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 Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is

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Don Doerfler
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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:21 am

college or yours?
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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:35 am

First, good luck on the new robots! Second, here's some advice from some of my experience.

There are more than just those ways to make a durable robot - to toot my own horn, X-Contamination in its time was known as 'The Zombie Bot' because it could just soak up hits and still keep running. Now, this was a little odd, since 90% of the thing was 1/16" aluminum (and not high-grade aluminum at that). One key with X-Contamination was good spacing: it could take a vicious hit just about anywhere, and still minimize the risk of damage to all of its internal components. In hindsight, we also managed to luck out and accidentally make the thing with some sensible statics/deformable bodies principles. Despite the whole thing being made of 1/16" aluminum, the chassis was effectively a series of T & I-Beams. This meant our chassis was actually nightmarishly strong in the directions of most heavy impacts, as the apparent thickness of the material on those profiles was actually around four inches to an entire foot of aluminum. The only downside was it was easy to tear holes in the armor on the weak directions, which is why spacing & component placement is so important. I'll also agree on the point about angled sides, as thin armor + 2-3 inches of air space = some of the best armor money can buy; any armor that prevents a weapon from getting close to anything of importance is good.

What you can take away from what we learned:
1. You can actually make most internal supports for stiffness really, really, REALLY thin, as long as you properly support the structure in the weaker direction. I'm including this in my current antweight design in an attempt to make as much of the robot out of actual metal as is possible.
2. Placing your internal components so they take little damage even if your armor is breached is an excellent idea.
3. It's best for the main body of the robot to not even be hit in the first place, making angled floating armor a very good choice, even if it's very light material. [Tip: ensure that the armor is as wobbly and loose feeling as is possible. With enough play incorporated into the armor, you will prevent hinge jams.]

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:51 am

yes your bot kept coming back but it always took a ton of work like ours have

Ive never seen any repairs come to these bots minus swapping a motor or esc
and ive seen both take the BIGGEST hits i have ever witnessed
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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:46 pm

That one year when we went up against executor in a grudge match we did have a "long" downtime - three hours - to get it back in working condition (we did, however, forget to recharge the batteries, which turns out to be a bad idea for rumbles). A week of work would have taken X-Contamination from operational back up to a fully repaired state after that competition. The year before that, after the epic 2nd Maximum Impact match (where Maximum Impact won), we spent 15 minutes on repairs. X-Contamination really didn't get a lot of repairs in its lifetime - all it got were 4 chassis across three years (including the original chassis on the first version of the robot), all of which were easy to make, dirt cheap and were done because some other part of the robot was being upgraded and the parts needed to be rearranged.

The parts we replaced:
Motors - original two across 3 years.
Drive ESCs - original two across 3 years, except for one cooling fan [lost during competition]
Weapon Relay - Original across 3 years, except for one fuse [lost during competition]
Weapon Motors - four used total across 4 years (two the first year [lost due to normal wear outside of competition], two the following two years)
Receiver/Control Hardware - Switched between different units 3 times across 3 years, none lost due to damage (ISAAC 16, standard FM receiver & microcontroller, standard spektrum receiver & microcontroller)
Main Batteries - 3 sets used across 3 years, none lost due to damage (cordless drill batteries, 3000 mAh NiMH batteries, 3300 mAh NiMH batteries)
Receiver Batteries - one used in the third year, lost due to wire damage in competition.
Weapon (arm) - replaced scoop five times, all but one as upgrades. Replaced arm twice, all as upgrades. Lost one pin in competition. Replaced arm shafts yearly due to deformation during normal operation.
Chassis - replaced four times, each to permit the upgrades of the rest of the hardware and to streamline layout. None lost in competition, but one took a lot of damage [I believe it was repaired].
Wheels - replaced three or four times (once for upgrades), one wheel lost in competition.

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:29 pm

Alex Udanis wrote:
Jeff L wrote:

3. It's best for the main body of the robot to not even be hit in the first place, making angled floating armor a very good choice, even if it's very light material. [Tip: ensure that the armor is as wobbly and loose feeling as is possible. With enough play incorporated into the armor, you will prevent hinge jams.]

I was down in miami the years you fought bloomsgerg and your robot was impressive that it never stopped. What hinge material did you use? My biggest fear is that the hinge material or the hinge pine will bend and it will prevent the hinges from operating properly

We just used plain old 1"-2" long hinges from ace hardware, they used four bolts total (two to mount to the body, two to mount to the armor flap [two hinges per flap usually, but I bet three wouldn't hurt]). The hinges were tightly mounted to the body of the robot*, but the flaps were attached to have about a quarter inch of bolt length to wobble around on. We did this by taking a bolt and two nuts, putting one nut on a set distance up the bolt length, attaching the next nut below it, tightening them into each other, and then applying ridiculous quantities of loctite to those nuts. That way, the armor was allowed to get knocked in all kinds of crazy directions without putting undue stress on the hinges.

We had tried long hinges in the past, but we weren't happy with how they performed. As you said, they tend to get bent and jam in a fixed position a lot, so we just used short hinges.

*The hinges might have been put on in the loose fashion on both sides, I'm sure rdubard can clear that up

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:36 pm

IMO, things have changed somewhat drastically over the past few years. I don't think that either the Jello approach or a Max Impact clone would hold up against some of the current offerings.

Alex...what weight class/ venues are you building for?

btw: I wrote a very longwinded list of problems/options, but it got lost when Jeff posted (not the first time) and I don't have it in me to redo it....

Do you have any pics of Uppercut or Rugburn? preferably with some covers removed?


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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:05 pm

I'll agree that advances in drum power and quality have been made, but that does not mean a rarely-used form of armor is no longer effective. To be honest, executer was the first [in BotsIQ] of the current generation of 'super drums', and X-Contamination had both gone through a match with it almost entirely unscathed and once with serious damage.

Taking a look at Team Jag's robots and Ready to Rumble's robots there are a lot of things I like, but there are some things I've noticed which I would personally avoid like the plague. Amongh these is several of the structural features are not built to fit together wisely in terms of engineering principles, and no amount of Grade-5 Ti will undo that [I distrust fasteners as structural components almost entirely]. On another topic [not specific to any team's robots] is the current style of chassis pocketing, which I am convinced is often being done in a way that drastically limits overall structural strength. You should all see what I mean [hopefully] later today with the latest build of my antweight assembly (it's easier shown than said).

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:15 pm

I think that the fact that not 1 single structural member in any of the Ti 3's, 12's or 15's has ever been replaced due to damage, speaks for itself. Maybe we just haven't fought any bots that pack a decent punch?

forget the drums, the rest is built like a tank.




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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:40 pm

That may be so, but I'm leaning on robots not packing the right kind of punch. Considering the history of combat robotics thus far, someone somewhere will break one of your robots within one to two years. The primary reason for most of these failures is a combination of 1: weapon improvements on the part of other teams, and 2: design stagnation on the part of successful teams. The best thing any successful team can remember is: "There is no such thing as an indestructible robot."

What I think I've found with pocketing may be a next design 'fad' for robot chassis, as it would allow robots like those in Team Jag to be even tankier (and allow for improved strength in the insect weight classes by introducing materials that were formerly too high density for extensive use).

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:45 pm

what KIND of punch will destroy them? I'm sure the competition would like to know the inside scoop?

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:52 pm

If I was to put money on it, I'd say an actually drivable version of Woodynator 2 (extra-large-diameter vertical disks) would rip them a new one - but that's just one way you could do it. There are far simpler ways to render those robots inoperable that do not require contending with ridiculous gyroscopic forces.

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:58 pm

So how much money do you have (in cash) ?

A mobile woody 2 is an oxymoron...like jumbo shrimp...lol

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:16 pm

And yet, the shrimp are still fairly large... Razz

Aha, but you're thinking about this the wrong way: they don't have to break the titanium - they just have to break the screws. Screws are much easier to shear than titanium, and there are many areas that have nothing but screws holding them in a direction that the rest of the structure provides no support at all. That you haven't had a problem with them yet is pure luck.

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:21 pm

totally off topic...so I'll just let it slide...

I hope that mlec can continue to miss the point and be just lucky for another year or so...I'll take lucky over well built anyday.

I think that having threads with open discussion of weak/strong points of a design would be good excercise tho....

Sorry Alex for the total sidetrack/hijack


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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:01 pm

i'm excited to see jeff's innovations. Angled sides are definitely a good thing, but I haven't had much luck with my 15 lbers so I don't really know what works...

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:27 pm

uppercut may not have the most powerful weapon but its a tank and is still effective
if you look near the front wedge theres actually a little wasted space haha

rugburn just a ridiculous too
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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:30 am

I don't think that any one bot design is the answer to every opponent, especially if the design is set in stone and with no possible exchanging of components so as to adapt to certain opponents.

The whole angled side thing has been and will continue to be very successful against a lot of bot designs, but I think that against very powerful horizontals, it may not be as effective as cold hard spinning steel...then it comes down to which bot can take the brunt over and over and keep running.

Another factor is the venue. It seems that at botsiq type events, when a bot goes inverted, it normally becomes less effective. Opponents let the inverted bot roam around trying to right itself, and in many many cases, the inverted bot is not that successful.

At Moto, many drivers will take advantage of the inverted bot and beat the heck out of it. Angled sides on the inverted bot in those situations is definitely NOT an advantage.

With only 12 or 15 pounds to work with, it is very hard to have an answer to all the potential situations, wouldn't you say?

I'm not going to go on and on about OUR/MY/THEIR bots and how great they are, cause opinions are like 'a holes'....and then people come back with stupid statements like "well you didn't win"

I've seen a lot of very well built bots that didn't win....as most of you know, it's very tough to win, especially if the competition is tough and experienced.

I don't know if this has been done before, but perhaps we should start a thread with ratings for bots, perhaps including their drivers , teams ,opponents, etc.

Then perhaps things would become more clear as to what is a winning combination.

Gotten off topic a bit, so...

Alex and Cody...you guys (Plum as a whole) have done very well for yourselves. So you need to ask, what has changed?

As far as Rugburn and Uppercut go, well you've already determined their strengths.....they traded the bigger weapon for a more rigid supporting structure and reliability?

While Jeff is playing frame pocketing 101, you guys need to take a long hard look at your actual goals. If your biggest concern is not having to repair/replace major components, then take weight away from the weapon and add it to the structure. Or figure out how to keep the big weapon to quickly destroy the fodder bots , while being able to make changes for battles against bots that won't go away easily.

The Riobotz tutorial seems so basic in some ways to experienced builders, but have you guys recently compared how your weight allocations are distributed, to what has seemed to work for so many years?

Also, have you tried to breakdown your target 'ideal bots' (rugburn and Uppercut) to see how they measure up , weight wise?

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:43 am

I wouldn't rush off to copy any bot, ours included, without a very well thought out game plan, which I guess is one of the reason why you started this thread.

You seem to be leaning towards a lot of shock mounting, etc. Let me ask you this? what failed in your bots that points you in that direction? magnets in motors? Is this in the drivetrain or weapon? or both

Little sting couldn't handle its own power until the last drum design. This had a major influence on the 15's obviously. and while the R & D was somewhat longwinded, most of that was due to where the 3 pounder was competing..ie in an ejection type arena in a one hit wonder environment.

Once you start getting into 3/16" plus thick armor, it becomes very hard to use it strictly as armor. This is why we decided that it needed to be used as structure and armor, otherwise we would never make weight.

Our philosophy so far has been to make opponents pay for htting us. In other words, you better be able to handle the hit yourself, or you are going to break.

Bots that couldn't handle the hit or their own power include all the kitbot horizontals and quite a few more.

So , we have not seen the type of damage to inner components that you have, and nothing is really shock mounted.... Mind you, all wheels are on dead axles and we use inrunners with inverted belts.

So none of the gboxes or motors sees the full shock load.

Mind you, rattler 2 won this year and it's mostly aluminum, live axles and kind of old school...lol

In botsIQ, winning as a team becomes a big factor. A rugburn or uppercut could beat any 1 of ours, but try facing 3 solid steel drums and a pair of .220" Ti wedges. Win or lose, you're gonna suffer damage.

We saw that in our first year when we were clad in stainless and lexan and zero budget.

Our rattler 1 bot was spinning his weapon the wrong way thru the last 2 events. It took its toll on a few bots, in that the combined forces or both weapons spinning in opposite directions was too mucht for most.

He didn't win any events, but he did break some weapons which took some bots out of contention.

I've posted a lot of pictures of the insides of all our bots....I'm sure Cody has some


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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:04 am

Ya 3 am is when I get rolling...lol

But you're always in hidden mode....the only one I think....lol

I didn't mean copy...I like to use the word borrow....

I like to see video of how things get damaged if at all possible. It can really help.

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:28 am

I'm not sure if you have seen the front side Ti pieces on our drumbots, but after Moto, we decided to have several different sets. Against vertical and wedges, we used what I call wedglets, but against horizontals, the side pieces are really only armor over the drum support blocks. It becomes very hard for a horizontal (and impossible for an undercutter) to get a hit anywhere near the front, without hitting the drum, which if it's spinning fast enough , always seems to do well ...so far.

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:34 am

Alex Udanis wrote:
do you mount your motors directly to your frame?

Pretty much all face mounted bb gboxes.

the little bots and the last 15 (Sting WMD) actually have quick change setups. No screws into the face of the motor, just tierods to the back of the motor.

Actually wmd and the littlebots have custom gboxes with bb internals. Ti shafts with a better fit to the plates that seem to wear out (older style wang boxes).

We haven't used any P60's yet.

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:42 am

Alex Udanis wrote:
oh alright. i'm really surprised those hold up that well. I mean sure they are partially backed by 1" al, but it seems as if they would get bent by an undercutter. Plum has floating wedges for different styles of robots but nothing really for horizontals.

They are mostly backed up by the 1" alu...very little hangs down, obly where they meet the side Ti.

I'm sure that they could get bent, but not in a way that would affect the mfunctioning of the bot. at moto, I had one of the standard wedgelets removed completely and on Sting, one lost a few screws and then flipped over and the bot was hung up on the floor.

Bottom line is better nothing than a wedglet vs horizontals. Plus in that the wedglets were fixed and so low, they caused us to dig into the wooden floor and get hung up....

If I was to build for a wooden floor, it would be 2wd.....similar to ntertainment

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:46 am

Alex Udanis wrote:
what issues were you wearing out with the gearboxes?

Have you messed with the p60's yet?

It seems that from bb, if you ordered with the 545 motor, then the output shafts and bearings were bigger, but with the 540 motors, the bearings were small and the shaft necked down to 6mm, so where it goes thru the plate (holding the planets), it would allow out very easily.

The bad ones have black alu housings, the good ones don't

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:48 am

Alex Udanis wrote:
now are these the wedglets your talking about?

the funny thing is on the plum team we call our wedglets too!

that was the original version for when the drums were up high (not symetrical)

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:53 am

Yes totally symmetrical

Maybe you can see the non wedgelets in this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kojuZwZB0bI

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PostSubject: Re: Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is   

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Not sure where to post this rant about new robots so here it is
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