I (Chris) have always fancied Antweights as a weight class.  The level of challenge involved in building a combat robot that small, that light, and still capable of ripping other people’s creations to shreds has always piqued my interest as something that’s possible, but not easy.  Plus they’re really, really cute.  OK, they’re cute until you build a monster (looks pointedly at Shakey’s “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared”).

Our first stab at designing an antweight arena

So, one summer’s evening about 4 weeks ago, I got a bit bored.  I must’ve been very bored to get this far, but I made a conscious decision that I was not building antweights without an antweight arena to go with them.  Whether this was a disaster waiting to happen, or a stroke of sheer genius, we’ll soon find out.  I must make a public apology to Shakey (Alex Shakespeare) here, who has put up with me wittering on about various things for the last 4-6 weeks – especially those before I was on the RobotWars101 forum (which is where the vast majority of Antweight discussion seems to happen).

So I got Autodesk Inventor out and set about designing…. and came up with something that looked like an arena.  It had its problems – but wasn’t bad for about 3 hours (bear in mind here that I have no idea how to do mechanical engineering at all!).

I posted this to RW101 forum (knowing full well it had issues), and got a generally warm reception – There seemed to be a certain amount of excitement about somebody actually bothering to build an arena first!

What felt like several weeks went by, between version one and two, although RW101 seems to tell me it’s a mere 3 days between my two posts in that thread…. and we came up with this:

I’m not 100% happy with it still and there’s a few tweaks I’ve done since to address corner strength, etc, but in principle, it works quite nicely.

But, I hear you cry, why build an arena? Surely there must be hundreds? Well, the sad fact is that while there do seem to be a reasonable number of antweight arenas, this one appears to be one of a handful that can contain antweight spinner robots and still be easily packed up, shoved in the back of an estate car, people-carrier or van and moved across the country (I am happy to be corrected here!).  We’re doing that partly for convenience – we can’t have it set up all the time, and it needs to be easy to move.

But on top of that, we’re hoping that if we get it right, other people can build arena floors that will just fit onto the base in our arena and not have to spend a fortune on polycarb to get a viable battle box.  Massive thanks to Gary (BeligerAnt) for suggesting this.  We’re still working on the exact design for that, but will keep the community posted so that they can start thinking about it.

Finally, I’d like to thank the guys at GSD Technologies who have the “fun” job of turning my designs into reality.  Graham and his team are awesome.  They’re also interested in what we’re doing as a team.

Next week: More antics on the antweight scale.

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