Events

Mad-Metal-Machines Vol. 21: Featherweight Schnauzer

In the last blog post I have written at great length about the Mad-Metal-Machines Vol. 21 event and the participating robots. This blog post serves as a write up about how well (or bad) Schnauzer was doing at the event. In total there were 6 rounds to be fought with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 robots in the arena. A total of 3 points good were to be gained each round (awarded to the winner of the round) with the second best being awarded 2 points and so forth. Schnauzer was paired with two opponents during all of its fights.

For a start I'd like to give you a impression about Schnauzer's pit and pre-fight appearance:

In round #1 Schnauzer was paired with Attila of Team Robocop (Italy) and Mattock of team Eventorizon (Great Britain)

Attila is a pushing robot with a controllable front wedge. It's a delicately built machine which did well in the event until it suffered its first spinner contact.

Mattock is an electrically powered Axe-Bot. It uses its pointy end to hit on opponents. Nothing more to say here 🙂

The fight itself wasn't very spectacular. Mostly shoving and pushing. Due to drive train problems (one axis worked itself loose) Schnauzer did not have full power on the drive train and was unable to contribute much to the fight. Unfortunately the drive train problems continued throughout the event although the breaking point was always at a different spot (Obviously - since I fixed the weakest spot after one fight the next weakest link in the chain broke in the next ...). At some point Mattock landed in a sideways position from where it could not self right itself - 2 points for Schnauzer.

In round #2 Schnauzer was paired with the Omega of team Metal Skull Robotics (The Netherlands) and Eisenschwein III of DK Robots (Germany).

Omega is a powerful pusher with a complete Hardox shell and a strong brushless powered drive train. You can see inside of the robot on the next picture:

Eisenschwein III is a wedge shaped pushing robot built mostly for having fun 🙂 - It's the green one on the right side of the picture:

About the fight: After some pushing and shoving Omega managed to drive itself in the arena pit. Well that sucks. Eisenschwein III had the upper hand against Schnauzer since it was repeatedly able to get underneath Schnauzer and push it around. However, one driving mistake got it very close to the arena pit and a gentle nudge of Schnauzer sent it over the edge - 3 points for Schnauzer.

In round #3 Schnauzer was paired with Daredevil of team The Devil Crew (Germany) and Binky of team Eventorizon (Great Britain).

Daredevil is a powerful drum spinner. However, with the new Hardox frame I was terribly concerned.

Binky is a vertical spinner. It has a powerful spinning disc but problems with maneuverability due to the very prominent gryoscopic effect.

The fight is starting aaaaaaaand .......... its over. That was anticlimatic. Daredevil managed to locate Schnauzer in such a way on top of Binky that neither robot could move. Yeah. Schnauzer still got 2 points 😉

In round #4 Schnauzer was paired with BonX of team BonX (The Netherlands) and Hannibalito 3 of Team RCC (The Netherlands).

BonX is a wedge made out of Hardox plus drive train. Loads of pushing power, loads of armour. It is what Schnauzer could have been would I not be in love with four wheel drive 🙂

Hannibalito 3 is the ever changing, ever improving CO2 powered flipper of the infamous team RCC.

Hannibalito 3 had problems with its valve which drastically reduced the power it could put in it's flips. This was a great advantage to Schnauzer which suffered once more of drive train problems. Ultimately Hannibalito 3 pushed BonX into the arena pit - and also drove itself into the pit. 3 points for Schnauzer 🙂

In round #5 Schnauzer was paired with Equinox of Team Metal Skull Robotics (The Netherlands) and Binky of Team Eventorizon (Great Britain).

Equinox is a very powerful drum spinner not to be messed around with. Its path through the tournament was littered death and destruction leaving behind severely damaged or broken robots.

Since I already fought Binky in round #3 no further introduction is required.

Binky made one or two contacts with Equinox and had by then sustained enough damage to be out of the round. Schnauzer was taking Equinox head on which proved an excellent tactic. Due to Schnauzers angled front + the forward looking "horns" the tooth of Equinox drum of death were not able to reach Schnauzers front. However, at some point Schnauzer ran out of luck and got hit in the side. The top plate shattered, one axis broke, the electronics hung out, the frame was bent and the axis were dislodged within the axis mounts.

What followed was one of the longest in-the-field repair sessions ever done but ultimately Schnauzer could be brought back for round #6.

Also, Schnauzer got 2 points.

In round #6 Schnauzer was paired with Bulls*it of team K.A.l.M. (The Netherlands) and KFCOS of team Pyro-Bots (Germany).

Bulls*it is a bull inspired pushing robot with a thick (20 mm) HDPE frame.

KFCOS is a superbly built CO2 powered flipper whose power can be compared to Hannibailto 3. Sadly, I have no picture of it.

In the fight Schnauzer was on the receiving end of some powerful flips by KFCOS. Bulls*it stayed in the fight only for a short time until it managed to drive itself in the arena pit. Suddenly smoke came out of Schnauzers shell - as it turned out later the right drive train motor had fully burned out. Still Schnauzer eared 2 points.

In the end Schnauzer had amassed 14 out of 18 possible points. The top robots all had 15 points so Schnauzer missed the finals by one mere point. However, it was mostly due to luck (and some driving skille 😛 ) that Schnauzer progressed so far, there were major problems with the drive train and by the end of fight #6 Schnauzer can be considered a total loss due to the damages sustained. And now it is time to show you the real footage of all of Schnauzers fights:

Although the final round was missed in this event I still got to go home with a trophy. The European Robot Combat Championship title which I did win in 2015 was finally awarded to me by Marcel Kussmann (German Roboteers Association) and Marien van der Meer (Dutch Robot Games):

Schnauzer is a wreck but that does not mean that LXRobotics robot fighting days are over. However a complete rebuild based on the lessons learned is necessary and a lot of time shall be invested in planning.

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Mad-Metal-Machines Vol. 21: The Robots

Last weekend on 8th and 9th of April 2017 the 21st edition of the Mad-Metal-Machines combat robot event hosted by the German Roboteers Association (GRA) took place. The event was run as a part of the Intermodellbau rc model faire in Dortmund. A total of 26 teams participated with no less than 21 Antweights (150 g), 10 Beetleweights (1,5 kg), 24 Raptorweights (6 kg) and 30 Featherweights (13,6 kg). The following pictures should give you a good feeling about the size of the event and the builder area:

Builder/Robot area:

The arena itself with observers to three sides of it (one side was reserved for the roboteers):

Update: Video with best of scenes as filmed by LXRobotics now available:

One of the best things about such an event is that you get to see an incredible amount of robots and also get to look "under the hood" which allows you make deductions about how your own design can be improved. As a result I made tons of pictures which I'd like to present to you now (Caveat: Robots are presented in ascending alphabetical order by team name).

Team BonX - BonX (Featherweight) / This heavily armoured pusher won 2nd place in the featherweight class.

Team BonX - Catharsis (Featherweight) / Vertical Spinner

Team Dark-Voltage - Dark Galaxy (Raptorweight) / Vertical Spinner made with considerable parts made out of of Kevlar

Team The DevilCrew - Anubis (Featherweight) / Horiztonal Spinner / Formerly known as Caliope by Team RCC.

Team The DevilCrew -  Blackheart (Raptorweight) / Pusher

Team The DevilCrew - Daredevil (Featherweight) / Drum Spinner - This fearsome drum spinner made 3rd place in the competition.

Team The DevilCrew - Luzifer (Heavyweight) / While not competing at the event (well, how could it :P) Luzifer was drawing a lot of attention from the faire visitors.

Team DK-Robots - ED607 (Raptorweight) / Blob (Raptorweight) / Eisenschwein III (Featherweight)

Team Eventorizon - Binky (Featherweight) / Vertical Spinner

Team Eventorizon - Conker 3 (Featherweight) / Eggbeater (A special version of a drum spinner where instead of a round zylinder a rectangular frame is spinning).

Team Fierce Fighting Robots - Lt.Lee (Raptorweight) / Pusher

Team Fierce Fighting Robots - Some Antweights (150 g!)

Team IBF - Blähboy (Featherweight) / Lifter with onboard compressor

Team IBF - Paul - B (Beetleweight) / Pusher

Team IBF - Rat-Rap (Raptorweight) / Electrically powered lifter

Team IBF - Weps (Raptorweight) / Horizontal Spinner / This robot won 3rd place in the raptorweight competition (some luck was involved 😉 )

Team Just do it - Ballista (Featherweight) / CO2 powered Flipper

Team Just do it - Brobot (Featherweight) / CO2 powered Flipper

Team Just do it - DX-11 (Featherweight) / Horizontal Spinner

Team K.a.L.M. - Bulls*it (Featherweight) / Pusher

Team Last Minute - Surgeon (Raptorweight) / Pusher with electric saw / Made for a fantastic show 😉

Team LXRobotics - Schnauzer (Featherweight) / Heavily armoured pusher. On the top left corner you can see the robot Adios by Team Redeye Robotics - Thank you for borrowing me your drill bits. They were very helpful on sunday since Schnauzer's axis worked themselves loose (again) and I shall return them at the next event 😉

Team Metal Skull Robotics - Equinox (Featherweight) / This extremely powerful drum spinner was the scarecrow of the event and ultimately won the competition. The design is quite ingenious which is why one can learn a lot by studying the following pictures:

Team Metal Skull Robotics - Omega (Featherweight) / A fully hardox armoured pusher

Team Metal Skull Robotics - Otis (Raptorweight) / This drum spinner won 2nd place in the raptorweight competition.

Polyurethane used by Team Metal Skull Robotics for the their wheels:

Team Pyro-Bots - Captain Spaulding (Raptorweight) / Pusher / Special thanks to jojo for letting me have some of your tools during the event - Schnauzer would have not been able to drive otherwise.

Team RCC - Hannibalito 3 (Featherweight) / This infamous CO2 powered flipper had an upgrade with Hardox front armour.

Team RCC - Kashei Bessmertnye (Featherweight) / Electrically powered hammerbot

Team RCC - Perun (Raptorweight) / Pusher

Team Robocop - Attila (Featherweight) / Pusher with an electrically powered wedge / Also the first ever italian team to compete at a german event.

Team Upstart - Bintang (Raptorweight) / Pusher / This nimble pusher from the Dutch team Upstart had their robot booth next to ours. I'd like to give special thanks to John for borrowing me a 2.5 hexagonal drill bit which I shall promptly return upon our next encounter 😉

Dear reader,: Although you made it to the bottom of this lengthy picture spam post I have to divulge that their is no golden pot waiting for you here (as this might be the case with reaching the end of the rain bow). I hope you could also learn a bit from those pictures and hopefully show up at the next event with your own robot 😉

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LXRobotics at the Robotour Deggendorf 2016

Hi everyone! I realise that I haven't published a blog post in a long time - This is mostly due to the fact, that many developments are not ready for prime time yet and not because there is nothing going on 🙂 Despite the lack of LXRobotics related news I can tell you a bit about a annual robotic competition called Robotour which took place in Deggendorf / Germany on September 17/18 2016.

The purpose of the competition is to develop autnomous robots which can find their own way to a given set of GPS coordinates. The event takes place outdoors and therefore the robots need to be 100 % weatherwaterproof. The event is organized by the team behind http://robotika.cz/en and further information about the rules can be found on their website. Some of the competing robots are presented below. If anyone has more detailed information on the robots or the competition please do not hesitate to send me an email.

Team Cogito

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Team KaMaRo Engineering (Karlsruhe / 2nd place):

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Team Istrobot (1st place)

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AmBot

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Team JECC / Fesl JECC has participated with two robots at the event. The robot Fesl (pictured below) won the respectable 3rd place in the competition. It is equipped with GPS, stereo cameras, laser scanner, inertial measurement unit and uses neural networks to detect traversable paths as well as obstacles.

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Picture of the Fesl's main screen while setting the robot up for the competition.

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Picture of the Fesl's main screen in active driving mode.

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The next picture shows the setup of all robots before the start. It was raining heavily 🙂 All robots were placed in a line where the slowest robots were located in the front and the faster robots were located in the back. 10 minutes before the start target GPS coordinates + a specific start time are given out by the organizers to the competing teams. Those coordinates have to be entered into the robot control system. When the start time is reached all robots should automatically start to navigate towards their goal. Note: The little robot on the left bottom corner of the picture also belongs to Team JECC.

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The start! I expected screeching tires and fast driving robots but in reality it was rather slow. Some robots even drove in the wrong direction 🙂 - Before laughing too loud one shoud consider the complexity of the task, the heavy rain and the fact, that all robots were built by hobbyist's. Since I have built a number of robots myself I know how much work one has to put into such a project.

Let's get back to the competition: After some hesitation the robot of Team Kamaro took over all the other robots on the left and drove far ahead of the pack. The complete competition consisted of four runs and the distance driven towards the target GPS coordinates while each of those runs was accumulated. The winner was selected based on the total distance travelled. Touching another robot immediately disqualifies the robot from the current run.

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Last but not least: A short video showing a bit of the third round of the Robotour 2016 in Deggendorf:

If you are hungry for more videos please feel free to check out this playlist.

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LXRobotics at the Maker Faire Bodensee 2016

Last weekend from June 25th to 26th, 2016 the first Maker Faire in Bodensee took place. Since I have never been to this particular area of Germany I immediately decided to go and exhibit the products of LXRobotics and the robots I've built. The basic booth preparation with the arrangement of the tables and covering them with linen was done on the evening of June 24th. In the early morning we finished the preparation of our booth and at 10:00 we were ready to receive our visitors (right on time 🙂 ).

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On the right side of the booth we placed our roll up display. Our products were showcased from the middle (where the CNC mill was located) to the right side of the table.

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The robots Spectre, Steroid, Schnauzer, Sergant Pain, Evolution, Argos and the Nyan Lunchbox were displayed on the left side of the table and attracted a lot of attention during the exhibition.

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The booth of Modding-Masters community was located in about the center of the hall. Their hobby is to modify existing pc cases and redesign following a self chosen motiv. Like the PC-in-a-spaceship in the next picture 🙂

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Liquid cooling systems could be found in nearly (or every) single modded system:

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A robot-styled modded case:

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Another space-ship:

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Alien vs. Predator(?):

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The turbines look quite similiar to the infamous SR-71 Blackbird.

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Every single modded case is a piece of art:

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Steampunk is common topic in nerd culture. The Chocolatist was exhibiting some of his (admittedly) very cool creations at the Maker Faire, such as the Underwood Pentium PC ...

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... or the steampunk'ed (is this even a word? 🙂 ) version of R2-D2:

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Students from local schools exhibited some of their projects such as this autonomous solar powered catamaran which is consisting of 3D printed parts ...

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... and this Hexacopter which is equipped with thermal imaging equipment.

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Found this little walker at the booth of Reichelt:

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At the same time with the Maker Faire a flea market took place in the two other halls. Since the Maker Faire was happening in the same time with the HAM Radio exhibition the content of the flea market was very amateur radio centered. They had tubes ...

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... and all sorts of capacitors ...

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... and all sorts of measurement instrumtents.

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A super computer based on Raspberry Pi was shown at the booth of qube solutions:

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The german army had also set up some radio equipment in the outdoor area - together with an carrer office.

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Last but not least: If you survived the picture spam so far it is time to collect your reward: Schnauzer has been wired up with electronics and is able to be driven around via remote control.

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A more detailed blogpost on the progress of Schnauzer should come soon. Stay tuned 🙂

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