As many of us know, BattleBots is coming back to TV this summer. Some may believe that this is the resurrection of the metallic mayhem, but in fact, competitions have been held across the country in its absence. One of the more notable ones, and the one I usually attend, is RoboGames. RoboGames currently is the last event that consistently fights HeavyWeight (220lb/99.7kg) robots.
Why has it been off the air for so long? Robot fighting had to take a break from television after the lawyers got involved. There were some fights between RobotWars and BattleBots. Gear Heads is arguably the best book that summarizes years of conflict between events, producers and builders. There were good and bad people working for different interests to carve up the sport into various money-making ventures. I’ll let the book explain the rest.
Phil, Mitch, and myself (2002)
The first robot combat event I built for was BattleBots IQ. It was the year after the show ended when a lunch table acquaintance (Phil) asked, “Want to build a BattleBot?” To which I replied, “Yeah sure, can your mom pick us up from school?” And with that explosive level of energy, we were off! We built two MiddleWeight (60lb/27.2kg) and a handful of AntWeight (1lb/0.45kg) bots. As time went on, our team split up and I began working with another high school friend, Zach. We went on to build another MiddleWeight. Then we all took a break for college.
Zach and myself at RoboGames (2013)
Let’s fast forward to last year. Zach and I have been building here in Boulder and in Houston, TX, for the last 3 years. FedEx makes a lot of money off our team… We have focused on two LightWeights and now our first HeavyWeight robot.
The Caustic Creations fleet at RoboGames 2015
This was the first year we attempted to build a Heavyweight. Building for this class is like no other. It is a class where you actually need support equipment to move it. There is a certain fraternity that you inevitably join building Heavyweights. Things get more serious but the support of the community is unparalleled. There is serious power and energy in a Heavyweight. I thought it would just be heavier version of my other bots, but I was sooo wrong. The complexity alone has humbled me. My lightweight has 3 circuits for 3 motors. Doomba has 12. There are about 9lbs of wire alone in Doomba.
Image courtesy Elizabeth McAimis
Doomba is a full body spinner. That means its shell is its weapon and armor. The shell is 98lbs and spins between 1100-1500rpm. Each hammer is 8lbs. The shell is made from ¾" thick rolled steel. The shell is powered by 8 brushless motors pushing a peak power output of 20kW.
Doomba’s shell is 98lbs and 26" in diameter
“Stick them with the pointy end”
We only got to spin the shell up once in the robot arena (it’s way too scary to fire it up just anywhere). We got it up to full speed but it was obvious it needed work before it would battle with the big leagues.
While we didn’t end up competing with Doomba this year at RoboGames, we had a great time with our two LightWeights. My bot suffered from a broken frame and is toast. Zach won first place with UnMakerBot.
Here is a Youtube play list of all our fights this year. See you next year!