Robot Fightin' Workshop - 23 July 2022
After the successful inaugural event in March we wanted to run a beginners’ event to help get a few newbies get into the apparently intimidating but actually secretly quite easy and very fun sport of robot fighting.
The day started with an engaging intro talk by Sam Roberts, going through a potted history of combat robotics, Robot Wars and the associated events, describing plans for the day, and dispensing valuable advice.
For the first part of the day, our 7 new beginners’ teams – a good mix of individuals and pairs – were given a starter kit and let loose to construct their robots. The kit contained:
- 2 x motors plus 3d printed cradles
- Speed controller
- Laser-cut wooden chassis
- 2x 3d printed wedges to attach superstructure
- 2x wheels (extra chunky wheels were available for £1 extra)
- Rechargeable NiMH battery plus connector cable
The whole was controlled through a rather nifty receiver controlled by a phone app over the WiFi (the price of a transmitter otherwise being something of a barrier to entry).
After a few hours of activity our robot roster was complete. There was a fantastic array of imaginative designs – going in we’d been a bit worried we’d end up with seven identical robots but instead the competitors were:
|If you feared there would be no 80s new wave themed robots then FEAR NO MORE
|Cleverly repurposed plumbing bot
|Lynn & Charlie
|Charming yet psychopathic frog bot
|An aerodynamic wedge reminiscent of Series 1 Robot Wars champion Roadblock
|Patrick & son
|Armoured with packing foam and duct tape and as such INDESTRUCTIBLE
|Went for the obvious “twitchy almond-headed android on the roof” design
|The Wooden Box
|Well, it’s a wooden box. But with wheels!
Joined by veterans Auntie Hamps, Battle Bunny, Big Loader, Chewdas Priest, Thwack Sabbath, Time for Crab! and reigning champion Alice Scooper, the battles began.
All the battles are up on YouTube here but here’s a summary in glorious text:
Adam Antweight vs Bog Marley
A cagey start without much contact after which Adam Antweight almost drives itself out of the arena. The two then find themselves in a dance of death for a while, but an unexpected development sees one of Adam Antweight’s wheels come loose – but it’s not immobilised and continues dragging its semi-autonomous innards about the place. The fight continues until a cunning feint sees Bog Marley drive clean out of the arena! Which goes to show, never give up just because your wheel falls off of its own free will. Winner: Adam Antweight by ring out
Big Loader vs Alice Scooper
Big Loader is an exciting new design by veteran roboteer Steve, capable of running at almost any orientation. After an even start, alas, one of its tracks comes a bit loose and Alice Scooper is able to push the Loader out of the arena. Winner: Alice Scooper by ring out
Thwack Sabbath vs Chewdas Priest
A Designed for Demise (those are the ones with the bad metal puns) deathmatch sees the twitchy Priest almost drive itself out of the arena a couple of times before Thwack Sabbath drives (or is pushed, it’s hard to tell) off the side. Winner: Chewdas Priest by ring out
Mr Confusion vs The Wooden Box
The two biggest robots hurl themselves at each other for a bit before the Wooden Box is pitched upon its unfortunately extremely flat wooden sides. Winner: Mr Confusion by immobilisation
Auntie Hamps vs Time for Crab!
OK so perhaps Auntie Hamps is actually the biggest robot. In the first clash Time for Crab! is able to bend one of Auntie’s wheels at an upsetting angle – and with the resulting lack of control it’s an easy job for Crab! to push it off the side. Winner: Time for Crab! by ring out
Battle Bunny vs Johnny 5
Johnny 5 almost drives out of the arena immediately, but is able to pull back at the last moment. It seems this is the done thing, as Battle Bunny follows suit, but this time isn’t able to save itself from oblivion. Winner: Johnny 5 by ring out
Evil Kermit vs The Killer
Evil Kermit sprints out of the blocks with great enthusiasm. Its clever cable tie legs prevent it leaving the arena and tempt The Killer into a foolhardy charge, leaving it suspended out of the arena and just touching the ground… Winner: Evil Kermit by ring out
Johnny 5 vs The Wooden Box
A lightning elimination as Johnny 5 speeds under the Wooden Box’s front wedges and flings it over the arena wall in the first 2 seconds! Winner: Johnny 5 by ring out
Evil Kermit vs Mr Confusion
Mr Confusion is brutally decapitated early on, before some closely matched pushing about punctuated by Mr Confusion briefly getting stuck on one of Evil Kermit’s feet. Eventually Evil Kermit almost drives out the arena only to be saved by its legs, before Mr Confusion helps it the rest of the way out. Winner: Mr Confusion by ring out
Adam Antweight vs The Killer
A few cagey early encounters soon lead to a glancing blow from the Killer knocking Adam Antweight out of the arena! Winner: The Killer by ring out
Chewdas Priest vs Bog Marley
Chewdas Priest immediately flings Bog Marley out of the arena with a cool sort of roundhouse-grab-fling manoeuvre. Another lightning quick fight. Winner: Chewdas Priest by ring out
Time for Crab! vs Alice Scooper
Alice Scooper unwisely drives straight into the waiting claws of the Crab! and is only able to struggle as it is dumped over the side. Winner: Time for Crab! by ring out
Thwack Sabbath vs Auntie Hamps
A few early thwacks before Auntie Hamps is gently chaperoned off the edge by Thwack Sabbath. Winner: Thwack Sabbath by ring out
Battle Bunny vs Big Loader
Some really good early flips got in by Battle Bunny are initially frustrated by Big Loader’s ability to run in almost any orientation, but appear to finally get Big Loader stuck on its… roof? I’m not sure. But some wild spinning eventually gets it............ back on track. It catches Battle Bunny in its scoop for a bit, but is unable to make good. Then, Big Loader gets stuck on its roof again, this time of its own accord, before Battle Bunny manages to find the one way Big Loader can be immobilised, where it’s finally counted out. A very close run fight! Winner: Battle Bunny by immobilisation
Auntie Hamps vs Big Loader
Big Loader is straight back in the arena, but to begin with it can’t find purchase on the big wheel of Auntie Hamps. A few clashes ensue before Auntie Hamps twirls its way out of the arena! Tina Turner, watching on from dangerously close to the arena, is slain. Winner: Big Loader by ring out
The Wooden Box vs Bog Marley
These two heavyweights initially miss each other entirely and both slam into the arena wall. A few more slams, this time into each other, result in Bog Marley sitting motionless in the corner where it’s counted out. Winner: The Wooden Box by immobilisation
Chewdas Priest vs Time for Crab!
It’s jaw versus claw as Chewdas Priest grabs a hold of Time for Crab! before it can fully open its maw. Locked in a deadly embrace, the two leave the arena together but examination of the footage shows that the Crab! hit the ground first. Winner: Chewdas Priest by ring out
Mr Confusion vs Johnny 5
Mr Confusion loses his head again early on, but once again comes out on top when Johnny 5 obligingly drives out of the arena a little later. Winner: Mr Confusion by ring out
Battle Bunny vs Thwack Sabbath
Battle Bunny gets some good flips in but Thwack Sabbath cares not for your primitive human concepts of “the right way up”. Battle Bunny itself winds up upside down more than once, but its mighty flipper arms soon have it running again. After a bit of pushing and shoving it becomes apparent Battle Bunny has stopped moving… the count has just begun when it returns to life. Unfortunately it’s not long before Battle Bunny stops moving again and this time it’s counted out. Winner: Thwack Sabbath by immobilisation
Alice Scooper vs The Killer
The two robots charge at each other but Alice Scooper is soon able to use its 4 wheel drive oomph to scoop The Killer out of the arena. Winner: Alice Scooper by ring out
Evil Kermit vs Adam Antweight
A frenetic two or three seconds of charging about before the two robots leave the arena almost simultaneously, without once making contact. It’s a close run thing but Evil Kermit hits the ground first. Winner: Adam Antweight by ring out
With three rounds complete, there are a lot of ties to resolve - the tie-breaker takes the form of a no-time-limit rumble featuring all of the tied robots.
8th place playoff
Battle Bunny, Big Loader, Evil Kermit, The Killer and The Wooden Box are tied for 8th so they head to the arena for the first play-off (except for the Killer, who’d packed up at this point so was forced to forfeit).
An initial flurry of activity leads to a breather as Battle Bunny and Big Loader regain their footing. Once they are moving again, Big Loader eliminates Evil Kermit with a scoop out of the arena. Battle Bunny soon finds itself stuck on one end but is rescued by a collision from the Wooden Box, which in turn finds itself beached on its roof, and the Wooden Box is counted out. Not long after Big Loader sheds a track, leading to some inelegant spinning about the place without technically being immobilised, but eventually Big Loader spins clean out of the arena. Winner and 8th place: Battle Bunny
3rd place playoff
Next, Adam Antweight, Alice Scooper, Johnny 5, Thwack Sabbath and Time for Crab! face off for 3rd to 7th place.
A big pile of pushing robots eventually resolves itself into Alice Scooper and Time for Crab! jointly pushing Johnny 5 out of the arena. More pushing and shoving between the remaining four leads to Time for Crab! ejecting Alice Scooper from the arena for the second time that day. Thwack Sabbath and Time for Crab! enter into a shoving match without a clear winner for some time until Thwack Sabbath ends up on its side, making it an easy job for Time for Crab! to eliminate Thwack Sabbath by ring out. But the momentum soon takes Time for Crab out of the arena itself! Winner and 3rd place: Adam Antweight
1st place playoff, a.k.a. The Final
Now all that remained was to settle the final champion. Two robots remained undefeated; hardened veteran Chewdas Priest and brash newcomer Mr Confusion.
Mr Confusion’s head flies off unprecedently quickly in the opening seconds. Not to be daunted, it flings its own head from the arena not long after and returns to the fray. Chewdas Priest now makes a few good attempts at a grab without managing to land the fatal blow. The two circle each other, looking for an opening, until they leave the arena almost simultaneously! But Chewdas Priest hits the ground first, meaning it’s a famous debut victory for MR CONFUSION!!!
I think the beginners event was a success! Everyone seemed to have fun, and we were genuinely impressed by the ingenious, fun and very different designs all the teams came up with, based on not much time and the same starting equipment. Plus it was great to see one of the new robots go home with the victory!
See youse next time!