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Small Combat Robots Pack a Punch in Antweight Division


Two robots enter, one robot leaves! Combat robotics are a fantastic showcase of design and skill, but the mechanical contenders don’t have to be big, heavy, and expensive. There is an Antweight division for combat robots in which most contenders weigh a mere 150 grams, and [Harry Makes Things] shows off four participants for Antweight World Series (AWS) 64.

Clockwise: ReLoader, Shakma, Sad Ken, and HobGoblet antweight combat robots.

Each of them have very different designs, and there are plenty of photos as well as insightful details about what was done and how well it worked. That’s exactly the kind of detail we love to read about, so huge thanks to [Harry] for sharing!

In combat robotics, contenders generally maneuver their remote-controlled machines to pin or immobilize their opponent. This can happen as a result of damaging them to the point that they stop functioning, but it can also happen by rending them helpless by working some kind of mechanical advantage.

One of the robots is tracked, two are wheeled, and the fourth is a walker. The yellow ReLoader is a tracked design in the shape of a low, flat wedge with a central lifting arm. The idea is to get under one’s opponent and lift them up, ideally taking their wheels off the ground and removing their ability to move. Another design is Sad Ken, which uses as a weapon a horizontally-spinning bar with which to deal opponents a good ol’ smack. The green HobGoblet has a front-mounted aluminum “beater” mounted directly to a brushless motor, and resembles a combine or thresher. The last design is Shakma, a cam-based walker which hobbles slowly along while dramatically spinning a comically-large sawblade.

As one might imagine, 3D printers have contributed a lot to combat robotics in general. [Harry]’s preferred method is printing a robot’s body as a big block of solid ABS with nooks for all the worky bits. There is plenty of cross-pollination with the RC aircraft world, and brushless motors, radio hardware, and ESCs (electronic speed controls) are common sights. That doesn’t mean people don’t push the envelope. Enthusiasts have used a Raspberry Pi Zero and Bluetooth game controller instead of RC equipment, and carbon fiber is commonly used to save weight.

Watch the video (embedded below) to get a tour of the 150 gram ReLoader, and see some additional views of the hardware and design. Maybe you’ll come away with some inspiration of your own?

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