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Thread: Team Health & Safety - First Time Builder

  1. #111

  2. #112
    Zenith's Avatar

    Battle in the ‘Burgh 2019
    NCR Edinburgh, Scotland, 16th of November 2019

    When it was confirmed in June 2019 that there was going to be a beetleweight event in the Scottish city of Edinburgh I didn’t really have to think very long. I appreciated the chance of doing an event somewhere different in the UK other than southern England, so the plane was immediately booked, and plans were made for a new build to debut.

    I didn’t really know at the time of booking what this machine was going to be though. Tentatively I'd signed up with a new version of ‘This Is Not A Drill’, but as time progressed plans materialized to build something completely new… so eventually I asked Shane, the EO, to change the name into what was to become my first saw bot: ‘Head For The Exit’.


    At first, I’d kept Head For The Exit out of the spotlight, but I eventually realised it wasn’t in my nature to do this. I just like building something that looks easy on the eye, and then hope to be entertaining with it… to keep things under wraps in the hope of a competitive advantage of some kind is not really what I like doing, so I did what I also did for all the iterations of This Is Not A Drill: show the world how it came to be.


    Long story short: on a chilly Friday evening, accompanied by a white, meticulously dismantled and foam-wrapped saw bot in my suitcase, I set foot on Scottish soil. Together with the other foreign entrant Ralf Schneider (who’d brought along both his axebot Anxt and spinner Phönix), I’d booked an apartment around the corner of the venue, and waited for what was to come.


    I'd even gone as far as making a bespoke cradle for HFTE from an actual emergency exit sign the night before departure as my machine was just too wide for a simple block of wood, so with Suvv even putting forward an award for the best cradle I reckoned it'd be as good an excuse as any to put in an effort for once.

    Being so close to the venue Ralf and I were on site before the doors were open, so naturally we were among the first to unpack. We set up shop and awaited the news of the draw. As it turned out, both Ralf and I were in the same heat, and he’d be facing Drizzle whereas I was matched with Craig Jones’s vertical spinner Bunny.

    Not the best news that morning, but alright. Head For The Exit successfully passed safety, and upon it stretching its legs in the arena for the first time I learned two things:
    1) people seemed to like the way it looked and moved
    2) it drove like a bag of ice cubes slathered in smurf snot


    Apparently the magnet I’d attached had loosened and was now barely dangling at the front… and when I tightened it, it snapped clean in half. Time for HFTE to get a wheelie bar, and hope the missing magnet wouldn’t completely ruin the downforce.

    Eventually, news reached that Bunny wouldn’t be competing - apparently the internals had shorted shortly before the event, and with Craig falling ill Head For The Exit was now without a first round opponent. It’d become policy that instead of merely having a bye into the next round, at least you should prove you could move… but I wasn’t going to just drive a lap and be done with it.


    Enter THE BASKET OF DEATH: a plastic trey from my toolbox with some cardboard taped over it. If there couldn’t be a fight, at least we could give a demonstration. Now, when HFTE did its failsafe test earlier that morning there were already some gasps among the onlookers, and sawing into the plastic victim, these sounds were quickly silenced by the eclectic howl of the saw going through the basket’s plastic.


    The next round was interesting… because there was another saw bot at the event, which coincidentally also used a 4-bar system. SawryNotSawry, from Jamie McHarg. I’ll be honest and say his saw was probably a lot more reliable than mine, so part of me was apprehensive of what was to follow. I felt, with both machines mostly made of plastic and two of these weapons, it was not a question of IF there was going to be a lipo fire, but WHEN. In the mean time, Alex Mordue had supplied me with some 3D-printed pulleys for my black saw, so after bolting it on, I waited for the call.

    Now, remember that lack of downforce I was fearing? That was exactly what driving Head For The Exit was this first fight. The arena might just as well have been an ice rink, as HFTE was struggling for grip the entire time and couldn’t really get under SawryNotSawry. Things went okay though, and keeping the front facing him I kept on the offensive, sometimes backing off to give myself some space.


    He cut into my front right hand side a few times, but my aggression seemed to pay off, as after 3 minutes the judges decided in my favor, and Head For The Exit went on to the Heat final. In the pits, I noticed that my small belts weren’t really up to scratch though as they’d warped into a nice banana shape, so I changed everything out, including the saw as I knew who I’d be facing next:

    My good friend Tom with his vicious verticle spinner Drizzle.

    Drizzle had made it into the heat final too after butchering Anxt and dealing with Messie Nessie. Cosmin hooked me up with a fresh magnet for the front, I tightened everything up and waited for what was to come.

    The fight went better than I could’ve hoped, really. I managed to get around Drizzle and make its weapon eat the wall, killing it and effectively turning Drizzle into a wedge bot. Now I turned on the aggression to 11, eventually getting the one thing I’d dreamt I’d be seeing from Head For The Exit this event:

    A proper hold, and Head For The Exit tucking into its opponent. That this happened whilst Drizzle was trying to escape leading to HFTE eating into Drizzle WHILE IT WAS DRIVING IT THROUGH THE ARENA was even better. My inner nerd was beside himself.

    And yes, I know I should’ve hung back. I know I should’ve let Tom just come at me…. but all of this ‘doing damage to other robots’-stuff is very new to me, and I guess the adrenaline just got me going. I thought I had Drizzle lined up with the pit, drove it down, it spun around and next thing I know HFTE was suspended by its fork and arrow above the pit.

    This stung ofcourse, but I felt comforted knowing the whoever’d win our fight would be facing the doom that is Daedalus and people had been eager to see Drizzle face off with it... but still, SO CLOSE.


    When Drizzle was taken out of the ring, it became apparent how close exactly; Head For The Exit had apparently eaten through Drizzle's top armor and come in millimetres of its lipo. Yes, very close indeed.

    See the entire heat below.

    This just left the Gladiator for Head For The Exit. Prior to the finals the machine was ready to go, so when Alex was giving Shane some play time with Saw Loser I requested doing a test.

    You see, as you know the arrow sticking out the back is not there just to look cool. It also functions as a selfrighter. I knew the concept worked as I’d tested it, but that was with an empty frame… not with all the bits in and on the machine. I just wanted to know whether the srimech worked with the robot fully set-up… so after Shane failed to turn it over, I turned HFTE upside down, and let it do its thing.

    And god, it worked beautifully. My inner nerd, once again, was screaming his lungs out. This, I now knew, was why I liked building more than competing. Taking an idea, and just running amok with it.

    The Gladiator was fun too, and Head For The Exit lasted longer than I thought it could, sawing into wheels (and apparently also removable links) as we picked up various bits of crud with the magnet, eventually making driving more and more difficult. I was also reminded why I shouldn’t be using Loctite too sparingly as literally EVERYTHING screwed into the weapon arm had in one way or another vibrated loose at the end of it all.

    All in all, I am well chuffed with Head For The Exit’s first outing. A big thanks to Alex Mordue, Alasdair Sutherland, Scott Anderson, Shane Lale and Benjamin Hassan for following through with this initiative, running a great event in a beautiful city. Us over on the continent are glad there’s another place than Bristol on the map now

    Now, time to iterate this animal. Watch this space.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Zenith; 18th November 2019 at 20:18.

  3. #113
    Zenith's Avatar

    The traditional post-event video is here!

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