Those who are long term readers of this blog might have noticed, that I have not competed in any (combat) robotics competitions lately. This is largely due to the fact that in 2016 NO german events have taken place. This in turn is the result of the usual event location being unavailable due to restoration works. There was only one bigger competition which took place within the FACTS faire in Gent / Belgium. Sadly, the very large distance prevented me from participating in that event. Even competing at the biannual Mad Metal Machines comes along with a total of 1600 km car travel and 3 to 4 days (1 day driving there, 2 days competition, 1 day driving back) of time invested. Since there are no competitions available closer to Austria so far I was left with no choice. However, this precondition is subject to change. Without further ado let me introduce the prototype of our new beetleweight arena (well, the CAD Mockup at least 🙂 ):
As the name already suggests the arena is intended to be used with the newly established beetleweight class (1.5 kg). The main reason behind the decision for the beetleweight class was that antweights due to the weight limit of 150 g are very small and present considerable challenges for the new builder. However, raptor weights (6 kg) require already a considerably strong arena, since they are capable of quite some destructive power. Furthermore, the availability of commodity parts which can be easily reused in beetleweight builds provide a considerate cost advantage to bigger combat robot weightclasses. Also the establishment of high power spinners make Hardox (or any other steel which properties are similar to those of Hardox) armour a must-have for (raptor)/featherweight robots. This requires the ability to manipulate and process though steel types which exclude many of the aspiring robot builders.
Since I have spent quite a few words on the reasons behind choosing beetleweight as a suitable weight class it is now time to elaborate a bit on the arena. The arena is comprised of individual blocks which hold together by means of strong neodymium magnets. This concepts allow a fast and easy "plug-n-play" assembly of the arena while still providing a strong connection. The arena floor consists of 10 mm thick transparent polycarbonat - the colour is provided by paper mounted between the polycarbonat plate and the frame of the block. The dimensions of one individual block are 270 x 270 x 180 mm.
The prototype built to demonstrate the concept consists of 3 x 3 = 9 individual blocks and has a size of 0.81 x 0.81 m. The final arena should consist of 7 x 7 = 49 blocks which leads to an arena size of 1.89 x 1.89 m 🙂 . The current prototype consists only of so called passive blocks. A passive block is a block which just provides a piece of arena floor. There shall also be active blocks which provide arena hazard functionality to the arena such as automatically rising spikes, flippers, saws, turntables, ...
Since building such an modular arena comes with quite a bit of expense we are currently looking for sponsors helping us in our adventure 🙂 If you, dear reader, are someone who could imagine contributing to such a project or works for a company who might be able to help us please do not be shy to contact me at office AT lxrobotics.com 🙂