Rolling Robots Meets Lock-Jaw

Rolling Robots vs Lock Jaw

Rolling Robots recently had the honor of building a custom Battlebot for the ESPN show Sports Nation. Our bot was going up against the famous battle-bot Lock-Jaw, and it was bound to be a difficult fight. Even though ultimately we were defeated, it was an awesome experience all around and also an honor to get to compete on national television. Even though our prep-time for the match was limited, our build process helped unearth some really promising designs that we're going to revisit in the future. For the curious robo-battle fans, here's a little journal about our bot-building process: It all started this previous Wednesday afternoon. We had a week to prepare for the match, which was scheduled for the following Thursday. We knew we were going to be on television against a famous battle-bot, so the pressure to succeed started from Day 1.

Building the BeadleBot

cad with inventor

7-15-2015 6:15PM: Like any good robot design, we started with some hand sketches and then proceeded to translate those into CAD. Josef used Autodesk Inventor to do the basic design. All of the spacings and part dimensions were developed in CAD. Non-critical details, such as the exact positions of the screws etc, were left ambiguous in the interest of time; we only had a week to get this done, so some agile development was definitely in order. Though we definitely ran into a few bumps along the way because of the shortcuts we had to take (we did have a few screw "collisions" in the final build).

design calculations

7-16-2015 11:30AM: We needed to determine the torque required for our hammer weapon. We did the calculations in a spread sheet and found we were not limited by the torque of the system; rather we had to slow things down to make the hammer speed manageable. With the basic CAD design and torque calculations in hand, we were ready to place orders with VEX Robotics for next day delivery. We had several parts in stock but found ourselves needing some very specific sets of gears and sprockets. We also ordered all of the required nuts, bolts, and other various bits and pieces which would help this robot come together.


7-18-2015 2:00PM: The Robot structure was to be fabricated from Aluminum Channel 3 " x 1" x 1/8" thick. After completing the CAD, we found we needed about 24 feet of this material and suddenly realized we did not have enough metal in our stock, so we took a quick trip to our local metal supplier to get all the structural parts cut to length. Having them cut saved us a lot of time, which was a lifesaver. Pro-tip for competitive robot builders: make yourself a list of nearby parts suppliers that are open on the weekends. :)

7-19-2015 5:25PM: It was time for our first test of the Hammer Weapon concept. It is lifted by a chain driven by a BAG motor with planetary gearbox 500:1. Once it reaches max height we let gravity take over to deliver the smashing blow. So it is basically a lift and drop hammer like a pile driver.

framed robot

7-20-2015 10:35PM: Here is the full structure of the Bot assembled for display purposes. Not everything is bolted up yet but now we can see how it all fits together. The bot has 3 wheels, two driven by independent BAG motors with 30:1 planetary gearbox and a third omnidirectional wheel up front for support and fast spinning. At this point, we're pretty happy with what we're seeing, but we still need to get that second hammer operational, so fatigued as we were, we soldiered onwards.

battlebot adjustments

7-21-2015 11:15PM: Close to midnight we brought the bot to the Rolling Robots Arena for a full test of its capabilities. We found a few details that needed adjustment but after a little tinkering it was rolling about the arena and undergoing some preliminary testing.

7-22-2015 11:35PM: It's almost midnight the day before the robot is due and we finally get to start our first full test of the bot. It has all the right sounds and performs well in the Rolling Robots Arena. The covers are off because they are back at the paint shop getting detailed. The electronics inside are still not mounted; they are in the white box you see in the picture.

espn robot

7-23-2015 9:35AM We made it! Yes! The bot is done. Josef tends to a few last minute touches at the ESPN studios.

team lock-jaw

Meeting our opponent. Looks like it might be a quick match. Lock-Jaw is about 200lbs heavier than our bot and sports titanium jaws, not to mention being battle-tested already. Well, maybe we can run... :P

sportsnation battlebots

After a fun match we are all friends in the end, that's how robot combat works, destroy each other in the arena and go home friends. The match was more of an exhibition than anything else, so everybody left in good spirits. We made some notes about Lock-Jaw though, and we're already re-designing a bot for our inevitable rematch. Next time it may not get off so easy.

Vex Robotics Competition "Nothing But Net"

Vex Nothin but Net

VEX teams get ready for Nothing But Net with the Rolling Robots 'Mech Bots 2.0' Summer Camp. Students get to learn from the same team that won Excellence at Worlds 2015. Each day of this camp will focus on a specific robotics subsystem and use live competitions between students to practice the lessons learned during that day's session. The students will program their systems in RobotC by writing code for both autonomous and driver controlled operation.

Students will review, build and test drive systems, throwing mechanisms and lifting mechanisms. Then they put it all together and play Nothing But Net for the first time at the end of the camp. Our live matches dedicate 15 seconds to executing the student's autonomous driving code and then devote the remainder of the match (1:45) to manual driver control.

holonomic vex drive

Build, program and test a Holonomic or X drive.

Design and build a throwing mechanism.

six bar lift

Learn to work with aluminum and build complex lifting mechanisms.

As a special bonus, our summer camp students will be invited to optional tournaments at our locations after each camp and at the end of summer. There will be one tournament a month at our locations for students to attend:

  • June - Glendale
  • July - Rolling Hills Estates, Palos Verdes
  • August - West LA

The August tournament will be the Summer Championship, inviting back students from each week.

To help everyone understand the details of this new and exciting camp, we will be holding FREE sessions to share our camp plan with students and parents as well as hosting a meet and greet with our competition team members (no reservation needed).

  • Palos Verdes - Tuesday, May 19, 2015 5:30pm - 6:30pm
  • West LA - Thursday, May 21, 2015 5:30pm - 6:30pm
  • Glendale - Friday, May 22, 2015 5:30pm - 6:30pm
  • VEX Robotics Nothing But Net 2015-2016 Competition

    Choose a location below to sign up for this one of a kind summer camp:

    GlendalePalos VerdesWest LA

    Or check out our many other summer camp options here:

    summer camp

    Team 7700B wins the Excellence Award

    7700B wins Excellence at Vex Worlds

    Rolling Robots’ VEX Robotics Team 7700B won the Excellence Award at the 2015 Vex Robotics World Championship Middle School Division which took place on April 15-18 in Louisville, Kentucky. 150 teams from 27 countries participated (including 90 teams from the USA). Team 7700B ranked second in Programming Skills in the world, that is #1 among all US teams. Team 7700B has 10 members from five local Southbay schools who have all been members of the Rolling Robots’ Robotics Afterschool Program for the past three years.

    This is the highest award presented in the VEX Robotics Competition. The recipient of this award is a team that exemplifies overall excellence in building a well-rounded VEX robotics program. This team excels in many areas and is a shining example of dedication, devotion, hard work and teamwork. As a strong contender in numerous award categories, this team deserves to be recognized for building a quality robot and being a "team" committed to quality in everything that they do. To be eligible for the Excellence Award at the World Championship, teams/clubs must have submitted at least two different online challenges during the current year. Teams/clubs must also sign up for both the Excellence Award and Design Award Presentations. Only teams that have won an Excellence Award at a Local, Regional, or National event prior to April 1st are eligible to be interviewed.

    Details of awards: World Champions

    This has been a long season with lots of hard work. The team started building their robot in May 2014 and had their first competition at the International Summer Games in Hawaii on July 10, 2014. At the summer games the team made it to Semi-finals and won the Judges award; they were the only middle school team to win an award of any kind.

    8 tournaments and 10 Awards later, 7700B was at the California State Championship. Winning the Design Award and placing first in Programming Skills. It was a great result but it did not qualify the team for Worlds.

    Their last chance to qualify for Worlds was at the Head Royce Skills Challenge, so we drove all night to Oakland, ran our programming skills and scored a 38 point ranking. Then, the new #1 middle school in the world celebrated all-too-briefly before driving home; 12 hours on the road for one minute of all-important glory.

    At Worlds the team won 8 out of 10 matches, took second place in Programming Skills, and ranked 16 in Driver Skills, making it to the semi-finals of the tournament in the process.

    Want to get in on the action? Try one of our Mech-Bots summer camps to get you started in the world of VEX Competition!

    More press:

    Ridgecrest Intermediate School Principals Update
    Team Interview with LA JaJa Kids

    The team was interviewed and photographed while getting recognition certificates from California State Assemblyman David Hadley

    CA State Assemblman David Hadley Recognition

    Feature in World Journal
    7700B World Champions VexSkyrise world Journal
    Feature in World Journal
    Qual Match 85
    Qual Match 175

    Showing 20pt auton!

    VEX Worlds live stream
    Vex Worlds Qual 85 7700B vexskyrise
    VEX Worlds live stream
    Feature in Peninsula News
    Team 7700B vex skyrise 2015
    Feature in Peninsula News
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