Adventures in Science: Combat Bot Weapon Types

We get a combat bot veteran to talk about the different weapon types for fighting robots.

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We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Enginursday for a special bulletin: Combat Bots! Rawr.

While I have no experience creating my own fighting robot platform, I was thrilled when Jamie Leben (IT-Works, Loveland Creator Space) agreed to talk about different weapon types on camera. On this week's "Adventures in Science," we go over the five basic weapon categories that you'll find in many combat bot competitions (caveat: this assumes no projectile/flamethrower weapons).

To summarize, the basic weapons can be categorized as follows:

  • Wedge/Rammer --- Passive bot that attempts to get under or push around its opponent. This strategy works well if the arena has hazards that bots can be pushed into.
  • Lifter --- Arm (usually on the front of the bot) that can be used to get under and flip or move opponents. Very useful if you can flip an opponent that can't drive upside down.
  • Horizontal Spinner --- Weapon (saw blade, bar, etc.) that spins around a vertical axis.
  • Vertical Spinner --- Weapon (saw blade, drum, etc.) that spins around a horizontal axis.
  • Clamper --- Some type of lever used to grab an opponent to move them into hazards or slam them into a wall.

These weapon types apply to most combat bots, but in this video we're specifically looking at 3D-printed "plastic ant" bots, which can be a great way for students to safely try making their own combat bots -- with saw blades of the plastic variety. If you're interested in checking out the rules and registration for combat bots at SparkFun's Autonomous Vehicle Competition, check out AVC's main page:

Do you have experience with combat bots? What's your favorite weapon type and why? Let us know in the comments below.

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