to never-before reached
speeds, causing the rear end
to lift off the ground. It
swung around 90 degrees,
dropped to the ground, and
rolled. The driver was not
injured but the sail was
pretty much totaled, and I
never rebuilt it."
"My first combat robot
was conceived in 1966
while doing electronic
assembly work at a summer
job. A co-worker and I
discussed building R/C
robots to fight each other.
We tried to out-do each
other, dreaming up
weapons while we soldered parts in
burglar alarms. It became apparent
weapon-limiting rules were going to
be needed when he decided an acid
sprayer would be a good idea. Sadly,
we did not have enough mechanical
skill to make anything that didn't
suck. I was the only one of us that
actually built one. It was terrible and
had no weapon, but basically moved
and steered. No robot fights actually
Many years pass ...
I joined the Atlanta Hobby Robot
Club in 1999, and learned to make
line followers, robot vacuums, and
mini Sumo bots for their contests.
This is when I started to become more
interested in building mechanical
things. I went to DragonCon Robot
Battles in 2001 to see what it was
about, and was inspired to build a bot
the following year."
A visit to Heatherington's website
at www.wa4dsy.net/robot is to
indulge in combat robot builder porn.
Everything is there — beautifully
documented and photographed.
T_Zero (A 12 lb/two wheeled
pneumatic flipper. First combat bot.
Let that one sink in for a sec.
Pneumatics for your icebreaker.) is
there with all the rest. There are
vacuums, line followers,
balance bots, and melty
DH: Process? Work
flow? LOL! I'm pretty
disorganized and have no
formal training or work
experience in building
mechanical stuff. It usually
goes something like this:
Weird idea pops into my
head for no reason. Will this
be effective? Will it be cool?
new skills building it?
If yes, then I try to test
the concept on a small scale
with a model and/or do
experiments. If it still seems
like a good idea, then I start
with the weapon and then
design a bot to carry it.
Currently, I use ViaCAD on a
MAC. It's cheap and is not
too difficult to use. Paper
and cardboard also come
into play for models.
Sometimes wood. I'd rather
screw up a cheap piece of
cardboard or wood than
2024 aluminum. Also, I
Most ideas never get to the build
stage, but when they do flaws are
discovered and many changes are
made. When finished, it's always overweight and needs to diet. Drill holes,
use lighter materials, weigh, repeat.
I try to work out the math as
much as I can. I'm not good at math,
but thanks to Google I can usually
find the formulas I need on the
Internet. To make repetitive
calculations less tedious, I sometimes
write special calculators in Perl or
them on my website."
Heatherington’s website has many
calculators, formulas, and reference
materials. There is a noticeable lack of
the high speed spinning weapons that
SERVO 05.2015 27
Heatherington tweeks Omega Force.
T_Zero. Wind Mobile.