Mike Jeffries

Mike's Articles

The Evolution of Algos
November 2016
Now that the very successful one pound Algos robot has retired from combat, get the nitty-gritty details on the design.

Morrigan: 30 lb Flail Spinner
May 2016
See what all went into the design of this two-weapon 30 pounder.

Wheel Guards:  Maximum Exposure
April 2016
Wheel protection is an often debated subject in the robot combat world. Let's take a close-up look.

Dragon Con Robot Battles and Robot Micro Battles 2015
February 2016
The action for 2015 started with a special exhibition match between Trey Roski and Greg Munson, the founders of BattleBots.

PARTS IS PARTS: Common Drive System Configurations
January 2016
Over the years, a wide range of drive system configurations have been attempted; some with a great deal more success than others.

PARTS IS PARTS: Screws - Keeping It Together
December 2015
Picking the right screw or bolt can be an important decision you make early in your build. There are several elements to consider when selecting your hardware for a robot.

PARTS IS PARTS: Product Beta Test: RageBridge 2 from Equals Zero Designs
November 2015
After a very successful first generation, the RageBridge ESC (electronic speed controller) was redesigned to take advantage of some of the knowledge that stemmed from the first generation, in addition to the integration of some very useful features.

BUILD REPORT: A New Weapon for Spanky
September 2015
There are risks inherent in designing a robot to accommodate a modular weapon setup.

BUILD REPORT: Nyx v2 Part 3: Weapons
January 2015
With the base of the machine done and working as desired, it was time to start on the weapon modules.

EVENT REPORT: Freeside Robot Street Fight 2015
August 2015
Afew years ago, the original Insect arena used for DragonCon Robot Micro Battles was retired and a new arena was built.

BUILD REPORT Battle Hardening the Inside of Your Bot
July 2015
With robot combat, often the first things you’ll think about are the big parts — typically, the armor, weapon, and drive system.

Skill Building — Drive Better
June 2015
Robot combat is a sport with extreme design diversity. You’ll see spinners, flippers, axes, crushers, pushers, and a range of other things constantly pushing the limits of what’s safe and what’s legal to run at an event.

PRODUCT REVIEW: FingerTech Robotics’ Viper Kit with Lifter Add-on
May 2015
FingerTech Robotics has offered a "Viper" robot kit for quite a few years, but for a long time it was not really a great starter combat bot if you wanted something that would be competitive. It worked well enough, but without some extensive modifications it was difficult to turn it into a competitive combat robot.

PARTS IS PARTS: Product Review: AndyMark 7075 Aluminum Sprockets
March 2015
AndyMark (http://www.andymark.com) primarily focuses on providing components for the US FIRST Robotics Competition.

BUILD REPORT: Nyx v2 Part 2: Platform
December 2014
With the design portion of the build completed, the next big step in the build is to fabricate the major structural components and build the drive platform.

EVENT REPORT: DragonCon Robot Battles 2014
November 2014
On Monday, the 12 and 30 pound machines competed in a Sumo style competition for Robot Battles 50.

EVENT REPORT: DragonCon Robot Micro Battles 2014
November 2014
Robot Battles 50 took place over Labor Day weekend during DragonCon in Atlanta, GA.

BUILD REPORT: Nyx v2 Part 1: Design
November 2014
Nyx was originally built in early 2012 and first competed at Motorama in February of that same year.

EVENT REPORT: Clash of the Bots 2014
October 2014
Clash of the Bots 2014 took place in Gastonia, NC at the Schiele Museum on July 19th. This was the fifth Clash of the Bots event and the eighth overall event put on by Carolina Combat Robots.

Getting Started: Before You Build Your First Bot
July 2014
Maybe you’ve seen video on the Internet, event reports here in SERVO, actually been to an event, or remember when robot combat was on TV.

BUILD REPORT: Dolos: A Trip into the Used Bot Lot
July 2014
Dolos began its existence in 2008 under the name Test Bot 4.5 SP1, and was originally built by Charles Guan.

BUILD REPORT: Spanky Part 2: Modular Weapon Systems
May 2014
With the drive platform done and almost eight pounds to spare, there was a lot of room for the weapon systems.

BUILD REPORT: Spanky Part 1: A Combat Robot Platform
April 2014
Spanky is the newest robotic member of Near Chaos Robotics. Spanky was designed with two events in mind: DragonCon Robot Battles — an open platform Sumo style event; and the Sportsman class at Motorama — an event with a full arena.

PARTS IS PARTS: Product Review: FingerTech Robotics tinyMixer
January 2014
FingerTech Robotics has recently developed and produced a new channel mixer for use on robots in all weight classes.

SPECIAL REPORT: Bot Builder’s Buyer’s Guide
December 2013
Just in time for Christmas shopping, regular contributor Mike Jeffries has assembled a buyer's guide of three vital components for small sized bots.

EVENT REPORT: DragonCon Robot Micro Battles 2013
November 2013
Here’s how the smaller bots fared at Robot Battles this year. Thirteen Antweights and 15 Beetleweights competed in the Micro Battles event. Both classes had a diverse selection of machines competing for the win.

EVENT REPORT: DragonCon Robot Battles 2013
November 2013
Robot Battles 47 took place over Labor Day weekend during DragonCon in Atlanta, GA. At DragonCon, Robot Battles consists of two independent events.

BUILDER’S TIPS: You Can’t Take It With You: What Tools To Bring
August 2013
I won't be talking about tools that are particularly specialized. If your machine needs any specific equipment for basic maintenance and repairs, those take priority. The following sections will cover tools that are almost universally useful in the pits during an event.

July 2013
What MFG.com does is provide a location for users to post quote requests for custom fabrication. Once you've posted a quote request, shops from your specified search region (US, North America, Global, or specific national and international locations) will then be able to see your quote request and bid on it.

PARTS IS PARTS: Product Review: FingerTech Robotics Power Switch
April 2013
For as long as I can remember, there hasn’t been a power switch designed for the 150 g to 3 lb combat robot classes that is readily available.

PARTS IS PARTS: Prototype Testing: FingerTech Robotics Mini-Spark
February 2013
In the 150 g weight class, there are only a few options for drive systems.

PARTS IS PARTS: Product Beta Test: RageBridge from Equals Zero Designs
February 2013
Iwas lucky enough to get a chance recently to test the new RageBridge dual channel brushed DC motor controller from Equals Zero Designs (e0designs.com).

BUILD REPORT: Keres: 150 g Fighting Robot
February 2013
Keres was built to test some prototype Mini-Spark gearboxes from FingerTech Robotics.

Building the Atlanta Insect Arena
December 2012
Every year at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA, they host two robot combat events. On Sunday, it’s Robot Micro Battles, with one and three pound robots facing off.

BUILD REPORT: Algos: Who Needs MOI When You’ve Got Angular Velocity?
November 2012
After competing for a year with a two-wheel drive wedge named Kobalos, I decided to retire that robot and move on to something with an active weapon.

BUILD REPORT: Testing the Prototype: Klazo — My 1 lb Drumbot From Kitbots.com
October 2012
Irecently built and tested one of the prototype 1 lb drumbot kits from Kitbots.com as part of the development process, prior to the kit moving to production.

BUILD REPORT: Nyx, Sportsman, and Dragon*Con 30 lb Bot — Part 2
April 2012
With a fresh pile of parts and Motorama just over a month away, I got a quick jump on assembling Nyx.

PARTS IS PARTS: Making Wheels Round
March 2012
There are a decent number of ready to use wheels available today for robots of all sizes, and one of the most popular for small robots is the Lite Flite foam wheel. They’re cheap, tough, and come in a wide range of sizes.

BUILD REPORT: Nyx, Sportsman, and Dragon*Con 30 lb Bot — Part 1
March 2012
During the summer, I built a second Antweight for my teammate to drive, and we took all but Moros, my 30 lb bar spinner, to Dragon*Con Robot Battles.

March 2012
Motor City Massacre

MANUFACTURING: Shop Review: Westar Mfg. – The Team Whyachi Bot Shop
January 2012
I often get asked where I get my machining done, and unless I’ve done it myself, my answer is always teamwhyachi.com.

PARTS IS PARTS: HobbyKing R610 and R410 2.4 GHz Receivers
January 2012
Ifound out recently that there are very few DSM2 receivers with programmable failsafes available when I decided to replace the Spektrum BR6000 receivers I had been using with a DSM2.

MANUFACTURING: Designing for Waterjet
December 2011
When designing a robot, often the focus is on the weapon system or how much power you can cram into the drive system.

PARTS IS PARTS: Kitbots Nutstrip
December 2011
Nutstrip is a product Kitbots uses in several of their kits to allow easy assembly and reduce machining costs on the chassis components.

BUILD REPORT: Rebuilding Apollyon, Again
November 2011
Since the last build report was written, Apollyon has competed at Motorama. Apollyon took terminal damage there while achieving a 3-2 record, and yet again needed a complete rebuild.

BUILD REPORT: Moros — A 30 lb Angled Bar Spinner
June 2011
Moros is the third generation of my angled bar spinners. Ruiner was the original, and was built for RoboGames 2006 where it finished with a 1-2 record after having the antenna removed in the second match, which resulted in a forfeit in the third match.

PARTS IS PARTS: Holmes Hobby TorqueMaster BR-XL
May 2011
When designing the latest versions of my 12 lb wedge and 30 lb bar spinner, I decided to look for an alternative to my relatively large and heavy Victor 883 speed controllers.

BUILD REPORT: Kobalos — Antweight Wedge/Rammer
May 2011
Kobalos is a miniaturization of my 12 lb robot, Apollyon. The basic idea was to build something that would be as close to indestructible as possible.

BUILD REPORT: Apollyon 2
April 2011
Concept to Creation.

Life Cycle of a Fighting Robot
October 2010
Apollyon started as a concept for a simple but somewhat unique 12 lb wedge bot. The original design started as a sketch in a notebook during class. Later, it moved into 3D in the CAD program Rhinoceros.

Combat Robot Drive Systems
October 2008
There are many ways to move your robot around the arena floor. From the simplistic two wheel drive robot to the precision crafted complexity of a true walking robot, there are always different methods of movement to consider.

Even More Things to Consider When Building a Fighting Robot
November 2008
In previous issues of SERVO, I’ve talked about weapon and drive systems in robot combat. There are a lot of important things to consider that don’t fit under either of those umbrellas but still merit consideration when building your bot.

Mr. Self Destruct
August 2009
Mr. Self Destruct is a complete overhaul of my first large combat robot: a 60 lb angled bar spinner that fought at RoboGames in 2006.