2015 was the first year for the Combotics Robobrawl and the first time that Combotics has had eight teams. Previously, we operated in a two-team structure and went to tournaments outside the state. This year, we decided to get many more people involved and host our own tournament on campus during EOH. Each of our eight teams designed and built a 15lb battlebot to compete at the event which was held in the ECE Building.
The first semester this year went great, with Combotics members attending workshops to learn about the different types of battlebots, along with the technical knowledge needed to build them (drive trains, weapon systems, etc). After a brief learning period, members formed teams and set about the actual designs of their robot, which took up a good portion of the semester. Design reviews were held, final BOMs were submitted, and all the parts for both the arena and all the robots were ordered.
The second semester of the year is build season and with a huge influx of teams into our small work space, we were in for a tough time. We carefully managed all of our teams to allow everyone to get as much time as possible without being on top of each other, and it worked well for the most part. The semester went along with several logistical issues with delayed shipments and poor part organization with items and tools getting misplaced often. With the the competition looming just one week away, many teams were unprepared to finish and test their robots. Despite all nighters pulled by many of the teams, around 4/8 teams did not successfully finish their robots on time, leading to large scheduling issues with the tournament.
On the first day of the competition, only a few exhibition matches were held and the bracket of the tournament was forgone for more of an exhibition style showing. The second day went slightly smoother as a few more of the robots were done and we went through more exhibition matches. All in all, while the event failed as a tournament, we had a huge crowd draw and I would say we were successful as an exhibition for EOH. Additionally, a big thank you to our sponsor, Horizon Hobby for volunteering their time to judge the matches.