Franklin 2008 Event Report

This year the venue ditched the pergo floor and switched to a much more tractive (but not attractive!) floor. The announcing was ridiculously loud and headache-inducing, but the competition was fierce and there were a lot of good machines. I didn't bring the 30 pounder because I spent all of my time upgrading Scurrie. We got the competition bright and early (like 7:30 AM!) because this one was going to be a 1-dayer and we had to be wrapped up by 6.

Fight #1 vs Surgical Strike

Go figure, the first fight for this upgraded machine and I draw the current #1 12 pounder in the country. Just my luck. The fight goes pretty well at first but my weapon dies about halfway through. By the end SS has a dead weapon and drive side but he spent a lot longer working than Scurrie did. The really slow drive system of Scurrie on 2 cells probably cost me the judges decision.

Ok, down to the loser's bracket but we showed that we can deal with SS pretty well. He came out of the fight pretty trashed too. Now if I can only figure out what's wrong... I spent several hours troubleshooting parts and trying to narrow it down. I postponed once before facing Haxor, but couldn't figure it out in time. I had to face him without a working weapon. I decided to remove the blade entirely so the bot would drive better. We forgot to film the fight but here are the highlights:

Fight #2 vs Haxor

The match starts and Scurrie, with no weapon, slowly crawls across the arena toward Haxor, on which the weapon is not working either. The two big horizontals proceed to drive slowly into each other for three minutes and the judges flip a coin. Scurrie came out with the win, but it must have been painful just to sit through it.

Fight #3 vs Mephit

Ok, so it's not that exciting... stay with me ok? I think the builder of Mephit put in the not-charged batteries for this fight by accident and so after about 15 seconds of Scurrie chewing on the wheels, he had to tap out. It was unfortunate for him because Mephit is a tank, with a working drive system it was going to be a tough fight for Scurrie. You can see here that I did get the weapon working again. It turned out to be a "chicken poop" soldering joint on the weapon controller where it connected to the motor. That means that the motor I swapped out before still works, just the intermittent issues are bad soldering on my part.

Fight #4 vs SUPER Conceptual Chaos

SCC is a "port" of a tiny antweight named Conceptual Chaos that used compact disks for wheels. This bot has gigantic rubber washers for wheels and is driven by the guy who always wins the driving awards when he competes. I couldn't seem to break the drive motors, despite the leverage that I had on them. SCC is a terrible design to drive, but Dude did as good a job as can be expected. I never thought the bot would hold up at all.

Fight #5 vs Scoopula

Somehow my camera crew missed this one too. Scoopula was a dustpan bot with a big drive system, but it had taken pretty extensive damage agains Surgical Strike in an earlier round so I was kind of hopeful that it wouldn't be working very well when I had to fight it. The builder did get it back to fighting form, however, and it was a good back-and-forth match.

At one point during the match, Scoopula scooped under the back of Scurrie and drove it head-first, with the blade running full out, directly into the wall. The blade went under the kick plate and stuck out under the judges table (oops!). Scoopula was stuck under Scurrie, and the judges had to pry the bots away from the wall with a crow bar.

The fight continued after that and Scurrie got a lucky hit in to break off one side of the dustpan. After some more jockying, Scurrie also pulled a wheel off. I think it went to the judges but Scurrie got the win. On to the finals against Surgical Strike!

Fight #6 vs Surgical Strike

I went head-on with him again this time, hoping to break the teeth off of his weapon bar. It turns out that's exactly what I did and he couldn't spin up anymore after a little while.. Pete tapped out because he knew I had to beat him a second time to take first place, so he wanted to do it with a completely working bot.

Fight #7 vs Surgical Strike (Again?!?)

Yes, this is the THIRD TIME I had to fight the #1 robot in the country at this competition. Sheesh. Surgical strike decided to put on the "extremely long" blade for this fight, mostly because the other blade was pretty beat up from our previous fights. Naturally that meant that they would have to deal with the weight somehow, and that was to switch from a Titanium bar to a thicker and longer Aluminum bar. About 30 seconds into the fight the aluminum bent enough to hit the body of Surgical Strike and they couldn't spin anymore. At this point I was pretty excited because it was mine to lose. I knew as well as anybody that crazy stuff happens even when you are winning a fight.

Around the 2 minute mark we had a massive hit and I slammed into the wall. I thought I had just knocked myself out but the bot came back for more. I wasn't sure how much battery I had used or how hot the weapon motor was getting, so I was going to leave the blade off for a little while, but then the announcer said "I think Scurrie's blade is dead" and I wanted to show the judges that it was, in fact, not dead. I have later come to find that this weapon system can run full-out for 5 minutes no problem.

My First First Place

I knew this was the best-built version of the 12 that I'd ever had, and that the bot had an awful lot of potential, but I never thought I'd take first place. I also never thought I'd go head-to-head with the very dangerous #1 bot Surgical Strike, let alone 3 times in one day! I had a lot of help from other builders, especially the builder of Haxor who lent me a weapon controller and Eric Scott (aka Nar) who helped me find and fix my solder joint. I had a great time and it was really cool to win the competition. This was the beginning of a long-standing rivalry between me and the Smith's.

Well, next up is Motorama 2009 with both bots. I didn't change much for the competition because Scurrie was in good shape and Tripolar was working ok with some small tweaks. Check out the competition.