Monsoon v Ragnarök (Episode 3)
For our first fight, we were up against Ragnarök (who'd have known that one was coming?) Tim, our teammate from last year, had joined Jack Tweedy to build this very powerful axe bot.
We knew this machine packed some real power. We'd already seen what the robot it was based off, AU Thumper, had done in China, so we didn't want to understimate what it could potentially do to us and we took this fight very seriously.
Going into the box we knew our 10mm HDPE lids were a big weakness, so we decided we'd make several changes to our armour set up. Going from our standard 6mm Hardox front armour to 3mm Hardox gave us enough of a weight saving to use 4mm Hardox lids instead, which could give us much more protection against that powerful axe.
After a nice British cup of tea and a cake inside the Battlebox, it was time for THE FIGHT.
The plan was always to spin up the weapon then attack the wheels, but once they charged head first into us, we needed to point the weapon at them. The first hit was a glancing blow, but the second sent them into the air, landing upside down.
We both agreed that before the fight started that we wanted a big fight as we knew how much this fight was being hyped up. We tried to knock them back over, but decided to leave them when Tweedy shouted that he could see smoke.
Monsoon wins by KO - a short fight, but a win's a win!
Monsoon v Hypershock (Episode 6)
The second fight saw us step into the box with HyperShock. Being a powerful vertical disc spinner we knew not to underestimate them. We knew historically they'd had reliability issues, and along with our big weapon we did feel like we had an edge over them. We're also a lot faster than we were last year, so we could probably even give Hypershock a run for their money in a drag race! The thicker armour went back on to hopefully give us the chance to take some of the hits if needed (aha).
Unfortunately things didn't entirely go to plan, here's why...
Last season, the pivot was held in place by a pair of steel M30 bolts and nuts. This was a very solid method of holding the weapon bulkheads in place, but was also very heavy. In order to save weight on Monsoon 2, we made some titanium bolts out of one of Monsoon 1's old weapon shafts, with circlips instead of nuts to stop it sliding out (again, to save weight).
The fight started out well, we got up to speed and we went weapon to weapon. One of the hits sent us over backwards, giving Hypershock a clean shot at the rear of the robot. This dislodged the circlips, causing the pivot bolts to slide out. With nothing holding the two sections of the robot together, the weapon... fell out.
We were beached on our weapon belts, and whilst we were able to wriggle free at the end, by then it was too late. There wouldn't have been much we could have done without a weapon anyway - we only had one chassis with us (we're not a big budget team unfortunately).
Coming out of the Battlebox we knew that had some work to do for the next fight, including finding a sure-fire way this would not happen again. Alongside replacing the rear armour we also had to cut out part of the chassis and weld in some new material (with thanks to Chaos Corps for the spare metal, and Lincoln Electric.
We were now 1-1 going into our third fight, so we knew that we had to give the next one everything we've got!
Monsoon v Valkyrie (Episode 10)
So for our third fight, we were drawn up against the nasty undercutter, Valkyrie! As luck would have it, we actually did have a setup for this fight, with one caveat - When we first build the robot, it was 118kg, a little overweight. When we finally got the weight down, it was 113.4kg (250lb) on the dot, leaving us very little wriggle room for alternate setups.
We knew we needed something extra when facing a horizontal spinner, but the only way we could mount any sort of wedge to the robot would be to swap out our weapon motor (the mighty ETEK-R), for a lighter, brushless motor. This would save approximately 8kg, only enough for a small wedge. By also putting our anti-Ragnarök top plates onto the underside of the robot, we should be pretty well equipped to take on undercutters.
The major downside to this setup though was the weapon spin up time. The brushless motor we used was selected as it was almost a perfect drop in replacement for our existing weapon motor, but at about half the power. The weapon would reach the same tip speed of 250mph, but would take about 9 seconds to do it - the same spin up time as Valkyrie.
This is why we couldn't box rush them.
Our best bet was to spin up all the way and take them head on. Even though it was small, the wedge should be just big enough to deflect their weapon upwards - where we could catch the underside of it with our bar.
The fight started off well, we we far more manoeuvrable and faster than Valkyrie, so it was simple enough to avoid them during the start of the fight. Then for a few (very) crucial seconds, we lost radio signal (as you can probably see in the fight), and we took a hit. This was the one and only time we've ever had radio signal issues at BattleBots too, perfect timing right!
This hit took out our weapon motors and shattered one of the bearings. For the second fight in a row, we had unfortunately lost the weapon. We managed to stop their weapon for a few seconds, but eventually they got free, and had little choice but to keep up the aggression and try to stall their weapon.
Whilst the damage looks severe, the chassis was intact due to the bottom mounted anti axe plates. The weapon section was written off, but we had a spare so we'd be good to go for our next fight.
We were now at 1-2, with one qualifying fight remaining. Normally, this would mean the end of the line for most robots vying to get into the championship rounds. However, with so many robots also at 1-2 or 2-2, we knew that we could make it with a big win.
DID YOU NOTICE ours and Monsoon’s matching HyperShock bandaids?!?!? Since we both lost to Hypershock in previous BattleBots fights they were generous enough to give us some band-aids to help our boo-boos heal.
I wonder who our next opponent would be?
Monsoon v Bite Force (Episode 13)
After two nasty losses to both HyperShock and Valkyrie, we knew that our odds of getting into the final 16 was low. Then an email came through - our final fight was with Bite Force, the (what was then), two time champion! This would be the toughest match up that we'd have ever had, but if we could beat Bite Force... we'd have a very strong argument for making it into the tournament.
The following day, we got on with our repairs. Valkyrie had written off our weapon bulkhead section and broken the weapon bearings, so we fitted in a new weapon bulkhead and got some bigger, sturdier bearings. As these didn't fit in the weapon bar, Tormach Inc. thankfully bored out the existing hole to make them fit. (Unfortunately the disc wouldn't fit, and the single tooth bar was slightly bent after facing Valkyrie, so we decided to go with the double toothed bar.
As this was an all or nothing effort, we decided to put the big, ME0708 (Etek-R) motor in the robot. This is the same model of motor used in Tombstone, and is in fact the actual motor we used in the first version of Monsoon - also the exact same one used in Tauron 1, 2 and 3! (thanks to Team Phantom for handing us this motor at Robot Wars series 9 - we might still owe you those drinks!) - so we knew it had the power. To get in weight with it though, we made the decision to put our thinner, 3mm armour on. (Sure, let's put our thin armour on to face Bite Force...)
The fight starts, the weapon spins up immediately, then we collide - Bite Force manages to get under us, and flips us over - we can't move. During the post-Valkyrie repairs, the RC leads for both sides of the drive were routed through a tight area of the chassis, and these had come out. With this speedy knockout, we were out of the tournament. We did manage to take a couple of nibbles out of Bite Force though!
This was not quite the end for Monsoon, as we had one more fight to go! A 2 v 2 fight with Ragnarök against Chronos and Mad Catter!
That amazing and hilarious fight aside, it was honestly a disappointing end to our run in BattleBots 2019, as the robot should have been able to deliver more.
Without giving away any spoilers for 2020, we have lots of ideas of where Monsoon could go next - needless to say LOTS will be changing, and I can't wait to show you all what we've got in store!
See you next season!