Inaugural New Mexico Robot Combat Tournament

April 3, 2021


NMT Mechanical Engineering dept. hosted the 1st NM robot combat league tournament

Robotic Combat Main Site  WORKSHOP INFORMATION AND SIGN UP

Kinematic Chaos Comes to Our College
by Eleanor Rightley

bot combat
 

          This year, New Mexico Tech’s Mechanical Engineering department, along with some hard working volunteers, held its inaugural Robot Combat Competition. Robot Combat is a tournament-style event, where teams create robots that then compete head-to-head with another team's robot in a demolition derby style match. The winner of the match is determined by a points system. Teams can earn points for various moves throughout the match, as well as how well their robot runs after the match.  Until this year, NMT students travelled to compete in Dallas, Texas. While the competition in Texas provided great experience, students and faculty in the Mechanical Engineering department saw an opportunity to create their own competition.

This year’s inaugural competition involved three teams and a lot of COVID-related safety protocols. Two of these teams were students from the Junior/Senior Design Clinic classes. These students devoted many hours to designing, building, testing, and refining their robots. The third team was a joint effort between Dr. O’Malley (who bought the bot and got it ready for combat) and Dr. Ford’s sons Robinson and Keller (who drove the robot at the competition).

In addition to creating the robot competitors,  volunteers and students worked hard to create a suitable arena. This process began with a Junior and Senior Design team tasked with designing the arena and putting together the beginning prototype. From there, James Ruff, Senior Design Instructor and a faculty volunteer, and Mason Kasprowicz, a first-year student volunteer, worked together to finalize the design and prepare the arena for competition. This work included integrating all of the timers and alarms into the arena electronically as well as fixing the movement of the sliding doors. Another faculty volunteer, Hollis Dinwiddie, assisted with welding expertise.

            The Mechanical Engineering Department plans to expand this competition in a variety of ways.  Future competitions are scheduled to take place every semester, with next year’s tournaments set for November 2021 and April 2022.  Other universities will be invited to participate, community members can participate, and even high school and middle school students can compete in the event. Anyone interested in helping, creating, or competing at this event should go to the Mechanical Engineering Department Robot Combat Outreach page. If you or anyone you know may be interested in setting up a workshop to learn about building these robots you should click here to request more information. With more involvement and interest, this event will continue to grow.