Under the guidance of Vector Space's seasoned engineers and makers, twelve students will each design and build their own antweight (1lb) combat robots, then battle it out in the third Hill City Robot Combat event on August 27th.
It will be our biggest competition yet, taking place in the Riverviews Artspace Gallery.
You'll be making your bot from scratch, not a kit, so there's a lot to learn. Here are the official rules to keep in mind as we build.
Getting the dimensions right so that everything fits together takes some effort. You'll need to design your bot first, which means we'll be using 3D CAD software. Then it's up to you to decide whether you'll be 3D printing the parts or building them from wood, polycarbonate, or aluminum. We'll teach you all you need to know when it comes to printing, shaping, cuting, and fastening these materials. You'll have the opportunity to use a bandsaw, drillpress, and any other tools necessary to get the job done.
Let's be honest, we all love building robot weapons. The only problem is that there are so many options. Hammer, wedge, flipper, spinner, puller, spring-loaded pike...take your pick. You'll chose what weapon you want to build, but you'll need to understand the physics and the practical application of converting between different forms of mechanical energy. How will you lift the hammer or load the spring? Will your motor have the necessary torque? Will your weapon be light yet strong enough to sustain damage? These are the problems we'll have to solve during weapon design, otherwise you may end up wobbling around on three wheels like poor Victor (pictured left).
These bots need to receive digital signals, they need power, and they need to deliver your signals to their motors. Making this happen requires an understanding of electronics and radio communication. We'll start from the basics of Ohm's Law and work our way through pulse width modulation so that you can design a working drive train and solder it all together yourself.
We're going to control the motor speed with an Arduino so we'll be learning a bit of C programming. You'll need to understand how the receiver delivers signals to the Arduino as well as the circuitry of an H-bridge if you want to send it the right signals and get your bot moving.
If you're feeling ambitious, you can add automation to your bot. How about a motion sensor that detects a nearby bot, then triggers your weapon. Silly humans won't even see it coming.
This is an eight week project, where students will meet twice a week. The project starts June 12 and goes through August 9th. Meetings are every Monday and Wednesday night from 7-930 pm.
Then we'll take a two week break until the big competition on August 27th at Riverviews Artspace. This will give you time to practice or make last minute fixes.
This project is for middle and high school age students. Two need-based scholarships are available through this application.
The price of this project is $350, which covers all materials, registration for the August 27th event at Riverviews Artspace, and more than 40 hours of instruction time with our best engineers and makers. Students get to keep their bots.