SERVO 06.2015 19
2013 issue detailing how to make a
lifting or clamping robot.
With the help of Finger Tech
robotics, these kits became available
for dedicated builders to purchase and
get started. For Zachary, it has been a
rewarding experience, as he has seen
young builders get into the sport with
his kits and have the time of their
lives. He says, “Seeing kids enjoying
robotics makes all the hard work and
frustration of developing a kit well
Insect class robots aren’t the only
place you’ll find kits. RRevo (Robot
Revolution) has recently spawned a 15
lb kit designed by Bradley Hanstad.
Hanstad is no stranger to combat
robot kits, as he started out with the
aforementioned VDD kit.
His kits were made due to the
demand for an educational robot
combat league in southern California.
The starter kit includes a water jet
aluminum frame, an ESC for its two
motors, LiPo batteries, and wheels.
After that, it’s up to the builder as to
what modifications they should make
to the robot.
Bradley’s design philosophy in
regards to the kit is, “The reason I
built out these kits was to give a
cheaper starting kit that offered far
better parts than anything on the
market. It is a full kit with everything
you need to run a robot, and it offers
some overkill in the right spots to
make it easy and safe for beginners,
but at the same time offers some
modular design to adapt it to your
personal design without the kit being
overkill and too strong. I firmly believe
a kit should never be sold if it is too
strong of a robot to begin with.
Otherwise, you lose the point of the
sport of combat robotics which is
learning and building your own.”
Bradley’s kits have been used by
many different schools in California.
He hopes this will help the sport grow
and help kids learn more about
While kits may not be for
everyone, it’s clear that they’ve played
a huge part in the growth of the
sport, and will continue to do so for
years to come. SV
Skill Building — Drive Better
● by Michael Jeffries
Robot combat is a sport with extreme design diversity. You’ll see spinners, flippers, axes,
crushers, pushers, and a range of
other things constantly
pushing the limits of what’s
safe and what’s legal to run at
an event. In many ways, it’s
like an elaborate game of rock-paper-scissors.
Barring some of the more
elaborate mechanisms and
designs, the rock, paper, and
scissors all share a common
element. They all need to be
driven. Good driving can make
a simple robot look great, and
poor driving can make a
beautifully designed robot a
The best way to start on
the path to becoming a good
driver is to finish your bot early
and drive it as much as possible
before the first event, as well as
between events. A large element to
driving well is moving beyond the
point where you’re thinking about
what you need to do with the
controller and getting to the point
where you’re thinking about what you
want the bot to do.
Here are a few techniques
that can augment basic driving
practice and help you get up
Basic driving practice is
nice, but there’s a lot more to
being a good driver than just
driving your bot around alone.
In robot combat, you’ve got
another bot in there with you.
Just driving the bot can get
you used to how the bot
drives, but chasing a live —
often erratic — target gets you
ready for combat.
Figure 1. A basic test area for use with relatively
safe weapon systems. This test area was built using a
pallet, some plywood, and about 16 feet of
2" steel angle brackets.