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Thread: Barróg - Featherweight Lifter Build Diary

  1. #91
    See, it's quite tempting now to wait until January before I reply...

    Good writeup, and well done on patching both the machines up. Looked like quite a bit of work.

  2. #92
    Shooty's Avatar

    Pre-Dojo Champs

    So with roughly a month and a half between XR Bolton and the FW champs hosted by Robodojo, and losing half a month between this time for holidays, we had a very short amount of time to upgrade both bots. Fortunately, there were a number of small fixes that could apply to both that were learnt from the previous event, and thanks to CAD some key orders could be made as quickly as possible to arrive in time.

    Both bots had two major changes that could be used together. The first was an upgrade from the 12mm HDPE chopping boards of old (which I highly doubt were HDPE at all) to some green 10mm RG1000, a form of recycled UMHWPE. It’s a material that Sam Price of Get Shrekt has used a lot with great success, and he kindly suggested the material to me and where he gets it after exposing all of the flaws of the previous material in a rather practical manner. I’ll admit I was disappointed to lose the bright green colour of my bots, but even outside of combat some of the benefits were apparent; it behaved just like HDPE when cutting, and the end product was several hundred grams lighter than the original tops, which offered a great amount of flexibility for some of the other upgrades.

    The old plastic compared with the new plastic.

    The other universal change was to begin transferring to new fastening washers for the wheels. Previously the plastic tapped wheel was held in by screwing it tight onto the drill shaft, and using the provided reverse threaded screw with a regular washer to clamp it on the other end. They became more and more reliable, but due to using a countersunk screw with a flat washer, the washer would warp, and ended up slowly splitting the wheel over time. This setup was also used in the new lifter setup for Barróg Doom, and I really didn’t want that to fail. As such, I ordered some steel countersunk washers from a machinist in Dublin, and when it looked like they wouldn’t arrive in time, Rory Charlesworth was able to make a set of aluminium washers in exchange for travel to and from the event in August, and also just because he was a sound lad. I didn’t want to mess with any existing wheels, so I settled on only using the new ones with replacement wheels, and since Barróg Doom had lost two wheels in the event prior, it could get an early head start in the replacements.

    A shot of the new braces with the larger 80A ESC attached. Also visible is one of the new washers being used, though the actual washers used are far wider.

    For Barróg Doom, the old Botbitz 30A ESC that I had operating the weapon was replaced with an 85A equivalent, and while it would occasionally twitch while operating the drive in other areas, switching the receiver's BEC source from the drive ESC’s to the weapon ESC seemed to do the trick. Tougher bungees would be used so that the top could actually work as intended, and extra braces were placed at the back to offer more support for the top plate. I also needed more reliable ways of getting other opponents, and inspired by the forks Craig Jones used in his FW Bookworm, I designed them to use two 3mm Hardox plates sandwiching 20mm HDPE with a similar shape. Due to the holes at the front of the base of both bots, the forks had to have their mounting point quite far into the bot itself, and had to have a 20 degree angle to compliment the 30 degrees the main wedge is at, so they were quite a design challenge. I’m quite happy with how they turned out however. The HDPE parts were light but durable, and easily swappable if necessary. The Hardox forks could be fastened either way up, and because I used slightly larger holes in the HDPE, they could be adjusted to get the best final result on a whim. Finally, while the mounting brackets weren’t very strong, they could be bent back into shape after a fight, and because they were mounted only at the base, I could use 3D printed spacers to ensure that the forks were level with the ground. The end result was the perfect combination of ground-scraping forks with a shallow angle that didn’t get caught in the seams found in a lot of arenas, and that could be damaged and replaced without much damage to the bot itself.

    The new Hardox forks. Very happy with how they turned out!

    The new forks mounted.

    Barróg was mostly left to my dad to work on this time around, but a surprising amount of positive changes could be and were made to the older of the two machines. Both lifter spines were entirely remade from scratch with some new HDPE, without many of the human error mistakes that could be found in the old spines. The other major change made to the old bot was in how the linear actuator connected to the front piece. A new lifter bracket was ordered for that was designed to spread much more of the load onto the spines instead of the front piece itself, being mounted to the spines and resting on them through two long 6mm bolts. This would reduce the strain on the front plastic itself, hopefully allowing the front to last for longer. The actuator was also no longer mounted directly to the lifter bracket; instead it would just sit in it while the top was fully down, itself held in with bungee cords. This meant that any hits the front would take shouldn’t transfer into the actuator itself, while also still allowing the machine to do what it’s always done.

    The new lifter bracket, along with a pretty rubbish pic of some of the new washers

    The new actuator mounting system, with Ziptie in place to stop it from leaning forward too much.

    Last edited by Shooty; 14th April 2020 at 11:45.

  3. #93
    Shooty's Avatar

    Robodojo/FRA Featherweight Championship 2019

    This was the first official FRA championship to be held by Robodojo, and though there were fewer competitors than at KOB 2018/Insomnia 63, the format used was potentially more brutal. There were six groups of 6 bots, and each group used a round robin tournament format, where everyone fought everyone in one-on-one battles over five rounds of fights. You got 0 points for failing to make it into the arena, 1 for losing, 2 for a win via judges decision, and 3 for a win via KO. The top two bots from each group would advance, and the third place bots in each group would fight in melees to determine the final four spots. After that, it was a single elimination format for everyone in the top 16 until a winner was found. Due to the large number of fights (18 total!), running twice as many robots as last time, and also having less parts fail in the machines overall between fights, I’ll be a bit sparser with the analysis than with previous event reports. I’ll also be using footage captured by Cosmin Gorgovan throughout the event, like in January it’s an excellent collection of all of the fights, and I’d highly suggest for anyone reading to watch the entire collection together.

    Both Barróg's ready to go!

    Barróg Doom: Fight 1 VS. Nigel Barrage

    Fight starts at 24:47

    It was a bit of a mad rush to get Doom ready for this fight with all of the new upgrades working. Nigel Barrage (Gregory Atkin) was the only spinner in the group, and could in theory get some nasty hits in. Fortunately for me though an early slam was enough to loosen the belt on his weapon, and shortly after some electrical problems rendered Barrage immobile, giving me the KO. I was also able to get a glimpse of how the weapon could work, and it seemed to show promise. Nothing to do in between fights except to charge the batteries.

    Barróg: Fight 1 VS. Pressure Point MKII

    Fight starts at 51:11

    For my dad’s first fight, he was against the scariest crusher in the UK, Pressure Point MKII (Alan Parkin). Though it had fully hydraulic weaponry that could tear through plastic like tissue paper, Barróg’s best strength in this matchup was that its size would make it hard for Pressure Point to get a good grip on the sides and back, and still had a stronger drive to push it around when needed. My dad was still struggling to get used to driving Barróg, but the machine was squirrely enough to avoid getting caught for a good while, and managed to get a few good shoves in. Unfortunately, Pressure Point eventually ended up getting a nasty grip on the bot, and after some confusion with letting go and pitting, the bot ended up getting the win via KO.

    The hole made in the front piece on Barróg.

    There was damage dealt during the fight, but things weren’t as bad as they could have been. The crusher made a nice clean hole through the RG1000, and while the piece was warped a bit, it could be bent back to be almost like new with the help of a heat gun. I’m fairly confident the old top would have shattered as well, so the new RG1000 is already paying for itself. The claw also ended up completely crushing one of the front wheels on Barróg, but due to the nature of the wheels, the shaft was completely fine, and all we had to do was to run a die over the threads and a new wheel could be attached like nothing ever happened.

    The crushed wheel. This was one instance where brittle wheels probably saved me a gearbox.

    Barróg Doom: Fight 2 VS. Crabsolutely Clawful

    Fight starts at 29:32

    The crab ended up being an interesting matchup; though it only had 2WD as opposed to my 4WD, the more powerful brushless motors Crabsolutely Clawful (Joe Brown) used meant we were fairly evenly matched when it came to pushing power. His forks as well, while not as long or wide as mine, could fit perfectly in between my own two forks, but thanks to the springy nature of my front piece, neither of us could get under the other in a head-to-head clash. It was a fairly evenly fought and fun match for us both, though I tended to be able to capitalise more whenever I could get under the crab. There were a few close brushes with the pit, but ultimately I managed a lucky shove to get Clawful in, and won the fight via pitting.

    Barróg: Fight 2 VS. Toothless

    Fight starts at 54:40

    This fight put Barróg in a proper lifter match against a very similar opponent, with both bots using four drill motors for drive and both sharing a plastic construction. Ultimately Toothless (Felicity Sowry) brought it to a judge's decision and won based on two factors. While Barróg was faster, Toothless was able to remain much more controlled, and could capitalise on every mistake made by my dad. Toothless also had the superior wedge, and so every time the bots went head to head, Toothless had the advantage. Barróg wasn’t tipped over at least, mainly due to how big and awkward of a bot it is for the opponent, but I was definitely regretting not implementing the new wedges for Barróg like had been so effective in Doom.

    Barróg Doom: Fight 3 VS. Forge Master 2

    Fight Starts at 36:55

    The Forge Master (Mark Smith) line is one of the few bots that I seem to keep running into at events, and his newest iteration is pretty scary, with powerful brushless drive, very effective forks, and an axe that, while not overly damaging to a plastic bot like Barróg Doom, could score a lot of points should a fight go to the judges. I saw that it could be quite squirrely, and so tried to wait for the moments where it would oversteer to make my plays. The fight was going well, and we were both driving quite effectively and playing to our strengths. Unfortunately though, one small misinput from Forge Master sent it into the pit, and while it wasn’t the kind of win I wanted, I was glad to have finished my first day of fights with three wins and zero losses.

    Just popping in a few spare photos. Here's the new wiring layout in Barróg Doom. The link is held in place by a 3d printed mount with screws, and tape wraps around the whole thing to attach the power light and battery fuse. The new weapon ESC is mounted to the top supports for space reasons.

    A shot of Barróg with the new bungee setup. The Shakey mounts are a little less rigid and more, um, "shake-y" than the Nat mounts, but still seem to do the job nice enough.
    Last edited by Shooty; 14th April 2020 at 15:35.

  4. #94
    Shooty's Avatar

    Barróg shortly before the fight against Drumblebee. Don't know why we've only now thought of using 5 wedgelets compared to the usual three.

    Barróg: Fight 3 VS. Drumblebee

    Fight starts at 1:00:22

    This one was a scary fight to prepare for. Drumblebee’s (Tori Ainsworth) older brother bot Get Shrekt had a reputation for dealing massive damage, and I was nervous as to how Barróg would take a big hit, even with the new lifter setup in mind. All that could be done was to add another two HDPE wedgelets to Barróg and hope for the best. The fight ended up going very well however. Some good driving and an early grab showed how the front claws were the perfect size and shape to grab a drumbot like Drumblebee, and in escaping the bot either blew a motor or an ESC on one side, hobbling it for the rest of the fight. Barróg was doing much better in this fight, though it seemed in the heat of the moment my dad forgot all about the pit for the first two minutes of the fight, leading to, in hindsight, some regretful comments from myself which seemingly everyone but himself was able to hear. Eventually though the pit went down, and Barróg and my dad both secured their first win at the event.

    Barróg Doom: Fight 4 VS. Mitternacht

    Fight starts at 40:10

    Mitternacht (Alex Wright) was second in the group by this stage, and a win against me here would put him on the top. While it wasn’t invertible, it’s a very well controlled machine, and its grabbing arm had enough force on it so that if it got a grip, it was unlikely to let go. Fortunately the new forks really paid off in this fight, and I could win a head to head charge fairly reliably. I managed to get Mitternacht stuck against the wall, but wanted to keep the fight going so freed him. I tried to go for the suplex here as well, but unfortunately I had left the torque limiters on the lifter drills too loose, and so wasn’t able to get him over. The machine was still in my grasp however, so once I had the pit button pushed it was basically game over. Barróg Doom isn’t behaving exactly how I’d hoped, but as a control bot, the bot is still doing really well.

    Barróg: Fight 4 VS. Binky

    Fight starts at 1:03:07

    At the other end of the Botwright competitors was Binky (Ian Botwright), a bot that by now I was very familiar with. All the changes made to the machine since Bolton had bots exactly like Binky in mind, and so we hoped that, if nothing else, Barróg wouldn’t suffer critical damage in this fight. Ian seemed to take this into account however, and knew that Barróg had the capability of taking control of the fight quite quickly, and so chose to spin the weapon much slower, hoping for hits that would toss Barróg over rather than doing damage to it. The plan worked quite flawlessly, and the fight ended up being rather anti-climactic, with one hit stranding Barróg on its side. A bit of a disappointment, but Binky was happy to have the win, and we were happy that the bot had escaped relatively unscathed.

    Barróg Doom: Fight 5 VS. Luna-Tic

    Fight Starts at 43:13

    My final fight in the groups put us against yet another Sowry, a family we’ve probably faced more times in the arena than any other, far too many for me to count. Luna-Tic opted for its forked config, and the fight ended up quite similar to the Crabsolutely Clawful fight, where no one really won the wedge fight. I tried to use a similar strategy as in my previous fight where I dragged instead of flipped my opponent, but despite getting under Luna-Tic several times I only achieved a true grab once. Once the pit went down, Luna-Tic started driving far more defensively, and due to the size of the arena at this point trying to drive around became far too risky, and so the battle became much more even. Eventually the fight went the full three minutes, and Barróg Doom won on a split judges decision, which did surprise me somewhat, but Chris definitely put up the toughest challenge of all the bots in my group.

    Barróg: Fight 5 VS. Satanix 1.666

    Fight starts at 1:06:04

    Barróg’s last fight put it against Satanix 1.666 (Dave Weston), one of the oldest feathers competing, but still very dangerous with it’s durable design, immense pushing power, and fantastic driving. Barróg seemed to out-wedge Satanix in a head-to-head situation, but Dave was able to drive around us, and after a few slams the wedgelets were much more bent up, causing that advantage to be lost. Barróg continued to be pushed around, before eventually ending up in the pit, filling it completely, a testament to how big the machine really is!

    So after two days of non-stop fighting, both bots ended up with very different placements. Barróg Doom ended the groups with 14 out of 15 points, only losing 1 due to one of the wins coming from the Judges. This put it third overall across all bots, and was one of just two robots to have fought and won all five fights in their group (X-303 being the other one, Captain Jack Spinner also had 15 points, but had an opponent drop out of one of their fights). Barróg meanwhile hadn’t fared so well, finishing up with 7 points, and failing to advance further in the tournament. This was disappointing, but there were positives to be gained from this. This was my first event where my dad fought in the main bracket, and he continued to improve throughout each fight. We also got the machine into the arena for all five fights, something that ended up being a challenge for many other teams, and even nicer for us given that Barróg was also in a group with much more damaging weapons. Finally, my dad picked up his first 1v1 win against Drumblebee in impressive fashion, and no amount of losses can lessen that success.

    Barróg after 5 fights. Given how it was my Dad's first competition and that there were some nasty weapons in his group, it's impressive that Barróg is still in 100% working condition.

    Barróg Doom after the 5 fights. A little dirty, but otherwise pristine going into the top 16.

  5. #95
    Shooty's Avatar

    At the end of the day, the draws for the top 16 bracket were done, all completely randomly, and I had a rough idea for what Barróg Doom’s journey would look like. My main aim for this tournament was to do better than last year, so I was only two fights away from beating my best.

    Barróg: Whiteboard VS. Aegis, Impact, Frycook

    Hooray, a video I don't have to timestamp!

    In between the championship bracket fights, there were numerous side events and whiteboard matches, one of which Barróg entered. This was a lifter fight between Aegis (Rory Charlesworth), Impact (Felix Townsend), and Frycook (Robert Webed Webb), and was a nice laid back fight for the machine to get some driving practice in. Barróg got some nice shoves, lifts, and even a solid grab on Frycook at one point, but the machine was eventually shoved into the wall by Aegis in a way where it was caught, and couldn’t get down. Still a fun fight though!

    Barróg Doom: Top 16 VS. Pressure Point MKII

    Fight starts at 5:22

    This fight would be a rematch against the bot that essentially beat Barróg in one attack, and was even more scary for Doom given its lower height. The plan was to get Pressure Point (Alan Parkin) tipped over ASAP, and use its slow self-righting to my advantage. I was very nearly grabbed at the beginning, but managed to escape just in time. What followed was thirty seconds of an excellent driving tussle, before I managed to get it on its side, where some kind of electrical fault stopped the machine entirely. A disappointing ending for Pressure Point given the remarkable run it had to get to this point, but I was happy to see Barróg Doom move on to match my performance in last year's champs.

    Barróg Doom: Quarter-Finals VS. Barghest

    Fight starts at 12:18

    Barghest (Chris Loblie) was one of the nicest control bots remaining in the competition, and my assumption that the fight would be a significant challenge were soon proven correct. Despite some radio issues that meant that the bot could not reverse, Barghest remained pointed at me constantly no matter how hard I tried, and with its superior front end I found myself getting properly bullied and tossed around for the first time at the event. This was where the differences between Barróg and Barróg Doom truly became apparent, as the machine was able to free itself from any position quite quickly. After two minutes of being utterly dominated, I got one opportunity to get behind Barghest, and with some frantic driving managed to get him into the pit. It was a win by the skin of my teeth, but I managed to make it to the top 4 as I’d hoped I could, and was only two more fights away from a previously unthinkable championship title.

    Tag-Team Tournament: Round 1 VS. Fruitcake 2B, Impact

    Fight starts at 0:00

    Still looking for some action for Barróg, we decided to enter it into a side Tag Team event along with Nigel Barrage, where you would fight in 2v2 matches where your teammate would have to “tag” you in before you could fight. Barróg waited for the first minute of the fight to be tagged in while Nigel Barrage landed the best hit it had gotten in the entire competition. On Barróg. Barróg then tussled with Fruitcake 2B, getting shoved around and nearly getting a good lift in before getting shoved around by Impact, getting tagged out for another minute, and driving around with Impact again before the fight ended, and Barróg and Nigel Barrage lost the judges decision.

  6. #96
    Shooty's Avatar

    Barróg Doom: Semi-Finals VS. Push-Abilitilly

    Fight starts at 16:37

    I was due to fight Satanix 1.666, but due to issues with his motors causing him to unfortunately pull out, the bot he beat, Push-Abilitilly (Shane Lale) was reinstated back into the competition. Fight started excellently, within seconds I had managed to flip Push-Abilitilly, and without an active self-righter, its pushing power was basically useless upside down. I spent the next two minutes trying to get a good grab on the underbelly, but without a better grabbing arm I was really struggling to keep a hold. In the heat of the moment, I saw the perfect opportunity to use the weapon I was desperate to use throughout the entire competition, and I managed to get my first suplex of the event. Unfortunately, Shane capitalised immediately on my mistake, and within seconds managed to beach me on top of his robot, and get me into the pit, ending my run. A bit of a shame to go out on, but given how the fight was essentially the opposite of my previous fight, it was made more manageable.

    Tag-Team Tournament: Round 1 VS. Frycook, Get Shrekt

    Fight starts at 8:43

    The second tag team match had a far deadlier matchup going against the sheer destructive power of Frycook. Get Shrekt (Sam Price) was there as well. Barróg had superior pushing power to Frycook, but Shrekt’s disc spinning sent Barróg into a panic, and it wasn’t long before Get Shrekt hit the one part of Barróg that really isn’t supposed to be hit. This hit sent the machine spiralling through the air, and beached it completely on its back. It wasn’t long before Nigel Barrage was retired as well. Inside, despite not being attached to the top this time, the hit landed near the actuator, and completely shattered its casing for the third event in a row. Barróg couldn’t continue on, and the third round of the Tag Team marked the first time either machine hasn’t been able to make it to a fight.

    What the actuator looked like after the Shrekt hit. This would be the last time we'd use this model of linac in Barróg. Farewell, old friend...

    Barróg Doom: 3rd Place Playoff VS. Captain Jack Spinner

    Fight starts at 18:32

    After having Barróg Doom lose in such an embarrassing manner, and after having yet another actuator failure in Barróg, a win here would have been a real confidence boost. Captain Jack Spinner (Matt Lampitt) had made it to the semi-finals with next to no issues, and even its only loss was due to basically ejecting itself out of the arena. For Jack I replaced the grabbing claws and front forks, and instead put on as large of a sheet of HDPE as I could fit weight-wise to protect the vulnerable gears on the top of the bot, and bolted some extra plastic roughly where I assumed the tooth of his weapon would hit. My plan going in was to rush him as fast as possible and remain under Jack so it couldn’t spin up its weapon, and activate the pit as soon as possible to push him in using my superior drive. My bot was better designed to take the HUGE-style archetype of bots than most; I wouldn’t just drive under Jack, and Doom was built out of flexible plastic with massive air gaps to take the hits, but I didn’t want the fight to go on longer than was necessary.

    Barróg Doom ready to try it's luck against Jack Spinner.

    Fortunately the fight went exactly how I hoped it would. I got an early rush in, and was pinning him down for a few decisive seconds. Eventually it started spinning up again, and I kept charging in to slow the blade down, with not much damage to myself. Once the blade got fully up to speed, I waited for the pit to go down, then properly bit the bullet to take a hit at full power, which ripped my extra armour off. I charged in again to slow him down, got around him, and slowly pushed him into the pit taking only glancing blows. I was scared for a while that Jack would escape the pit, but he was stuck, and I secured a podium position in what was my favourite fight of the event!

    Barróg Doom after the fight. About in as good of a condition as I ever could have hoped for!

    Barróg Doom: Gladiator

    The final fight of the day was the gladiator, and I wanted to get Barróg Doom into it given how well I did in the 2018 gladiator, though it was a massive rush to get it back into its normal configuration in time as the two fights were so close together. Unfortunately the gladiator went much worse this time round. Jack landed a single hit in the first ten seconds that cut across the front piece in two places, hit the front claw, the claw mounting points, and one of the lifter forks, causing the claw bar to become misaligned and therefore rendering the weaponry completely useless. Let me remind you, this all came from a
    single hit. If anything, it told me just how bad the fight with Jack could have gone if I didn’t make the changes I did.

    After this I managed to limp around for another minute before Pressure Point finally got the grab on me it wanted, crunching right through the top plate and causing me to blow a drive side fuse in my effort to escape, though not damaging anything beyond repair which was a relief. After being used as a battering ram by Pressure Point to clear the arena, I was left to limp around for a little longer before finally getting beached on top of the pit.

    Barróg Doom after the gladiator. Let's just spend a little while analyzing all of the damage. Here you see the front plate peeled forward and bashed in. Also visible is the hole from Pressure Point MKII.

    Here you see how lopsided the weapon mech now is, as well as how many things are bent.

    Here you see a clear path of the hit, notice the lifting arm cracked in two places.

    Finally, here's a shot of the dismantled weapon assembly, of which three new pieces needed to be cut, as well as numerous extra bolts. Again, all from one hit.


    So this event was an absolute rollercoaster, and was by far the most busy the two of us were at one, but on the other hand it was by far the most success we had at any event. Barróg Doom finished the main tournament at 8-1, the second best W/L ratio of any bot there, and got me my first podium position (Congrats as well to Cosmin Gorgovan and X-303, who won the competition outright!). While the lifter had yet to perform at its theoretical best, the speed and maneuverability of the robot overall helped me get a lot of good driving wins, and there’s very little I’d change about it for future events. Barróg meanwhile had a very respectable first showing for my Dad competing, and there was definitely some promising hints for future competitions.

    There were some changes I had in mind for the two machines going into future events, but most of the improvements I made to them really proved their worth, and the bots are really at a point where I believe that they could each win a championship if the cards came down right. It was an excellent event to be at, huge congratulations to all the Robodojo crew for hosting it and to everyone involved in the running of the event. I look forward to coming back one day to Leeds to compete in the area again someday.

    Barróg Doom ready to be packed up and brought back to Ireland after a very successful weekend!

  7. #97
    Cheers for the write up Eoin! Most enjoyable and informative. I love the originality of Barróg Doom's weapon and it's great to see it work so well.

    Bad luck on that final hit, but I suppose it's nice to have some proper battle scars and also a proper test of your defences - and good that it came right at the end.

    I assume like most people at the moment you've suddenly found a bit of spare time to write that up! Hope all is well with you and look forward to seeing you and Barróg (Doom) at the next Robodojo, whenever that's going to be.

  8. #98
    Shooty's Avatar

    Cheers for the kind words! I'm not sure how viable it'll be to travel to Robodojo events unless I can find a way of getting the bots on a plane, but I have plans for more portable bots, and if the FW champs are ever held by Robodojo again then I'd be delighted to return.

  9. #99
    Shooty's Avatar

    Roboriots 2020:

    The next event both Barróg’s would attend was Roboriots 2019, a two day Irish live event that did FW’s up to HW’s, and was intended to replace the event that normally happens in January which did not happen due to booking issues on the venue’s end. As I was back in college, there was very little I actually did with Barróg Doom during this time, and asides from tightening the torque limiters on the weapon for greater lifting power and replacing all the broken parts on the machine, the bot basically went in untouched from the FW champs.

    My dad on the other hand went and cut entirely new back and side panels for Barróg, and installed in a new linear actuator. At this point, only the base plate and the rear bulkheads remain from the original Barróg if you can believe that! The new actuator was ordered from Banggood, and though it was far cheaper and much more wobbly at the longest extensions, it seemed to still have enough power to lift opponents, and was actually much faster to boot. We did order an alternate Gimson linear actuator that is in theory much faster and more powerful, but it requires an outside relay for the limit switches so that they can handle the necessary current, so we’ll get that sorted at a later date.

    Both Barróg's ready for combat.

    There wasn’t really much to talk about with regards to individual fights, so for this event report, I’ll just show all the fights in one go and point out some of the broader observations to be found throughout the event.

    Fight 1:

    Fight 2:

    Fight 3:

    Fight 4:

    • The most exciting thing for me regarding this event was the fact that there were several new competing teams from Ireland at the event. At Mechatrons 2018 there was Barróg and Node, and unfortunately Node never really got working right. This time however, there were two fully working Featherweight flippers, and both were excellent builds, even more so for first-timers. Regicide was a flipper built by JP Mac Fhionnlaoich that was modeled after the HW competitor Tanshé from King of Bots, and was actually due to compete at the FW champs before having to pull out for scheduling reasons. It was very ambitious running a full pressure flipping system, custom-molded wheels, and using numerous pieces of bent Hardox. Atomic Wedgie meanwhile, built by Wayne Walsh, was a polycarbonate-covered flipper that was a deceptively good piece of engineering: it was fully brushless with a custom made gear reduction for drive, and the flipper had three settings for firing so that it could self right from any position with one flip using as little gas as was required. With Both Barróg’s competing as well, there was quite the contingent of Irish machines running about, and an absolutely massive difference from when I started less than two years ago!


    • This was the first event where Barróg Doom really got thrown around by flippers, and there were a number of positives in how it interacted with them. Few flips sent Barróg Doom high up, only rolling away, owing to the machine’s hard to reach center of gravity, and it very frequently ended up bouncing back onto its wheels. When it did end up upside down, it was able to self-right very quickly, and there were a few points where a bot tried to flip Doom from the front, but ended up catching the hinged front and only sent the bot up a little, a nice bonus of the anti-vert setup. The original Barróg had nothing done to its sides, not even the old threaded rods, but the bot still managed to bounce onto its wheels a surprising amount of times, and the times it did end up beached onto its side, it always rolled back with very little help from other bots. Something to think about for changes made for January…

    Atomic Wedgie

    • The torque limiters were modified this time around to their max so that I could get stronger lifts, and now that I wasn’t as afraid of chewing up the entire system itself, I was much more bold when using the lifter. It was in the second fight that the bot finally managed to start getting the suplexes I knew it should be able to do, and was ecstatic that it actually worked! Many of the best grabs were on Regicide due to the amount of catch points on the top of his bot, but even when it didn’t pull a bot over it acted as a somewhat OK flipper. There were some designs I struggled to grab however, namely Atomic Wedgie due its tall, angled structure. If I want to get more good grabs, I reckon a redesign of the grabbing claw is in order. Barróg’s lifter was much faster this time round, but my dad was being careful with damaging the HDPE wedgelets, and so the bot didn’t get too many grabs in this event. With the extra weight granted by the new plastic and linear actuator, upgrading to Doom’s wedgelet design was a question of when rather than if.

    • Finally, after one of the fights, it may have been the third or fourth one, I noticed that Doom was veering a bit to the left. Upon opening it up, I noticed that the mounting brackets had bent inwards from a self-inflicted slam into the wall. This had happened before, and I usually just bent them back afterwards, but this time, the bracket had bent into the front left wheel, stopping it from spinning, and rounding out the mounting threads on the plastic wheel. We changed the wheel around fairly quickly, but this made it clear that new mounting brackets would be necessary in the future.

    Where the mount bent into the wheel. Definitely needs to be sorted out for future events.

    Ultimately this event was mainly for the fun of it, and it’s always great to go to an event without having to pay massively inflated fees for car ferries. There were definitely a few weaknesses exposed in both machines though, and with Christmas on the way I had a nice amount of time to work on the bots and try out some upgrades to get them both as good as possible for future events. Roboriots 2019 was an incredibly fun event, and while there won’t be one this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m definitely looking forward to the 2021 event!

    All of the Irish FW's at the event! Also present was Díotóir and 4x4 for heavyweight representation!

  10. #100
    Shooty's Avatar

    So following the November event, we had another due in less than two months with the return of the Mechatrons show at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition, and the Christmas period gave me a few weeks to alter the robots a little more closely. The top priority was to give both Barróg and Barróg Doom the same improved fork mounts. Instead of using thin metal, we decided to upgrade to 15mm HDPE mounting blocks, each side using two barrel nuts to hold them down into the base. For space reasons, the nuts acted as spacers between the forks and the two blocks instead of outside them, and thanks to me making many spares of the forks before the FW champs very little extra work was needed to get the forks running in Barróg. The end result was a far beefier fork arrangement with only a little extra weight, and it’s one that I’d be happy to use in future builds.

    The new forks in place next to the old ones. A bit of a bodge job, but very strong.

    For Barróg Doom, I wanted to redo the grabbing arm to better catch into points on the top of other bots, as I felt that the old system slipped a little too much. I ended up being rather conservative and using two spaced out 10mm copies of the existing 20mm arm which were certainly an improvement, but this is something I’ll definitely revisit. The more exciting changes were happening to Barróg however. We theorized that with the new weight distribution and carefully shaped side rollers, Barróg could roll back from it’s side, something it has never been able to do. After some fiddling with the curve and the center of mass, we seemed to come across a solution that just barely worked and required expertly timed rocking, but was without question an improvement from before! Barróg was now arguably the better control bot of the two now, and somehow bigger than ever before while still being within the weight!

    Barróg, bigger and better than ever, ready to fight.

    The new rollcage design.

    Footage of the new self-righting mechanism:

    Roboriots BT Young Scientist Exhibition 2020:

    Unlike last time, there was actually a proper format for the Feathers. There would be three rumbles, one every day, where three or four feathers would enter, and the winner of each would meet in a final rumble later in the third day, where a champion would be called. Barróg Doom would fight on the second day, and Barróg on the third. We were a little disappointed that there would be fewer fights overall for the feathers, but we warmed up to the new format really fast, and the trophy was absolutely something worth winning.

    This may be the coolest FW trophy that has ever been made, and all from scrap metal as well!

    Most of the first day was spent talking to audience members as they walked in, and chatting with the roboteers, the most notable new inclusion being Team Immersion with Amnesia. Another FW bot, Euphoria, was having some major mechanical issues that seem to come with a first event, and so I spent a lot of that day filing keyways and trying to help in reassembly.

    Both bots on display in the pits. This was right next to where the audience walked past to get seated for the show.

    Qualifier: Barróg Doom VS. Regicide VS. Pallas VS. Euphoria

    My qualifier on the second day was against flipper and fellow Irish competitor Regicide, the wedgebot Pallas, and the new electric lifter Euphoria. This was all around a great fight for Barróg Doom; Pallas was shortly immobilized after getting stranded upside down, and I continued to get great throws and rams against the other two opponents while they eventually began to struggle. The new grabbing arm in particular seemed to help greatly in grabbing onto opponents like Regicide, and the forks gave a consistent advantage in the ground game. Euphoria meanwhile suffered radio issues due to its weapon motor catching onto and chewing through some signal gears. There were issues in this fight however, near the start of the fight I managed to get stuck against the arena wall, and would have been trapped if Euphoria didn’t free me. I also blew one of the fuses guarding the ESC’s near the end, which still kept me moving for long enough, but was certainly a concern given how much more aggressively I was starting to drive like. Overall though this might be my favourite Barróg Doom fight to date, and is what I show people when I want to explain the machine.

    Qualifier: Barróg VS. Killer Clown VS. Red Hot Tilly Pecker VS. Flippin Hell:

    Barróg was placed against wedgebot Killer Clown, the axebot Red Hot Tilly Pecker, and flipper and fellow Irish competitor Flippin Hell, renamed from Atomic Wedgie since the November event, and whose builder only arrived on the third day due to breaking his arm a few days prior. At first the fight seemed to go well, and Barróg managed to get a good charge in on Flippin Hell. After a quick charge however, the machine seemed to go completely dead, despite the power light still being on. Flippin Hell eventually managed to free itself, and would go on to win the fight while Barróg would go out in a disappointing, anticlimactic manner (still impressive he was able to drive with one arm in a cast though!). After a while we figured out what went wrong; the fuse for one side of drive had blown during the charge, and unluckily that was the very same ESC that powered the receiver, and as such when the ESC went, all radio connection went, and the machine failsafed. This was very frustrating, and at this point I was seriously questioning why my previously reliable ESC setup was failing so much.

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