Combat Robot Building – Micro Bots

Posted in Uncategorized by Near Chaos Robotics on March 28, 2015 No Comments yet

This post is meant primarily to supplement the Combat Robot Building – Micro Bots class at Freeside Atlanta on March 28th, 2015.

The presentation can be downloaded at or

If you’ve got any additional questions, feel free to send them to or head over to the SPARC Forums.

During the class it was asked if there was a good book on robot combat. At the moment, the best “book” to go with is from Riobotz- Downloadable PDF, Physical Book

Unrequested Advice: Drive Better

Posted in Uncategorized by Near Chaos Robotics on March 15, 2015 No Comments yet

There’s been one constant in robot combat since the beginning. No matter how tough your machine, how destructive the weapon, or how sound your strategy you won’t be able to get the best out of it if you’re not able to drive it well. With that being said, here are a few things you can do to become a better driver:

    Target Practice

Just driving your bot around isn’t typically enough to get good at driving it in a combat environment. Sure, you’ll learn how to drive in a straight line and how to make turns, but what you won’t do is learn how to chase a moving, often erratic target.

If you’ve got someone who’s willing to drive a moving target (for example, a cheap RC car) then you’re all set. The target tries to keep away from your bot, you try to catch the target with your bot. If possible, find a way to set up a specific area to do this in to replicate the perimeter of most combat arenas.

A small test area built onto a pallet.

If you don’t have a willing target operator one thing I’ve found that is fantastic for small bots is a Weazel Ball.

Tailless Weazel Ball

It is advisable to remove the tail to avoid it becoming stuck in the rotating parts of your robot.

If you intend to do any of this drive testing with an active spinning weapon you should do it in a safe manner. For most bots, this means the creation of a test box. With a spinning weapon there’s no way to be certain of what will go where when you hit something. A test box is the best way to go about this, and if you’re willing to scrounge a bit it can be made fairly inexpensively. As robots get larger, it is more difficult to properly contain them in an enclosure that will also allow them to be driven in a manner similar to combat so for those systems I recommend doing weapon-off driving practice.

Small test box with a full lid to prevent flying debris from exiting the test area.

The more practice you can get in before an event the better off you’ll be. With enough time, you won’t be thinking about what your thumbs need to do during a match, but what the bot needs to do.

    Throttle Control

Unless you’re using relays for drive, you’ve got a lot of throttle range to play with. Most people seem to only drive with the edges of the travel range. They’re either up against the edge of the sticks throw or they’re not on the throttle at all. This makes for a bot that moves quickly, but often not in the intended direction. The benefits of proportionally (or exponentially) controlled drive systems is that you can opt to move as fast as possible or move more slowly but in a much more controlled manner.

Transmitter stick.

I like fast bots. Most of the bots I run at events are easily in the top 10-15% of the class when it comes to speed. If you watch my fights, though, you’ll often see my bots driving slower than the opponent for noticeable stretches of the match. Unless I’m lined up on the other bot or in contact with them, I’ll often be at 50% throttle or less while driving.

Why slow down? It’s simple, you don’t need to go fast to score points on aggression, you don’t need to go fast to get lined up for an attack, and you don’t need to go fast to take control of the fight. Speed is a useful tool, but it’s only part of the kit you’ll need to do well. If you charge full on at the other bot and miss, then you’re about to run weapon first into the wall or off the ledge or down the pit. Best case there is you’re now facing the wrong way and stopped. Worst case, you’ve already lost the fight. Speed is great, accuracy is better.

Take some time and acquaint yourself with the other 80% of what your drive system is capable of. It’ll pay off in the long run.

Instructable for Nyx v2

Posted in Uncategorized by Near Chaos Robotics on November 12, 2014 No Comments yet

The instructable for the new Nyx is live.

Instructables Posts

Posted in Uncategorized by Near Chaos Robotics on November 8, 2014 No Comments yet

I’ve done Instructables on several of our robots, they can be found here:

Keep an eye out for the upcoming Instructable on version 2 of Nyx.

If you want to skip the reading and go right to the CAD files, here’s all of the CAD files for Nyx v2:

YouTube Playlists

Posted in Uncategorized by Near Chaos Robotics on November 8, 2014 No Comments yet

Playlists from a huge number of past events as well as testing video of our robots can be found at

Chaos Hubs

Posted in Uncategorized by Near Chaos Robotics on November 8, 2014 No Comments yet

Chaos Hubs are available now. To order, send an email to with sizes and quantities.



After seeing a complete lack of decent Colson hubs on the market for a 1/2″ keyed shaft I made my own.

The initial run of these was fairly small, however if they’re popular I’ll be stocking larger quantities in the near future.

General Specs:
Press fit for 1-3/16″ bore
Intended for 1-1/2″ wide Colson caster wheels, able to be adapted to 2″ Colson caster wheels that have the same bore.
Overall Width: 1-3/4″ including 1/8″ flange
Material: Delrin
Bore: 1/2″ with 1/8″ keyway
Includes slot for 1/4″ key on OD. For purchased wheel assemblies the Colson wheel will be broached and installed with a 1″ long key.

Bare Hubs: $10
1-1/2″ wide wheels
3″: $20.50
4″: $20.50
5″: $20.00
6″: $21.00
8″: $26.50

Current stock sits at 55 hubs. (8 in black, 47 in white)

Review By Pete Smith published in Servo Magazine:

“The 1.5″ and 2″ wide Colson wheels have been popular in the 30 lb+ weight classes in combat robotics for many years, but builders often had to make their own hubs to mate the large bore of the Colsons with the standard 1/2″ keyed shafts that come on drive gearmotors like Banebots P60s.
Near Chaos Robotics has filled that gap in the market with their new “Chaos Hubs.”
Machined from Delrin — a tough but light plastic — the hubs have keyways to lock the hub to the shaft and to the wheel.
A shaft clamp (not included) could be used to keep the hub and wheel from sliding off the shaft.
The basic hub weighs only 1.5 oz (44 g) including the key, and are a perfect fit with the 1.5″ wide Colsons. They can also be used with the 2″ wide wheels. A complete 4″ x 1.5” wheel assembly weighs only 9.2 oz (262 g).”

Starting fresh after DB issues

Posted in Uncategorized by Near Chaos Robotics on November 8, 2014 No Comments yet

Some issues have resulted in the majority of posts being lost, so I’ll be restoring the more important posts over the next few days.

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