I’m still figuring this site out, I came here from a google search for Robot Combat in Vancouver and saw that @Tobifernay posted about a year ago about getting something going. Since that thread is dead, here’s a new one.
If you’re unfamiliar with Robot Combat, here’s a good compilation video from a recent event at Norwalk Havoc Robot League MACHINE MARCH MADNESS - from the archives, March 21 event recap - YouTube
I started competing in Seattle about five years ago with the intent of getting something started in Vancouver eventually. So far I’ve built a half-dozen bots and I have a pretty good grasp on what it takes. If others out there want advice on how to build your own bots, where to find kits, etc. I’d be more than happy to help get you going.
I’m prepared to build an arena on the back of a trailer over the summer if I can get the money together (to build a safe arena it will cost $1,500-$2,000 which would eventually be covered by club dues and event entry fees).
What I need is to find a dozen or so like-minded people who are interested in building, competing, and helping get a club set up by finding venues, volunteering at events, and getting the word out.
I just purchased the URL VARC.tech (Vancouver Area Robot Combat) and I’ll start putting some content up there over the next few days starting with some links to important resources.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in building bots, I suggest checking the subreddit /r/battlebots for lots of advice and a thriving community or just ask me. If you want to see more video, check out the NHRL homepage on youtube and Bugglebots: https://www.youtube.com/c/Bugglebots
How does a match work?
- Normally a match lasts for up to three minutes. During that time if one bot becomes incapable of controlled movement it will be given a ten second count, if it still cannot move the opposing bot will be declared the winner by knockout. Matches that go the full three minutes will be decided by a panel of judges who score each bot on damage, control, and aggression during the match and pick a winner.
Is Robot Combat expensive?
- It can be, but competitive bots can be built or purchased as a kit for around $350 including battery charger and remote, if you have some of your own gear already the cost could be significantly less.
Doesn’t it take a bunch of specialized knowledge to build a functioning combat robot?
- Not at all, a wide variety of kits are available, most of which assemble as easily as Ikea furniture and bots in these weight classes most commonly use 3d printed or Polyethylene bodies (HDPE or UHMWPE) which can be shaped by simple woodworking tools. The electronics are mostly off the shelf RC parts which can be assembled with terminal blocks (though soldering is better and pretty easy to learn).
What kinds of bots are competitive?
- In lighter weight classes there are essentially four types of competitive bot. Horizontal Spinners, which build up kinetic energy in a spinning blade, somewhat like a lawnmower (in fact I actually have used a lawnmower blade in one of my designs), Vertical Spinners which swing a blade upwards to throw the opposing bot in the air, Wedge Bots which have no active weapon and attempt to use superior drive power and armour to bully other bots around the arena and score points through control and aggression, and Lifters which usually use a servo motor to lift and pin the opposing bot.
What if I want to build a crappy bot for other people to destroy with no real chance of winning?
- That is actively encouraged. By all means buy a $25 RC car and decorate it any way you choose. One of the beautiful things about the sport is you don’t have to be there to win. Building things simply to be destroyed, trying out new ideas, or just creating something wild and crazy are all important parts of the sport. Winning is important to some people, but any reason you come up with to build a bot is a good reason.
How often would you hold events?
- Ideally every month or two. It might take a while to get there, but hopefully by next spring we’ll have enough people involved and some regular venues.
Is it dangerous?
- As long as you follow basic safety precautions it is very safe. I’ve never been hurt by anything other than the tools I use to build the bots and that’s never required more than a band-aid. I’ve talked extensively with dozens of builders and I’ve never heard of someone getting seriously injured when proper safety protocols were followed.
That’s it for now! Please contact me if you have any questions, offers of assistance or words of encouragement.