Motorama 2008 Event Report

Tripolar's Fights

Fight #1 vs Agent 3.5

I was looking forward to fighting Agent 3.5 because the weapon had been working so well at Franklin and the bot had really big corners that I wanted to get a good bite on. Unfortunately we didn't get any film of the match and the end result was less than spectacular. He basically spent the whole match pinning me in one corner or the other with good driving and a low-sloped wedge. The judges gave it to him and I lost my first fight of the competition and the first time I had ever lost while spinning through the whole fight.

I found out my next fight was against Billy Bob, my rival. I caught Brian next to my bot on the pit table drawing lines on his finger with a Sharpie, but didn't know what was going on until later... He was finding a safe height on my shell for his anti-shell-spinner skirts! Dirty rotten....

Fight #2 vs Billy Bob (again!)

Well, a loose wire caused in the last fight and not caught before this fight caused the shell to die pretty quickly. That let Billy Bob have his way with me. Billy Bob also installed anti-shell skirts to keep my teeth away and they were tremendously effective. On the up side I practiced my driving a bit and was so frustrated by the end of the fight that I (stupidly) tapped out. This is the first time I had ever gone 0-2 with any bot, and I thought I had a chance at winning the competition! ugh.

But Wait....Billy Bob AGAIN?!

Brian later got eliminated somehow and agreed to grudge me again. I double and triple checked the wiring this time and was ready to go. I knew he'd be using the skirts but I figured with a working shell I might be able to get a bite on one of them at least

Oh yeah, those were some big hits! Sorry about the picture around the 30 second mark... Brian had me beaten if he had just left me on the wall. A second, sportsmanlike alternative would have been to take me off of the wall with the weapon of his bot but instead he actually requested that they pause the match and manually put me back on my wheels. Like I said, he's a heck of a guy. After the restart there were some more huge hits, and I eventually ended up smashing another speed controller and destroying his $200 weapon motor by twisting the blade through the frame that was holding it. Oops.. I would understand if Brian never wanted to grudge me again...

What you might not have noticed is that by the end of the fight my weapon shaft was sticking up a little higher than normal. It turns out that all those big vertical hits pulled it through the retaining collar and it was supported by only a single piece of .25" thick aluminum plate for the last couple of hits. I'm amazed it didn't eat itself.

Scurrie's Fights

Fight #1 vs Ice Climbers

This was the second competition for my second robot Scurrie. "The Ice Climbers" was going to be a multibot between Yanks' wedge Rants Pants and somebody else, but the other bot never showed up. Rather than compete as a 30, Yanks decided to just enter Rants Pants as a 12 and keep the name. He literally assembled it in the pits the day of the competition.

This was the maiden voyage of the brushless weapon motor in Scurrie, so I was a little worried abou thow it would hold up in my application. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the startup power it has in the friction drive setup and I'm still using that very same motor in my newest 12 pounder. Once again, a little epoxy between the magnets and solid rear-motor support makes the motor significantly more reliable.

Fight #2 vs Unspecified Threat

I was impressed with how the bot held up in the first match and got a lucky draw with Unspecified Threat because it didn't have a "career-ending" weapon but it did have corners and wheels I could get to. The match went much like an undercutter match is supposed to until right at the end when I got greedy. I went in for one more shot on the last working wheel and got hit by the last working hammer. The hammer dropped right on one of the drive gearboxes and sheared one of the carrier pins to jam it up. I won the fight by judges' decision but I had to quickly replace that drive motor with the spare.

Fight #3 vs Torrent

This was the first vertical spinner I had to face since Solaris kicked my bot last year. Hopefully the weapon would work for this fight though. I got an early hit in and had him upside down. That got me overly excited and I charged in to take the wheel out. Unfortunately I got a bad bounce off of Torrent's blade and landed stuck on the wall. Blast! Ah well. I can't seem to find my video of the fight, and Jamison was zoomed in on the floor damage when I got bounced onto the wall. Tough break!

Fight #4 vs Ingor, Eater of Souls

Ingor is a really cool ring spinner made by Bryan Ruddy. It can drive while inverted and ring spinners in general are tremendously difficult to keep working. Bryan does a great job, but Scurrie is almost the perfect shape to beat him. About 30 seconds into this fight I went weapon to weapon with him and my weapon shaft was bent. The blade stuck down enough to make the wheels lose traction so I couldn't drive very well. I was playing this one on the safe side, figuring I had crippled and inverted ingor so all I had to do after that was keep moving while he tried to self-right. I let it go to the judges and they gave it to ingor. Even Bryan said he thought they'd give it to me, but they didn't. Lesson learned: never let it go to the judges if you can help it, and don't back off just because you *think* you've won.

Wrap Up

So Scurrie went 2-2, with a couple of problems being discovered. The new frame worked great, but the drive motor gearboxes aren't very sturdy. The weapon motor assembly worked great, but the shaft is too soft to fight other spinners. I planned some major upgrades for the next version.

Despite having the highest potential of any version of Tripolar, a couple of bad breaks earned it an 0-2 record. I didn't have any major upgrades planned for the next version. Instead, being the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to try to build my first 3-pound bot with my brother for a brand-new event starting in July called the PA Bot Blast