Mini Robot Wars Looks Fun and Only Slightly Scary

“Ahhhh! They’re so cute! Wait a second, does that little robot have a spinning blade of death?!?!?”  Yes, yes it does.

Welcome to Bristol University 2nd Annual Robot Wars Tournament. It’s loosely based on the old BBC show Robot Wars, where contestants would design and build fighting robots. This pint-sized version is just down right fun to watch. But don’t let their size fool you, some of these little bots pack a mean punch.

This competition follows the “Antweight World Series Rules” and must fit inside a 4 inch cube with a max weight of 150 grams. There are some not-so-fun rules attached to that, such as “No flame based weapons” and “no use of electricity as a weapon.” But hey, it still looks like a blast.

We can’t help but to think that a contest like this would be an amazing thing for local hacker spaces to set up and organize. The playing field seems to be a reasonable size, such that it could be set-up and torn-down without too much hassle. And with RC transmitters/receivers available so inexpensively these days, and ebay flooded with little robot parts from China, now seems like a perfect time to start a local robot competition. It might be a great way to draw people into making and hacking. You can watch the video of the competition and meet the makers after the break.

26 thoughts on “Mini Robot Wars Looks Fun and Only Slightly Scary

  1. Cool stuff.
    I do wish some rule could be invented to bias against wedge shapes though. They are just too dominant and thus make it a little dull.
    Also, can we have flying stuff?

  2. To stop impacts from trashing your spinning weaponry drive systems, build a viscous coupling filled with thick silicone grease. You’ll be able to get up to a speedy RPM yet when you whack the opponent your bot’s driveshafts wont get twisted and bent and the gears won’t get broken.

      1. Interesting. Remarknl, can you comment on how that would work? It seems as if you have a spinning blade of death that is 1/2 the weight of your “bot” – no matter how you controlled the motor, all that energy is stored up in that rotating mass. Cutting the current to the motor isn’t going to save the action-reaction forces. But you peeked my curiosity. Do explain.

    1. All a spinner drive-line need is a safe place to slip when overloaded. Friction belt drives work great for this. I’ve also used a friction-overload clutch and chain drive. I wouldn’t recommend a viscous coupling because it won’t limit peak torque as well as a sliding friction coupling.

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