pic: Houston Comicpalooza 2014

Many Houston area teams were at Comicpalooza this weekend promoting FRC and VEX Robotics. We were there for all 4 days of the convention and had an awesome experience. We had mermaids, kings, daleks, professional wrestlers, roller derby athletes, and even the batmobile interacting with our teams and robots.

This was one of the best demonstrations I have ever been a part of.

We’ve put up a ton of pictures on our flickr page.

Thanks to Houston Mini Maker Faire and Comicpalooza for allowing us to participate in such an awesome event.

If there is a convention like this in your area I highly recommend you see if they will let your team(s) be a part of it. We had a lot of fun and introduced a large number of people to FIRST and VEX.

AWESOME! Now I can tell you after following your twitter adventure, We were extremely jealous that we didn’t sign up! Now by chance did Bret Hart drive your robot? :smiley:

Also what were some of the difficulties that you encountered before or during the event? Anything that will help CON presenters in the future?

No sadly Bret Hart didn’t drive the robot and I never even saw him. We did have Walter Jones drive our robot, the original Black Power Ranger.

The organizers of the event made it very easy for us. We were able to get a huge amount of space and get all the mentors and students in to the event for free. There were very few problems.

I had the fortune of helping the teams at Comicpalooza Saturday and Monday. Here is my suggestion for teams considering demoing at any multiday convention, prepare for it less as a demo and more as a competition.

A normal demo for me was with a relatively static crowd. Comicpalooza had a different dynamic. Since the crowd continuously changed, robots were run for much longer periods so more people could see the robots in action. This meant charged batteries were in short supply and more mechanical problems ensued. You should bring spares of anything you would bring to a competition because it **will** break. As an example from this weekend, Texas Torque had a driveteain malfunction and the Robonauts had a shooter issue on Saturday alone. It can happen to you.

The convention ran 4 days about 9-5. That is longer than a normal regional and the robots were being run each day more than they would be at a regional (several hours each day compared to an hour over a regional, albeit with lesser defense). You will get tired. Comicpalooza was wellorganized with a large nuber of teams so whole teams could run in shifts (3 robots running at a time while the others are cooling down). This gave the robots and teams a rest. Props to Allen for making that work.

Overall, I would say it was a very positive experiance for all the teams present and all the con-goers as well.

Thanks Aaron for bringing up some good points. A demo like this definitely tests your robot’s robustness. We did see some wear on our drive gears and we broke our first two belts of the season. We had some shaft collars come loose but no other major damage. Batteries are always an issue when doing day long demos but when we bring a lot of batteries and have a place to charge them we can go for 5 or 6 hours if needed.

This demo was also a great time to train other drivers and learn from other teams. We had people form different teams driving each others robots and we got to see a lot of the little details that go into these robots.

We made a quick recap video from the event.