For our final fight of the regular season we took on our friends over at Team Logicom and their robot Captain Shrederator (aka Capt Shed). Shed has been looking good this season. Although their record in modern BattleBots is not the greatest, you can never count them out. Full Body Spinners can have 120 lbs of spinning mass, compared to the 80 lbs of spinning mass robots like Tombstone are limited to - that means this type of robot has the capacity to be 50% more powerful than Tombstone when running in top form. Yowza. Let's hit the jump to see how this fight turned out! Warning, spoilers ahead!
Shrederator is our third horizontal spinner of the season, and as such we are once again running our anti-horizontal configuration. We have our solid front wedge, our long arm, and our heavy Ol' Rusty Hammer - with one notable change. For this fight, we took off nearly all of the decorative parts of the robot. Check out this video for a quick overview of the configuration:
We recognize the term "ablative armor" can be a bit confusing, and we wanted to use this fight report to clarify what on our robot is 'armor' and what is 'decorative'. If you don't care about that, feel free to scroll down to the next image which will be the end of the armor explanation.
Our theme is based around shattered glass/mirrors: the whole robot is a semi-random 3D pattern of triangles that resembles a pile of shattered glass. The front/side/rear 3D surfacing is created with solid machined UHMW PE, while the top faceted shape is actually created with hollow PLA 3D prints. The entire robot is then covered in super shiny triangles.
In this fight we removed all of the shiny triangles, and the 3D printed tops, and ran in what we call 'stealth mode." This is a purely functional arrangement (aside from a few panels with the sponsors and logos).
We wanted to use this configuration to show which parts of the robot are 'cosmetic' and which are actually for 'defense.' This is important, as 'cosmetic' damage counts less than damage to a robots 'defensibility' and we want to be clear which parts are actually contributing to our defense. At 1-1 we didn't want to take any chances that our cosmetic components may cost us a close fight - and if we were all on the same page afterward then we could run the triangles going forward with a clearer understanding of what's what (if we won, that is).
So lets talk a little bit more about these individual components and what they actually do.
I'll break it down by categories based on questions we are often asked:
1. 'Ablative armor' refers to our UHMW panels that slowly tear away to absorb impacts, instead of the more common hard armor (like AR500 steel) which deflects impacts. As long as our armor is thick enough to last 3 minutes, no one can touch our actual frame and we don't need to rely on deflecting. Ablative armor is a tradeoff - we know we'll need to replace our armor but we're also less likely to take huge hits. The UHMW is a primary component of our 'defense.'
2. The shiny triangles are not ablative armor and are not a defensive component. The triangles are actually thin pieces of acrylic, covered in mirror vinyl and attached to the robot via hot glue. The triangles look awesome on tv, but you can break them off with your fingertips - and that's by design. Of course, stuff designed to come off sounds like it's 'ablative'... and it is ablative, but it's not 'armor.' It's our equivalent to paint. The triangles cover up imperfections in the UHMW, and by coming off entirely on impact the robot looks less damaged in a fight than if we applied vinyl directly to the UHMW (as you can see from last year, vinyl applied directly to UHMW crinkles up and looks very bad after being hit). The only functional purpose of the shiny triangles is aesthetics: we just can't achieve that mirror-like effect on our ablative armor with standard paint.
3. The top surfacing is created with hollow PLA 3D prints covered in shiny triangles. These are brittle, and attached with velcro. We just don't have the weight for real armor on the top in that shape. The actual top armor panels flat bolted on 1/2" thick black panels of UHMW (which you see in the Shred fight). When we are in our anti-spinner configurations we are maxed out on weight. If we want to run the 3D printed tops we actually need to ask permission from the opposing team to use the 'decorative weight bonus' which allows us to weigh over 250 lbs . We figured if we made the 3D tops really weak then opposing teams would be more likely to let us run them. In our first 2 fights we actually weighed 252 lbs. The decorative tops are velcro'd on because the rules state decorations need to be able to be removed in under 5 minutes, and so sometimes you'll see a whole chunk go flying. These components could be crushed by hand, provide no defense, and are purely decorative.
At the end of the fight, production was not too happy with us for removing the triangles, since they look so good on TV. Of course, we always want Shatter! to look good on TV, but we don't want to be losing fights because of it (I actually think 'stealth mode' looks pretty cool!). We think after this fight it became clear to everyone which parts of the robot were decorative, and which were the ablative armor - so we're not afraid to run the triangles in the future.
I did feel a bit bad about it though, I know Brian really wanted to knock all the triangles off. Sorry Brian! It would have looked really cool to see the triangles flying everywhere :(
Now, on to the fight itself!
We had a different strategy for this fight after the last fight. Another potential reason for the loss was that the judges considered our missing hammer head to be more damage than their missing belt (note: the hammerhead is definitely not ablative, ha). We always thought trading a hammer head for spinner function would be a winning trade, as long as our hammer arm kept moving. That seems to not be true. After looking at the tape we lose the hammer head in about 1 out of 5-ish direct full speed spinner hits. That's pretty good, but still, we will be more strategic in those types of chances we take. Our intent in this fight was to ram Shred with our UHMW panels until he slowed down, and then hammer him. If he didn't slow down, we would start hammering at 1 minute remaining, or if our armor started to look compromised. Our thought was we would be able to make up for the initial spinner hits with hammer blows - we were confident we'd be able to do damage if we got direct hits.
We were confident in that because we brought back the engineering noodle to do some measuring, and realized we could get direct strikes on their polycarbonate top panels if we were pressed up against the shell, or if we were roughly 6" away.
With our strategy out of the way, it was time to think of a good button press, and I'm happy to say this was my favorite button press I've ever had:
It's a shame they cut Paul's button press from our second fight against Malice, because it was also quite good.
And now, on to the fight.
Shred was sending us, and them, flying, as they are wont to do.
These hits happened a lot. But they weren't doing a lot to us. One thing to note though, is that Brian was driving extremely well. I had turned up the drive power for this fight, and as such the robot was driving a bit twitchier than normal. I kept slightly over-rotating on turns... and Brian caught my corner every time I did. This was a masterclass in driving a full body spinner. It's not easy, but Brian repeatedly caught my corners, and the corners are the weakest point of the robot.
Check out this hit, where Shred gets all the way through the ablative at the corner, and hits the titanium behind it sending sparks (and us) flying:
And then check out this hit where we hit the center of our UHMW and he's unable to get a bite:
Very different! Overall though, the armor was holding up really well and I was feeling good about the strategy (even if the clock counting down was a bit nerve wracking).
You'll note our original strategy was to go for 2 minutes, or until either Shred smoked or our armor was compromised. Well eventually this happened, though it was a bit tough to see on TV:
This hit was actually pretty severe. You can see sparks, which is bad, and means that Shred got through the UHMW and hit the titanium behind it. The UHMW front panel is bolted into some titanium panels, one on either side of the front of the robot, which are in turn bolted to the billet frame. Each titanium panel is bolted on with 8x 3/8" diameter grade 8 bolts. What happened here is Shred hit one of the titanium panels and sheared all 8 bolts. This is why I don't like hard armor! Next year, more plastic...
We actually decided to start firing our hammer immediately after the above hit, which met criteria 3 when we saw our front armor half off. I was actually pretty nervous at this point! Luckily, Shrederator started smoking only about 5 seconds later.
We didn't figure out why Shrederator smoked. Was it too many hits and spinnups? Was it the plastic adding resistance on the hits and causing current spikes in the motors? Was it just those motors' time? Who knows. But once Shrederator was spun down, we were able to get some great hits in.
It's always nice to send parts flying.
But the sparks on this hit coming out of the internals on Shred are just marvelous. That's why you put a spike on your hammer right there! This was also a great moment overall, with Mary and Paul fulfilling our dream of hammering someone with both the robot hammer and the arena hammer at the same time (Mary was controlling the pulverizers this season).
Even after all the big KE that was getting tossed around, and multiple strikes to the internals of Shrederator by our hammer, Shred was still moving at the bell and we went to a judges decision. What a fight!
In the end, we won the unanimous decision, which resulted in the most meme-able moment of the fight, when I took my hair down in celebration.
Again though, what a fight! And thank you to Brian for putting on a tough match for the full 3 minutes. We've been looking forward to this fight for a while, having been to many events with Team Logicom but never fought, and it was a great one that people will remember for a long time.
With the fight analysis out of the way, let's look at the post fight damage on both bots.
On Shred you can see several of the top panels have been shattered (lolz), and some of the internals have been pierced. I'm guessing that hole is what made all those sparks up above. Next time someone says "HaMmErS dOn'T cAuSe DaMaGe" feel free to send them these pics. An interesting thing to note is that the shell was damaged in such a way that some of the pieces of Shred's top which broke off fell inside, and jammed it up. It wouldn't have been able to spin after those hits even if it hadn't been burnt out by that point (though, it probably would have been more difficult to get those hits if it weren't burnt out).
Brian graciously gave us a piece of the top that we had broken off as a trophy to remember the fight:
Shatter! did not escape unscathed however, definitely our toughest match of the season so far.
The first two fights weren't too bad on the front UHMW, but after this fight it was pretty beat up. and we decided the front piece would not be able to be used again. So we signed it and gave it to Brian as he certainly earned it.
The most severe damage was one of the titanium armor plates being ripped off the front. You can see all 8 bolts that sheared are still stuck in the billet (don't worry, we got them out!) The titanium itself was pretty good, just some nicks (although we switched to the spares anyway).
One of the side pieces of UHMW was a bit torn up at the front, and relegated to spare duty.
On the insides we took a look at our slip clutches, and the friction discs were black. You can see me holding up a fresh green one, with the old ones in the background. The hammer looked a bit sluggish, so we replaced these as a precaution to get the hammer back up to 100% for the future.
Overall there was a decent amount of armor damage, but functionally the robot still worked. The weapon was hitting hard and the drive was working 100% at the end of the fight. The armor got torn up, but notably the billet frame was unscathed - and that's what you want to see out of armor.
Keep watching to see if we make the playoffs! The full tournament bracket will be revealed this week! Hopefully we can make it in!
Don't forget to check out more pre-fight, post-fight, and pit content on our new youtube channel:
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