Presenting the Overhaul 2 Design and Build Series




…blogging time.

Greetings everyone, cat ear guy Charles here with an exciting new muscle-building, fat-burning workout pl…. wait, wrong commercial script. You know, I’ve just been drowning in fame and commercial endorsements and guest appearances since Battlebots season 1 ended and all. Yeah – don’t even get me started on the Great Hot-Dog-Bounded-Pizza Debacle of 2015 – I’m gonna NEED a workout plan after that one. Conveniently enough, #season2 is just around the corner, and you know what that means! Accelerating the deterioration of my lumbar vertebrae by another 25 years!

Sardonics aside, welcome to the Overhaul 2 build report series. If you’ve been a consistent reader or browser of my website since 2007, you’d know that I really enjoy documenting every part of my project builds as they happen, week by week, or even day by day. If you haven’t been a consistent reeader or browser of my website since 2007…. well, I really enjoy documenting every part of my project builds as they happen, week by week, or even day by day. Hello. I do not enjoy long walks on the beach.

And I really mean it; not only do I highlight the successes of my projects, but also the failures, the mistakes, and the could-have-beens. Nothing is hidden, glossed over, or excused. That’s because over the past roughly 10 years of (wow…), I’ve helped create a culture of project documentation and build blogging amongst my peers, first through the MIT student club MITERS where weird project people like me flourished, then later on as an instructor for the MIT electric-vehicle-building classes of my own design. This website, and by these indirect extensions and influences, has helped formed the core of a small network of  well-documented projects in the electromechanical realm, and have served as resources to many hundreds, if not even more, projects; I’ve only heard of or been told of via e-mail a few hundred of them, anyway.

By its very existence, it shows that making things isn’t all praying and summoning spells – it’s a dirty, involved, some times convoluted and counterintuitive process that you have to go through to make your project work. Nothing is magic and everything is machinable™ .The fact that problems are dissected on this (and others’) websites are what differentiates them from project galleries or “selected works” pages.  This is not a pretty portfolio site, and that’s by intent.

Which is why I’m taking significant time out of the activity of actually building the robot to tell you all about it. The truth is, this runs directly contrary to what the big shots at ABC, who fund the production of BattleBots and give it air time, want me to do. For months now, builders have been under a veil of secrecy which is just now being lifted in controlled ways. They want exclusivity and popcorn-spilling movie trailer structured hype. Well, if I had it my way, I’d have been posting about Season 2 since last November, each step of the bot’s design evolution and each one of the changes. I held off because the process would necessarily have entailed exposing the final robot design prior to the loosening of the leashes, and I didn’t want to fuck over the BattleBots producers.

My sole mission and agenda for #season2 is to make Overhaul 2 the first open-source BattleBot (with a capital B) and to inspire throw head-first onlookers into pursuing careers or hobbies in the engineering & making fields. Sole. I don’t care about huge multinational media conglomerates, and I don’t care about toy deals or book deals… though let’s face it – this build series will be a very well-sized book. I care about telling the world that the glamorous, sparkling mechanical violence they’re watching is not beyond their reach, and that each and every bot in the series was built by real people who all started somewhere, some not very long ago.

Engineering and science in pop culture is constantly presented with a little dog-shit of whipped cream on top and a wave of the hand, and my goal is to throw that right back into the money-greasy line kitchen that made it, in the only way that I know how – by not holding back when I fuck up. Overhaul 2 will be the most involved and complex engineering work I’ve embarked on to date, and you’re going to see every horrifyingly bad weld and questionable choice of hardware. Here’s what “open source” will entail:

  • First, a series of posts which chronicle the design process from the first sketch to the latest complete configuration – spanning a period roughly from last November to just a few weeks ago. Expect the first one soon!
  • Next, I will attempt to update at least weekly – if not more – with photos from the build process and explanations of what is happening. The current date is March 3rd. There are only 5 weeks to “ship date” at this point, so expect some rapid-fire posting.
  • Finally, to the limit that I am permitted to and which will not spoil tournament results and the TV episodes, I will chronicle the leadup to the event and activities at the venue itself, hopefully day by day, with more details after the season finishes airing in separate posts.
  • And lastly, after the dust settles, I will upload all of the design files and documents associated with Overhaul 2. Every CAD model, technical drawing, parts sourcing invoice, and last minute hasty edit will be available.

Like with Chibikart, the intention is not to spawn a hundred clones of the bot (Good luck sneaking that past the entrant selection for Season 3, right!?), but to push the technological bounds and the design space of the sport. There’s a lot of new things I’m planning on trying, and some of it terrifies even me. I’m not afraid of sharing full designs, because no matter how poorly you clone something, in the end, you were forced to build something even if it was missing one critical detail that real life copy-paste didn’t include! That’s basically how 2.00gokart worked. If Overhaul 2 throws a hundred new builders into the wider sport because Dude, I didn’t know you could do that with a Harbor Freight 18V Nose-hair Trimmer w/ Flesh… Flashlight Attachment, then I’ve succeeded on my terms, even if it loses its only match.

Before we begin with the juicy details, here’s the social media promotional kibbles you should Like & Subscribe and back my kickstarter (Oops, that already finished…)

  • First, let’s get the 800lbs of Gorilla Glue in the room (that’s the saying, right?) out of the way. Team JACD, the boy band, as you knew it during Season 1, is splitting into 4 indepdendent bot efforts for #season2 and onwards. Check out the JACD page for the information!
  • My “branch” is Equals Zero Robotics, and I am adopting the Overhaul design. The Facepage will be more “up to the minute” and casual; photos posted to it will likely end up here in a long-form post later on.
  • The unlocking of publicity and creation of E0R has finally forced me to update Equals Zero Designs with information relevant to RageBridge 2! Product stuff will all live on Equals Zero Designs. RageBridge 2 will be available on E0D and Robot Marketplace in the coming weeks!

And that concludes my pre-season angry rant. You can tell that the forced secrecy is a thing which has really been nagging on me, since it really is antithesis to what I am set out to do. I’m genuinely NOT out to spite the network or shit on the presentation. I bite the hand that feeds me for its own damned good; that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

4 thoughts on “Presenting the Overhaul 2 Design and Build Series”

  1. I stumbled across this blog back in 2011 while I was researching for my own electric razer conversion and I’ve been following ever since. I’m very excited for more posts and to finally see what’s in store for season 2!

  2. Is this one of those instances where I can genuinely grow out my beard and say “I was reading etotheipiplusone before it was cool”? I feel like a robohipster.

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