The Adventure Continues: Bot Blast 2015 – Dominant Mode: The Competition

We drove overnight to Pennsylvania and got there in the wee hours of the morning (shoutout to Fred Moore for the crazy overnight driving). We were all pretty tired when we got there, but attempted to recharge at an IHOP before heading off to set up our pits.

Our buddy Charles wasn’t able to make it, but had sent up his joke-bot (or in proper lingo: ass-bot), Colsonbot with us to compete. It was a long-running inside joke and is basically a shell-spinner-rubber-wheel. Here is the pit area we set up for Colsonbot/Charles, complete with our favorite Korean tea cookie: White Cream Couque d’Asse.

2015-07-18 08.41.38

There was still quite some time before things actually started, so I walked around to check out the other robots. To be honest, I felt a little out of place in the beginning,but everyone was friendly enough that I quickly felt more comfortable. Since this event was in the middle of Season 1 (or 6, depending on if you include the original series) of BattleBots, there was lots of hype, and Jamison and I got a little taste of celebrity-dom. Servo magazine was actually there handing out the issue featuring BattleBots, where we were both featured in a photograph! I also handed out my first autograph to a little boy that was a huge BattleBots fan :). It was pretty awesome, and I felt so cool!

Anyway, the competition was very exciting. Jamison (Go) and Fred (Moore) each brought two robots: an antweight and a beetleweight. Then I had Dominant Mode, and we also had Charles’ Colsonbot, forming the inspirational coalition of “Go-Du-Moore.” After the bracket was announced, I subtly went around checking out all my opposing robots, so I was prepared for what I was up against. I was pretty nervous because I didn’t get to practice driving at all =/. I spent the first half of my first match trying to get the hang of just moving around.

Here’s one of my matches! You can see more on Fred’s YouTube channel. As you can definitely tell from any of the videos, I should practice driving :P. In the mean time, Colsonbot (piloted by Jamison) was doing CRAZY well! Largely because, as a rubber wheel, noone was able to do any damage to it (and Jamison was driving it like it was nobody’s business). Colsonbot eventually got knocked out with final stats of 3:2.

Colsonbot and its epic driver.
Colsonbot and its epic driver, Jamison.
Photocred: Nate Franklin

Bot Blast is a double-elimination competition, and I managed to stay in the Winner’s bracket the whole time! In the Winner’s bracket finals, I beat the two-time-reigning champion of Bot Blast, Mondo Bizzaro! It was a really close match, where I had managed to hit Mondo’s top plate, exposing some batteries :P. However, I had also taken some damage and lost the ability to drive mid-match.

After some inspection after the match, I discovered that my frame had bent JUST enough that it was rubbing on my front wheels and preventing them to move. Remember when I had to switch out my front wheels so the drum teeth would clear the ground? Turns out the clearance between the wheels and front wall of the bot was so small that a small bend in the frame would cause it to rub. In the short turnaround with limited tooling, I was able to fix Dominant Mode just enough to drive again, but I knew that any future frontal hit would take out my drive again.

Mondo Bizzaro then made it out of the loser’s bracket, so I had to face him in the Finals. I knew that I had to be less aggressive this match and only take calculated hits, but at this point, the worst that I could do was 2nd place! At my first bot competition! I ended up taking a pretty big hit and, as expected, lost my ability to drive. I still attempted to limp around for a bit, but the match finally ended when the drum shaft was disloged.

Dominant Mode’s final match stats for Bot Blast 2015 – 4:1.

Colsonbot won Best Engineered Robot!
Colsonbot won Best Engineered Robot!

Here are the damage photos!

botblast_2015-28 botblast_2015-23

botblast_2015-25 botblast_2015-24

botblast_2015-23 botblast_2015-29

It was a long drive back, but Fred was a champ and we eventually made it back to the IDC alive :). We unpacked quickly and all headed home for a long deserved nap.

As for upgrades, I spent the whole car ride (asleep or awake) thinking of the next improvements to make for Dominant Mode. I really liked the spring-steel-over-aluminum armor. I think it was really effective, though I’d like to make the spring steel thicker somehow, but tempered spring-steel does not bend very well. Maybe if I bent it, and then tempered it myself… hm. For blades, it would definitely be ideal if I could use hardened tool-steel, but I’ll have to find a way to shave weight. Furthermore, I cannot rely on the press-fit anymore. A blade almost fell off in a match or two.

Anyway, I already started hatching some schemes for my next bot-fighting appearance for DragonCon Robot Battles! I will be collaborating with the two other girls on my BattleBots team, Hanna Lin and Cynthia Lu in our debut of “HaLuCy nation!” We will be entering a 30lb and a 3lb bot (psst! I heard the 3lb bot will be a drum spinner!). They will be named Destroying Angel and Deathcap, respectively, after some of the world’s most deadly mushrooms. Design and build is already under way!

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