SERVO 05.2015 33
Finger Tech Robotics has offered a "Viper" robot kit for quite a few years, but
for a long time it was not really
a great starter combat bot if
you wanted something that
would be competitive. It worked
well enough, but without some
extensive modifications it was
difficult to turn it into a
competitive combat robot.
That has changed with the
new Viper Combat Robot kit.
Gone is the thin (0.043") 5052
aluminum chassis. It has been
replaced with thicker (0.057")
6061 aluminum armor, so not
only is the armor thicker but it
is also a higher grade of
aluminum. This translates into
a much more stable platform
that is better able to cope
with the combat environment.
In addition to Upgrading
the chassis, the vacuum-formed polycarbonate shell
was replaced with a few
thicker polycarbonate panels
that provide much better
protection for the internals.
This is the basic
configuration of the Viper kit
that you can buy: two wheels, a
chassis, and all the internal
components (TinyESCs, Silver Spark
motors, radio gear, connectors, and
hardware) which makes for a decent
pushy bot with plenty of weight
available to add a metal front wedge
if you want to go the weaponless
route. (The basic kit weighs 390 g
with two 9V batteries.)
Beyond offering the basic
kit, FingerTech Robotics offers
two add-ons: a lifter kit and a
spinner kit. The spinner kit turns
the base Viper into a fairly
capable horizontal spinner with
their "Chipper" weapon blade.
The lifter kit adds a tough
rear hinged flipping arm to the
kit. Both of these add-ons bring
the weight of the bot much
closer to the 1 lb (454 g) weight
limit for the Antweight class.
The variation of the kit I
was testing was the base kit
with the lifter add-on.
Normally, this is where I would
go into the assembly process,
but the instructions available
on the Finger Tech Robotics
site (and that come with the
kit) are very well written.
The assembly process
went very fast — to the point
where I forgot to take in-progress photos. The kit went
from a pile of parts to ready
for testing in under three
hours at a very relaxed pace.
With the assembly done,
I did a bit of testing with the
bot to make sure it was all
working. After that, I added some
paint and decals, put a brush of latex
coating on the wheels to boost the
traction, and got in touch with one
of my teammates.
With this kit being geared
towards builders entering the sport, it
didn't really make much sense for me
to drive it since I've had quite a few
years of experience in robot combat.
FingerTech Robotics’ Viper Kit
with Lifter Add-On
● by Michael Jeffries