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 What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots

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Jeff L
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PostSubject: What''s Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Mon May 18, 2009 5:47 pm

I've been thinking a lot about robots now that I'm getting into designing them again, and I've come up with a few ideas about what is likely to be "The Next Big Thing" for areas in combat robots/battlebots. Here's what I'm thinking:

Vertical Spinning Weapons
Small-Diameter Weapons: will return to the forefront because of...
Asymmetric Weapons: drums, disks, or blades with a single tooth will become the norm.

Why do I think this is likely? Well, with a fps limit for weapon speed smaller diameter weapons will benefit because you can spin them faster before they reach that limit. That coupled with the equation for the energy for rotating bodies (I(w^2)/2) means that more RPMs wins out over having a bigger moment, I [moment is determined by shape, size, and mass]. The current issues with shallow hits on high-rpm weapons is also solved by having only one tooth or blade. Since most robots have two or four teeth, this will reduce the number of times the tooth passes through a certain location by half. This means you get as good of a hit with a single tooth going 16k RPMs as you do with a drum with two teeth at 8k RPMs.

Horizontal Spinning Weapons aka Choppers, Undercutters, and Spinners
Asymmetric Weapons: again, you can drive the weapons faster (but only to a point due to their size)
Efficiency Improvements: Vacuum Units and Magnets will become must-have equipment.

The asymmetric weapons are again likely to pop up here but not be quite as dramatic of an increase in damage due to the already insane tip speeds of spinners. The more interesting part is they'll get more efficient at transferring energy to targets by sealing themselves to the floor with a variety of contraptions. Magnets are the easiest brute-force method, but Vacuum Units are MUCH lighter and easier to deal with (especially for 120 lb robots).

Manipulators aka Lifters, Flippers, and those grabber things that pick up robots and drop them over the arena wall
Smaller Hardware Footprints: I know flippers, and I KNOW you can fit them into a smaller space than they take up now.
They could replace Bricks: Flippers are wonderfully inexpensive to build and are pretty resilient; any rookie team can build a good flipper if they have the right information.
EDIT: Flippers also can be competitive even against high-quality drum weapons

As I said, I know the hardware that's used in these, and it can be smashed into maybe half the volume that it occupies in most robots now. That said, flippers are really really really easy to build. The only question is if the flipper will be any good or not. That said, they could end up replacing bricks because they don't need any of the more expensive hardware that robots with spinning weapons rely on to be competitive (brushless motors, brushless ESCs, and MACHINING EQUIPMENT).


Last edited by Jeff L on Mon May 18, 2009 7:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Will Bales
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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Mon May 18, 2009 6:41 pm

I agree about the asymmetrical weapons. In fact, that is one consideration being put forth for Fluffy 2 (or Too Fluffy ;] ). However, I'm not sure how much I agree with the small drums opinion. It may be true that you could get more RPM out of it, but explain to me why that's better. I don't see why that would turn up as an advantage. Also, if you have a big enough drum, you can put stuff inside of it, making the rest of the robot lighter, allowing for more weight into things like armor, and weapons.

Everything else I pretty much agree with. I don't see a horizontal spinner winning the 15 pound division any time soon, but for all of the other classes, it JUST MIGHT WORK!
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Jeff L
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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Mon May 18, 2009 7:39 pm

Will Bales wrote:
I agree about the asymmetrical weapons. In fact, that is one consideration being put forth for Fluffy 2 (or Too Fluffy ;] ). However, I'm not sure how much I agree with the small drums opinion. It may be true that you could get more RPM out of it, but explain to me why that's better. I don't see why that would turn up as an advantage. Also, if you have a big enough drum, you can put stuff inside of it, making the rest of the robot lighter, allowing for more weight into things like armor, and weapons.
Okay, I can give you an answer right now about why a smaller diameter drum is going to be better than a bigger one for an asymmetrical weapon layout. For starters, we know that the fps limit for the tip of a spinning weapon is 300 feet/sec, or 3600 inches/sec. A three inch diameter drum has a circumference of 3*pi, or about 9.42", while a six inch diameter drum has a circumference of 6*pi, or about 18.85". To travel 3600 inches, the small drum must rotate about 382 times, while the big drum only takes 191 rotations. Multiplying both of those by 60 gives the maximum RPMs for each drum within the limit: 22918.31 RPM for the small drum, and 11459.16 for the big drum (those are exact numbers). So really, if you make the smaller drum have the same moment (I) as the larger drum it will have four times the energy storing capacity. That's why you go for the smaller drum! As for the in-weapon hardware, I'm sure there's more than one way to skin a cat there.
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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Sun May 24, 2009 10:25 am

just a thought, if the three inch drum and the 6 inch drum were the same mass, the moment of inertia would be quartered since I=mr^2 with the radius of a 3" drum being half of the 6" drum. So in the end, with the formula for KE: Iw^2/2 then I is quartered and the w^2 is four times, so its all the same? correct me if i'm wrong here =] although unless I missed something I think my reasoning works.
the only reason I would think smaller drum>larger drum would be that when you draw a 3" circle and a 6" circle tangent to each other, you can see that the 6" drum will typically get a hit that would simply push the 3" drum away, but the 3" drum, due to its smaller diameter, can get "under" the 6" drum. But of course that's only under ideal weapon-to-weapon situation.
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Jeff L
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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Sun May 24, 2009 4:31 pm

Ah, but I wasn't planning on making a drum of the same weight to start with. I was originally aiming to get a robot with a small drum with as close to the same moment as a large drum, which means I'd need to use a LOT more mass. Also, I've found a few interesting things out concerning drum speeds which drove my decision to switch back to a large diameter for Infernal Contraption.
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rjw
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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Sun May 24, 2009 5:21 pm

fwiw, check out the pic of our small drum in the showof area.....single blade design with lots of r's...we'll see how it works out, but in theory it generates lots of energy. So far in testing, it's scary
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donsun



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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Sun May 24, 2009 7:59 pm

oh well, then I suppose you design differently then I do, because I usually partition about 3lbs in a hobbyweight to go into the weapon, and I design off of a weight constraint.
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Jeff L
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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Sun May 24, 2009 9:21 pm

donsun wrote:
oh well, then I suppose you design differently then I do, because I usually partition about 3lbs in a hobbyweight to go into the weapon, and I design off of a weight constraint.
Yeah, I know what you mean. Pretty much anyone originally from RE Robotics designs their robots around the weapon. For our first robot, X-Contamination, this was very literal: it had an extremely simplistic direct-drive system with a chassis mounted practically around the arm. A recent example is CuddleBunny and SpiderPig, both of which were just platforms for the Vacuum Units. I am no exception to this rule.
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RemoteContact



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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:32 pm

Jeff L wrote:


Manipulators aka Lifters, Flippers, and those grabber things that pick up robots and drop them over the arena wall
Smaller Hardware Footprints: I know flippers, and I KNOW you can fit them into a smaller space than they take up now.
They could replace Bricks: Flippers are wonderfully inexpensive to build and are pretty resilient; any rookie team can build a good flipper if they have the right information.
EDIT: Flippers also can be competitive even against high-quality drum weapons

As I said, I know the hardware that's used in these, and it can be smashed into maybe half the volume that it occupies in most robots now. That said, flippers are really really really easy to build. The only question is if the flipper will be any good or not. That said, they could end up replacing bricks because they don't need any of the more expensive hardware that robots with spinning weapons rely on to be competitive (brushless motors, brushless ESCs, and MACHINING EQUIPMENT).


I think your talking only about lifters. There is a big difference between biohzard and toro. Lift vs launch. An effective launchbot is not something that some people in a room can hack together. These systems can be just as expensive/powerful/dangerous as a kinetic energy weapon. We did it on Vault but the armor and frame was just not up to par. That was a crew of all veteran big bot builders (Marc D, Victor S, Alex from team Loki, and me). Effective launch bots are not easy to build.
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Jeff L
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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:45 pm

No, I mean flippers. Faster than a lifter, slower than a launcher, and covering a much greater distance per arm cycle - just enough to flip a robot completely onto it's back. Every lifter I've seen isn't fast enough or made to the right dimensions to do that reliably, Biohazard included. Video of a flipper:


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RemoteContact



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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:22 pm

meh, thats an extended lifter.

Flip to me means flipping in the air.
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Jeff L
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PostSubject: Re: What's Next for Combat Robots/Battlebots   Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:34 pm

RemoteContact wrote:
meh, thats an extended lifter.

Flip to me means flipping in the air.

I generally go by if it's off the ground, it's been launched.

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