Monday, May 30, 2016

Introducing RatAttach - Our first BattleBot

My daughters and I have been watching the last season of BattleBots so when I asked them what project they wanted to do over the long weekend the choice was obvious:  Make a BattleBot.  I have never built a BattleBot so the first obstacle to overcome was figuring out how to do it.  In this post I will explain how we built our first BattleBot that we named RatAttack.

Building robots is not a cheap hobby especially when you build them to do battle.  I definitely did not want to use my BeagleBone Black that I used in my other robots, within this one.  After thinking about building a BattleBot for a couple of days, I had the idea Saturday morning to go to our local Goodwill stores and buy up any and all remote control cars/trucks that they had.

My oldest daughter and I drove to all four of our local Goodwill stores and we ended up buying 10 remote controlled cars (one remote controlled rat but more on that later) and 12 remote controllers for $14.  Out of all of the cars/remote controllers we were able to get two remote controlled cars actually working.  On top of the working cars, we were also able to salvage 3 working salvo motors, 10 working DC motors, numerous battery holders, gears and wheels.  Let me tell you how much fun my daughter had tearing the old cars apart and salvaging the parts.  I think she liked that more then actually working on our BattleBot.

After our salvage operation was complete we started carefully taking one of the working RC cars apart so we could build our BattleBot around it  We picked the biggest car to start with and after we took the outside apart we were left with this:

The next thing to do was to design the exterior of the BatttleBot.  We like a number of the BattleBots from last season with Stingray and Overdrive being our two favorites but we decided to mirror our first BattleBot after Tombstone (  Here is our first BattleBot named RatAttack:

The follow video shows RatAttack in action.

We used our 3D printer to print the parts for RatAttack.  Probably not good for an actual BattleBot but for our first bot to play with it really worked out well.

The robot itself has a 9V battery pack that powers the car itself.  To power the front weapon we have a 12V battery pack hidden underneath our rat (see image below).  This 12V battery pack powers a little DC motor which spins the blade.  The 12V battery pack is WAY to powerful for the motor (and we have already blown one motor) but we have a few spare right now and really wanted to see it spin fast J.  We connected a little switch between the DC motor and the power supply to let us turn the blade on and off.

We definitely need to put a more powerful motor in RatAttack for the Blade.  I would also like to get the eyes on the rat itself to work.  We also need to cover the wires rather than just using electrical tape.  Finally we need to make the outside armor cover more of the bot itself maybe evening adding a weapon in the back of the bot but I think this is a very good start for our first BattleBot.

So about that Rat.  The first Goddwill that we visited on Saturday did not have any RC cars on display so we asked one of the sales people if they had any.  He said they had one but we probably didn’t want it and he was not sure if they had a controller for it.  We told him that we would take working/non-working ones so he went in back and brought the Rat out.  It really was not what I was looking for but my daughter talked me into getting it and now we have RatAttack.

This was a fun little project for the long weekend and the girls and I really had a lot of fun building him.  They are also ready to build another one and make changes to RatAttack. 


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