Plastic Battlebots Might Bite Your Hand Off

The folks at Fetch Robotics do love a good game of combat robots. Time is tight these days, however, so putting together a good ol’ 220-pounder for Robogames is a dream few of us can realize. Instead, the Fetch team hosted their own Plastic fantastic battlebots competition to blow off some steam, and the results are in!

Battlebots enter the ring built from a frame of entirely plastic parts and weighing a humble 3lbs. Just like Battlebots and Robogames, they’ll follow a 2-minute episode of hack-and-slash after which judges determine the winner. Bots were forged from everything you might see in arms reach of your local hackerspace: pvc pipe, acrylic sheets, and a few 3D-printed components. On the menu of shredded plastic we have everything from classic wedges and spinners to a giant spinning rubber pterodactyl strapped onto the body of an RC car. (Time is tight, right?)

While 3 pound plastic fighters might not seem devastating, don’t underestimate the LiPo batteries and brushless motors that are running under the hood. These competitors can easily heave each other across the ring. We’ve definitely seen mini Battlebot tournaments before, and we’re thrilled to see them on the rise in everyday places. Better start getting your materials ready. Who knows? Mini Battlebots might be coming to an alley near you too.

22 thoughts on “Plastic Battlebots Might Bite Your Hand Off

      1. Oh a wedge is hardly the only workable battlebot design. It is the simplest design, so a lot of people build them. Also, reliability is a fundamental requirement for a winning battlebot. With the median completion time of a batttle bot being 1-2 hours after the start of it’s first competition, simple wins more often than not. (what’s worse is the drivers, most wedge drivers can’t hit a stationary target let alone one that dodges.)

      1. Wedges are actually banned at Fetch after the first competition (the one featured). We’ve had two more competitions since then, including one last weekend. Processing video takes time, so alas no new vids published yet. (but we did stream live!)

      1. Freshly uploaded:

        [Paydar] was a Battle Bot we built while in college at
        It was the seinor design project for the two Mechanical Engineers on the team… Me and another Electrical Engineer where recruited to “make it work”. ;)

        We had a deadline to get the bot done for an engineering expo about a week before the competition…
        So after a many sleepless nights we had the bot ready to go…
        We where only planning on just showing off the bot’s speed and maneuverability, but the school wanted an actual battle…

        So we built/hacked [Target Bot] out of scraps and spare parts… And got a bunch of concrete highway dividers to build a make shift arena.

        [Target Bot] died evey hour at the hands of [Paydar] during the day long engineering expo. The kids loved it. Battle Bots was quite popular back then.

        The most asked question: “What is your weapon?” It was supposed to have a pneumatic weapon, but the Mechanical guys ran out of time developing it. So we had a wedge and some spikes we could bolt on…

        Battle hardened against a box of scraps, we then drove from Indianapolis, Indiana to Treasure Island, San Francisco California in about 40 hours… Only to get knocked out in our first battle. We got impaled on one of the spike strips and then got hit by a spin bot a few times.

        If you watch the intro to the 2002 Comedy Central Battle Bots, you can catch a glimpse of smoke coming off the tires as we try to get away from the evil spike strip. ;)

        Overall it was a great experience, and gave me lots of stories. :)

        I don’t have any pics or video of any battles… we where not allowed to take pics or video, since the show aired later, after the cheesy sound effects and color commentary where added.

        Speaking of stories… For those wondering about the hand drawn Star Wars Episode II poster:
        Clone Wars premiered while we where in the middle of know where Nebraska… The next day (8:00AMish) we found this movie theater in Wyoming, but it was closed. We noticed the hand drawn Star Wars poster. So, (laughing) we took some pictures of it. The theater owner saw us and came out to yell at us, (Someone stole the poster during the Midnight showing, his daughter drew the replacement poster). He had assumed it was us returning to the sceen of the crime… We explained that we are headed to the Battle Bot competition. Turns out he was a big fan of the show. So we showed him the bot. And he gave us a free screening of Clone Wars, with popcorn and soda. :)


          That’s the bot that beat *me* in the first round (both bots’ first — and my only — fight of the season, also 2002, Season 5). Its name was Moebius If memory serves. My silly little wedge ended up facing a nasty titanium puck spinner with a 13HP E-Tek under the shell. But hey! My bot was still “alive” at the end of the match, and I was one of the few that had that distinction!

          The bot had also been opened like a sardine can, but that’s another story.

          That was a helluva fun time. My bot wasn’t that great (and was literal garbage afterwards), but wandering the pits and watching the fights (without all the corny sounds) was more than worth the money. Who knows, I probably ran into you there. :)

          1. We probably did run into each other. :)

            I agree, well worth the price of admission.

            It was interesting to see the team dynamics… lots of comradery.

            When you “survived” the battle, with lots of damage, other teams where quick to find out what you needed and loaned you the parts to get back up and running for the next match.

            The after the show “loser bracket” bar hopping was good too. ;)

            Good times. :)

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