Link & Dr. Inferno place at BotBash 99
Link & Dr. Inferno compete at BattleBots Long Beach 99
fights at BattleBots Las Vegas 99
design of Towering Inferno [Armed Forces]
I got him up & running on Sunday the 7th. Its power is truly
stunning. That slugging stick was flipping and flapping and whizzing
around like mad. The drive motors are unbelievably torquey and
LOUD. Slugger's a bit tricky to control, but any enemy robot in
its vicinity is going to be in serious pain. All that remains
is a few final touches and some chain tensioners. Recent modifications
included mounting of the batteries (encased in molded expanding
foam for impact absorption) and carbon fiber/kevlar armor.
finally got a page up for Tesseract,
my second LEGO Mindstorms RoboGladiator. It features 4 heavy,
spinning discs with pointy metal hooks (they're official LEGO
pointy metal hooks).
Work on Slugger
has been coming along well. I've put in some time nearly every
day for the last few weeks: installed the radio, finished wiring
the motors/speed controllers/batteries, put in new sprockets &
chains for higher speed, cut & fitted some fancy carbon
fiber/kevlar armor panels, sharpened up the slugging stick,
made a foam-filled shock-absorbing battery box, and put the robot
on a mild diet.
will compete in the BattleBots
event on Nov. 17, at the All-American
Sport Park in Vegas. This place has not only extensive
go-kart facilities & a huge NAMCO arcade & other such
fun, but it also has Slugger Stadium, a huge batting cage facility.
Perhaps Slugger (the robot) can go hit some fastballs between
matches...The robot event will be televised on pay-per-view on
Jan 29, 2000.
British on-line news source, the Independent
News, ran a short
story on the Infernolab on 10.11.1999. The author says
my robots owe "as much to Black and Decker as to Robocop."
German on-line news source, Stern
Online, came across these Infernolab web pages and wrote
story on my robots on 10.22.1999. The story's in German,
but I ran it through an on-line translator web page and the broken-English
(and hilarious) text is below. A better translation from a real
live German is below, too.
Plattmacher Out of Steel
He who enters, that would have would be all hope gone - that
a suitable motto for "Infernolab", a Brutstätte genuine infernalischer
robot. Service at the person and slave functioning in a production
hall of hot the dim occupation outlooks that usually expect a
poor industry robot. At the same time sticks much more in such
a steel Kerlchen. To its real determination, the robot finds unleashed
first as battle machine. At least the engineer who operates "Infernolab"
believes that. "Rampage", "offered wants Eat Itself" and "Dr.
pandemonium" of hot the creature of this Dr. Strangelove and such
creations become on the Site of its master celebrated.
In the moment, the developer must yet 5000 dollars zusammensparen
in order to release its new prototype, the einhundert kilo giant
"Armed Forces", into the battle arenas. A rich Sponsor is sought
therefore urgently, therewith the fellow with solid, doubles equipped
will can displayed cutting edge burners. Perhaps then the Namenszug
of the noble donor may decorate the hartmetallbestückten circle
saws, with which "Armed Forces" thought take apart its adversaries.
Theoretical establishment for this hobby delivers find that "Society
Of Robotic Combat", there enthused Newcomer connection to like-minded.
One reaches offer" possesses the Mecca of warlike sheet metal-turtle
on "Robot Wars" and also "Battle its attraction - at least for
friends of bursting metal."
Steamroller Made of Steel
Abandon hope all ye who enter--this would be an appropriate motto
for "Infernolab", a breeding place of truly infernal robots. Serving
people and slave work in production halls are the sad prospects
of occupation that an industry robot usually faces. However, there
is so much more in such a thing made of steel. The robot finds
his true destiny only as an unleashed battle machine. At least
this is what the engineer operating "Infernolab" thinks. "Bot
Will Eat Itself" and "Dr. Inferno" are the names of Dr. Strangelove's
creatures, and such creations are celebrated on the site of their
For the time being, the developer still has to save up $5,000
in order to release his new prototype, the 200lb-giant "Armed
Forces", into the battle arena. Thus, a rich sponsor is needed
so that the robot with solid, double cutting saws can be equipped.
It might be that the name of the noble donor will decorate the
heavy metal saws "Armed Forces" will use to take apart his opponents.
Theoretical reasoning for this hobby is given by the Society
Of Robotic Combat, where enthusiastic newcomers find others to
share their interest. The Mecca of metal turtle warriors is reached
with "Robot Wars", but also "Battle Bots" has some attraction,
at least for fans of bursting metal.
I've been on a bit of a robot hiatus, hence the long time between
Here's what's cooking now:
will be holding a heavyweight (and superheavyweight) event in
Las Vegas on Nov. 17, which will be on pay-per-view on Jan 29,
2000. I have taken on the job of finishing one of Christian
Carlberg's heavyweight robots that he didn't complete
in time for BattleBots in August in Long Beach. Check out Slugger.
I think he takes the prize for the biggest wheel and biggest slugging
stick in a combat robot so far.
been refining and upgrading my current fighting LEGO robot, Tesseract.
A page will be up very very soon. He had a run-in with Peter Abrahamson's
recently, and I've figured out Tesseract's weaknesses and addressed
them. Mifune won the E3
LEGO Mindstorms RoboGladiators contest in May 99, so I
don't feel too badly that Tesseract got whooped. As soon as I
figure out a little programming issue, Tesseract will be ready
is still on the way. I've been doing a little more design and
part selection, but I'm still being held back by a serious lack
of fundage. If you're interested in getting in on sponsoring
this robot, please let me know. I've also resurrected an idea
from a few years back and it would made an awesome heavyweight
or superheavyweight. I call it The Reamer. It will (theoretically)
grab enemy robots from beneath and hold them up in the air while
tearing holes in their underbellies, or it will launch them airborne.
picked up a new used Tomy Omnibot on eBay--it will serve as the
chassis for Dr. Inferno
Jr. The doctor will be a 55lb robot this time around,
with a much more powerful drivetrain, as well as fun and creative
new weapon uses for cordless power tools.
have a pictorial report of the August Long Beach BattleBots event,
as soon as I get some pictures from my brother. Those, combined
with the impromptu BattleBots gallery pictures I've already posted,
will give me enough material for a decent page.
I just got back from Burning
Man. Wow. Was it ever weird. I had the pleasure of seeing
put on an awesome robotic spectacle, with fire and large, treaded
and walking machines causing serious mayhem. Our camp's BRAV (Black
Rock Assault Vehicle) was one of the neater Mad Max-style art
cars cruising about the playa.
was tagging along with the AMF camp, as a friend of a friend.
I hauled out Dr. Inferno
and the Missing Link
and put them on display at the front of the camp for the amusement
of passers-by. The terrain was much too rough for Dr. Inferno's
low-slung drivetrain, but the Missing Link's new high-riding tires
let it handle the Black Rock desert with ease. Missing Link served
as a sort of opening show for AMF's performances--I'd fire up
the chainsaw or circular saw and start beating on flaming oil
drums and other chunks of metal and plastic. Crowds instantly
converged--they ate up any noisy destructive activities. Near
the end of Saturday night's AMF performance, one of the AMF guys
tossed a TV outside of the fenced-off performance area, amongst
the attending crowd, which was my cue to fire up the Missing Link's
circular saw and kill the TV. The crowd parted like the Red Sea
and instantly formed a large circle. I went at the TV for a little
while, then one of the AMF guys dumped some gas on it and torched
it--I gave it a few more whacks with Missing Link's long 3' tail
then zipped off when they doused the fire.
took me about an hour to blow out and wipe off all the dust that
got in my robots. Yuck.
word on the street (meaning, it's not official yet) is that BattleBots
will be putting on a November heavyweight-only competition in
Las Vegas, NV. This event is sure to get some heavy media attention.
So, I'm trying to step up the pace on the construction and sponsorship
of Armed Forces.
I've got a few leads on companies and individuals who are interested
in helping me get Armed Forces together, but I definitely need
more help to get it all together. Right now, what I need most
is money--here's a rough breakdown of the main components I need
to purchase to complete Armed Forces:
brings me to a rough grand total of almost $5000. You can
see why this will be a tough project to put together on a graduate
student's salary! I refuse to cut corners--if I don't finish in
time for the November BattleBots, I'll bring Armed Forces to the
next event, which should be only a few months later. Please look
at my sponsor page to see how
you can help and how I can help you. Thanks.
Husqvarna Power Cutters: $750 each
Husqvarna Vari-Cut 14" blades: $300 each
Futaba PCM radio receivers: $100-$180 each
Speed controllers: $500-$1000 each
batteries (including spares) and chargers: $500
mechanical and electronic components: $300
Thanks to Laurie Seymour & my brother Byron, I have several
pics of Dr.
Link, and Tesseract
paired up with Phil Putman's Air Burial, an amazingly strong
one-shot catapult. In our first match, our opponent didn't show.
Our second match pitted us against the featherweight champion,
Ziggo, a wok-on-wheels that spun at tremendous speeds. Dr. Inferno
went in bravely, took a few hits, the shattered into bits when
Ziggo's blades connected and sent pieces of him all around the
arena. Air Burial took one hit that bent its frame. That evening,
I replaced Dr. Inferno's mangled speed controller and duct taped
his pathetic plastic body back together for day two.
had trouble straightening out Air Burial's frame and the match
organizers also goofed up on our second matchup, so we decided
to focus our efforts on the rumble. Since Phil had a plane to
catch, my brother took over Air Burial's controls. Since I couldn't
run both Dr. Inferno and the Missing Link simultaneously, I borrowed
a radio from Christian
Carlberg and let my buddy John pilot Dr. Inferno. We set
him down in the very center of the arena. John's account of the
rumble: "I moved him forward for a second, then back for
a second, then he was like a billiard ball, bouncing back and
forth off of all the other robots. Each time I looked away for
a second, he had been shoved 20 feet in one direction or another.
Inferno is back up & running, albeit looking pretty pathetic.
His aluminum hinged skirts are bent and contorted and his plastic
body is attached loosely to the base so he twitches and wriggles
as he scoots about. He'll be providing comic relief entertainment
Missing Link fared
a bit better at BattleBots. In the first match, I fitted him with
the new heavy carbide chip circular saw and the whacking stick
tail. I was up against a multibot of Spike
and the Wedge
of Doom. I managed to get lined up on Spike and dig the
circular saw well into his body, knocking out his speed controller
from the force of the impact and chewing up many teeth on his
drive gear. The Wedge had a spontaneous breakdown and lost a wheel,
so the Missing Link prevailed.
next match, against a short wedge called The Crusher, didn't go
as well. With the huge gyroscopic forces inherent in turning a
platform holding a heavy blade spinning in a vertical plane, Missing
Link was not very maneuverable. The Crusher made pass after pass
on the Missing Link, incurring scars and cuts and chunks out of
its armor every time. The Missing Link was unharmed. After a while,
Missing Link's gas engine stalled (no time to warm up the engines
before matches...) so I took to using the whacking stick. Unfortunately,
my battery drained before the time was up because the robot was
fighting that heavy spinning blade. Missing Link lost be default.
third match was against Endotherm, a small box with spikes on
it. Because of the previous match's outcome, I swapped over to
the chainsaw and scooper. The chainsaw derailed on the first hit
(funny, it never happened when I abused it during testing...)
so it degraded to a shoving match. A little ways into the match,
Missing Link's drive battery managed to unplug itself. Another
the chainsaw was ineffective and the circular saw sucked too much
battery current, I ditched some armor and zip-tied on a 2nd battery
pack and went back to the circular saw weapon for the rumble.
Missing Link's saw tore into one or two robots in a pileup near
the beginning then stalled. I drove around looking for opponents
to scoop. In one mad dash across the arena, Missing Link bounced
over the low-slung Mouser Catbot 2001 and bounced over upside-down.
A third self-inflicted loss for the Missing Link. Darn.
I must decide if I should repair the robots and re-fight them,
upgrade them (Missing Link could go to the 100lb class easily),
or drop them altogether and start on Armed
Dr. Inferno is one
of the favored robots to win in his weight class at BattleBots,
according to reporting at ZDNet!
ZDTV will also be broadcasting all of BattleBots live
(August 14-15), and they're giving away tickets.
Inferno has undergone some rewiring and is a little more stable
and sturdy now. I'm going to add a few little bump stops for his
hinged skirts to ensure that they don't fold up underneath him,
getting him stuck.
Missing Link has
a new tire tread scheme. I've replaced the vacuum cleaner drive
belts with an 8" tire that I've trimmed and screwed down
to the spherical wheels. The electronics box, which failed in
both of the Missing Link's combat matches at Bot
Bash, has been beefed up an enormous amount. It won't
the web page front, there are some new pics in the Dr. Inferno
and Composite Materials
also in the midst of creating my 2nd LEGO
combat robot. No pictures yet, but it goes by the name of Tesseract.
It sports a big fat high-energy heavy spinning weapon driven by
16 motors. For an idea of what's on it, imagine these metal
hooks attached to these saucers,
all spinning around mighty fast.
Dr. Inferno and the
Missing Link need a
few repairs and upgrades for BattleBots.
Both robots held up quite nicely at Bot
Bash, but there are a few weaknesses that need addressing:
Inferno's weapons system wiring went up in smoke. Last night, I
took him all apart for a cleaning and a going-over and found a collection
of melted wires from the radio switches that control his power drills.
I stripped off the destroyed wiring and briefly reconnected all
the wires and was pleased to find that everything works great. There
was no damage to the drill batteries, drill motors, or radio switches.
I'll perform the rewiring this weekend. I'm also contemplating making
small bump stops on his hinged skirt so that they can't fold underneath
his body, thereby pinning himself.
Missing Link had a little play in his drivetrain, so I stripped
him down to his basic parts, tightened everything down (Remember
that I've been using and abusing him for about a year now, so a
little loosening is not surprising at this point.). I also gave
him a good cleaning. I took his rusted spherical wheels to the wire
wheel and they're now shiny and happy. I removed and disassembled
the Aluminum electronics box, which was in pretty sorry shape, cleaned
it up, and had it welded (It was held together by a few teeny pop
rivets before.). I will add and weld some reinforcements to it and
make a few small modifications to that box and the carbon fiber
armor around it so that it will never fail. All of these fixes should
take only a week or 2, and I have 4 weeks until BattleBots.
Dr. Inferno and the
Missing Link both took
3rd place in their respective weight classes at BotBash
99! Dr. Inferno caught eye of the press--the Arizona
Republic newspaper ran this
short pictorial in the Sunday, July 11 edition.
Inferno got hung up on the obstacle course, posting a very slow
time, but he pulled off the win in the sumo contest. In the very
final bout between Dr. Inferno and Wrath, Doctor Inferno was fortunate
to get his skirt caught under the duct tape defining the sumo ring,
preventing him from being shoved out. In the combat portion, I mis-adjusted
his hole saw weapon, leading to a spectacular shorting out of some
wiring--his head caught fire and belched smoke for half a minute
or so. He was quickly repaired and went on to fight two more battles,
albeit with only one drill operating. The judges, charmed by Dr.
Inferno's cuteness, bestowed upon him the Most Innovative
Missing Link fared better in the obstacle course, coming in 3rd
place (out of 9 heavyweight robots). Unfortunately, for the sumo
matches, my 1st fight was against my best friend Christian
Carlberg's Toe-Crusher. He beat Missing Link on the 1st
of 3 matches, but the Missing Link came back with a sneaky win on
the 2nd shoving match--his new "ugly stick" attachment
was so long that, even though Toe-Crusher pushed Missing Link out
of the ring, Toe-Crusher left the ring 1st, giving Missing Link
the win. The rest of the sumo went fairly easily for the Missing
Link--he made it through entirely undefeated with his brand new
ugly stick and scooper attachments, even though this configuration
brought him in at about 10lb under the weight limit. Finally, the
combat portion of the event was less spectacular for the Missing
Link. In his first bout, against Terabite,
his abrasive gas-powered circular saw exploded in a flurry of fibers
and chunks, and then his electronics box broke open, allowing the
radio receiver battery to fall out onto the ground. In his second
fight, against Carnage, the Missing Link's main drive battery suffered
an internal failure after being clocked mightily by Carnage's axe.
Using what I learn from combat at the BotBash,
Dr. Inferno and the Missing Link will be in prime form for BattleBots.
Dr. Inferno (paired
up with Phil Putman's Air Burial) and the Missing
Link are both registered in the kilobot (25kg=55lb) weight
class at BattleBots, which takes place on the weekend of 7/14-7/16
in Long Beach, CA. BattleBots features robots up to 200lb (300lb
if it's a walking robot!) in a trap-laden arena.
folks putting on this event are past combat robot competitors
(the men behind La Machine), have a passion for the sport, and
have the financial and creative resources behind them to guarantee
that the event will be outstanding.
Only 3 days and then Dr. Inferno and the Missing Link are on the
way to their first fight, at the BotBash
in Scottsdale, Arizona. BotBash is a smaller event, with robots
weighing no more than 23kg (51lb), a feature of the annual Hexacon
gaming convention. Dr. Inferno
is in the 12.5kg weight class, while the Missing
Link is in the 23kg class. With over a year of testing
and refinements under their belts, these two robots will put up
a great fight.
the Missing Link has two and a half brand new weapons to
add to its arsenal, for a total of six. I can bolt any pair of
these weapons onto the drivetrain, effectively tailoring the robot
to have the optimal weaponry for each of its fights. I'm keeping
these items under wraps so they'll be a surprise--the other four
weapons have been well-publicized for over a year now, so I want
to keep at least something mysterious! I'll just tell you
now that the two new weapons are extremely low-tech.
extra half weapon I mention above is actually a new component
for one of the pre-existing weapons. I found a new, shall we say,
"attachment" that looks more at home on a 200lb robot
than on the medium-sized 50lb Missing Link. Unfortunately, this
new item is so very nasty that it's not allowed under the BotBash
safety rules and it would probably put the Missing Link overweight,
anyway. It will be unveiled at BattleBots.
The other robots will be frightened.