Battlebots with FRC mentors and FRC suppliers

Hey all, I just finished making a little season recap video for our Battlebot, Bite Force, and thought you might enjoy it! There is a lot of FIRST connection, so thought that may be of interest.

Myself and most of my team have been active FRC mentors for 10+ years each. Several of my key teammates are also lead mentors of 254, Travis Covington, Cory McBride, and Colin Wilson.

The Aptyx Designs team sponsors are also very big supporters of FIRST! WPI and VEX Robotics are especially huge supporters, having mentored active and sustaining teams for all 25 years of FRC! You also all know how much time and money they donate to FIRST HQ to help your KOP and behind the scenes planning and programming help. Applied Welding has helped many Silicon Valley teams have expertly welded frames over the past decade. And Big Blue Saw is a waterjet company which has cut parts for many FRC teams over the years.

Our robot even ran VEX Victor 885 motor controllers, with one of them being almost a decade old! (the oldest part of the robot by far, how cool is that?)

We were proud to help spread the word of those FIRST suppliers, and were even able to sneak in a 254 swoosh logo onto ABC TV!

Although we are currently all swamped with Stronghold, we are also actively working on Battlebot upgrades for the filming of the new second season, which will again air in the summer.

I am really hoping to get a chance to test out Bite Force’s tank tread drivetrain against the FIRST defenses and obstacles. Andy, you want to do a head-to-head tug of war with a rhino drive? :wink:

If you know of any other sponsors who may be interested in joining the championship winning team, please have them get in touch with me! [email protected]

-Paul Ventimiglia

A question I bet some others would be interested in:

How would you recommend getting involved in Battlebots? And where would we be able to find out about local, smaller robot fighting competitions to begin with?

And again, congratulations on an amazing Battlebots season!

I never knew this was something I wanted in life until now.

Seriously though, congratulations on an amazing season. Will you be attending championships? I bought one of the Biteforce shirts, and I think it’d be pretty sweet to add a signature to it.

Wow that’s really cool! I wasn’t aware Aptyx had FIRST Mentors, although I should’ve figured when I saw your sponsors, lol.

Battlebots was actually one of the things that got me into robotics, so it’s cool to see this. I actually loved your robot the most (don’t tell anybody else).

Keep on being awesome!

Also, a side note, how were the other teams in terms of friendliness? Because on TV I noticed some more than others were fairly… hostile. Of course keeping it gracious and all, can you give a little insight in that, if you don’t mind?

I have thought about the crossovers for a long time. I am actually working with the school to get beetle weight combat robots as a non FRC robotics activity at the school. This could be interesting for kids to get more hands on time with robots and engage some of the kids (and parents) who do not respond as well to the FRC type bots.

Another somewhat related thing I am getting started in the school is Power Racing Series cars. the basics of it are, you get $500 and 1440 Watts to make a power wheels car faster, then race it around a track with other maniacs…I mean enthusiasts. Here is the trailer for the 2016 season. and the series web page

My Battlebots experience goes back about 10 years now, but I doubt much has changed. The pits at a BB event are much like that of a FIRST event. Most people are willing to help each other out and are friendly. Speaking of this last season ( which I had no part of) , many of the builders have been doing this a long time and know each other very well. Much of the conflict on the show was for show. Not to say that tempers don’t flair in the heat of battle, but that happens in FRC also.

I am sure Paul could give you more specifics, but don’t be fooled by the “reality tv drama.”

Yeah for example, Donald Hudson is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet (and both an FRC mentor and longtime battlebot builder) but for TV they somehow painted him as the bad guy! It was good for TV but it was pretty funny if you ever met him.

Can’t wait for the next season, they have done a fantastic job with the reboot!

Yeah, I kind of had an idea that it was just for the sake of “reality drama”. I was just wondering if it really was just played up for tv or some of them were just… you know.

BTW The maker and driver of the car in the video thumbnail was also a captain of team overhaul in BB and a FIRST alum.

yep Charles Guan aka “Professor” Charles formerly of MIT and now professional Miku fan, or something…

His blog assisted quite a bit in building my first car and the later strapping of an Aquastar T20 to a modified toughbox to upgrade the motor.

Oh hey, I remembered my password and username!

I actually got my start in robots doing combat robots (battlebots, lower case B) in ~2001-2002 after watching the show… FIRST came later, where I founded my high school’s team after already having competed in small local events for a few years.

Overall, I have found battlebots-with-a-lower-case-B to be a more freeform experience. The cost can be substantially lower to start, there are less rules so you can experiment and do crazy hackish things you wouldn’t do in FIRST or Vex.

Since leaving high school, I’ve mentored both FIRST teams and students building combat bots for local events. Honestly, the combat world has never been as league-organized as FIRST, but maybe that’s a good thing. To me it means people can pick and choose how they want to experience building and engineering.

(BTW, the “drama” on the show was entirely builder-side. Ray Billings the Evil Villain is the most chill guy in real life, for instance. We all amped it up a bit for the presentation. So long as it’s all intiated by the builders I think it’s okay.)

… (Also, posting in Bite Force thread as Overhaul captain :cool: )

Was the drama on the show between you and Dan from Lockjaw also built up more for the show than it was in real life?

This is actually really cool!