Dreadfully Wicked Robots

Combat Robotics Team

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Moto '15 Event Report

Posted by Jeremy Campbell on February 23, 2015 at 9:20 AM

Another excellent Motorama Robot Conflict event hosted by NERC is over. As always, this event is one of the biggest and best in the nation! 120 robots from 150 grams thru 30lbs competed at the Harrisburg, PA Farm Show Complex in an intense 3-day tournament. We competed with 150g Iitsy Bitsy Spider and 3lb Traumatizer.

Sean and I arrived early Friday morning at the PA Farm Show. Unfortunately my parents did not attend this year because my mother Trish was very sick the week leading up to Motorama - and Motorama is not the place you want to be when you're not feeling well! After getting our pit area set up, Sean and I turned our attention to helping the NERC guys get the arenas unloaded from their trailers and assembled. I must say, I have NEVER seen so many people jump in and help out at an event. Its great to be a part of a group of people who are willing to volunteer themselves in any way to help each other out. Within a few hours, the arenas were unloaded, assembled, and it was time for some robot fighting!

Itsy Bitsy Spider:

IBS drew the defending champion Demise in it's first match. This was a one-hit KO for Demise, as IBS was tossed upside down in a position where I could not show controlled translational movement. Demise had the option to come in for the attack and possibly re-invert IBS, but instead took the option of the TKO.

IBS's 2nd fight (after some modifications so I could drive upside down with control) was against the little vicious drum of Humming Bird. Humming Bird featured some strong magnets that held the robot to the floor (which is steel in Motorama's fairy/ant arena). Consequently, IBS was unable to get a single hit on Humming Bird because I could not feed him up our wedge and into the blade. Humming Bird took the match on an easy judge's decision.

IBS was eliminated at 0-2 with a one hit TKO from the defending champ and a frustrating match against a very well engineered drumbot. It was a disappointing performance, but we had some fun, and learned some things that we will remember for future designs and strategy!


Traumatizer was the first fight of the day on Saturday to kick off Motorama's big-bot competition. There were something like 40 beetleweights in the bracket and Traumatizer drew a new vertical spinner called Project Darkness. PD is a very well machined and well-driven robot that landed a shot to Traumatizer's blade pulley early in the fight, causing the weapon belt to slip off the pulley and render Traumatizer's blade useless the rest of the match. A few shots by PD caused some more damage to Traumatizer, but I was not going to tap out! The match went a full 3 minutes to the judges, and an easy decision was given to PD.

Traumatizer fell to the losers bracket where it would face it's long-time nemesis Weta, the inspiration of kitbots like Mondo Bizarro, Play N Krazy, and Devastating Moment (all of which have fought Traumatizer at least once)! This fight with Weta was really fun! It was truly a momentum game. Traumatizer had the early advantage, tossing and flipping Weta a few times and getting some hits to the side of Weta's frame. About halfway thru the fight, Weta and Traumatizer seemed to go into a "feeling out mode" where both robots spent what seemed like an entire minute without contact, as we both strategically tried to line the other one up for a big hit. Near the end of the fight, Weta got that magic shot which sheared off Traumatizer's right side wheel. Traumatizer's blade belt was also cut, and an easy judges decision went to Weta.

So we finished 0-4... didn't win a single fight... but had an AWESOME time at Motorama 2015. That's what I love about this sport - win or lose, you can come to an event and have a great time with great people. As always it was great to hang out with these cool people that I consider some of my best friends, even though we only see each other a few times per year.

Big thanks to the entire NERC crew, the Motorama folks for having us, and all the competitors for being the cool people you are. I really enjoyed being able to sit up in the stands and watch some of the 12lb and 30lb competition this year. From the crowd perspective, we REALLY put on a great show. It also gave me the itch to build something bigger. Perhaps we will skip the fairys/ants next year and focus on being competive in the big box :)


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