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Thread: Team Health & Safety - First Time Builder

  1. #111
    It is stunning... looks fantastic, and the theme is clever too. I can appreciate the level of detail, the illuminated exit sign is genius.

    If it drives as good as it looks you should have a good event.
    Team Pushover - Definitely worse at this than you are!
    AW - Pullover (Grabber), Wej (er, wedge), Ridic-U-Loch-Ness Monster (Secret)
    BW- Leopold (On Hold)
    FW- Pushover (well, half of it...)

  2. #112
    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

    The traditional post-event video is here!

  4. #114
    Awaiting the airing of WeeWoo's last battle at Bugglebots Season 2 this coming Monday, here's a tutorial I shot today on how to bend HDPE. Thought it'd be useful for those starting out. Enjoy!

    Some tips:

    1. Practice on a cut-off piece first. This gives you an idea of what to expect. Different thicknesses means different bending!
    2. Heat both sides, and keep moving the heat gun around the area you want to bend
    3. Keep feeling the material, to gauge how much more heat it needs and where it needs it. Usually the more heat goes in, the smaller the bend
    4. Quench for long enough using running water. Usually the material has still some give after quenching, this can come in handy for small corrections where needed.

  5. #115
    Shooty's Avatar

    This is all really useful stuff, really appreciate the guide. Will definitely be able to make more accurate pieces thanks to this all!

  6. #116
    WeeWoo at Bugglebots Season 2
    25th and 26th of May 2019, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

    After Season 1 and our glorious exit against Maximum Ogredrive we wanted to evolve WeeWoo and take the concept a step further. We wanted to add the ability of dealing with non-spinner opponents, so both Cosmin and I set out to make a weaponized WeeWoo; Cosmin would make a spinner-Wee, and Greg would build a grabber-Woo. In February 2019 there was an event at UWE where we decided to test for Bugglebots, and we hoped it would prepare us adequately for the new series. It did in a way, though during the UWE tournament we weren’t able to run the new versions as we were pitted against evil spinners. Little did we know this was a sign of things to come...


    For Bugglebots, Greg completely rebuilt the anti-spinner Woo from the ground up with a new chassis and internals, and also updated grabber-Woo with a bigger and lighter jaw compared to the one run at UWE.

    In the new season Cosmin also ran his vicious spinner Daedalus (which had won the aforementioned UWE event), leaving us with a problem - as there is a 1-driver-1-robot rule, Wee needed a replacement driver. Dave Weston, who would already be present at the event and whose experience with clusterbot Crackers ‘n Smash in the past was valuable, took up the mantle.

    At the event though, our hearts sank when he heard the draw for round 1. We’d be starting off against Drizzle, one of the most powerful spinners at the event, which we’d also faced in the first round of the UWE event. All of this work on a weaponized WeeWoo and we wouldn’t be showing it off in our first fight. I was a bit bummed out, but we knew that this was bound to happen with a field as strong as this season’s. We just didn’t want it to happen immediately.


    On the other hand though, with these machines pitted against each other the fight would guarantuee to be a high-energy match-up with some proper entertainment for the crowd… which is exactly what you need in a show like Bugglebots. We drew up a plan: we would run the forked WeeWoo, and Wee (David) would go and try stop Drizzle from spinning up, with Woo (me) following suit. This worked okay, with us getting Drizzle bouncing around into the wall and floor on numerous occasions. Doing so, we hoped that Drizzle would eventually break itself as it did at the UWE event in February, or fall down the pit.

    However, when Wee was stuck on the arena wall with its huge magnet, it was all down to Woo. I gave it my best shot, but when Drizzle clipped the left rear axle right in the middle and bent it upward, locking the drive on that side and letting the magnets drag on the floor, we knew that it was all over.

    Now, Woo was actually still working at this point, but with Drizzle still fully functional, we knew we were up against it. We had the loser’s melee to do after and taking more damage (which, being a robot half the weight against one of the most powerful vertical spinners in the competition, was quite likely) could’ve made things much worse for us in the pits, so after tanking one more massive hit to see if a miracle could happen I reluctantly let go of the controls and let Woo be counted out. It just was not to be - Drizzle deserved this win.

    Luckily, back at the pit table, Woo only needed an axle and wheel replaced and it was good to go again. Upon closer inspection, Tom amazingly had managed to hit Woo’s left rear axle dead center of the axle’s bolt head; you could hardly notice the place where it was hit.

    Anyways, the losers melee then. Now, clusters typically don’t do melees all too well since you lose the numbers advantage, but as wedge Jay and lifter Catalyst were joining us in the melee, we could now show off the weaponized WeeWoo; the vertical spinner Wee, and the grabber Woo. We couldn’t run these two against Drizzle as we had sacrificed their armor to free up weight for weaponry, so they were not a good option against heavy spinners.


    But now, they got out to play… and we just went for it. David went up against Catalyst with spinner-Wee, and I took on Jay with grabber-Woo. David set about kicking about Catalyst, tearing off its front wedge which afterwards turned out to retire Catalyst’s chassis. I got a clamp on Jay, but it seemed Woo could’ve done with some more downforce as it was a bit of a faff to get Jay where we wanted. Things went okay though, right up until the moment they didn’t and Wee gyro-ed into the pit. James then tried to get Woo stacked on its side… but luckily Woo could selfright with the claw. This only worked once though, as soon after Woo lost drive on one side - as it turned out, I hadn’t fastened the right drive motor tightly enough and it had torn a wire loose. Catalyst turned Woo over, and tried to get both Jay and Woo in the pit… only for Jay to escape just when Catalyst and Woo went into the pit together. As a result, Jay was through to the heat semis.

    A disappointment for us, ofcourse. WeeWoo had been iterated to a point that we felt it could do better than in series 1, but this season luck was simply not on our side. It did mean though that we would be back for the Dung Beetle later on.

    Now, the lineup of that rumble was a page turner as well, with S1 Heat Finalists and Grand Finalists sentenced to have one last bout for the Wooden Spoon. We would run the wedges this time as vicious spinner Rev 4 was in there as well, meanwhile making sure that WeeWoo had run in all possible configurations in the new series.

    We even contemplated putting on Tina the Playmobil mascot atop Woo (as seen at the end of the event video posted a few weeks back) for added hilarity, but alas this made Woo overweight.

    Things went better than we’d hoped really; we pushed a few others around and despite us both being turned over (which removes the magnetic downforce and makes the twins handle like they’re on ice) Wee eventually survived until only Snappy was left to render both Wee and Woo incapacitated in the pit. WeeWoo had come second in the Dung Beetle.


    Together with the boys with Rust in Pieces we tried getting a cluster-off to happen for either a whiteboard or UK v Rest of the World, but alas it was not to be. We felt bad about doing as badly in the tournament as we had, but as the line-up of the Dung Beetle showed, we were not alone in feeling like this. The field of 2019 was insanely strong, and despite doing worse than last time performance-wise we hope we still managed to put on a good show for everyone watching… this, for us, has always been the most important thing of all. Win or lose, the only real winners should be the viewing audience.

    We found this new season is a giant leap forward from the the first one, and this would never have been the case without the volunteers and teams putting in all of the effort. Competing in it is nothing short of an honour.

    Which brings us to the next bit.

    Should season 3 come to fruition, WeeWoo will be applying for the last time. We feel that WeeWoo was unlucky this season in both its draw and its fights and it deserves another chance to proof its metal in a proper send-off, but after that the siblings of WeeWoo will rest on their laurels. Cosmin and I originally set out to make clusters relevant in beetleweights back in Season 1, and ever since WeeWoo first appeared more clusters have appeared on the weight class that are fit to take its mantle. It feels like a nice story for other builders to continue, which Rust in Pieces illustrated perfectly in the new season. We also want to keep progressing ourselves too, as we enjoy developing and creating new robots to keep things interesting both for the show and for ourselves (see Head For The Exit, and Cosmin’s Daedalus).


    We do feel enormously humbled by all the positive feedback we’ve gotten in both seasons for our cluster though, so that’s why as far as we’re concerned, this won’t have been the last you’ve seen of WeeWoo’s insanity. In fact, there might be some new stuff in the pipeline already…

    WHEN I SAY WEE… roll on Season 3!

    Last edited by Zenith; 28th January 2020 at 20:15.

  7. #117
    Quote Originally Posted by Shooty View Post
    This is all really useful stuff, really appreciate the guide. Will definitely be able to make more accurate pieces thanks to this all!
    Cheers! Glad I could be of help

  8. #118

  9. #119
    Quote Originally Posted by scott View Post
    Great write-ups! Who would win in a battle between Wee-Wee and Woo-Woo?
    Probably Wee-Wee, you've seen the power of that spinner!

    In another news, for the coming year I'm iterating Head For The Exit (changing the weapon arm and saw system, though keeping the 4-bar) and building a new This Is Not A Drill. The plan is to compete at an event with HFTE and let my son compete alongside with TINAD.

    As soon as I finish TINAD I'll post another build report here, naturally.

  10. #120
    Thanks for the write up Greg, that was an enjoyable read! And well done on your performance at Bugglebots, you and Dave put on a fine show regardless of your placing in the competition.

    Thanks also for the HDPE bending guide. I've tried a bit of it myself in the past and was pretty lazy in that I just put the stuff in a vice, zapped with the heat gun for as long as I could be arsed and then applied a moderate amount of force to bend it. Although that worked for my inaccurate purposes, now I wonder if I may have overstressed the material a bit by only heating the outsides. I'll keep at it with the heat gun next time!

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