Sophomore Combots 2022-2023 Wrap-Up

As the end of the 2022-2023 school year approaches, the sophomore combots team is starting to look forward to the Fall semester and make plans for their future robots. Our 2023 robot – a four-wheel drive multi-disk vertical spinner named Goose – had an extremely successful showing at Robobrawl 2023, winning five of seven matches and placing third in the tournament. The robot’s two losses came from the first and second place finishers, who beat Goose by knockout. Of its five wins, three were by knockout and the other two were close judge’s decisions.

Throughout Goose’s fights against very well-built robots, some of the strengths and weaknesses of the bot became clear:

1) The drive system performed phenomenally; using two BLHeli_32 ESCs, two 840KV motors, 13:1 gearboxes, and four wheels with two on each side belted together, the drive was powerful, fast, and robust. The only issue with this setup is that the gearboxes came loose and hindered drive in the robot’s last fight, although this issue could have been avoided by checking on the gearboxes throughout the competition and applying more loctite to keep it secure.

2) The weapon design worked better than expected and packed a powerful hit despite the weapon being fairly powered down due to concerns with the weapon system’s ESC. However, the weapon did break in the third fight and was able to be welded back together. A fix for this would be to redesign the weapon with a similar goal but with a more solid assembly as opposed to many different pieces.

3) In terms of armor, the UHMW polyethylene plastic side and back plates performed well for the second competition in a row. They took every hit given to them and kept the damage away from the robot’s chassis, and survived well enough to the point where we never had to switch them out. Additionally, our front wedgelets and forks performed their jobs well by deflecting hits and getting under opposing robots. The only failure of the armor was that the robot’s left wedgelet was hit sideways and bent the side plate of the robot, leading to the wedgelet being stuck on for the last three fights. The solution to this would be to design the armor mounts more liberally and make them as beefy as possible, and perhaps beefing up the side plates as well.

4) The main issue with the robot was that the design did not place enough emphasis on invertibility, and thus the robot was unable to effectively move when on its back. Especially with back armor attached, we needed to tap out of fights when the robot was inverted as the movement was not controlled enough to avert disaster (being counted out or showing openings to opponents). The solution to this would be to make our bunny ears larger or add rollers onto them to allow Goose to move more fluidly on its back.

Overall, Goose was a successful robot that we think can be improved on and perfected. Along with a potential new robot to compete in Robobrawl 2024, we want to divert some time over the summer and fall to fixing up and redesigning parts of Goose to potentially compete in another competition or bring to Robobrawl as a second robot. We learned a lot over the school year and are excited to put our new skills and ideas to work next year. Stay tuned for updates from our team, and thank you for your support!