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PSU Combat Robotics plans for semester, future

Zachary Westfall, senior in electrical engineering tech, Mark Rice, graduate student in engineering technology, Andrew Van Fossen, sophomore in construction management, and KayLnn Krayball, sophomore in technology and engineering education, show off some of their past robots on Thursday, Sept. 16. PSU’s Combat Robotics organization meets twice weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the Kansas Technology Center. Daniel Tustin

The Combat Robots club at Pittsburg State University holds meetings on Wednesdays from 4 to 6:00 p.m., and on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kansas Technology Center (KTC) in room W-218. The club currently has 10 active members. They are currently working on planning out future events, which can be found on Gorilla Engage.  

The Combat Robotics Club centers around building “battle bots” to go to competitions and matches. In past years, the club has gone to St. Louis and Kansas City with battle bots weighing in at 15 pounds. 

“People are drawn to this club because of the opportunity to design and engineer battle bots,” said Zachary Westfall, senior in electrical engineering and club president. “You get to learn about different mechanisms and how they work and learn a bit of 3D modeling. We get to go to a competition where everybody’s there to see a bot get destroyed, even if it’s their own.” 

The battle-bots are built using various electrical components which are wired together. They design the bots using a 3D modeling software, and make sure that the bot is under the weight limitations of the competition. They also use the software to make sure the weapons meet the competition standards. The parts are purchased through their club’s budget, as well. 

Newcomers are encouraged to attend meetings by Westfall. 

“Anybody is welcome to come to the meetings and learn, even if they don’t plan on becoming full members, and they would like to just come and see what the meetings are like..,” Westfall said. “Expect to go to competitions, and to have fun and get to see different battle bots and the different designs that people have.” 

Westfall also mentioned that during competitions, matches don’t always go to plan. 

“We’ve had pretty bad hits in matches and been eliminated,” Westfall said. “So, if something goes wrong in one match and you get eliminated, then you have at the very least 20 minutes to repair your bot and get it back into the secondary bracket.” 

The club builds their robots with weapons. These weapons include spinners, both vertical and horizontal. 

“Both of those (spinners) weapons are pretty awesome to watch because when you get a good impact, you can either flip a bot over, or slam it down and throw it,” Westfall said. “Electromagnetic pulses are off limits, because no one wants to see a bot go into a ring, and when something happens that you can’t really see, which could be sparks if you do see it, then everything stops. Magnets are also banned.”

Westfall also said that his favorite part about the club is interacting with different ideas. 

“Getting to cheer people’s different ideas on, and what they want to build,” Westfall said. “The competitions are super fun, and everybody’s there to see something get broken, even if it’s their own bot, or if their bot survives, they still want to try and get it working just to see it destroy something- or get destroyed.”

Students with questions about the Combat Robotics club, or with interest in joining can contact Westfall via email (zwestfall@gus.pittstate.edu).

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