wasn’t just a single design. The
open-endedness of the frame
allowed builders to create
different shapes for their robots.
Battlekits were based off of
Carlo Bertocchini’s successful
Heavyweight robot, Biohazard.
Not just designed for combat
robots, there were lightweight,
middleweight, and heavyweight
frames complete with
independent drivetrain modules
and pre-drilled mounts for motors
and speed controllers.
The kits weren’t very popular,
but were notable for being the
only kit for the heavier weight
For the 3 lb Beetleweight
class, Pete Smith of Team Rolling
Thunder’s Kitbots has proven to
be the most dominant force. The
Kitbots are based off of his bots,
Pure Dead Brilliant (a horizontal
undercutter), Trilobite (a brick with
interchangeable wedges), and the
most popular, Weta (a
beater/drum spinner). Kitbots also
has an Antweight kit called Saifu
— a scaled down Weta designed
to have a spinning drum with
The inspiration to produce kits
came from his Nutstrip material used
in his bots at the time. The Nutstrip
allowed him to build bots easier and
make them able to stand up to the
Pete ended up selling kits
after being asked to make
some for a local school.
When it comes to his
kits, Pete says, ”When I
design a kit, I focus on three
things. Firstly, it has to be
competitive. Secondly, it has
to be relatively easy to build
and repair, and thirdly, it has
to be affordable. I build and
compete with prototypes,
tweak the design as required,
and then offer it as a kit or
as a completely built up
Kitbots have given many
inexperienced competitors the edge at
events when it comes to competing,
and the parts are easy to replace and
be integrated into new designs. Pete
also feels that his kits have changed
the way the weight classes have
evolved. Builders end up making their
bots more deadly in order to take
down the tried and tested Kitbot
Meanwhile, Finger Tech Robotics
has put its own kit into the market.
For the Antweight class, the Viper Kit
has become a go-to choice for new
builders. Kurtis Wanner, the owner of
Finger Tech Robotics, wanted to make
started in the sport of robot
“Ten years ago, it was
incredibly difficult to get
started in combat robots.
There weren’t yet any stores
dedicated to designing and
specifically for small combat
robots, so builders were stuck
with what they could find at
the local hobby stores — parts
that were normally meant for
R/C cars and airplanes. I saw
an opportunity to help grow
SERVO 06.2015 17
A lightweight Battlekit.
Photo courtesy of Battlekits.com.
Pete Smith with Trilobite, the basis for
one of his Beetleweight kits.
Photo courtesy of Pete Smith.
Nutstrip of different sizes,
with a quarter for comparison.
Photo courtesy of Kitbots.com.
Several Kitbots at an event.