Robot Wars ’15: Low Action, High Tension, Damn Emotional

Robot Wars ’15: Low Action, High Tension, Damn Emotional

20150208-IMG_7023

The Robot Wars Battles

Despite the impressive assortment of weapons and armour displayed this year, action was sparse. Battles were short, with most robots getting immobilised nearly immediately. A case in point is one of the first battles, Drobilka versus 3310. They faced off, charged each other…then 3310 flipped Drobilka and that was that.

Robot Wars 2015-16
Both Darth Invader’s body and weapon badly twisted after taking Lucky Devil on.

It wasn’t till the first “Featherweight” fight that we saw some real action. Most expected the battle between Darth Invader and Lucky Devil to be a short one, with Darth Invader obliterating Lucky Devil’s seemingly fragile polycarbonate shell. It was indeed a short battle, but damned impressive. The two charged each other, both weapons spinning. Their epic collision disabled Lucky Devil, but also badly dented not only Darth Invader’s machined aluminium frame, but also its top-mounted spinner! Darth Invader was crowned the winner, despite suffering greater damage than Lucky Devil.

After the battle it turned out that the force of the impact had jostled its power switch,
causing it to shut down. John Fiott jokingly remarked it seemed to know it was in for a world of pain, and shut itself down before the battle got too bad.

20150208-IMG_6940
Judges declare Darth Invader the winner after round two of the 5KG fights ends with both being immobilised.

Robot Wars 2015 Standings

In the 17Kg category, the standings were:

  • First Place: 3310
  • Second Place: Drobilka
  • Third Place: Team Ryno

And of course, in the 5Kg category the standings were:

  • First Place: Darth Invader
  • Second Place: Lucky Devil

Mechanical Pain and Electronic Gremlins

This year’s Robot Wars contestants definitely faced more issues than last year’s Robot Wars. From before the battles began Darth Invader were having some issues configuring a new radio control unit, and Dicer was having problems with their drive train.

While Darth Invader worked fine afterwards, Dicer’s drive train issues haunted it for the rest of the battles. The fact that their wheels were exposed didn’t help.

20150208-IMG_7022
Drobilka’s disastrous first flip.

During the battles electronic gremlins haunted Drobilka. In its first encounter with 3310 a single flip knocked it out, making it one of the shortest battles of the day. After the match the team told me they were having issues with their radio control, issues that haunted them right up till the end.

One of Drobilka’s last battles highlighted a sense of camaraderie I sensed both outside the arena and backstage as teams carried out repairs. Before their final with 3310, the robot that had knocked them out with one blow earlier, another of the teams lent Drobilka a spare remote control to give them a fighting chance.

Robot Wars 2015-31
A worn gear from PX-1.

PX-1 was not so lucky. In one of its first fights a motor came loose. The result? A worn gear that rendered the robot immobile. The worn gear cost them the round, and the robot never really recovered after that.

Some Last Words

The greatest impression this year’s Robot Wars made on was the creativity of the participants. The idea behind PX-1 was utterly fantastic, and Team Ryno’s double-hull design meant that throughout the event no other robot’s weapons reached the sensitive internals.

Similarly, the event was an impressive showcase of resourcefulness. Starting off from the construction of the robots, Team Ryno’s use of materials they already had on hand gave them a robot costing only 60% of the average.  The Darth Invader’s slick machined-aluminium hull was also a prime exam of applying previous experience to the task at hand.

Finally, sure the battles were a little anti-climatic, but attending the event is still worth it. It’s free, it’s a showcase of our youth’s talent, and it has some pretty epic moments. Behind the scenes the tension was palpable throughout the day, but the results speak for themselves.

Make sure to keep an eye out for next year’s event! It’s definitely worth it.

Special thanks to Luke Galea for contributing to coverage of this event through his photography. You can check out his portfolio at www.lukegalea.com.

Galleries

Behind The Scenes

Battles

Battle Damage

Leave a Reply