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Solid Models
Arena Project

Franklin Institute 2007

My event report from Servo magazine - The Appliance of Science

Press coverage

Nice little montage

Thr first ever Frankilin Institute event was held in Philadelpia, PA on the 20th, October 2007.

My son Andrew and I traveled up the day before and stayed across the river  in Mount Laurel, New Jersey just off the I295 and the New Jersey Trurnpike.  There are good and cheap hotels and restaurants in this area and it makes a good base for events in Philly.  The venue is a short drive down to and across the (toll) Ben Franklin Bridge.

An early start was required for this one day event and it was perhaps a first for NERC that all competitors were through Safety and ready to go on time.

We had brought three robots. The first was Hobbyweight Surgical Strike fresh from its win at Robogames earlier that summer, the second was Blunt Instrument a near clone of Surgical Strike made up of the many spare parts I had for the original. The last bot was our new Beetleweight Pure Dead Brilliant. It had done well at Robogames but not placed.

As this report was not written until several year after the events the exact sequence of events and memory of wht happened may differ from others present :)

First I will cover the Hobbyweight Fights,  then the Beetleweights.

I was very confident that our two big blade spinners would excell. Surgical Strike had done well at Moto that year and with its new brushless Motor had beaten a strong field to get first place at Robogames, the Premier event in the sport. I thought that with two of the Robots there how could the fail to do well and perhaps even win. Winning isn't everything, but I had just started Kitbots with the intention of selling kits and parts and I thought a convincing win would be great advertising!  Over confidence is however a bad thing as I was to find out.

Surgical Strike v Shove it

Surgical Strikes first fight was against Shove it .

Shove it missed on its initial charge so by the time they first made contact, Surgical Strikes blade was up to full speed, it ripped open one side and threw our bot across the area as well, a couple more good hits removed the side wall completely and crippled Shove it so they tapped out.  A good start for Surgical Strike.

Blunt Instrument v Not a VD

Not a VD (Not a Vertical Disk) is a vertical disk with quite a repuation and we expected this to be a tough fight. However it turned out to be a single hit knockout by Blunt Instrument. Confidence was building!

Surgical Strike v Ntertainment

This was a tough fight. Bot bots traded blows  and then Surgical Strikes started to slow (a pulley had loosened on its shaft) and then Ntertainments Drum stopped all together and Ntertainment won a close judges decision.

Surgical Strike was down to the losers brackets.

Blunt Instrument v Spector

This was another quick fight. A light hit disabled the drive on one side of Spector and a second knocked out the other side and he tapped out.

Blunt Instrument v Ntertainment

Ntertainments drive does not work from the get go and its looking like Blunt Instrument will cruise into the finals with an easy win when one hit results in the loss of all power to Drive and weapon. (I think it was a RX failure).

Blunt Instrument drops to the losers Brackets


Surgical Strike v LTFD

LTFD already heavily damaged in previous fights, wanted to be retired (as so provide good excuse to build new bot!) and Surgical Strike obliged.  LTFD helped by losing two wheels even before Surgical Strike even got to it :)


Blunt Instrument v Not a VD

Andrew noticed that the Blade was spinning the wrong way after we put the Bot in the box  (If you look closely in the videos it was also spinning the wrong way in its previous fights).

The door had not yet been closed and I could and should have simply driven the bot back over to the door and swapped two of the leads on the weapon motor. This would have had the blade spinning so that its sharpened and harden edge would have been leading. Dumbly I thought it would be fine as it had won the previous fight against Not a VD easily.  I was wrong. In the fight that followed it might have made a difference.

Not a VD came out aggressively and dominated the fight.  One of the rollover loops mounting failed (They were Polycarbonate) and then the other.  Surgical Strike got a couple of hits on his opponents wheels but did no damage and when Blunt Instrument ended up on its back we tapped out. That was the end of the competition for Blunt Instrument.

Surgical Strike v Not a VD

This was Surgical Strikes first fight in the Losers Brackets and it was for a place in the Finals. Not a VD again came out aggressively and quickly got Surgical Strike pinned in a corner then hung up on the kickplate.  When the wires to the Weapon ESC got cut we tapped out.

Surgical Strike had finished fourth and Blunt Instrument fifth.  Not the decisive win I had hoped for but still not a bad result.

The beetleweights.

There were only four beetleweights competing so the fights were "round robin" ie. each bot would everyother bot and the one with the best record wins.

Pure Dead Brilliant v Messin with Sasquatch

The weapon on Messin with Sasquatch didn't appear to work and he led with his armored rear.  Pure Dead Brilliant got some minor hits in until suddenly his opponent stopped moving. We win by a knockout.

Pure Dead Brilliant v Destrutive Crab

It took only one good hit to knock out Destructive Crab

Pure Dead Brilliant v Yeti

I wish I had remembered to put that screw in..... Pure Dead Brilliant loses to Yeti in spectacular fashion. Oh well.....at least thats a second place for us.