Meet The Robots

For those of you who are fed up of the Olympics already, here’s something a little different. Combatting machinery and rotary weapons; Robot Wars is back on the TV tonight. We have 3 finalists already so it’s a question now of, who’s number 4?


This flipper robot can apparently launch a 220lbs rival at least six foot into the air and is so powerful it does somersaults on full power. The three-man team behind Apollo met at Pontins, where they worked as Bluecoats Entertainers. Captain Dave Young has since transformed his farmyard barn into a “robot workshop”.


Team Eruption, led by 17-year-old Michael Oates, has already won many amateur UK championships with its powerful flipper robot. The bot also has a fixed gripping spike, said to be a “very rare” combination of weaponry in the robot combat community.


With 12 tonnes of crushing force – equivalent to the weight of a London bus – Kan-opener is the most powerful crusher in the competition. It cost the team more than £25,000 to make over the last 15 years. The team says Kan-opener’s destruction of rivals might not be clear on the outside, but its pincers can cause “massive internal damage”.


Team captain Gary Cairns won series seven of Robot Wars when he was a teenager. Now he’s back with another machine. PP3D has a T-shaped chassis with a spinning disc, which Cairns claims is “possibly the most powerful spinner in the world”. It is the only robot in the competition to rely heavily on 3D printing for its components.


The team’s weapon operator, Esme, has been dubbed the “Robot Wars baby” as she was born while her father was competing in the original series. Now 14, she will be going into battle with an entirely new robot that boasts not one but three weapons: a spinner; gripper, and armoured wedge.

Storm 2

This robot might look like a harmless metal box but it has a range of interchangeable weapons, including a spinning disk, an electric lifting arm and a forward-firing flipper and self-righter. It has enough power to pull a minibus loaded with school children and cost the team more than £25,000 over 17 years.

Sweeney Todd

Much like the infamous barber, Sweeney Todd uses blades to cut through its victims. It is the only robot in the competition to use Mecanum Wheels, which are found on electric wheelchairs and can move in every direction. It is, however, relatively short so it may be vulnerable to an axe or hammer attack.

Terror Turtle

This “clusterbot” consists of two individual robots: Terror Turtle and The Hatchling. The main robot has a high velocity spinner, while the smaller, non-weaponised Hatchling is designed to cause a nuisance by ramming into opponents. Captain John Frizell was head of Greenpeace for six years in the 1980s and that inspired him to build an animal-shaped machine.

Think you could do better? We’re sure you could do better. It’s tough going when you don’t know where to start, but thankfully we do. Robotics courses here at The Sheffield College – check them out!


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