A lot of folks were curious about what the rebuild process was like after a damaging fight so we thought it would be cool to elaborate on our repair process.
For our team the process starts ahead of the competition. We always strive to be prepared and plan ahead. That means designing the robot (in SolidWorks
!) to have replaceable components for easy repairs without sacrificing integrity of the design. During the build season, we prepared higher quantities of spare parts for sections we expected to take damage more frequently. At the event, the team would build up subassemblies of major mechanical systems (like the arm for example) so we could quickly swap them out and maintain a functional robot at all times; repair of the damaged parts could happen during any potential downtime.
By the time we learned the matchup, we began preparing our spares; we had a second arm assembly built up, a second plow and fork assembly prepared (thanks to our sponsor Kloeckner Metals
for welding everything ahead of time!), and mechanical consumables at the ready. After the match, we immediately got to work. First step was verifying all the internals were working properly with a quick motors-only bench test. Second was stripping the bot down to replace every damaged part. Disassembling the bot is actually per typical procedure for our post-fight checklists. As you can see, we stripped the chassis pretty bare because of this fight. Some parts you can save while others get added to our part graveyard.
Speaking of graveyard, look what's back from the dead! After replacing the tank, tank mount, and a nut strip the flamethrower is back ablazin'!
Because of our team's preparation and supportive sponsors, we were able to bounce back quickly and had SawBlaze in bot-kickin' condition next day!
I don't usually like to do post match break-down posts, because our fans simply just don't seem to want them, but I've gotten a lot of questions about this fight, so I decided to make one.
Question 1 - Oh no, you did the thing, why Didn't you test this prior?! Yes, we did indeed do the thing! (OH NO!) We actually did test to see if our robot would do the thing prior to the event. When we first built Malice, we used Ar-500 triangle wheel guards in the back - and we made sure it couldn't sit on it's back then, and wrote it off as a concern because it didn't do the thing with the AR-500 wheel guards. When we found out that our original Malice build was 20lbs overweight, we switched the AR-500 wheel guards to UHMW wheel guards. We did not test if the UHMW wheel guards would do the thing, obviously, they do. D:
2. Why didn't you turn off the weapon?? We did, the eagle eyed fans spotted in the background of Rush desperately rocking the wheels back and forth, that Liaw was doing the same with the weapon. Our weapon spin down JUST barely passed safety with a 59 second spin down. (we have very good bearings) and there was just no time for the weapon to spin down to let it fall forward.
3. What will you do to fix it? Well - unfortunately with the billet frame, there isn't much we can do this season. I will be adding a long bolt to the back (I lovingly call it a Bunny Tail, see picture) and we will be praying that no one gets that lucky shot again to get us on our back again, but this is Battlebots! Anything can happen. We HAVE redesigned the back for version 2 of Malice to prevent it from happening next competition!
Bonus photo of Malice branded cat food.
4. I am SO happy to have our first loss be to Martin Mason and the madcatter team, if you watch me at the end of the fight I simply can't stop smiling, and even when I watched it on Thursday, I was so happy to see them win. Martin Mason is truly the best captain I've ever worked with, and he makes me better, and he builds everyone up. YAY MAD CATTER!!! We would've gotten away with it if it weren't for those pesky kids!