Sunday 11 February 2018

Bourbon at the UWE Beetle Brawl Feb 2018

The University of West England held a Beetle Brawl on the 10th Feburary 2018. I managed to secure a place for 'Bourbon' and competed. This was to be the first time I'd get to use my newly designed wubber drum. A drum spinner with the motor driving the drum via a rubber wub to isolate the motor from impacts and shocks.

The Heats

Bourbon's first fight was against 'Puns & Roses' a robot I'd helped to build. As 'Puns' was a wedge bot it was my drum bot's natural enemy. We were both quite evenly matched in our drive power so couldn't out push each other. Eventually I managed to attack from behind and get some bite into the HDPE chassis of 'Puns' resulting in them being flipped out of the arena into the trench.

The second fight in my heat was against a student bot 'Critical Failure'. This bot had two spinning blades but they were too high up to actually hit 'Bourbon' so did no damage. Due to the thin mild steel chassis and vertical sides I was able to quickly get a good bite and throw it around. It went out as I managed to beach it on its back immobilising it.

After winning both my fights I was though to the 2nd Round

The 2nd Round

The first fight was against another student bot, 'Crabsolutely Clawful' which was my favorite bot in the competition. Even if I won I'd be knocking an awesome bot out! It was a HDPE chassis with 3D printed claw arms, I managed to throw it around and eventually broke one of the claw linkages when the driver tapped out. Luckily I hadn't caused any damage he couldn't repair so everything was okay!

The second fight was against 'Dr. Bees'. I knew this fight was going to be nasty as 'Dr. Bees' was a powerful horizontal spinner with a large Hardox bar. At the time I figured that by aggressively attacking with my new wubber drum I'd cause more damage to him than myself. This was partially correct, I managed to stop his spinning bar and stop one of his drive motors at the cost of flipping 'Bourbon' over, jamming the drum and dislodging one of 'Bourbon's Hardox teeth. I won due to immobilisation as I was able to still "move" (more like crab) around the arena.

However this is the fight that caused the biggest problems. I needed to strip 'Bourbon' down and see why the drum stopped, fix it and put it back together. But due to the event running rather late I was pressured in to quickly throwing my spare, old style drum, onto 'Bourbon' not checking if it worked before going back into the arena.

The Finals

I was up against 'Incomplete Control' a ridiculously good 4WD pusher. Honestly I wasn't expecting to win this fight. The driver was better than me, 'Incomplete Control' can out push 'Bourbon' and I was rushing due to almost no fixing time. When the match started I attempted to spin the drum up but due to my rush I had tighten the bulkheads too tight and the drum was unable to spin. The hope was I'd be able to flip 'Incomplete Control' away enough times to give me a fighting chance, instead I was quickly pushed in to the pit for a very unsatisfying end.

However all was not lost, I then fell though to a losers melee where I could redeem myself and fight off two other bots for a return to the running for 3rd/4th place. I went downstairs for a chance to look over my robot and try and get the drum running before I was immediately called back to the arena. Luckily I was able to get the drum working and actually had a weapon for this match.

I managed to get some really good hits in before getting flipped by a poorly considered attack on 'Swag Daemon'. The drum had dislodged on the last hit and kept me propped up such that I was unable to move. The remaining bot in the melee 'Mr Cat’s Mouse House' took the victory as the remaining moving robot.


'Bourbon' is a very nasty little drum spinner that can both deal out massive hits as well as take them. However its biggest weakness is being flipped upside down which means it has poor manoeuvrability. I didn't have any major drive problems and the wubber drum worked superbly. In fact once the competition was finished I was able to inspect the drum properly and found that it was still operation but the idler bearing had dislodged which had jammed the drum.

In the end I came in 6th place out of 36 robots so I am very pleased with that result as I felt I ought to get into the top 10, and had a good chance at the top 3. On the other hand I am very frustrated that I was given insufficient time to properly inspect and repair 'Bourbon' after 'Dr. Bees' and so ended up fighting a match without a weapon.