily armored, and that there were numerous teams that
had spent the last decade perfecting their weapon designs.
If we tried to compete in the spinner game with these vets,
it would be like a junior associate taking first chair on a
major trial against an international law firm.
A cannon had never been done before. Sure, there were
some attempts at tethered projectiles back in the day (a bot
called Neptune from classic BattleBots), but nobody had
ever had the guts to build their entire bot around an entirely
untested class of weapon. That is, until we came along.
Since this would be the first-ever cannon in BattleBots,
our chief objective with the design was to prove that
cannons were capable of doing enough damage to be
competitive. Projectile weapons in BattleBots are limited to
non-combustible energy sources — no explosives allowed.
(See BattleBots Design Rules, Rev. 2018.0, Section 8[b]).
Compressed gas (or springs) is allowed, so we knew that
a compressed gas cannon would be the way to make
the strongest shot possible. We also knew that to make
the strongest shot possible it would have to be a one-hit
A second shot would mean that there was less pressure
available for the first shot, and less weight available for the
first slug. Not to mention the complexity of figuring out a
reloading mechanism that would stay sealed at 3,000 PSI.
So, for the 2016 season, we pitched the biggest, strongest
cannon that we could fit into the 250 lb weight limit — a
one-shot wonder that would expel a 20 lb slug at 3,000 PSI
for an impact force of about 26,000 lbs.
For our application, we even started prototyping the
cannon in PVC to have something concrete to include along
with our CAD drawing. Unfortunately, Capital Punishment
— as we were calling it then — was not accepted for the
2016 season. There were valid concerns over the safety of
a design that was essentially a giant gun. There were also
concerns whether this one-shot wonder would be exciting
TWIN TWEAKS Twin brothers hack whatever’s put in front of them, then tell you about it.
DOUBLE JEOPARDY AS OF FEBRUARY 2018.
MOCKING UP THE TRIGGER MECHANISM.
OLD RACECAR MOTOR + HOMEWORK PULLEYS = WORKING
SERVO 09/10.2018 69