I was watching a robot battle show with my friends and we thought it would be cool to make our own robot and enter it on the show to compete with other robots. We came up with some designs for the shape of the robot, figured out what the main weapon would be, and thought about what materials would be best to make the robot. We decided that it would be easier to use slot framing from an aluminum extrusion company, rather than trying to find random bits of aluminum to put together a frame, or casting our own.
Getting the aluminum frames for the robot was the easy part. A lot of the difficulty of constructing the robot came in programming it, and getting the main weapon to work without the robot flipping over. We also had to think of a way to get the robot to self right if it was ever flipped on its backside. When a robot is flipped upside down and can’t turn over, the referee counts the robot out after ten seconds and it automatically loses. Many robots have lost because they didn’t have something simple that would either allow them to turn over, or move around while flipped over.
Once we had all of the kinks worked out and figured out the tipping and self righting problem, the robot was ready for combat. We practiced driving the robot around an obstacle course to see how well it could maneuver, and let it attack a practice dummy to see how much damage it could inflict on an opponent. My friends and I were quite pleased with the results, and sent in our entry to be on the show. We were approved to appear and flew with our robot to the location where the show was filmed. For our first time as competitors, we did pretty well. We made it into the top 4 contestants in a tournament of 32 entrants, and only lost because one of the batteries inside the robot started burning.