First off, before anything else, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the RageBridge2 Indiegogo campaign. The campaign officially finished out at $8853, but if you still want to jump on the pre-order list, Indiegogo has a rolling system called “InDemand” where you can still contribute. The first production batch will be slated for those who are on the Indiegogo short list, before they are made publicly available on
Big Chuck’s Robot Warehouse Equals Zero Designs. You’ve seen all the gory RageBridge development and history right here first!
New York Maker Faire 2015
Another New York Maker Faire and another Power Racing Series finale have passed! I decided a little while ago that this would be the last official race for this version of Chibi-Mikuvan. The league’s technology has greatly improved in the past 2 seasons, with many brand new teams trying experimental drives (including a few that used CMV’s concepts to great success). The damage taken at Detroit is also starting to add up, and this time, Chibi-Mikuvan took more damage than ever with the high number of entrants on a very tight track.
When Jim tries to tell you that the race is not BattleBots, he’s lying :p
The story actually begin shortly before Dragon Con, when I decided to bring CMV to Atlanta to participate in the parade. The impacts sustained during the Detroit race had caused some of the 3D-printed body mount pieces to delaminate from the body. No biggie – this was an issue I’ve tackled before. It just manifests itself in the body being flexible. But this time, I actually found out after removing the body that the mounts had stayed on fine, but in fact the entire layer of fiberglass had detached from the foam underneath!
Well that’s not very good. I ended up drilling some small holes into the area and filling the gap with epoxy using a syringe, such that I could force it under pressure into the interstitial space.
After that cured, I re-sanded and cleaned the body mounts as well as the attachment area, then reattached the mounts with a healthy dabble of silica-filled epoxy, making sure to leave a giant fillet around all the corners. The inside corners were cleaned up post-cure with a small wood chisel.
Some of the damage from Detroit was pretty extensive on the outside, too. There was a whole ‘flap’ of foam hanging here, as well as chunks missing. I wasn’t going to fully repair the area, but at least wanted stuff to stop dangling off. The solution was plenty of silica thickened epoxy, made to the consistency of peanut butter. packed into the area. I “vacuum bagged” the whole area with stretchy pallet wrapping to keep all the pieces in place while it cured. Some of the pallet wrap marks are visible on the right.
I also FINALLY built that 3rd battery pack I’ve been talking about since… uh, Detroit 2014. This one was painted Miku Blue to distinguish it from the others in addition to “because I had Miku-colored spraypaint”.
The “convoy of cars with smaller cars on top of them” arrived all around 8 to 9am in New York. Once again, I carried Frozen Chainsaw Massacre and Corpus Krotus in the back.
Because the PRS (and Life Size Mousetrap) now occupied the parking lot I always illegally park in, I wandered a few blocks into Queens to street park.
That would be a 1984-85 Toyota Van (they were all called Van) across the street. Hello there, neighbor.
The New York track was planned to be small at the start (less than half the length of Detroit), and ended up being pushed together even more by the event. While cars could easily go three-wide in Detroit, there were parts of the track where going single-line was practically the only option. This will come into play later….
Some familiar faces from Detroit are here, such as the waffle car and school bus from The Arustocrats.
The Baltimore Burners brought a small fleet, including that train-thing to the right (made from an old lawn tractor) which actually had attachable carriages. Yes, they did try running with the carriages. Once. It worked about as well as something towing three large swivel-castered objects could have worked. Together with the Intimidator (right side, another Arustocrats entry), these two formed the spice dozers of this race by being massive and surprising you right as you exit a turn.
#95, the “Lightning McQueen” car, used an identical setup to CMV for its power system, except it was geared much higher such that it did not require CMV’s famous “hump start”.
Some entirely new entries also showed up. From Team Redshirts, this kart was built with much community-enabled learning and bodied to look like a Star Trek shuttlecraft. Which coincidentally looks like a 1980s Toyota Van. Just sayin’ guys. Chibi-Mikuvan could use a nemesis.
The blue seg-thing was not a race entry.
Another new entry and team, “It’s a Bert” from Hoboken Maker-bar.
I was tasked with tech inspections for this race, since I think I know how go-karts work and stuff… or something. Primarily the focus was on the brand new entries and making sure that nothing too sketchy was happening. For example, some teams needed to strap their batteries down, others needed a bumper-like object added so they don’t run people over all the time. I am glad to report that minimal running-things-over occurred. Just enough to keep things interesting, though.
Step 1: Qualification. Everyone lines up and takes a stab at running a fast lap. How short was the track this time? The top few qualification times were on the order of 12-14 seconds. Ouch.
Chibi-Mikuvan narrowly lost out to Frozen Chainsaw Massacre, for a #2 starting position. FCM was massively revamped electronics-wise this time for increased reliability. On one chainsaw they were reasonable, on two they’re damn near unbeatable.
Next step: Moxie. Everyone dons their silly hats and jump ramps (the rest of that video is interesting too) and shows off to the crowd for popular votes. I decided to exercise my serendipitous Dragon Con Parade discovery. Now there is VIDEO PROOF!
I specifically saved the completely thrashed rear tires from the Parade (and Detroit before that…) for the Moxie Round, where my plan was to do either donuts or burnouts until one popped. And one did, seemingly right on cue. The popped tire was on the drive chain side, so the chain did see some abrasion when it hit the ground. If it were on the other side, I would have kept going….
The two wheeling? Totally unintentional, though it looked planned.
That, everyone, is how you succeed at things. Make it looked planned.
The destroyed tire!
I’m completely unsure what was going on here, but it was just after Moxie round ended…
The MarkForged prints hanging on for dear life this. I reprinted these after Detroit using much more fiber-fill in the middle layers where the axles bolt through.
Once again, they worked flawlessly. CMV possibly had the most 2-wheeled moments in any race this time, and it took direct hits to the wheel from other peoples’ wheels or bumpers multiple times. At the end of NYMF, one of the steering linkages was visibly bent and the center link (Pitman arm) began to slip on the steering column despite tightening the clamping bolts. Therefore, my steering torque was limited during the Endurance race, some times causing the handlebars to end up at wacky angles.
Here I am almost rolling The Intimidator. I categorize its driving experience as “real-Mikuvan-like”.
Unlike most of the PRS vehicles, its steering gear is taken from a golf cart, and so the steering wheel requires multiple turns lock-to-lock compared to the direct linkage drive more commonly seen. Therefore you could, no longer hang onto it as a driver constraint. You therefore had to butt-steer (that’s a technical term) much more intensely, all while whipping the wheel around.
There were so many collisions and “scrape-bys” that I can no longer tally new damage on CMV’s shell. The endurance race, with the whole field out on the track for an hour, was where most damage occurred. There’s at least one ding from a FUBAR car to the right there, with their signature green paint. The paint damage in the other spots up front were all caused by some form of rear end collision.
The back fared significantly worse. It would seem that I both rear-ended and was rear-ended by FUBAR at some point during the endurance race.
Big exposed tube bumpers on everyone else made short work of the foam on CMV when the opportunity arose. Here, someone straight up machined a chunk of the back end off. The flap hanging off to the left actually goes all the way through – this hit was on that corner moving inwards.
If you’re wondering why the shell is sitting completely off CMV, it’s actually very simple. At some point nearer to the end of the endurance race, I came around the back turn only to be greeted by a bunch of stopped cars. Someone then plowed into the back of CMV at full speed, shearing off all four of the body mounts at once. That left the shell hanging for about a lap and a half before I pulled into the pit area.
With no way to attach the body back on in a durable fashion at this point, I shed it and ran the rest of the race shell-less, which with big-tired karts out there was quite, umm, unforgettable. It was hot glued back together only for the return trip, and currently is still bonded by hot glue.
How did it do this time?! CMV’s list of accomplishments this NYMF race were:
- 2nd fastest qualifying time
- Best Moxie Round judging score (from a group of very critical small children… they were brutal overall!)
- 4th place in the short 35-lap sprint race
- Didn’t finish (or start) the longer 45-lap sprint race. I swapped to a different chopped up BEC unit, one with higher current ratings, and it still died at some point during Race 1. This means the logic battery was left to discharge, and it died on me on the starting grid. I had to bail from the race and debug that system, and by the time I figured it out, it was not worth recovery. I ran about 10 laps in that race for fun and more crowd votes.
- 6th in number of overall laps in the endurace race…
- …and factored in with 2nd place in Moxie points (crowd votes), I won 2nd place overall for the weekend. Moxie basically saved my ass this time, exactly as it was intended to do! Now, to be fair, there is some discussion that the last roughly 1/4th of the endurance race I ran without a shell should not have counted – which I agree with, since at that point I was going for broke anyway – so I’d be curious to see the standings recalculated with those laps discounted, or CMV disqualified entirely from the endurance race.
Here I am doing my best K-Pop sensation act.
That is, giving a talk on 2.00gokart and design education using EVs. The venue was a small and quaint tent to a dozen or two spectators, and it was only a 10-minute talk, but CMV attracted a fairly inquisitive crowd by the end. So, I suppose this is my act of positive contribution to society in a weekend otherwise dominated by electromechanical hedonism. Here is the very short presentation that is the farthest I’ve condensed 2.00gokart down to yet.
Besides demos and exhibitions in the next couple of months, Chibi-Mikuvan’s 2014 shell is being retired from battle damage. With it having accomplished everything I set out to do, I will likely retire the frame and running gear as well. Any revamps of Chibi-Mikuvan will probably see the front and rear bumper structures be actually made of steel (even if just painted appropriately, or made from thinner bent plates to approximate the shape, etc.) and the bodywork be given some kind of gravitationally stable mounting arrangement from the bottom. That way, in the worst case, I can tape it all down. And I’d want to come up with a whole new set of bad experiments to try for the next CMV… such as, perhaps, in the fashion of Frozen Chainsaw Massacrew, a different household appliance for drive.
I’m well known for turning “lol you know what would be funny” into actual things. Perhaps all of us who tend to do that also tend to gravitate together, because now the Boston area has its very own small robot arena and hopefully recurring local tournament because of a single “lol hey we should have our own event”. A certain Max Bales (of Battlebots team Euclid) decided to be fancy and move to Boston for college, and dared to ask if there were any local events.
Well there is sure now. My long-time robot compatriot Rob Masek (over at Artisan’s Asylum) decided to mobilize the Asylum troops and turn a welding class into a welding a robot arena class. The date was set for October 11th.
I elected to bring Stance Stance Revolution back from the dead after Dragon Con, since it was but a “Print” confirmation away. This time, it was back in black.
The first version was made using a generic ABS filament that we stuffed into a Dimension print cartridge to test out ways of hacking around the materials counter. The new frame which is largely identical is actually made from Stratasys ABS plastic, which is more rigid and also stronger. It would, you know, at least delay the onset of disintegration. I made no changes to the design besides correcting a few fits and clearances.
After the frame was finished, I decided do brush acetone onto most of the blade tower area to fuse the outer layers together. The layering allows the acetone to seep in deeper and solvent-fuse the outer skin together to increase strength (though not by much). This also incidentally gave the frame a nice glossy finish.
After that was a quick guts transfer.
I say quick, but this took much longer than I thought because SSR is built very “one way” for wiring. I basically had to undo every solder joint and reconnect it in the new frame.
While the bot was taken apart, I straightened out the blades (which were bent at the spokes in my last match with Silent Spring) and inspected the weapon motors. I must say I’m impressed with the construction of the Multistar 4822 motors. What I thought was detached magnets was actually steel arena grunge caught in the airgap.
The magnets were actually fine. In the interest of safety though, I mixed up some silica-reinforced epoxy and filled all the gaps between the magnets and sculpted a fillet all the way around.
Here’s some vanity… I actually had the correct colors of spraypaint to make the discs into Dance Dance Revolution colors, just like the logo.
And the evening before MassDestruction, Stance Stance Revolution is reborn!
Masekdrome “Cochran Combat Corral” was a unique design among arenas in that the walls are canted inward, the overall shape being a truncated pyramid. The vast majority of arenas are just cuboid in shape. This adds a bit of design flair, as well as allowing the walls to brace against one another, being leaned inwards. I maintain that the arena should be named the “Cochran Cybernetic Conference Center” or something though… Cochran is just a name that screams “legit”.
(The name comes from a primary sponsor of the construction of the arena, so it’s not totally random!)
The tournament format was a “Modified Swiss” format with playoffs for the highest ranked bots at the end. Each bot gets four (randomly selected) fights, and the end rankings are simply who has most wins. SSR faced off first against Ginger Baker, a small vertical drum-in-wedge kind of design.
To everybody’s surprise, including mine, it did quite swell, despite being tossed around the arena a few times.
An artifact of SSR’s blade orientation unexpectedly revealed itself here. This is a 45-degree gyro-stand.
It occurred unexpectedly due to a head-on collision with Ginger Baker which decelerated one of the blade suddenly while throwing SSR backwards, and the resulting torque on the opposite blade causing the bot to kick up on side. It’s also unfortunately a dynamically stable position because of how the blades are spinning! This happened twice more during the same match and I began quickly braking the blades to get SSR out of it.
Midway through the match, things started turning in my favor as SSR was able to catch some more edges on Ginger Baker. I was finally able to execute the “one-two” hitting once with the forward blade, then immediately again with the reverse blade.
And that’s how Stance Stance Revolution somehow a match! There is only one known video if it so far, here. As more videos surface, I’ll update this post for a little while.
“Hyperderp”, a Shenanigans production in the fashion of Hypershock with a very nicely machined weapon (and that’s about it :P), is seen here flying away after a hit from RMR (a MITERS bot) the reflection of which can be seen in the arena wall.
So Will Bales shows up to my shop at 1am the day of with a box of parts…
Jamison was the first to ding the BRAND NEW arena polycarbonate walls with Silent Spring.
SSR unfortunately got set up in its 2nd match with Hyperderp.
It held together for a little while!
Hyperderp was able to get a direct hit in on the ABS blade towers, so one half of SSR fell off. The other half, however still worked…
…and that’s how I ran it for the rest of the event! With the rear blade, motor, and towers removed, SSR was a full pound underweight. I made this up by literally taping a random tool found in my toolbox to the back end … specifically, a small 3-jaw gear puller.
Stance Stance Revolution” mode, it was somehow able to make it through two more matches – one win against RMR, and the other against the above pictured robot, simple named “WPI Robot”. It was also largely 3D printed. When will we talk about the problem of 3D-printed-bot-on-3D-printed-bot violence?
And it somehow STILL was able to do a 45 degree gyro kick, though it was no longer stable (would fall down automatically)
Stance Stance Revolution with the carcass of WPI Robot in the background
SSR somehow goes 3/1 in the first half of the tournament. Who do I get paired against first in the playoffs? Silent Spring, of course.
There was all of 1 hit in the match, and SSR pretty much exploded the rest of the way. However, it was still mobile (and the weapon was wiggling a bit), while Silent Spring actually stopped moving. Technically I had won the match, but it was utterly pointless to continue at this point since the bot was broke into another 3 pieces, and near the end, the Vextrollers both smoked. What had happened (post-match investigation) was that a broken ground wire forced all the drive motor current out the logic ground, which caused collective sadness in the electrical system.
I gave the match to Jamo right before he got counted out, and he went on to fight Hyperderp in a brütal final match. SSR also had to forfeit the 3rd place match because… no.
Look very closely at this 3lb rumble. There is in fact a tiny R/C helicopter hovering in the background. Everyone sort of stopped fighting and began to play chase-the-copter.
THIS IS WHY DRONES IN BATTLEBOTS IS STUPID!
– a few people
Here’s a better photo of the copter!
A great thing about this event which I absolutely love – a lot of younger kidlets – whether members’ children or neighbhorhood kids or friends and tagalongs – were part of the audience, and they were ridiculously enthusiastic all the time. That’s what we’re here for.
The crowd began to thin out after the main tournament, but here’s what it looked like when it was pretty empty. Seriously – next event, we need to do some better crowd control, because there were times I could barely see to drive!
At the end of it all, we collected a bunch of broken parts from everybody. This will be unceremoniously shipped off to this Cochran fellow, and I suspect this is exactly what he wants to see. I hope to be like this some day – funding the production and execution of dumb shit that teaches important life lessons. Big Chuck’s Robot Warehouse, Auto Body Center & Foundation.
All in all, a fun local event that maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe we went way too hard at collectively, because after everybody packed up, the stark realization that we were all totally fucked for NERC Franklin Institute set in. SSR, sadly, will not be revived in time for FI, but I do have plans for a 0.050″ titanium welded unibody for its future version, since I now, once again, want to take my own joke too seriously.
I’m only planning on bringing Clocker at this point, with correctly machined hubs, and Colsonbot if I get around to repairing its own post-Dragon Con damage!