abandon all hope ye robots who enter


 Bot Will Eat Itself

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  • Designed & built Fall 1996-Summer 1997
  • Competed in Robot Wars 1997
  • Featured fully independent suspension
  • Status: retired, volunteers for target practice

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BWEI gallery


STORY: Bot Will Eat Itself (BWEI) was designed for and competed in the 25lb weight class at Robot Wars 1997. Like the previous year, I had a teeny budget and advised undergrad Mechanical Engineers at the University of California Santa Barbara with their 2 robot entries. BWEI performed a little better than Rampage. A little.

SPECS: BWEI used Rampage's shell and weapons, but the drivetrain was all new and beefier. This time, it featured skid steering with much more powerful drive motors. The drive systems were mounted entirely on hinged plates, giving BWEI a true independent suspension. Wedges and scooping robots were popular and successful at Robot Wars 96, so I designed BWEI to have traction and mobility even if it were being lifted. I also experimented with some diamond grit abrasive blades for weapons, but I returned to the standard toothed wood blades after testing. I ended up with one win under my belt this time around.

TECH DETAILS: Bot Will Eat Itself was based only partially on Rampage (though it looked nearly identical on the outside). Gone were the weenie R/C car motor, gearbox, and steering system, replaced by a pair of fat motors & an independent suspension. Large surplus motors from C & H Sales were hooked directly to some custom plastic wheels wrapped in grippy vacuum cleaner belts. The drivetrain consisted of a pair of hinged plates that each held a motor, wheel, battery pack, and speed controller. When the robot was lifted, these hinged drivetrain parts swiveled down to keep the wheels in contact with the ground. On all 4 corners were ball casters from McMaster-Carr, keeping the shell rolling smoothly (until the casters became marred from rolling over rough surfaces). Piano hinges all around the sides acted as scoop deterrents.

SPONSORS: Partially funded by UCSB Mechanical & Environmental Engineering.

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