Types of Battlebots

The first part to building any battlebot is to decide what you want to design. Throughout the course of battlebots there have been a various number of designs, but there are some basic designs that always popup, and those are what I am going to talk about. Now if you want to be more creative, go for it. I remember when the show Battlebots aired on T.V. one contestant entered a robot that looked like a spider. Was it as effective as some of the other designs? No. But the design and engineering ingenious that went into creating that robot was spectacular.


A wedge is a battlebot that is designed with an incline plane on the front of it. The whole point of a wedge is to give the battlebot the ability to pick up its opponent and drive them into the wall of the arena or some other hazard. This battlebot is typically very structurally sound making it very hard to destroy. However, due to the lack of a weapon, they don’t always do much damage to their opponent, they also require a skilled driver to operate them. If you’re planning on designing a wedge, make sure that the competition you are going to allows pure wedged robots. Some competitions require some sort of active weapon to keep the matches exciting.

-Structural integrity provides an excellent defense

-Easy to design-Has the ability to get under your opponent to drive them into the wall or other hazards

-Possible to design other features

-Must have a skilled driver

-Not much of an offense

-Wedge vs. Wedge = Boring match

-Some competitions have banned battlebots that only use wedges


The spinner battlebot is the king of offense and defense assuming it stays alive. To classify a battlebot as spinner bot the outside of the robot spins, or the entire top spins. The reason why I say this bot is the king of offense and defense is because its offense is its defense. While hitting a spinner bot your battlebot is also going to take damage unless it can get under the spinner, making the wedge battlebot the spinner bot’s kryptonite. Spinner bots are also destructive to themselves as well as your competition, so be prepared to bring a lot of spare parts. I know this because the last bot I made was full body spinner. In addition to this, the driver of the spinner bot needs to dodge around the arena after every hit since it will take time for the spinner to reach its full speed again. Finally, be prepared to put some thought into your design, otherwise it could self destruct after the first hit.

-Its offense is its defense

-The driver doesn’t need to be as skilled

-Self destructive

-Hard to design effectively

-Difficult if not impossible to add additional features


Drum bots are the heavy hitters of the battlebot types. They way a drum bot works is it has a huge rotating mass on the front. If the drum is designed correctly it will have the capability of throwing other battlebots up into the air or into the side of arena’s wall. However, due to the heavy mass rotating at a high rpm, these battlebots can be difficult to control. The reason for this is because the high moment of inertia will make the bot want to flip over as it turns.

-Very destructive hits

-Possible to build a sturdy frame

-Possible to add other features

-Hard to control when driving



The crusher robot has a vice like crusher designed to hold and possibly bend the other robot’s frame. If you decide to design one of these types of bots, then you should spend a lot of time practicing your driving. Since not only will you have to be able to drive well but you will need good timing to catch the other bot. Also, you need to become acquainted with the match’s rules, since most competitions limit the amount of time you can hold your opponent before you have to let them go. Finally, during the design process you need to consider the weight of your crusher system since it will need to deliver a large amount of force, but you can’t go over the weight limit set by the competition.

-Bending your opponents frame could knock them out of the match

-Possible to make your frame structurally sound

-Possible to add other features

-Must be a good driver with good reflexes

-Weight of the crusher system could make it difficult to stay within the weight limit

-Most competitions limit how long you can hold your opponent


The flipper bot has an arm normally tied to a powerful pneumatic system that is used to flip your opponent’s bot over. Similar to the crusher you will need to have a good driver that has good reflexes to operate this bot. If you have the flipper operate off of a pneumatic system then you also need to realize you will have a limited amount of time you can use the flipper arm before you air tanks run out of air. Finally, if the arm isn’t durable enough it could easily be torn off by a spinner or a drum bot, leaving your robot defenseless if that was its only form of offense.

-Flipping your opponent’s bot could knock them out of the match depending on their wheel configuration

-Possible to add other features

-Must be a good driver with good reflexes

-Easy for your opponent to tear off your weapon

-Size of you air tank will limit the use of your weapon if you use pneumatics


Hybrids combine the styles listed above. By doing this you would be giving your robot added design features that could be used as secondary weapon. The biggest issue of doing this is it will increase the time for your design process, and you will have to pay more attention to your weight. Also, it is difficult to put and secondary features on a spinner.

-You have a second weapon that can be used if your primary weapon fails -More design time is required

-Easier to go over the weight restrictions when adding secondary features on


The above are not the only designs that you can use when creating your battlebot. They are however the most common. As I said at the beginning you can create you battlebot anyway that you want, and there are limitless ideas that you could come up with. Also, some competitions actually like to see this creativity, and offer a special class for these types of robots where the above types are limited or excluded to give you a better playing field. It all depends on you as a designer. Do you want to stretch your design skills to see what you can create, or are you more interested in the destructive power and effectiveness of some of the above.

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