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Thread: First testing bot up and running. It's ugly, be gentle!

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  1. #1
    Hello all,

    I'm Mike and I've been on the site for around 4 years, reading through threads from all the great and experienced bot builders who have shared their knowledge over the years about designing and building bots that just keep on ticking, and survive full on robot combat, taking huge punishment from the many destructive machines out there and somehow just keep on rolling! Amazing designs, no doubt.

    Whatever I build doesn't need to be quite that durable, as I doubt I'll ever enter a proper competitive robot combat event, (but I certainly won't rule out the possibility entirely going forward). I have for years wanted to build a small Featherweight machine that would likely be capable of surviving even a minute or so with the toughest robots around though.

    Anyway, I've had more spare time over the past few weeks, so I took advantage of it and pulled out the beginnings of the bot I'd started a few years ago, but had to constantly keep shelving as other things came in at much higher priority. It's turned out rough, ugly but (almost) fully functional, as in the design I'd planned at least!

    It's basically a 4WD box with a front hinged wedge/lifter as an active weapon. And as this was always just a base to try to get everything working and looking as I imagined (as simple as possible) it's constructed out of Sainsburys chopping boards, readily available and well, just a test bed of a bot! Worked out OK'ish as I made a few....adjustments here and there (it shows) and didn't break the bank if I wasted a board or 2 along the way.

    I'd bought a few of the original 12v Argos drills to hack, simple wooden base to start, a couple of Botzbitz 30amp ESC's (Thank you Ellis of ranglebox.com) and the chunky original batteries just to temporarily get it moving. A cheap Turnigy computerised TX and RX, and amazed how easy it all was to wire up (that was my main worry when I started). I also learned soldering thanks to choosing XT60 connectors, turned out OK after screwing up the first couple of connectors.

    Progressed to the new but now discontinued? 12v Argos drills for motors and the far superior to original batteries still there to power it all. And I can't forget the very useful power lights. Custom drill mounts from RoboteerNat (Thank you Nat), secure 2 part drill motors! I used cheap (45amp) HobbyKing RC car ESC's to power 2 drills each side, and another for the drill powered weapon, not the best but hell, they are not under stress and I can't fault them thus far. The bot zips along at a fair old pace!

    I'm sorry this has been a bit long winded, and thank you for taking the time to read! I'll attach pics, go easy! TEST BOT, just basics to make sure it all worked for me!

    If there is anything I've missed or if one of you fine roboteers notice any mistakes and can get me on the right track about any obvious noob building mistakes, (You will notice quite a few)! including any other (rightful) criticisms, or even to bollock me for anything, please add. It's you guys with the experience and knowledge here, I'm just on the bottom rung of the robot building ladder and only now finding time to get some progress in on bot building I've been intending to do the last 4 years!

    Thanks everyone!Drive and wiring 1-mod1.jpgPower light and temp fuse links-mod1.jpgside 1-mod1.jpgBasic weapon mechanism-mod1.jpgFront wedge-mod1.jpg

  2. #2
    Ocracoke's Avatar
    Team Kaizen

    Hey there, welcome to the forum!

    Whatever I build doesn't need to be quite that durable, as I doubt I'll ever enter a proper competitive robot combat event, (but I certainly won't rule out the possibility entirely going forward).
    Never say never? I'd start off by going to a Robots Live! event with your machines. Both of them look as if they meet the regulations for fighting robots in terms of lights and removable links though do I spy 2 per robot?

    it's constructed out of Sainsburys chopping boards, readily available and well, just a test bed of a bot! Worked out OK'ish as I made a few....adjustments here and there (it shows) and didn't break the bank if I wasted a board or 2 along the way.
    Barróg, as far as I recall, did the same thing with using I think it was industrial chopping boards originally (correct me if I am wrong) so you'd be in good company there. That'd make your robots be out of LDPE I think which is not a bad material to start off with. Certainly looks stiffer than some of my creations at the moment. What are the wedges made out of? The same material?

    I used cheap (45amp) HobbyKing RC car ESC's to power 2 drills each side, and another for the drill powered weapon, not the best but hell, they are not under stress and I can't fault them thus far. The bot zips along at a fair old pace!
    One of my Beetleweight robots, The Honey Badger 4.0 uses them as well for its drive. Solid, if very basic, ESCs. What you may find though is that sort of ESC might not handle current spiking too well (from sustained load on the motor from heavy pushing for example). My first featherweight, also The Honey Badger (1.0) used similar variants of that type of controller and it was endlessly blowing them up. That possibly might be worth upgrading in the future?

    As far as a first effort goes, between your two robots (including https://www.fightingrobots.co.uk/thr...-2wd-wedge-bot), they look really good so well done for building them. They both look solid, well bolted down and should serve you well as a platform for experimenting with.
    Last edited by Ocracoke; 13th May 2020 at 08:47.
    Team Kaizen - Build Diary for all the robots

    AW: Amai, Ikari, Lafiel, Osu, Ramu
    BW: Shu!, The Honey Badger
    FW: Azriel
    MW: Jibril, Kaizen

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ocracoke View Post
    Hey there, welcome to the forum!

    Hi Ocracoke, thank you.



    Never say never? I'd start off by going to a Robots Live! event with your machines. Both of them look as if they meet the regulations for fighting robots in terms of lights and removable links though do I spy 2 per robot?

    If the opportunity to pop along to a Robots Live! event shows up in the future, if able I would go even if not to compete but just to get an idea what a live robot combat event is really like.
    The lights from the Argos drills came in handy here, and hopefully they have been used before and are cleared for actual combat use.
    Not really links, just a pair of blade fuses and holders I had lying around. I just used them as a quick way to cut the power to each battery. I'll have another look through the FRA rules about links, and an easy enough job if I have to change any wiring to comply.
    In the 2WD bot, must admit, I only added a fuse "link" last night after I'd tested it out.




    Barróg, as far as I recall, did the same thing with using I think it was industrial chopping boards originally (correct me if I am wrong) so you'd be in good company there. That'd make your robots be out of LDPE I think which is not a bad material to start off with. Certainly looks stiffer than some of my creations at the moment. What are the wedges made out of? The same material?

    Very possible. The boards I used in the 4WD were just the largest and most sturdy I found in the local Sainsburys, I just walked past them doing a weekly shop and picked up what stocks they had on the shelf. I wouldn't say they are industrial by any means, but strong enough to make a solid bot chassis.
    The front wedge and entire body of the 2WD bot are not quite as sturdy, different boards used. Think they were from Wilkos, bought them years ago and forgot about them being honest.




    One of my Beetleweight robots, The Honey Badger 4.0 uses them as well for its drive. Solid, if very basic, ESCs. What you may find though is that sort of ESC might not handle current spiking too well (from sustained load on the motor from heavy pushing for example). My first featherweight, also The Honey Badger (1.0) used similar variants of that type of controller and it was endlessly blowing them up. That possibly might be worth upgrading in the future?

    Upgraded ESC's are certainly required before any attempt at a competitive battle, batteries too. I'm thinking Life batteries and maybe 80A ESC's if ranglebox.com can get more stocks. But I'm open to suggestions for alternatives you good people use and recommend.


    As far as a first effort goes, between your two robots (including https://www.fightingrobots.co.uk/thr...-2wd-wedge-bot), they look really good so well done for building them. They both look solid, well bolted down and should serve you well as a platform for experimenting with.
    Thank you for this reply.
    And yes indeed, the bots I have now will be put to good use getting some experience in driving them for sure.

    Once again, thank you.

  4. #4
    looks great, and event wise (when they start again) i would look at either robots live or Robodojo. Yes Robodojo is near leeds and a long drive you get 4 fights over 1 day plus these are 1v1 plus it purely Feathers and you get to see spinners.

    the one thing i shall say about the robots build is that chopping board isn't the greatest, it should be fine but it if cracks from damage (mainly if you get thrown by the floor flipper or a Full pressure flipper) i wouldn't be surprised. Chopping boards are not made from HDPE but are more brittle grade of PE (LDPE rings a bell) most robots using "HDPE" using PE300 (HDPE) PE 500 (HMWPE) or PE1000 (UHMWPE)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Maxamuslead View Post
    looks great, and event wise (when they start again) i would look at either robots live or Robodojo. Yes Robodojo is near leeds and a long drive you get 4 fights over 1 day plus these are 1v1 plus it purely Feathers and you get to see spinners.

    the one thing i shall say about the robots build is that chopping board isn't the greatest, it should be fine but it if cracks from damage (mainly if you get thrown by the floor flipper or a Full pressure flipper) i wouldn't be surprised. Chopping boards are not made from HDPE but are more brittle grade of PE (LDPE rings a bell) most robots using "HDPE" using PE300 (HDPE) PE 500 (HMWPE) or PE1000 (UHMWPE)
    Hi Mark,

    And thank you for the reply.

    I agree, the chopping boards used won't hold up to too much punishment in combat.

    Going forward HDPE is likely what I'll use in the finalised designs I have in mind, it seems to be the material of choice for many builders. I can't argue with that!

    Thank you,

    Mike

  6. #6
    Ocracoke's Avatar
    Team Kaizen

    The lights from the Argos drills came in handy here, and hopefully they have been used before and are cleared for actual combat use.
    Not really links, just a pair of blade fuses and holders I had lying around. I just used them as a quick way to cut the power to each battery. I'll have another look through the FRA rules about links, and an easy enough job if I have to change any wiring to comply.
    The rules don't specify a particular type of light beyond it being a non-filament, only that it is a non-flashing, contrasting colour type so I think you'd be OK as is. Same with the fuses acting as removable links. I've definitely seen that before.

    For reference, rule 6.4 of the build rules states this:

    6.4 Power Light

    Robots must have at least one surface mounted non-filament power light that is illuminated when the main link is fitted. The power light maybe any colour but must be non-flashing and in contrast with the surroundings.
    The boards I used in the 4WD were just the largest and most sturdy I found in the local Sainsburys, I just walked past them doing a weekly shop and picked up what stocks they had on the shelf.
    Hahaaha, fair enough. My first featherweight was a garden planter platform and a thin metal lampshade that vaguely sort of fit together. Your two are easily more robust.

    Upgraded ESC's are certainly required before any attempt at a competitive battle, batteries too. I'm thinking Life batteries and maybe 80A ESC's if ranglebox.com can get more stocks. But I'm open to suggestions for alternatives you good people use and recommend.
    LiFe batteries are a solid choice though most people do use LiPos for the reduced weight and extra power though in my experience, I've never had a problem with LiFe. I use them in my Featherweights and Middleweights. 80A is also a solid choice, the one from Ranglebox is a solid controller, I use a variant of that as my FW's axe controller.
    Last edited by Ocracoke; 14th May 2020 at 09:28.
    Team Kaizen - Build Diary for all the robots

    AW: Amai, Ikari, Lafiel, Osu, Ramu
    BW: Shu!, The Honey Badger
    FW: Azriel
    MW: Jibril, Kaizen

  7. #7
    Hi Mike,

    Lucy and Mark have already given the majority of the key points. For a first build, both of your bots look brilliant, well done!

    As people have already said, definitely enter an event when all this virus malarkey blows over. The vast majority of learning is through actually doing and competing, figuring out which part of your bot works and which can be improved. The entire community is super welcoming and helpful at events too. I recommend Robodojo Sportsman for your first few events as you will likely not take too much damage.

    HDPE is very good as armour. Trent Plastics and Direct Plastics are good sources for these if you look to improve on your chopping boards.

    Upgraded ESC's are certainly required before any attempt at a competitive battle, batteries too. I'm thinking Life batteries and maybe 80A ESC's if ranglebox.com can get more stocks. But I'm open to suggestions for alternatives you good people use and recommend.
    I would recommend LiPos rather than LiFe. As Lucy said, extra power and less weight. You have to take a few extra safety precautions in to account, but treat them with respect and you will be fine.

    In terms of ESCs, I run two Hobbywing 880 80A Dual ESCs in Bread Dead Redemption. They require a tiny bit of reprogramming to make them suitable, but they have been very good to me so far. They are a single ESC wired in with 2 parallel inputs, so they are relatively cheap, but both motors have to go in the same direction. Not an issue if you use one per side in 4WD.

    I'll put a video link to my test run below. That is using 4x Argos 12v drills with those ESCs on a 3S LiPo battery. Would be similar performance to what you expect from yours!



    Hope to see you at an event soon!

  8. #8
    Ocracoke's Avatar
    Team Kaizen

    I would recommend LiPos rather than LiFe. As Lucy said, extra power and less weight. You have to take a few extra safety precautions in to account, but treat them with respect and you will be fine.
    The flipside of LiFe batteries (and the main reason why I use them in my heavier robots) is that if they break, they are less likely to combust than LiPos. Perhaps less of an issue if you have in a metal box or, like I do, always have them in charging bags as they add some flame dampening.

    As Andrew says, you do have to take some extra precautions as laid out in the rules if you use LiPos but TBH, its sound advice for any handling of batteries anyway. Its why I always include a fuse in my circuitry even if it wasn't required by the rules.

    I recommend Robodojo Sportsman for your first few events as you will likely not take too much damage.
    Gah, I can never get to a RoboDojo for it being on a Sunday. To be fair, Robots Live!, because they don't permit spinners, offers a nice entry into doing the live show circuit with all the atmosphere that comes with it. Dojo is a closed event, only open to Roboteers who pay to get in (the fees are perfectly reasonable). Both have their own pluses and minuses is what I am trying to say. :P
    Team Kaizen - Build Diary for all the robots

    AW: Amai, Ikari, Lafiel, Osu, Ramu
    BW: Shu!, The Honey Badger
    FW: Azriel
    MW: Jibril, Kaizen

  9. #9
    The flipside of LiFe batteries (and the main reason why I use them in my heavier robots) is that if they break, they are less likely to combust than LiPos.
    But that's the fun part!

  10. #10

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