5204 Questions and Answers about Combat Robotics
from Team Run Amok

Team Run Amok receives a lot of email asking about the design and operation of combat robots. In 2003 my son and team member Aaron Joerger (then 12 years old) requested a question and answer page to document our responses.

Got a question? We welcome combat robot questions. Check the Ask Aaron Archives first to see if your question has already been answered, then click the blue button.

The Ask Aaron Archives Click to browse thousands of previously answered questions by category, or search for specific topics. Includes FAQ

Caution   Even small combat robots can be dangerous! Learn proper construction and safety techniques before attempting to build and operate a combat robot. Do not operate combat robots without proper safeguards.
In Memorium: Aaron Joerger, 1991 - 2013
The 'Ask Aaron' project was important to Aaron, and I continue the site in his memory. Thank you for the many kind messages of sympathy and support that have found their way to me. Aaron's obituary
- Mark Joerger   

Welcome to my website  Recent Questions

Q: Will the Combat Robot Hall of Fame go on? [Guangdong, China]

A: [Mark J.] It's August, it's an odd-numbered year. Yes, nominations for membership in The Combat Robot Hall of Fame are open. Notifications and instructions on voting have been posted to robot builder forums in the US, the UK, Australia, and India. Balloting will close on August 15th and the results will be announced on August 17th.

The Hall traditionally seeks votes from robot builders rather than robot fans, and I choose not to post voting information on Ask Aaron.

Q: Is there a way to wire a brushless motor and your DC motors so that you can drive with one stick and control the rpm of the [weapon] motor with the other eliminating the need for rpm reduction? Is it wise to direct drive a weapon in this fashion? [Brooklyn, New York]

A: [Mark J.] Yes, that's a simple control option. No, it's not a good idea.

Speed reduction serves two purposes: it reduces speed and increases torque in equal proportions. Torque is what allows the weapon to run up to operating speed quickly. Without the torque multiplication offered by mechanical speed reduction weapon spin-up time greatly increases, as does current consumption, motor heating, and possibly a brushless motor issue known as 'cogging'.

You can compensate in small robot classes by using a much more powerfull motor, but that costs weight and still leaves the high mechanical stresses on a motor directly connected to the weapon. My advice is to follow conventional design and belt drive your weapon with an appropriate speed reduction.

Q: in your own words describe your strengths and how they impact your success in school [Natchitoches, Louisiana]

A: [Mark J.] Well, I can't recommend that you mention your 'ability to use the internet effectively' or 'independent work ethic'. Maybe a few words on your 'talent in involving other people' would be appropriate?

Q: Doesn't 'Bite Force' lose some energy by constantly having to yank its magnets off the floor as the treads turn? [Waltham, Massachusetts]

A: [Mark J.] Not very much. 'Bite Force' has magnets in its tank treads to pull them tight down to the arena floor for added traction. The drive train does lose a bit of energy with each magnet it peels up off the floor at the trailing edge of the tread -- but it gains a bit of energy as each magnet is pulled down to the arena floor on the leading edge. A very small amount of energy is lost due to the moving magnets inducing a tiny electrical eddy current in the steel arena floor.

Q: I saw a post in the weapons archive about full body spinners and dead vs live shafts. After reading it I still am not sure what components are placed where for each. For a live shaft there needs to be a bearing on the bottom that the shaft goes into then a spacer to keep the pulley from moving up and down (I think, but am not sure how a spacer would do such a task), then the pulley (I am not sure how this connects to the shaft), then a top bearing and a weapon hub above that (again how does this connect to the shaft). [Duvall, Washington]

A: [Mark J.] The weapon and pulley hubs are ideally connected to the shaft by a keyed joint that locks rotational motion plus a pin or clamp that prevents the hub from sliding along the length of the shaft. A small robot might use just a clamping hub for this purpose. Do NOT attempt to use set-screw hubs for this application!

The spacer does not prevent just the pulley from moving up and down -- it prevents the entire pulley/shaft assembly from moving up and down because the pulley is locked to the shaft.

Q: For a dead shaft, why are 2 bearings used if the shaft does not spin? Could not the shaft just sit in the base, use a spacer, the pulley with a bearing in the center that just connects to the top (the pulley is the weapon hub). Sorry if this is confusing but well... I am confused. Thank you.

A: A single bearing is very good at absorbing a straight 'radial load', but an impact load applied at a point along the spinner shell not directly radial to the bearing creates a 'moment load' or 'torque' on the bearing that will destroy it. Using two bearings spaced well apart in an elongated hub redistributes the uncentered radial load into pure radial loads on the two bearings.

The dead shaft must also be firmly supported at two separated loacations to help absorb the 'torque' placed on it by an impact -- once at the base and again as close to the hub as possible. The forces generated by a full-body spinner impact are as great on the support structure of your robot as they are on your opponent. Build strong!

Radial and moment bearing loads
Q: Do you know of any highly detailed (in pictures and text) build logs of full body spinners? For dead and live shafts? I read your response but still cannot picture the working solutions. Thank you again.

A: This is a very tough topic for the short answer format here at Ask Aaron. Some photos and drawings may help. There's a thread on the Robowars Australia forum that has several links to photo collections and a couple of build reports. I hope my short notes and the photos combine to get you that 'aha!' moment.

Q: We never saw it tested out, but do you think Ghost Raptor's fancy shock absorption system would've actually worked against a spinner? I have my doubts... [San Francisco, CA]

A: [Mark J.] Shock mounted components and armor are not new to combat robotics. In theory the concept is sound -- but the energy levels of heavyweight spinners are so great that I don't believe any practical shock absorbtion system can take enough of the 'sting' out of a good hit to be worth the effort. I guess we'll have to wait for some future match to find out.

Q: Dear Mark, as the final episode of ABC's Battlebots is shown how would you evaluate this season? [Chinese Forum]

A: [Mark J.] A lot of hype, very little combat. The old Comedy Central format allowed the show to pick and choose from hundreds of fights and show three good fights in a half-hour episode. The first season on ABC had to show 24 of the 28 fights at the tournament, plus a few clips from the other four. Stretched out over six hours of TV time that gave only four fights per hour, and many of them were really not good fights.

The show did not draw great audience numbers. It was badly outperformed by the lead-in program on the same network, 'Celebrity Familly Feud' -- which I figure costs a whole lot less to produce. It does not look all that good for another season.

Q: And do you think the grand final with Tombstone facing Bite Force is a good match to watch? Lots of people still seemed can't accept that the "underdog" taking everything (I don't really think so though).

A: The commentator's job is to put a lot of energy into 'talking up' the matches to make them seem exciting even if there isn't much of anything happening. Watch the match with the sound off and see what you think of it. It really wasn't much of a fight. One robot suffered from mobility problems, the other cooked their weapon battery and was harmless.

This was a real tournament and it came out the way real events do: unpredictably. Sometimes it comes out the way you like, and sometimes it doesn't.

Q: And was Bronco's extremely long attachment to the flipper a clever idea when facing Tombstone? Looks like it didn't work.....

A: It was a desperation move that was worth a try.

Q: hi aaron imagine a situation where two drum bots rotating at same rpm (say 5000rpm) but 1st bot having a drum dia 80mm,tooth height 50mm & drum length 300mm and other bot having 120mm dia, tooth height 35mm, and drum length is 200mm my question to is
(1) if the smaller drum bot is moving with 1m/s and bigger drum bot is sationary
(2) if the bigger drum bot is moving with 1m/s and smaller bot is stationary
(3) if both the bots are moving relative to each other

[Chhattisgarh, India]

A: [Mark J.] You defined two drum weapons and set up three scenarios, but you never actually got around to asking a question. Do you want to know which 'bot will have the advantage if those drumbots go 'head-to-head' in each of those situations?

  • Anytime two drumbots go 'head-to-head' the drum with the greater tooth tip-speed has the advantage. At 5000 RPM the smaller drum has a tip-speed of about 47 meters/sec and the larger drum has a tip speed of about 58 meters/sec. The larger drum has the advantage at any closing rate.

  • The calculation for weapon 'bite' depends on the closure rate of the two bots. It does not matter whether one or both of the robots are moving, it's simply the sum of their speeds relative to each other.

Q: I have found myself volunteering to build a semi-sacrificial robot for some "very experienced builders who just want to show off" to test/demonstrate flamethrower weapons against - any advice on how to make a robot as fireproof as reasonably possible? I'm concerned a little about flame possibly getting in underneath and through wheel holes or around the on/off switch, and the fact that the armour will have hot burning material attached directly to it - even if I build it out of random scrap parts I'd rather not cook anything too much... [Lancaster, England]

A: [Mark J.] In US competition flame weapons must use a gassious fuel with no added oxidizer. That type of flame is not much of a danger to enter semi-enclosed spaces thru small holes. Even an open mesh metal screen will stop such a flame. It will also not 'cling' to a surface and continue to burn like a flaming liquid fuel.

If you're really worried about the flames you can pack the cavity of the robot loosely with fibreglass insulation. The flame won't penetrate the insulation and the heat will be kept well away from vital components.

Q: What is your view on using a 'conversion' kit to convert an older 35/40/72/75 mhz set to 2.4 Ghz? I use one and have found it quite good ( [opinion about really cheap plastic cases on a certain well-known transmitter brand deleted] ) but then I only run antweights and I don't really have the need for anything more complex than dual rates and servo reverse... [Lancaster, England]

A: [Mark J.] If you have an old transmitter that you particularly like, perhaps because you are comfortable with its features and set-up menus, it is certainly tempting to install a kit to convert it to full 2.4 Ghz spread spectrum functionality. This was once an expensive proposition, and available only for high-end radios that offered replaceable transmitter modules. Now there are quite inexpensive kits that can be installed in nearly any transmitter.

The kits do require a bit of work, some minor case modifications, and soldering skill. The transmitter's antenna is replaced, multiple wires from the conversion board must be soldered to specific spots in the transmitter, and the new 'bind' button must be affixed to an accessable place in the case. Here's a real-time video of a builder converting a Futaba transmitter, and this is the kit used in the video.

For most builders, it will be a better upgrade to simply purchase an inexpensive 2.4 Ghz R/C system. If you decide to convert be sure to verify that the failsafe capability of the new receiver is suitable for use with combat robots.

Q: Regarding Antbotica, was your main challenge in organising it (apart from cleaning up millet seed) trying to explain the format without confusing people more used to conventional combat? I have been thinking of running something very similar (UK antweights tend to be quite receptive to alternatives to combat, there've been a few long-running events with football and obstacle courses among other things) and I'm trying to wrap my head around the logistics of running it inside one day in a country where about three people saw Robotica... [Lancaster, England]

A: [Mark J.] The first Antbotica had few competitors, but it was held at a multi-event venue where most of the regional builders were able to see the event and gain an appreciation for it. The second event had nearly all of the established builders and several new builders competing.

Be prepared to spend some time promoting the concept and building a following. Consider a very small 'practice' event to get some video to post and build interest. Oh, and if you hold the event outdoors, the birds will come and clean up the millet seed for you.

Q: Hi, lifter guy again. I downloaded 4 bar but I am not sure what values to input. You called it right, the picture is how I would like to design my lifter but I do not know how to input those values into a "4-bar" as pictured in the program. Thank you as always. [Bellevue, Washington]

A: [Mark J.] Bad timing... My home computers can't run the T.i. Combat Robot 4-Bar Calculator due to incompatible operating systems, and I won't be in my office to use the laptop I keep there that runs the calculator for 5 days. I can't immediately confirm what I'm about to suggest, but let me give it a shot:

  • The line segments in the diagram at right are labeled with letters corresponding to the inputs for the T.i. Calculator.
  • Segment 'J' has a zero length.
  • Length measurements should be in inches.
  • Weight should be in ounces -- 64 ounces if you plan on lifting the entire 4-pound weight of your opponent.
  • Calculations should be run as a 'Rear Bar' lifter.
The layout is somewhat unusual and the T.i. Calculator may balk because of the odd angles. If it won't run from the initial 'lowered' setting you can try inputing the 'A' angle for the elevated position and see what happens. Sorry I can't pre-check this for you.
4-Bar Servo Lifter

Q: Hi mark...lifter guy again. Sorry to annoy you so much but I cannot get a single piece of useful information or any information infact out of 4-bar. Every time I attempt to "calculate" it says that I either need to change angle A or bars F and G are too short or too long. I tried for an hours adjusting the input values but with no success. Thanks for your help in these troubled times.

A: Troubled times indeed.

I had feared that the T.i. Four Bar Calculator might have trouble with this layout. A conventional 4-bar used in a lifter has the powered link pushing the 'G' bar forward to raise the mechanism. This design has the 'G' bar stationary and the powered link pushing the 'E' bar forward. That's backward logic to the calculator and it did balk on you.

Time for 'back of the envelope' calculations:

If you simply put a 3" long arm on the servo output shaft, how much torque would the servo require to provide 4 pounds of force at at the end of that arm?

  • Four pounds = 16 ounces * 4 = 64 ounces
  • 64 ounces * 3 inches = 192 oz-in torque
The HS-5585 servo stalls at 236 oz-in torque, so it is capable of providing more than four pounds of force under these conditions. As long as you have a 4-bar design that does not require more torque than a simple bar lifter you'll be fine. How can we assure that?
  • Keep the 'F' bar shorter than the 'H' bar
  • Keep the angle between the 'H' and 'E' bars as close to 90 degrees as you can throughout the range of lifter motion.
If your layout looks more-or-less like the diagram you'll be fine. If your 'H' bar is 1.5" you'll want your 'F' bar to be at least 0.75" to get enough motion from the lifter. I can't provide you with a nice graph of torque requirement, but total lift speed when fully loaded will be somewhare in the 0.6 second range. Remember that you'll usually be lifting less than 4 pounds, because you're only lifting one end or side of your opponent -- but it's good to be prepared to lift the whole 4 pounds if the opportunity presents itself!

Q: Hi Mark. 2 easy questions.

1. Is it better to have flat sides, hinged sides (as a wedge), or solid wedges for walls when facing vertical spinners?

2. What spinning weapon motors are typically used in middleweight and above robots? Not building one, just curious.

Thanks for keeping the site active and for all the advice. [Brooklyn, New York]

A: [Mark J.] Everybody thinks their questions are easy...

The best thing to do for your 'sides' is to keep them away from spinners and keep the well-armored 'front' pointed at it. But I'll assume you're referring to anything that isn't a 'top' or 'bottom' as a 'side'. Specifically against a vertical spinner:

  • 'Flat' (vertical) sides are bad, particularly for a low-profile 'bot. The sharp angle at the top edge will offer a good edge for the spinner to 'bite'. Avoid.

  • 'Hinged' success depends in part on the height of the hinge point. A front scoop hinged at about the height of spinner impact can be very effective, but a traditional side skirt hinged at the top of the 'bot can fold flat to the side on a good hit and actually help launch your 'bot.

  • 'Solid' angled wedge is probably your best choice against a vertical spinner. You don't need a zero-gap clearance as you do against wedges and lifters, and the solid wedge reduces the sharp angle where it joins the top while behaving in a predictable manner when hit.

Spinner weapon motors for large 'bots are currently in transition. Traditionally, large 'bots used one of the more powerful flavors of the AmpFlow brushed motors. Many builders are now experimenting with very powerful sensored brushless motors from various sources. I personally prefer a reliable brushed motor.

Q: Bite Force shows advantages of treads, but treads are not popular in combat robot, so what is treads' disadvantages? [Guangdong, China]

A: [Mark J.] What tread advantages do you believe 'Biteforce' is showing? It is getting good traction on the arena's steel surface, but I think we can attribute that to the embeded magnets in the treads rather than the treads themselves. Treads are great for soft, uneven terrain, but really have no specific advantages on a flat, slick surface.

  • Efficiency -- greater frictional losses than simple wheels.
  • Exposure -- the entire length of the tread is a prime target
  • Expense -- treads aren't cheap, and the drive spindles are custom items.
  • Availability -- have you tried to find a tread suitable for robot combat?
  • Vulnerability -- if you lose the tread you have zero propulsion on that side.
  • Weight -- the tread needs to be supported at multiple points along its length.
Overall, I cannot recommend use of treads in a typical robot combat arena.
250 pound class BattleBot 'Bite Force'

Q: Is it possible to power four servocity 730 rpm motors and a HS-5585 servo off of a 3 cell lipo battery or should the motors be powered by a 3c battery and the servo by a 2c battery with it all connecting to the speed controler? [Bellevue, Washington]

A: [Mark J.] Several points:

  • It's a very poor idea to run a servo above its rated voltage. The problem isn't the servo motor, it's the servo's internal electronics that control the motor direction and position. Exceeding the voltage rating for those components can lead to an abrupt failure.

  • Small hobby servos do not connect directly to the battery or to the speed controller. They plug into the receiver via a three wire lead that supplies both power and a control signal to the servo. In this arrangement, the power to the servo is at the same voltage level running the receiver.

  • The receiver is usually powered at 5 volts by a Battery Eliminator Circuit (BEC) in the Electronic Speed Controller (ESC). The BEC will typically supply enough current to power the receiver and perhaps a couple small peripheral devices, but not enough to power a heavy-duty servo like the HS-5585.

  • It is a very poor idea to run a receiver above its rated voltage. Check the specs on your specific receiver for the acceptable voltage range.

My recommended solution is:

  • Connect your ESC to a 3-cell LiPo battery of sufficient capacity to operate the drive motors for the length of your match.

  • Clip and/or remove the power wire (red) from the control leads that run from the ESC(s) to the receiver to prevent the BEC from attempting to power the receiver.

  • Connect a small 2-cell LiPo to the receiver via a spare servo lead -- red is poisitive, black (sometimes brown) is negative. You may plug that lead into any unused receiver port. It will power the receiver and servo.

This does add another battery that needs to be charged, but it is the simplest and most reliable set-up. The stall power requirements of the HS-5585 servo are not given in the specs, but I'm guessing at about 5 amps. The receiver requires very little power, perhaps 15 milliamps. Servo powered 4-bar lifting wedge

Q: Also is the HS-5585 ok to lift a 4 lb robot if directly attached (wedge/scoop hinged on top with servo attaching on inside around middle of 3 inch long by 3 inch high scoop/wedge)? All that said, do you have a way to calculate maximum lift capacity and speed to 60/90/180 degrees for a design like this because I have a few different servos in mind (some 7.4v others 6.0v with varying speeds and torque) and do not want to throw grunt work at you that I can do. Thanks.

A: I'm not sure that I understand how you plan to attach the servo to the lifter wedge. If it looks like my diagram at right, it's a 4-bar mechanism and the calculations for required torque and for speed are complex. You can find posts about tools to help calculate 4-bar performance in the Robot Weapons archive -- try this post for a start.

Q: I find your thoughts on arena design 'breeding' certain types of robots quite interesting, and would like to know;

1. Do you think an arena even 'needs' to be designed so that no particular type of robot is at an advantage or disadvantage?

A: [Mark J.] I don't think it's possible to design an arena that could be entirely neutral to robot design. It would be like designing a cage where a wolf, a shark, and a falcon could all compete on equal terms. Any arena will favor some design elements and penalize others.

That said, if you are trying to encourage design diversity it is posssible to modify the arena environment in a way that gives advantage to designs that are different than those currently prevalent. This is preferable to attempting the same change via new regulations.

2. What is the best arena you've ever fought in, both from a 'best for you' and a 'fun' point of view?

A: The best fights I ever had were at the 'Oregon Clandestine Street Fight' which took place in an empty parking lot well away from prying eyes and bystanders. The asphalt surface had good grip, the view and sound were unobstructed, and the curbs made good hazards. Understandably, we had no 'spinners' competing. I won matches against a ranked BattleBots heavyweight and a Robot Wars finalist that day.

The most fun was, as you might suspect, at 'Robotica'. New challenges with each new arena, strategic decisions at every turn, and wild untested designs. A flat-bottomed plastic box just can't compare.

3. Why do you think the Robotica/Antbotica format has never really gained traction outside of those events? IMO it would be very interesting to see how 'modern' combat designs cope with things like *gasp!* ramps and *shock horror!* unstable ground - it's one of the reasons I quite liked early UK Robot Wars...

A: I think my efforts with 'Antbotica' have been aimed at the wrong audience. Trying to convert the hard core robot combat guys who really enjoy metal-on-metal spark showers and kinetic destruction is like trying to sell root beer at a biker bar. I should probably be aiming to attract the larger sumo and line-follower audience who may be interested in a more complex challenge.

Keep up the good work; you're doing Aaron proud. And thanks for having the patience of an absolute saint. I hadn't been on here for a while and I nearly did a spit take on reading the 'bad hamburger' article...

P.S. - As a slight addendum to what you say in your radio guide about reducing interference, I have a 150g antweight made entirely out of aluminium and carbon fibre - and due to the reciever being encased entirely in a Faraday tomb, even with DSM2 2.4 Ghz I had about a metre and a half maximum of range before it started twitching. In the year 2015 I ended up having to run the aerial externally so I could control it better. Don't do that thing that I did!

Q: Hello, Mark. After the newest episode of Battlebots I have a question: Do you think Stinger really had a chance to win when facing Bronco? Looks like the kits which was made to deal with wedge and flippers can't prevent it from being launched into the sky and being flipped out of the arena. [Chinese Forum]

A: [Mark J.] 'Stinger' and 'Bronco' are both very dangerous competitors, and I would give either of them a good chance against any robot in this competition. Stinger came very close to an early win when it forced Bronco up onto the 'screws'. Stinger is an incredibly durable robot, and Broncho's only real hope in the match was to get in a perfect flip. It really could have gone either way.

I'll add that I would have liked to see 'Stinger' pass thru to fight 'Tombstone' in the semi-finals. They've fought ten times in matches dating back to 2005 with Stinger (AKA 'Sewer Snake') winning six and Tombstone (AKA 'Last Rites') winning four. That would have been a great match!

Q: Hi, Mark. Looks some people really don't like the modifies on 'Ghost Raptor'. They think the targeted modification is unfair. The question is how much of modification is allowed? It seems should not be unlimited but I didn't find any rules that gives detailed description. [Guangdong, China]

A: [Mark J.] There is a long history in robot combat of 'pit fabricated' modifications to robots seeking offenseive or defensive advantage against a specific opponent. Many robots have added additional plates of top armor for protection from overhead spikes, and I recall a device very similar to Ghost Raptor's 'De-Icer' deployed against the top pole of FBS 'Megabyte' at a Triangle Series match in 2003. Such modifications have been allowed at all major events without restriction.

As for 2015 BattleBots, one specific rule seems to apply:

Section 7 Sub C:

"A bot can have more than one weapon, but at least one of the installed weapons must display the ability to damage or incapacitate. The use of interchangeable (modular) weapons is encouraged. However, the bot cannot weigh more than the maximum limit regardless of weapon configuration."
Team Raptor's 'De-icer' attachment in use against 'Icewave'

The 'De-Icer' is clearly allowed under this rule as it was a secondary device attached to the active lifting wedge assembly on Ghost Raptor. Like it or not, it is entirely legal and standard practice in combat robotics tournaments.

Q: How do you make a vertical spider bot with connects? [Newark, New Jersey]

A: [Mark J.] You mean this K'nex Spider?

That really doesn't qualify as a combat robot question, but the link above may help. Good luck!

K'nex Spider

Q: Hi Mark, I got some questions about Battlebots 2015, I hope to get your opinions. [Guangdong, China]

1. 'Overhaul' is a great robot, but many people dislike, even hate about 'Overhaul' (at least in China). Maybe it is because of the handshake refusing clip. I think the opinions on 'Overhaul' is unjust, how do you think?

A: [Mark J.] I've previously commented on the 'handshake' incident -- see the Robot Events archive. The team's attitude didn't help their image, but the robot speaks for itself in the arena.

2. In the latest episode, 'Biteforce' match up with 'Overhaul'. At the end of the battle, 'Overhaul' flipped 'Biteforce' upside down and keep it from self righting. The judge's decision is 'Biteforce' won. I know judges struggling to make this decision. But I think the last action of 'Overhaul' (did a flip and competitor didn't self right) is enough to let 'Overhaul' takes win. Whatever, I'm not the judges, but how do you think about the decision?

A: You cannot win a match by preventing your opponent from righting. If you want to have them 'counted out' as immobile you must back away and give them the opportunity to self-right. You also don't get points for just gripping your opponent and holding them off the floor.

It was a close match and I didn't have the opportunity to inspect the 'bots for damage as the judges did -- but from just the edited video I call the match for 'Biteforce'.

3. The Killsaws are seldom used in the Battlebots 2015. I heard they are controlled by computers and there's about half second delay(from a arena interviewing video). I think this delay is unnecessary, seldom robot will step on the killsaw so long time in battle. Killsaw is a dangerous hazard in the past, now it seems unharmful. How do you think about the Killsaw in this year?

A: In previous seasons competitors and fans alike complained about the arena hazards having too much impact on matches. I'd like to see a little more use of all the hazards. What are they there for if you aren't gonna use 'em?

4. Do you think 'Counter Revolution' and 'Radioactive' are no hope to win when matching up with 'Tombstone' ? Lots of people think it is, maybe some way can lead 'Counter Revolution' or 'Radioactive' to win. (They also think 'Ghost Raptor' has no chance to beat 'Icewave')

A: You've got to have a big, hard, tough slab of front armor plus a big bucket of luck to stand any chance at all against 'Tombstone'. Period.

5. I found Ray Billings always ask 'one more?' when 'Tombstone' is certainly win and then give competitors a badly hit. Is that all last hit through competitors' permission? If not, the actions of Ray seem are not sportsmanship, many people are discussing about that.

A: Ray is a tough competitor, but I don't believe anyone in the sport considers him to be a poor sportsman. A competitor can end the match instantly by hitting the 'tap-out' button mounted on the arena wall in front of them. Ray is just offering them a moment to think about hitting that button before he takes another run at their badly damaged 'bot. I consider that to be very good sportsmanship.

6. Is it able to continue the match if the robot has been OotA climbs back into the arena? 'Stinger The Killer Bee' OotA by 'Bronco' , Matt Maxham thinks 'Stinger The Killer Bee' can climb back into the arena if their sprocket didn't break. (UK events seem will continue the match if the robot into the pit and go out from the pit itself)

A: You'll notice that 'Stinger' wasn't given a 'count out' when it left the arena. Out of the arena is an instant loss.

7. Is the more power from ICE necessary? (It required more space) The head placed ICE on 'Icewave' became a weakness when matching up with 'Ghost Raptor'. 'Brutality' has similar design with 'Icewave' , it use electric weapon, also devastating but it will not defeat by something like 'De-Icer' on the 'Ghost Raptor' (I have to admit that it is not 'Icewave' if it don't use ICE)

A: Internal Combustion Engine power certainly is not necessary, and in general ICE 'bots don't win tournaments. However, some builders are more about the spectacle than the victory and ICE spinners do make a great noise!

8. How do you think about the spinning weapon on 'Ghost Raptor'? The bar hit 'Complete Control' with tiny damage but broke itself. 'Team Raptor' has experience on building a spinner, unlikely they made the weak bar inadvertently. Or, it is just a weapon to earn aggression points and the team prepared lots of weapon for 'Ghost Raptor', the throwaway spinning bar is just one of them.

A: 'Ghost Raptor' is an update of the team's existing 220-pound 'bot 'Preda Raptor'. The team had an extra 30 pounds of weight allowance for the new weight class and built a light spinner weapon as one of the many bolt-on options available to them. It was worth a try.

9. 'Chronic' didn't take part in the main game. Its original shape 'Kronic' is very powerful robot in UK, but 'Chronic' lost a grudge battle against 'Swamp Thing'. Is that because the 'Kronic' design is not suitable for the event or Is there a large gap between US robots and UK robots?('Swamp Thing' is a robot brought as a spare in case there weren't enough robots in the game)

A: US and UK arenas are quite different and strongly favor very different robots designs. This does NOT imply that there is a competitive 'gap' between US and UK 'bots -- they're just designed for different arenas.

Remembering Aaron... 

Q: how can robots help us deal better with hurricanes and why? [Ontario, California]

A: [Aaron] Few people in Nebraska are threatened by hurricanes, so send a swarm of killer robots into low Atlantic and gulf coastal areas to drive the puny human inhabitants toward Nebraska. Problem solved.

Robot haiku:

That's obviously
A question from your homework.
Do your own research.

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Killer Robot drawing by Garrett Shikuma
Not all the questions we receive at Ask Aaron are serious. Some are odd, some misdirected, and a few are incomprehensible. Aaron enjoyed dealing with these questions, and I've collected some of his best responses in a special page:
Aaron's Greatest Hits
Aaron's Greatest Hits

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