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2006 Nationals
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Robot Rumble 2009
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Picture courtesy of SECR

RCRA was our second competition of 2004. We entered four bots. Andrews 30lber Xhilarating impaX, My 12lber CheepShot 2.0 and a couple of Ants, XcellAnt impaX and Jeep Shot.

Xhilarating impaX

Cheep Shot 2.0

Jeep Shot

XcellAnt impaX

I would have liked to have had our Heavyweight Xtreme impaX but we did not have the time, or more importantly, the money to replace all its motors after the big burnout at last  years RA.

Xhilarating impaX went from 12v to 16.8v to increase power and to hopefully to get away from the glitching problems which we had blamed on running the Vantec at only 12v. Test  driving in the street seemed to show that we had fixed that problem. We also designed a hinged wedge, an interchangeable 1/8" steel front armour plate and added small brackets that will stop us getting balanced on the  side or rear. Looking at the other competitors in the 30lb class it looked like we could do well.

CheepShot 2.0 and Jeep Shot were run as-is and I had done a very quick rebuild of XcellAnt impaX, changing to 60:1  copals and a carbon fibre wedge.

Friday 28th May 2004

Thanks to Mapquest for directions

Half way there!

View from the front of the Hotel.

(Photo John Kruse)

We set off from Cary on the Friday morning at about 9.30am. It was the last day of school but I thought that since the kids had both had good years with lots  of A's they could afford to miss it.

Mapquest said it would take about 10 hours to get there and they are about right. We stopped in the Smoky Mountains for a Picnic lunch and after driving through a lot  of North Carolina, Tennessee, a little bit of Georgia and a good chunk of Alabama we arrived in Huntsville.  Its a long way....

The Extended Stay America gave us a couple of rooms rather than the one room with two doubles which was great and once we had dropped off our bags we headed out for Dinner. At Chilies we found out that Alabama is on Central time and that in fact we were an hour earlier than we thought!. After Dinner, Andrew and I headed for the Venue to book in and get the bots through safety.

We were allocated Table 48 in the Pits, in-between Team V and Team Jav Man. All the bots passed through safety without problems with all of them right on the weight  limit!

We had a test run of Xhilarating impaX in the arena and Andrew put on a show of masterful driving with no sign of Glitching.

Saturday 29th May 2004

Our pit table rapidly assumed the usual messy appearance as we topped up the charge on all our batteries.

(Photo John Kruse)

Mini V is the bot at the back.

(Photo John Kruse)

Totally Manipulative. (Photo Robert Woodhead)

A view of the rest of the pits on the way down to the arena.

(Photo Rick Nickel)

The new venue and arena proved excellent. It was nice being indoors in comparative comfort. The Floor had some uneven joints and the loose railroad ties would  mean some problems for others later. We decided not to use our wedge.

(Photo Rick Nickel)

I don't know how many tickets they sold but the bleachers were well filled most of the time.

(Photo Rick Nickel)

Our first fight was CheepShot II against Mini V.  Mini V is a small V shaped wedge bot with a Harbor freight and Mtroniks drive train very similar to ours  but only using one HF based battery pack rather than the two we had.  In the fight we had superior pushing power and our wedge got under his more easily so it was no surprise when we got the judges  decision 31-14. A good start with a pog in our first fight!

Andrews first fight was Xhilarating impaX versus Totally Manipulative. This was Team Mad Overlords linear actuator powered flipbot. Fortunately for us the  actuator was too slow to take advantage of the couple of chances he had. The bots chased each other around the arena for a while before Andrew got the upper hand and got in a good slam against the wall and a  few more good hits for a 30-15 win. Two Fights, Two Pogs, but the bad news was that that the Glitching was back......

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CheepShot IIs next fight against Pushy thing of Doom was a less convincing rerun of its first fight and resulted in a narrow win 24 to 21.

(Photo www.builderdb.com  )

Xhilarating impaXs next fight was against Bipolar. It is a full shell spinner with the shell made out of a thick Aluminium Pan with an extra band welded around  the bottom edge. The fight started with Andrew missing on his box rush but then making a couple of hits before the bots spun apart allowing Bipolar to fully spinup. Our next hit spun them apart again but  jammed his dish. Andrew then proceeded to push him around for the rest of the bout until with about ten seconds to go Xhilarating impaX just stopped moving. Bipolar by this time also was not moving and the  the fight was counted down for the full three minutes. Andrew won by a convincing 36 to 9.

The pictures show the dent in Bipolars dish and the curved cuts in the front of our armour.

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The Ant/Beetle arena.

(Photo Rick Nickel)

The Ant and Beetle was held during lunch time on the Saturday. Our bots did not do well going quickly out of the Comp. 0 and 2 in both cases. in retrospect I would not  have bothered with them as running the 12 and 30lber was quite enough stress already and I could have used the break at lunch more usefully. One advantage of going out was that we didn't need to get to the  arena at 8am the next morning for the finals!

The day had gone well with both CheepShot II and Xhilarating impaX going unbeaten and us getting four pogs. The Glitching on the 30lber was worrying but if it didn't get worse it  looked like we would have a good chance of getting into the finals.

A good meal at Dennys was followed by a well earned nights sleep.

Sunday 30th May, 2004

My first fight on the Sunday was against Test Bot. This was powered by four drill motors and had a large wide wedge. I was out powered, out wedged and simply out driven  to lose 35 to 10.

(Photo www.builderdb.com   )

Andrews success with Xhilarating impaX meant we were very likely to need a second 16.8v battery pack. I disassembled one of my 12v packs (next time I'll discharge it  properly and use an insulated knife as I shorted some cells and burnt my finger!) and with the help of Team V rebuilt it as a four cell "Ghettopack".

We drew P.I.T.R. in the next round against Xhilarating impaX. We were on the next pit table to team Jav Man and had been on good terms before this fight. The fight started with both  bots getting hits in but neither getting any real advantage but then P.I.T.R. got stuck on a seam in the floor at the far end of the arena. Andrew knocked him free after urging by the crowd and the commentator but then  promptly he got stuck again. This time I told Andrew to leave him stuck, thinking that he would have got one "free" push off by the judges. The Officials told P.I.T.R.s driver that he only got a free push free from the  railroad ties not the floor giving us a win by knock out. He then lost all control of himself, verbally abusing the officials and once back in the pits he started on us! This reduced my son to tears  and I had to  send my son away to play with his friends from other teams. With a parting remark about how "lame" our 30lber was P.I.T.Rs owner then packed up his stuff and left the competition.  Ironically he probably would have  gone on to win if he could have fixed his clearance problems..........

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CheepShots last fight was against Voices II, a neat little bot with a unique flipper bar. The loss 13 to 32 to him actually flatters CheepShot somewhat! I was again out  driven by a better bot.

(Photo www.builderdb.com   )

(Photo John Kruse)


To get to the finals we had to beat Totally Offensive. This bot epitomises the "All or Nothing" approach to bot building as it was as its name implies, all  weapon with only minimal drive and armour. This was the kind of Bot that Xhilarating impaX was built to fight so we were confident that we could beat him.

The fight went almost to plan. The box rush missed  (again!) but Andrew aggressively attacked  and the resulting hit gashed us but knocked one wheel and gearbox loose on Totally Offensive. Andrew tried to finish him off and the next hit knocked it off  completely and both bots spun off in opposite directions and I thought we had won but it turned out the RX in Xhilarating impaX had been broken as well so we couldn't move at all whilst our opponent could  still move crabwise. We were now in the losers brackets........

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I didn't know what was broken when we got the bot back to the pits so I swapped out everything I could think off to try to get it to work. Swapping the RX out for the one from  CheepShot 2.0 worked, unfortunately I also swapped the RX battery for one I had brought along and hadn't put on charge. Turns out it had enough power to show the bot working in the pits but not much more. I could, and  should have, asked for a postponement, to make sure of everything but since it seemed to be working when we were called to fight Sea Serpent for our second chances to get in the final we went into the ring full of hope.

(Photo John Kruse)


Andrew was pushing and getting under Sea Serpent without much trouble despite severe Glitching and was well on to the way to a win when again the bot stopped dead and  refused to move giving the win to Sea Serpent. It turned out the RX battery was flat. Sea Serpent had apparently on the verge of tapping out as they had lost all control after their gyro failed.

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With all the excitement with the 30lber I had missed the 12lb Rumble but we had entered the 30lb Rumble. After swapping out the flat RX battery and fitting our spare battery pack we  were ready.

The bots completing in the Rumble were Spazz Monkey, Totally Manipulative (sans lifting arm, removed earlier by ShredHead) and ShredHead itself acting as a semi mobile arena hazard.

Andrew made short  work of Spazz monkey (ShredHead took out one of his wheels) and Totally Manipulative and stacked them up in one corner and them went after ShredHead taking one good hit which stopped his spinner (Brian says he switched  it off since he couldn't move) and we pushed him into a corner to win.

ShredHead caught this one hit on the corner and you can see that once Brian gets it sorted properly its going to be a tough opponent.....

We stayed for the prize giving then set off for Chattanooga so as to get a couple of hours start on the run home. We got there, ate at the Waffle House next to the La Quinta we were  staying at and got to bed.

There is no doubt that RCRA was our best comp. to date with six pogs, two for CheepShot II, and Four for Xhilarating impaX.

We had come so close to winning a prize and a place in the  Nationals. CheepShot II had a fifth place and Xhilarating impaX a third place. CheepShot needs replacing as its not really competitive as-is and Xhilarating needs some repair work but it shows signs of being capable of  much more. We plan to get an RS80D to replace the Vantec and some S7 or titanium armour should protect those vulnerable corners. I have designs well in hand for a new CheepShot 3.0 but more of that later.........

 Next Competition will probably be RA in September.