PEORIA – Jacob Shelton, a Rend Lake College student of Industrial Electronics and Maintenance Technology, recently unleashed Impending Doom on members of the Central Illinois Robotics Club at the Peoria Lakeview Museum. For that, they gave him an award.
Shelton’s robot, Impending Doom, won first place in the one-pound radio-controlled combat category at the March 29 robotic contest. Complete with saw blade and stunning speed, Impending Doom cut through the competition to victory.
They won the first fight easily against a robot with dual saw blades named Unity.
“That fight didn’t last but about 10 seconds before I hit him with my saw blade and he flew onto his back,” Shelton explained.
The setting is generally a cage or pit where two robots face off with the intention of one disabling the other. Large crowds gather around the arena, hoping for a mechanized massacre. With each circuit-board slaughter, they beg for more.
In the second round, Impending Doom met Aluminum Sandwich. This foe would prove more powerful than Unity. Aluminum Sandwich featured a mass of electronic components placed between two thick slices of aluminum. Its primary weapon was a hinged wedge designed to lift the opponent and carry it around or flip it.
“It ended up going the full time limit,” Shelton said. “So, it came down to the judges’ decision. The crowd loved it. I won by the judges’ decision.”
The championship fight was again with Aluminum Sandwich which had worked its way through the consolation round to face Impending Doom once again.
“This time, it was a much quicker match,” Shelton explained.
Made popular by television programs like Robot Wars and BattleBots, the contests and everything else electronic are what make Shelton tick.
“I’m a person who grew up with Legos and building blocks,” he said. “Finding out what makes something works or what it is made of ... it has always interested me.”
Shelton said his training in RLC classes like basic electronics, and motors and controls helped teach him to perfect Impending Doom.
“I burnt through, I don’t know how many, LEDs before I realized that you just put a resistor in the circuit board,” he explained.
Those who have any clue to what Shelton is talking about will probably appreciate that he spent 20 hours building the robot – that is in addition to time for design – and put about $500 of hardware into his creation.
“I can’t tell you how long I just thought about it and wrote stuff down,” he said. “Luck favors the prepared.”
The 20-year-old Norris City-Omaha-Enfield graduate lives in Enfield with his parents, Patricia and Roger Wheeler. He will complete the Industrial Electronics and Maintenance Technology program this fall and is not sure what he will do after graduation.
“I’ll have the summer to think it over,” he said.
In addition to a very nice trophy, Shelton and Impending Doom received a seven-channel, 2.4 Gigahertz radio control system worth about $350. His plan is to use that radio control with a new masterpiece or with a new and improved Impending Doom. He would like to enter both in a competition in October in Rosemont. His next creation will be another one-pounder, he said.
“It’s affordable and, pound for pound, it’s probably the most destructive weight class,” he said. “Destruction ... that’s why you go there.”