I reflected upon the favorite and most effective robots at past
events. The audience and judges love noise, speed, originality,
and carnage potential. Towering Inferno is an attempt to combine
all of those qualities in a package unlike any other previously
seen in a competition. I called it Towering Inferno, mostly because,
at about 29" tall (not counting the extra few feet of hammers),
it towers over the other bots. There was a push to finish Towering
Inferno for The Learning Channel's Robotica, but I decided there
wasn't enough time to finish & test, so I backed off &
entered Mini Inferno
instead, and it turned out to be a wise decision inded.
Inferno was the feature of one segment on the Movies
For Guys Who Like Movies Judge Dredd airing on the TBS
Superstation. He slaughtered
a slew of fruit, vegetables, stuffed animals, condiments &
a non-candy-filled pinata.
worked closely with robotics company Bell-Everman.
Mike Everman was been incredibly helpful in fleshing out the design
and giving me feedback on how to create this weird robot. His
company's machine shop also made most of the custom pieces for
me, while Andy Weinberg at UCSB and Warren Johnson at Paradise
Machining cranked out a few more. I drew up all these parts on
CAD software & the files were used to CNC the parts.
Inferno & I made the cover of the 4/23/01 issue of Design
News magazine. It was a fun photo shoot & a good article!
Towering Inferno was also displayed at the UCSB Chancellor's fundraiser
Inferno has been in 3 BattleBots events. In season 3.0, his 2-1
record put him in top 32 in the heavyweight class and he was in
3 short features on Comedy Central. In season 4.0, his disastrous
fight against Mechavore was aired in its entirety. In season 5.0,
he was knocked out in the prelim rounds.
Towering Inferno has a radical design
that's difficult to explain with just words.
I created a motorized model
from LEGO Technic
components, just to see if the concept would work and then to
check out the bot's dynamics & control, and it did indeed
move and perform as envisioned. Check out
the progression from early sketch to CAD model to near-finished
bot. Note that I ditched the circular saws and went with blunt
& pointy hammer tips--you'd be surprised how many vicious-looking
hammers you can find on a casual stroll through Home Depot...
Towering Inferno is made of: 2 fat motors, 2 radio receivers,
2 high-current 1-channel speed controllers, 6 custom wheel sections
with molded-on urethane tread, 2 titanium whacking arms with hammer
heads, 2 fat batteries, 1 long long long tube, 10 polycarbonate/aluminum
panels, a whole lot of bearings, 2 chain & sprocket speed
reductions, and a few more custom machined parts.
Arts did lots of slick CNC machining and some design
Tool provided nuts, bolts, washers, chains, sprockets,
bearings, & most of the other odds & ends needed to assemble
the bot. PTC
CAD software and a laptop computer for designing and assembling
the complex parts. Hosting.com
provides my web hosting. Russ Greene designed, fabricated, and
maintained the sweet conic-section fenders.