It’s that time of year again. The nights are getting longer and the leaves are turning. The crisp fall air makes one’s thoughts turn to BattleBots: pumpkin-skinned BattleBots.
If you’re asking yourself, “could a laser-cut plywood bot, sheathed in a pumpkin, stand up against an all-metal monster”, you haven’t seen BattleBots before. Besides the hilarious footage (see video embedded below), a lot of the build is documented, from making a CAD model of a pumpkin to laser-cutting the frame, to “testing” the bot just minutes before the competition. (That has to be a good idea!)
The footage of the pumpkinbot’s rival, Chomp, is equally cool. We love that the hammer weapon is accelerated so quickly that Chomp actually lifts in the air, just as Newton would have predicted. We’re not sure if the fire weapon is good for anything but show, and facing plywood pumpkinbots, but we love the effect.
The Chief Knock-a-Homer robot is [Psycho Freaky’s] shout out to The Simpsons. The robot design appeared in an episode where [Homer] built [Bart] a fighting robot. Since he’s not robot builder, [Homer] actually climbed inside the shell and dished out sweet vengeance while suffering some severe injuries at the same time.
But [Psycho] has the skills necessary to make this autonomous and keep it looking just like the TV show at the same time. He has a friend with a CNC mill, and used it to cut out case parts from Masonite which were assembled with hot glue. A pair of small servos drive two wheels at the rear of the base, with a ball-bearing universal wheel centered in the front. There are also two downward-pointing sensors which lend it the ability to follow a line as seen in the video after the break.
We love the paint job, it really polishes the look. But [Pyscho] isn’t quite done yet. He plans to add an audio circuit that will give the robot the ability to play back classic sound clips.
The fifth annual RoboGames is happening this weekend in San Francisco. RoboGames is a broad reaching competition designed to bring together specialists in all areas of robotics. Last year’s event had 800 entries in 62 different events. The biggest audience draw is definitely the combat robots shown in the video above, but there are other skill and task based competitions. If you’re in the area, this is definitely worth your time. Check out ROBOT magazine’s coverage from last year to get an idea of what you’ll see (or in our case miss).