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[DPRG] re:battlebots

Subject: [DPRG] re:battlebots
From: Chuck McManis cmcmanis at mcmanis.com
Date: Sat Oct 18 15:34:01 CDT 2003

At 11:45 AM 10/18/2003, MannyGerm at aol.com wrote:
>speaking of battlebots, ive been designing one for a few years now. its 
>become pretty refined, but it involves complicated pneumatics. im also 
>trying to form a team to help fabricate it. tell me if youre interested.

Our team has spent ~$25,000 over the years on KillerB, as a team we've 
spent much more than that on various other things (transportation, tooling, 
time off work, etc.) That doesn't include the $30,000 in sponsorship type 
"soft money".  We've made it to the "TV rounds" three times but only made 
it past the editing room and into a show once. And no, we're not 
incompetent :-)

You need a very durable mechanism, and a very controllable mechanism to 
compete. That generally involves materials like Titanium and Carbon Fiber 
and fairly sophisticated electronics. A good test to see if you're ready 
for combat robotics is to spend just a few thousand dollars on some concept 
machine, then drive ita s fast as it can go into a concrete barrier, then 
drop it from a height of 10'. Finally, take it back and see how long it 
takes you to repair it into "fighting" shape again.

This exercise will teach you two things:
         1) If you have the stomach for throwing a few thousand dollars
            away for no appreciable return.
         2) If you can build a machine that can take serious abuse and
            still come out fighting.

Just like the fact that not everyone is cut out to build an autonomous 
device, not everyone is cut out to build a combat robot. I have learned a 
lot by doing it, but I wouldn't say that it was the best use of my resources.

--Chuck



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