Bot Blast 2012 Pre-port

I’ll be attending a robot competition in Bloomsburg, PA this Saturday (July 21st). If you live around there, it’s in the mall gazebo at the Columbia Mall. Fighting should start by 11:00 and we’ll be done by 7:00. 150g fairyweights, 1lb antweights, 3lb beetleweights and 6lb mantisweights will be fighting. It’s worth driving a couple hours to see. I understand that it’s a very fun event for builders and spectators alike. I’ve only fought in a mall once but it was one of my favorite events of all time.

I’ve been working hard over the past few days to get ready because just like every other robot builder, the 1-week mark seems like a good time to start prepping to me. Luckily, I didn’t have much to do. Here’s a picture of the three robots I’m taking:

Robots Before Bot Blast

I promise they won’t look this good on Saturday night.

Here’s the lo-down on changes I’ve made to my robots since they last competed (at Motorama in February) and how I think they’ll fare:



  • Complete redesign of sides. They are now taller and the front beater support has been swept back slightly so wedges will tend to hit beater first instead of support first. They are also made of polycarbonate now, so they are lighter and do not cause radio interference.
  • Upgraded from a custom 2S 160mAh LiPoly to a ready-made 2S 180mAh LiPoly that is capable of 40C burst current. The new battery seems to work much better and fits better as well. It can also be balanced.
  • New wheel guards provide more wheel padding so the plastic has time to absorb more energy. They are also swept back more and will hopefully be less flexible. The screws are farther from the edge on the new ones, too.
  • Because of the height, all components now fit inside the robot.
The current lolcat is running extremely well. If it does not suffer from any radio issues (receiver failures or interference) it will place in the top three.


  • Replaced a drive motor that was taken out at Motorama for use as a spare.
  • Remarkably unchanged. Hopefully this robot will have better luck at Bot Blast!
There are a lot of antweight wedges going to Bot Blast, so winning will come down to driving and having a lower wedge. Amatol does both well, so it should pull off at least two wins and if it gets a lucky draw, could place in the top three.


  • Weapon is now supported by ball bearings which reduce friction and allow for a tighter weapon belt.
  • Weapon belt has been tightened significantly to prevent slippage.
  • Weapon can now be fully tightened which should reduce flexing into the weapon pulley like what happened at Motorama.
  • 1Ah 3S LiPoly has been replaced by a 1.3Ah 2S LiPoly to meet the increased current demands of the motor with a tight belt driving a 1lb blade and to combat the increase in power consumption by lowering the voltage.
  • Grease has been removed from the robot to reduce belt slippage.
  • Polycarbonate wheel guards have been fashioned to use instead of the ABS ones that fared so poorly at Motorama.
  • I have purchased spare motors and wheels! The motors can also be used in Amatol.
  • Drive motors are now protected with foam to prevent the magnets from breaking during big hits.

The beetleweights at Bot Blast are excellent. Coercion hits very hard (it will go through quite a bit of aluminum and bend titanium) but is unproven in the arena, unlike the rest of our fleet and the rest of the beetleweights there. Assuming it holds together, it could do very well, but that can be said for any robot. Coercion is a tough call but placing in the top three is highly unlikely.

I am extremely excited for Bot Blast. I’ll post an event report, videos, and pictures when it’s done!

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