box rush me, and that we would be
fighting out in the middle of the arena,
not in their corner.
Olin: Did the damage from this
match affect your next match?
Billings: We had all the damage
repaired, which was really fairly
minimal. I usually have several sets of
batteries. I used different batteries in
the Bronco match and the Biteforce
In the finals, Ray's Tombstone
faced Paul Ventimiglia's Biteforce — a
bot with magnetic tank treads giving
him extra pushing power, lifter forks
on the front, and a heavy steel wedge
on the back. The match started with
both bots attacking aggressively.
Biteforce's wedge took hit after hit
from Tombstone's big blade. Just as it
seemed the wedge was starting to
fail, white smoke started pouring out
of Tombstone, and Tombstone's big
blade stopped. Biteforce dominated
the rest of the match and won a
judge’s decision and the
Olin: What was your strategy for
the Biteforce match?
Billings: There wasn’t any wild
strategy going on in either camp to be
honest. Just me trying to hit him any
place other than the wedge, and him
keeping the wedge pointed at me. I
just ended up with an internal short in
one of the battery packs which took
out the rest of them.
When you are drawing the
amount of amperage I do, this is
always a possibility. Paul did what he
had to do, and I didn’t. The match
would have gone much differently
without the battery failure.
Olin: How was this BattleBots
tournament different from past ones?
Billings: For this event, there was
simply fewer bots involved. The
BattleBots events in the past were
epically large — 500+ big bots all in the
pits — whereas this time we had less
than 30. But the action was awesome,
and the box was nicer than ever
before. The production values of the TV
part were much better this time too.
Olin: What was your most
memorial moment for this event?
Billings: I think my most
memorable moment was when I won
the award for the “Most Destructive
Robot.” I was at a loss for words, which
doesn’t happen often for me. SV
We asked some of the BattleBots' top builders what advice and tips they
would give to aspiring bot builders.
Here are their answers.
Ray Billings from Team Hardcore
Robotics, builders of Tombstone:
Start small. There are combat
events all over the country and the
world. My first combat machine was a
120 lb middleweight, and I wish I had
someone tell me to start out smaller
back then and move my way up. You
learn so many skills and go through
lots of design phases much cheaper
and easier with the smaller weight
classes. By far, the best way to learn is
to go to an event and interact with
the builders. Find an event that is local
to you, go there, and watch and hang
out/ask questions/get ideas. That is
much more informative and
inspirational than any other resource
Dan Chatterton from Team Wrecks,
builders of Wrecks:
Find the Combat Robotics
Facebook group and ask lots of
questions! You will always get
answers. Also, see if any builders live
near you and would show you some
of their bots up close or help with
Figure out what your main attack
will be. Then, design the body around
that item and add armor where
needed. Titanium is great, but steel
alloys and thick aluminum fit a budget
easier while still making good armor.
Ground clearance! Be sure that
your bot can drive over the uneven
arena floor. Many bots have lost from
getting hung up.
Tips from the Pros
● by Chris & Tiffany Olin
SERVO 11.2015 35