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BattleBots IQ ready for a new season

posted Mar 28, 2016, 8:05 PM by Jeffrey Wolf


By: Korey Alder, Photography Editor

Posted: November 17th, 2015

Last week Thursday was the first meeting of the year for BattleBots IQ, a club for building, testing, and competing with weaponized robots. The club was started nationally in 2001 by the same people who produced the popular BattleBots TV show, in which homemade robots fought each other in elaborate tournaments. IQ is a scaled down version for students, but the concept is basically the same. The club meets Tuesdays and Thursdays until 4:45 to work officially on the various bots, although many members put in extra time to meet deadlines.

The bots themselves are built from custom metal components manufactured here in Slinger High School's technology department. Electronics are mainly standard RC car, helicopter, and plane parts, which can be implemented to suit each bots needs. Each bot falls under a certain weapon category, and although there are some rules as to what kinds of weapons are allowed, some freedom is granted. The most common weapon system is the wedge, essentially a moving chassis with angled ramps on some or all of the sides. These angles are used to hopefully flip over adversaries or for defensive purposes. Another favored weapon is the β€œbar,” a metal rectangle that spins at high rpm, used to attack and damage enemies. There are countless variations of both these systems, and these are the choices of Slinger's bots this year.

The first competition having already passed, Slinger is currently looking to enter the May competition, located at Waukesha Technical College. These competitions provide a great opportunity to see many local and state colleges, and are open to the general public for viewing. This year, Slinger's three Bots teams will each be sending a robot to the competition; a wedge bot, bar bot, and drum bot (a variation on the bar). New members this year are being split up onto the three teams, so that they can learn from the more experienced builders and help out.

Bots club is a great place to learn about manufacturing and engineering, as you have to apply these aspects every meeting to get your bot from Solidworks to the real-world, functioning machine. The Bots club veterans recommend all the members take Slinger's engineering, electricity, and automated manufacturing classes; however these are not required to be a part of Bots. Although the first meeting for new members was this Tuesday, the bots are currently still in the design phase and fabrication doesn't begin until next week. Mr. Pokrzywa is the club's director, and anyone looking to join now should make inquiries to him. Otherwise, keep Bots club in your mind as an extra-circular for next year.

Having won several competitions in past years, Slinger has made a reputation for itself and its bots, and the club is looking forward to continuing that legacy in May.

Stay tuned for more updates as the year progresses, as well as results from the competition later in the year.

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