Our second fight of the season was against the legendary Donald Hutson and Lock Jaw. Before anything else, we’re so excited to be fighting one of our childhood heros. Diesector, Tazbot, the mysterious Gear Crow, everything Donald and his team have built is just so cool. He’s been such a source of inspiration for some of our design decisions. There’s things he does that no one else does and he does them simply because no one else has thought to. Lock Jaw is probably the most cost effective robot in terms of how complicated it is and how successful it has been. Nearly every part on the whole robot is made from sheet metal. Even some of the 3D parts are just stacked sheets. It’s downright incredible and we’re so honored to finally get to fight them.
[So similar yet so different]
Strengths: We have a working robot! Just like last year, we’re going into our second fight with just a minor fix to improve upon an otherwise stellar performance. Will got a little more time in the test box, so he’s been really settling into the longer drive wheel base. We’re a little bit faster than Lock Jaw and fairly confident we can outpush it. Our forks are a few inches longer and shallower, so we should have a bit of an edge there too.
Weaknesses: Lock Jaw has enough weapon reach on us to threaten our weapon hub. We haven’t pushed our new robot to its limits yet, so there’s still a chance we’ve underspecced something. The weapon got stuck in the Slammo! fight due to a slip clutch unscrewing, but we don’t know if the weapon or the clutches themselves would have survived indefinitely. The new wheel rims are more delicate due to being deeper on the outside. While a folded rim isn’t much of a concern overall, we don’t know how they’ll hold up under more punishment.
Opportunities: Donald is a great driver, Lock Jaw doesn’t keep up with him. In watching his previous matches, we noticed he often oversteers or overcorrects when trying to align himself. We also found that he likes to disengage anytime he doesn’t have the advantage, either because he’s been hit or an engagement angle isn’t working. We’re so much faster that he won’t have a moment to breathe. Anytime he tries to back off and reset the tempo, the fight is coming right back to him. More broadly, if we win this fight, we’ll be 2-0, just about solidifying our selection for the round of 32.
Threats: Lock Jaw tends to improve over the course of a season. The loss against Copperhead was a Judges Decision where Lock Jaw caught fire halfway through. It continued to take punishing hit after hit from Copperhead, but the damage wasn’t so severe. There just isn’t a lot of meat on the front of Lock Jaw for our sharp teeth to find purchase.
If we lose this fight, we have at least had a strong showing against a mid-tier in Slammo!, but then a loss to a high tier in Lock Jaw. Unless it’s a very close fight, losing this fight would be devastating for our chances for tournament selection.
[I mean really, if you don't know that one is all brushed and the other is brushless, they're just about the same robot]
We’re running almost the same configuration as we did against Slammo!: AR base top plate, light aesthetic panels, forks, double disks. The difference is we swapped the side armor/chain covers for the heavier AR pieces. We also replaced 2 tires and buffed out as many of the scratches as we could. We weighed in at 248lbs. One thing you may notice is the tips of our spinner are extra shiny. These are the same disks we used against Slammo! our teammate Collin sands and grinds them back to razer sharpness after each fight until they’re too chipped to fix anymore.
[Angle of attack]
Once again, no box rush. While Lock Jaw’s forks do tend to bounce around, charging headfirst into them would have been a mistake. More importantly, we really want to avoid letting Lock Jaw’s weapon get between ours and damage the magnesium hub. Following that first engagement in the middle, you see Will start chasing Donald, refusing to give him any room to slow down and realign. About 20 seconds in we appear to lose most of the front left wheel, the inner rim is still fully engaged, so we haven’t actually lost much of the drive power from that wheel.
If you watch closely, every time we go weapon to weapon, HyperShock turns a bit. This is to keep avoiding any risk to our weapon hub. With both of us having fully exposed front wheels, both drivers are trying to attack off-center to try to tear off a wheel. Will and Donald both see eachother’s driving talent as the primary threat in this fight. We trade wheels, but this actually works out well for us.
Losing that front tire enabled us to take the weapon up to 100% for the last 20 seconds of that fight. With so much of the front end laying on the ground and the diminished drive power, we didn’t have enough turning power to gyro anymore. Its probably what made the difference between another minute+ of fighting and getting those last few hits, stunning Lock Jaw in front of the door.
[OotA!!!! (look how worried BotDad is!)]
About that OotA
We were the first Out of the Arena of Season 6, thus Will and I making “oops” faces when it happened. We were terrified they’d disqualify us. I was worried about a worse possibility where we end up in some kind of controversial debate with production about the legality of the OotA.
The group hug while still holding the transmitters is a terrible idea. Will is holding his up in the air, I have mine swung wide behind us.
Our record now stands at 2-0, 1 KO, 1 OotA (oops)
We took a lot of high visibility, but low cost damage this fight. We wrote off 3 wheels, gave one to Lock Jaw. The front right tire was cored like an apple. The front left tire was nearly the extreme test case for our tires. The outer hub was completely disconnected from the rim, but the bead was still intact. The damaged rim was pressed into the tire foam, pushing it out of round. All four forks were bent, especially the inner pair. The outers were reasonably reusable. In a pinch, we could justify running the bent inners too. The weapon hub and billettes were badly scratched, but fully intact. The magnesium hub continued to survive.
One worry we have going forward is both of our matches so far have been on the shorter end. While that helps demonstrate our strength, its not optimal for TV and hasn’t shown us how the robot works when strained for 3 minutes.
Strengths: The robot kept working and kept working well. The welded slip clutches held up great. We were consistently getting under Lock Jaw, or just fully entangled with their forks.
Weaknesses: Their reach wasn’t as severe an issue as we feared. Will managed to mitigate it part way by trying to not square up or go straight in. Another short fight, so we still haven’t pushed the robot too hard. The wheel rims took a serious beating, but the tires that managed to stay attached were still spinning.
Opportunities: Will never gave Donald an inch, stayed on him like white on rice. Several times Donald tried to retreat back, but Will kept our front glued to his. When we lost the front tire, we started losing some of our edge on controlling the fight tempo, but at no point did Lock Jaw have space to reset.
Winning this fight really solidified our performance strength. A non-stop slug-fest with an extremely definitive ending. Taking the wheel off Lock Jaw really cemented the eveness of the damage. We feel extremely confident about our selection for the top 32.
Threats: Lock Jaw seemed a little stronger than they did against Copperhead, mostly in their drive stability. We’re very close to a mirror match for them, so coming out on top helped our confidence. As expected, we struggled to get good purchase on the front of Lock Jaw.
Winning this fight as strongly as we did negated any worries about struggling through a third fight for placement.
[Forks: bent in, but still functional. Would reuse in a pinch]
[Doesn't look so bad from this angle]
[At some point we lost a weapon chain. No idea when or where it went.]
[Front left tire, badly mangled, but still working]
[The outer half of the rim is just obliterated]
[Back right tire, also only held together by the inner rim. Gotta love those full support hubs. I believe this is the one we signed and gave to Lock Jaw]
[Close up of that front right rim. Tire just shredded right off.]
[Full shot, with the cored Tire.]