KOB2 Diary – Part 4

Day 15

  • Go into the competition at 10:30 while Connie and Alice stay in the hotel. Plan is just to chat with people and watch some fights.
  • I noticed all the eliminated chinese robots are moved to different benches, but the builders and their equipment are gone. Leslie tells me that the robots are paid for by KOB and must be left behind. The builders took all the spare parts and leave the empty chassis. The international teams are oblivious to this since they don’t really chat to the chinese teams.
  • Brian Nave is getting bored and is challenging people to a fight. We don’t know when the intruder robots will final be introduced into the competition and the teams are tired of sitting around and doing nothing. I accept his challenge to test his new robot and are told we can have the arena during lunch. But it will take 5 -6 hours to repair Huntsman as I haven’t touched it since it was eliminated and I left my batteries and radio in the hotel. Directors say it is ok and we can fight tomorrow.
  • Pull everything back out of the crate and start fixing. Requires 3 people to bend the side of the chassis into shape. I had Robert Nani from team Monster and a random chinese fella who was walking past stand on one side of the robot while I used Cat King’s giant wrench to pry the damaged side. Wish I took photos of that. Actually Robert was with me for the entire repair, trying to learn how I designed and built the robot. Severely underestimated that pink beater.
  • Robot almost ready for testing at 6pm, just requires some soldering for motor plugs. I was correct in the 6 hour estimation for the repair time.
  • Competition fights finally start, but apparently are only “practice matches” so that the celebrities can learn about the robots on their leagues. The builders don’t want to damage their robots in fights that won’t count and decide to not use their weapons. This results in some boring fights. Some Chinese men from the audience come to see my robot and are rather impressed. Would rather talk to me rather than watch the fights. The directors start complaining that the builders will win money for each win they get, so they should be trying to win, but the builders ignore them. I doubt the fights would get aired.
  • Catch a taxi for the hotel at 8pm rather than watch the fights and wait for the bus. Turns out the bus left at 1am.

Day 16

  • Head in at 11:30 to finish getting the robot ready. Just need to solder some plugs onto a new weapon motor and put in the batteries.
  • Told we can have the arena in the afternoon, but that didn’t happen. They were filming team meetings and didn’t want too much noise.
  • Put Huntsman in the test arena. Everything works fine. Drew a nice crowd.
  • KOB people still asking if I want to fight Shredderator. They seem to think it is a bad idea and I’ll just get destroyed. I just laugh.
  • Competition fights happen at night, 3 fights scheduled between two leagues. One league wins the first 2 fights, so final fight cancelled.
  • Told we can borrow the arena at 9:30pm
  • Huntsman been prepared all day, feel confident.
  • Put it in the arena. Word gets around and a large crowd forms, including Emma Dumont. I feel extra nervous as I can finally fight in front of a celebrity and show what they missed out on. The arena lights have been turned off and “need to rest”, so we have to find portable lights. Go to turn on the robot and sparks arc up from the screw driver on the drive side. Decide to dismiss it. When doing the prefight checks the robot fails to move. Go back in to check the robot and find the drive power is off. Try to turn it on, more sparks, power light comes on and then dies. I get asked if I can fix it in the arena, but I worry it is a battery short and decide that it will be safer to take it back to the bench for a complete check rather than risk a battery fire.
  • While getting the robot out I hear Emma making rude jokes about my robot. So annoyed and hate her. Other builders tell her to be quiet.
  • Bench check shows that batteries are fine and the power lines running from the left to the right side of the robot had been pinched between the frame and the weapon motor. Riding on the trolley over the bumps to the arena must have rubbed through the wire. Every time the screw driver touched the switch and the lid the robot would turn on. The sparks are the capacitors charging. Once the screw driver was removed the robot would switch off. The power light would stay on while the capacitors discharged. If I turned the power screw 2 more turns the robot would have turned on fine, but risked a short as the chassis was grounded.
  • Shredderator continues to drive in the big arena for practice. Fight postponed as their batteries were flat and the work crew wanted to prepare the arena for tomorrow’s filming.
  • Go back to the hotel. Not happy.

Day 17

  • Alice and Connie not feeling well, so I decide to stay in the hotel during the day. Send a message to Brian to say I still want to fight and he can call me if we get the arena.
  • New stroller arrives, so test it out by walking up to the big shopping centre for dinner. $35, bargain.
  • While eating dinner I watch a mother hold a small child while it went to the toilet in a rubbish bin. And then a few minutes later I watch a man search through the bin for a water bottle. I’ll never forget that sight.
  • While at the shops we get a message from Brian Nave that we have the arena for a fight. Quickly find a taxi and Leslie to head in. Connie and Alice stay behind at the hotel.
  • Fix the broken wire with an empty coke bottle to protect it from abrasion. Do 3 bench tests.
  • Head into the arena. Only a quarter of the crowd of the previous night. But that gives it a more underground feel, just like when I first started. Feel more relaxed.
  • Fight went to plan. Finally drove calmly. Drive slowly to keep the spinner in front of me. Use the armour to box Shredderator into a corner. One of the impacts breaks Shredderators shell and causes it to lose balance and affects its control. I tried to hit it with the axe, but it was in the far corner and the poor lighting made it hard to judge distance, so I missed. So bugger it, I’ll just keep ramming and not worry about being out manovoured. Get Shredderator into a corner and go in with the axe even though I can’t see. The robot bounces into the centre of the arena, but has lost drive. I hear the Shredderator team yelling about a fire and that it was dead too. Double KO.
  • Lost drive because the battery unplugged and weapon from a bent motor (again).
  • The KOB arena crew and Blanka Botz (only guys watching) give me the win. Claim victory. Head back to hotel. Only at competition for less than 1 hour.
  • Go back to the hotel and hear that Shredderator lost its shell and drive base.
  • Slept very well.

Day 18

  • Go down to breakfast. Hear teams at other tables talking about me and the fight. Several teams come to congratulate me.
  • Walk over to the convenience store before going into the event. Bump into John Reid who congratulates me on the fight. Almost cried. Last time I tried to chat to him was in 2005 when I asked on a forum about kinetic energy calculations for electric hammers. All my robots use the calculations from the ideas he gave me. No longer care about the previous 2 weeks.
  • Catch the 11:30am bus.
  • Spend the day slowly fixing the robot.
  • Several robots ask for a fight. Feels like builders have finally realised that I’m not a noob. Organise fights with Orby, Medusa and Ground Dragon.
  • Watch a few fights. No idea what stage of the competition we are up to. If I go back I’m going to take a white board to keep track of things.
  • Go back to hotel on the first bus.
  • Hear on WeChat that the next day will be interesting with a strange fight format, but unsure if we’ll go in. Maybe have a relaxing day.

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