Eclipso was my first attempt at a 3 pound bot, and my first attempt at a non-spinner. While my efforts resulted in something that looked pretty cool, it didn't work hardly at all and was something of a dismal failure of planning and preparation. I had fun though, and my brother seemed to enjoy himself.

The bot was built for the firstPA Bot Blast. This competition had just come into existence and was being run by a guy that I met at Motorama named Jeremy. It has been held every summer since then and is the most enjoyable competition I go to all year. Part of that may be because of the relaxed schedule and the fact that I have only ever brought a single machine. Jeremy runs a very organized and entertaining show, and has awesome prizes and a good attitude to boot. Somehow he even manages to compete in his own competition.

Ok, enough about the competition, what is this bot?!

Eclipso is a flywheel-powered four-bar launch bot like one of my favorite bots of all-time named Ziggy. I didn't expect to build anything that was that cool with my limited tools and skills, but I was hoping to build something that the other builders thought was cool and had some potential to be entertaining.

This was my first adventure with a material called Garolite too. It is a composite that doesn't conduct electricity or block radio signal. It is pretty stiff, and has a density 60% of that of aluminum. I decided it would make a good baseplate material for a beetle launcher. You can cut it with a jigsaw but have to control the dust because it is fiberglass dust and not good to breathe.

The prototype I built of the bot mostly used duct tape to keep the guts out of the flywheel. The trick is to get a clutch that works repeatedly. This prototype could fire reliably one time, but then it would jam and it stripped out a lot of servos. I played with a few other attempts to get it working better.

A friend of mine from Meadville helped me turn a flywheel that was actually balanced. I started by trying to use a rubber colson, but that didn't store enough energy to actually move the arm, even at high speeds. I then switched to trying to put a piece of steel pipe around the colson but I just didn't have the tools required to make it even kinda balanced at the speeds I was targeting. Greg turned a steel round and a magnesium body with a lightening hole pattern for me. He did a great job, and that part is what I used for the bot blast.

Here's a shot of eclipso in the pit at the bot blast. I managed to cobble it together into something resembling a bot by 11:00 the night before we left. It was sorta working in my apartment, but not very reliably. I decided to take it anyway and hope for the best. Worst case I end up watching a competition and enjoying myself right? The curved Ti back end and wedgelets were pretty cool looking, and the arm with the gengar sticker on it added a nice piece of flair to the bot. Somebody at the competition even recognized the sticker, just to validate my geekiness.

Well, the bot was a total flop in that the weapon never worked again, but at least the drivetrain worked. In our first fight we decided to remove the weapon so that it didn't get smashed by the only bar spinner at the competition. Well, he ended up getting our receiver instead. We did eventually fix it, but the weapon never worked again. Ah well... I still had fun! And so ends the tale of Eclipso... I spent the next few months before Franklin preparing major upgrades to Scurrie.