Sunday, September 30, 2018

Icewave 2018 Recap Part 6 - Rotator

Warning: This post contains spoilers! If you have not watched our match with Rotator, you should come back later and read this after watching! 

A Day to Prepare

Coming off a victory against HUGE, we felt confident that a 3-1 record would place us solidly in the tournament of 16.  At this point we did not know the exact match-ups though.  We get to work on the teardown and inspection of Icewave.  It's starting to become familiar, but very tiring, now.

After inspecting the bot, it looks like nothing failed.  Our 3D printed parts had survived and kept the red engine in one piece!  This is great news, but now we have a tough decision to make.

Our new engine crankcase has finally arrived, but it'll be a massive effort to dismantle the old yellow engine and transfer all of the parts over to the new crankcase.  The crankcase also has to be heavily modified (with a precision angle grinder) to remove all the excess material.  With not much else to work on, we begin that process.  However, we tentatively decide to leave the red engine as-is on the robot, since it seemed to be working.  Installing a brand new engine could introduce a lot of new, unanticipated problems.

We also take the opportunity to run everything again in the test arena just to be sure it's all good.  We're feeling pretty content at this point.  We have our new spare engine ready in case we need it after this match, but we'll fight this upcoming match as-is.

Icewave v. Rotator

We learned going into this match that Rotator was changing configurations.  Victor was going to add our least favorite defense mechanism, a big sloped plow on the front of Rotator, in place of one of their discs.  As usual, this is frustrating, but expected.  Without putting much thought into it, I guess I mistakenly assumed their single disc would be the one near the floor.  It wasn't until we were lining up to fight that I realized this configuration meant their disc would be raised up high on the back.  Our engine cover is only made from very thin 1/8" aluminum sheets.  This should be fine though, since our primary defense is our spinning blade anyway.  In 3 seasons no robot has done significant damage to our engine, because they just can't get past our blade.  We make our way to the arena.

Victor looking like he's ready for an EDM festival.

Angie's back!

Upon learning we made it into the tournament, Angie couldn't keep herself away.  She flew back in for the weekend so we were a complete team again!

The match gets started, and we spin up to full speed.  Our two bots clash a few times and our blade creates a shower of sparks off Rotator's new titanium plow.  Everything seems to be going fine, and we've avoided flipping over so far.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, our engine cuts out.  I drive around for a few seconds to avoid Rotator while we recover.  Alex is operating the engine controls, so he immediately hits the starter and we can hear the engine restart.  The engine dies again a few seconds later.  We haven't been able to spin up.  Alex restarts the engine a second time, and we can hear it run for a few cycles, but then it dies again.

This entire time I am doing my best to avoid confrontation with Rotator in the arena.  I ask Alex what he thinks is going on, but it's not clear why the engine is behaving this way.  Regardless, now it seems dead for good, as Alex attempts to restart to no avail.  I drive around for a few more seconds, but without a spinning blade, I know I'm going to have to face the music at some point.

I bite the bullet and drive straight into Rotator.  His disc immediately tears through our engine cover with ease, and the engine inside has been hit.  At this point, nothing else could be done but to try to show aggression by driving straight into him and shoving him around.  Unfortunately, this meant more and more engine pieces would get ripped off until Rotator had slowly dismantled the entire upper half of Icewave.

Short of a miracle, nothing would stop Rotator from taking the win at this point.  We continue driving as aggressively as possible for the remaining 2 minutes with a 5 MPH robot and no blade.  The judges rightly claim Rotator as the winner, and that ends our run at the 2018 Giant Nut!

Affectionately known as "Zombie Icewave" now.

While we're disappointed at how this match turned out, we're mostly frustrated that we'll never know why the engine died.  It's nearly impossible to investigate the root cause when your engine is spread across the arena floor in 100 pieces.

What's Next for Icewave?

Overall we are very pleased with Icewave's performance this season.  It was a drastic improvement over our missteps in 2016, and we definitely had some amazing fights.  Another season hasn't been announced yet, but we've already begun thinking what to do next.  We're excited to have a clean slate (literally) to work with.  Should we double down and build a custom engine that is more robust than the old one?  Should we do the smart thing and switch to electric motors and abandon the ICE completely?  Send us a message on our Facebook page and let us know what you think we should do!

Thanks for reading!


*** Photo Credit:  Jon Bennett, Tony Woodward, Dan Longmire ***


  1. keep the ICE it one of the more unique robots with the ICE set up

  2. Keep the ICE your the only ice powered bot on battlebots

  3. I'd say the engine cut out because of damage from Rotator's attack. Also, keep the ICE or change the robot's name.

  4. Rotator caught me by surprise, that one's a real contender! Great season for Icewave, you had some fantastic matches.

  5. Haven worked with Gage C on Vladiator back in the CC days of BB. I would absolutely ditch the gas Configuration. Way too many issues and very hard to build armor for it. You will be able to have a much tighter and better defense with a good electrical motor then a gas one. You’re too high centered, Gas motors cannot take the abuse that an electrical motor can. It spins up faster, has more torque which will lead to a better defense with faster bots. You can also build better shields for protection.

    Great matches though. We were rooting for you.
    Mike B

  6. The ICE is what makes you unique. It's the reason why people like me root for you to win. The ICE makes you the underdog and keeps me coming to the show. That being said, there are plenty of changes, some major, some not that I think people would be okay with.

    A purpose-built engine like you suggested above would be the logical next step. You could also go radical and convert it into a swiss-army-bot. Being able to switch between vertical and horizontal ICE-powered bars would be useful against those pesky wedges. More than anything I think you should maximize your advantages over the electric competition. Have you thought about Nitro Methane or Nitrous Oxide? If you're feeling particularly adventurous, small rotary (not necessarily Wankel)engines offer great power to weight ratios with very few moving parts.

    I'm sure that my ramblings aren't very practical or good for that matter, but they are ideas all the same. Good luck to your team with all future endeavors.

  7. You said once that Icewave's key to victory was to keep spinning.

    The only problem is that Icewave has a hard time doing that against bots that are faster that it. So, the first change I propose doing to icewave is to make the bot move faster.

    If Icewave were to be a bit more nimble, then it would have more room to spin up. this would have helped in previous matches, like the matches against skorpios and RotatoR. In the Skorpiosa match. more speed would mean Icewave would be able to escape Skorpios and deal damage, similarly to how RotatoR did against him. In your fight against Rotator, you would be able to pick your shots easier and possibly would have knocked the blade off of Rotator.

    Another idea would be to have a new blade attachment, except that this new attachment isn't a blade, its a disk.

    The Disk would be useful for Icewave because it would help keep away bots from running oup to the Ice like RotatoR did when the Ice is down, like a ring of protection if you will. Icewave can switch between the two attachments, the blades for offense, and the disk for defense. I also think that Icewave could also figure out a way o make a blade that can self right itself while spinning in case of a match against Bronco or something.

    These changes I thought of to try to make Icewave more versatile with the meta. If these changes were made, Icewave would be able to pick its shots off, even against fast adversaries like SawBlaze, and would be able to defend itself pretty darn well with the disk acting as a barrier against bots meaning to hit Icevave's Ice. I hope you consider these ideas for the next season, and I can't wait to see Icewave deal out some serious damage again!

  8. Practically, the ICE should probably go, but I think we've all grown fond of it. Plus, it is an integral part of the bot, given its name, so I think giving it one more season to try would be a good idea. However, a self righting arm would definitely be handy, and maybe a slightly faster Icewave would be able to keep up with some of these other bots. I'd be sad to see it go, as it's one of my favorite bots ever, but ultimately the decision lies with you.

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