A preview of the 2002 Robot Wars season

2001 was a successful year for SMIDSY. We competed in 3 mainstream televised events as well as a number of smaller local events. The robot took damage in all its battles but the effectiveness of the design showed itself as we were able to bring the robot up to fighting strength again with minimum drama in the pits. Our performance in RW Extreme with a new robot did us credit, this along with our appearance at RW Live in Sheffield where we reigned supreme over 2 days of STORMING combat meant we were rewarded with our first ever seeding for Robot Wars 5. 24th seed was the lowest position on the board but for us it was a landmark, recognition at last for SMIDSY's talents.

At the time of writing, Robot Wars 5 has yet to air on BBC2 so all I can say is that we didn't win but we fought a series of very good and very close fought battles. SMIDSY certainly didn't spoil his growing reputation.

Even a hammering from TerrorHurtz in Brighton didn't break SMIDSY. (Though we must remember: Never compete in an arena which doesn't allow disks unless the other robot doesn't have his weapon either.) Reconnecting a parted connector and hammering back a bent bit of chassis saw us able to run again within 15 minutes.

By the end of the year we were able to put a fully competitive SMIDSY to bed on the trickle charger while we concentrated on our Technogames entry, something we'd never been able to do before. If we could build on our record from 2001 we'd go forward into 2002 in a very strong position indeed!

At the start of 2002 we have a working robot but what can we do before the 2002 season? The chassis took a hell of a beating in 2001, we've straightened it out more times than we'd care to remember. We could use a new chassis made from stronger material, and while we're at it we might as well make a spare one. We're looking at special high-tensile steel or stainless steel if we can find it.

The disk is an effective weapon but it eats battery power. We've either got to find a way of making it use less power, find some bigger batteries or power it from an alternative power source.

Our top and bottom armour has never been a strong point. We've always armoured individual components inside the robot, we've now got to look at better external armour to replace our current titanium sheet. Titanium is fantastic stuff but we've been asking too much of it. Under evaluation for SMIDSY are titanium/polycarbonate laminates.

The jaws are SMIDSY's trademark weapon. The 2001 SMIDSY for the first time had rack and pinion jaw actuators which meant that at last SMIDSY's jaws were truly something to avoid in the arena. However a lot of SMIDSY's weight goes into those jaws, weight we could use elsewhere if only we could make the jaws lighter. On the cards for 2002 are a set of aluminium jaws which should be stronger than the steel ones as well as lighter.

Finally, our battery technology needs upgrading. Hawker Cyclons are almost indestructible and have powered us through all our battles without a hitch. We'd recommend them to anyone, but unfortunately they just can't supply the instantaneous current that the disk demands so they'll have to be replaced with something bigger.

All these modifications will be performed in the next month or two as we warm up for the 2002 season. We already have a proven reliable robot with components we trust, with these modifications we hope 2002 will be a very successful year for SMIDSY.