Introduction: How to Make a Combat Robot (For ANY Skill Level)

About: I am a combat robot builder, better known as Battlebots and work with 3D Printers and laser cutters.

When starting combat robotics, I found there was no "step by step" combat robot build walkthrough so after doing tons of research on the internet, I decided to compile some of it to create a guide to making a combat robot so that someone with zero experience can make a combat robot. Also, for all beginners, this has NO ARDUINO and you should be able to understand all the parts by the end of this! To make it easy to understand the wiring, I put written instructions, and video demonstration with EACH BUILD STEP.

For a very entertaining test of this robot, watch the video attached below the supplies!!


Here is a list of all the parts I will be using and demonstrating in the combat robot. I tried to keep most of the parts sourced from a few places so you get your bang for your buck with shipping. Also these parts may seem expensive at first but buying cheap parts will just cost you more in the long run, and these parts will be used over and over as you start venturing into tournaments and making your own designs. Also, the first robot will be your most expensive because you will need some basic parts , such a transmitter, that can be used for other robots as well. If you decide to build a second robot, you could build it for about 1/2 the cost.

Drive Motors/Motor Mounts/Wheel:

Power Switch:

Drive Controllers (x2):

Wire connecter blocks 5 Wire spaces (x2), 2 wire spaces (x7)

Transmitter and Receiver: Pre-programmed so no programming needed.

Weapon Motor: 3 Replacements are included in this pack

Weapon Speed Controller:

Lithium Battery Charger:


You can also purchase an antweight starter kit (which includes all the parts and you build the frame) or a horizontal spinner antweight kit


Frame and Weapon: These are 3D printed parts. While PLA could work for these parts, I would recommend a stronger filament. The files are in the Instructables a little later.

Step 1: Order the Right Parts, From the Right Places

Some of the parts listed are a little on the pricey side, but will go the distance. If you go all cheap parts, chances are you are going to be replacing those parts every fight. The Combat Robot that we will be building, I designed so for this Instructable, as a beginner robot that fights in the 1 pound weight class for all 3D printed robots. These are called Plastic Ants (Antweights). The robot we are building is also an extremely powerful vertical Disc spinner. There are numerous tournaments per year for this weight classes. The two main places to find tournaments are: Builders Database and Robot Combat Events.

Step 2: Electronic Wiring

It is kind of hard to understand the electronic wiring in writing, so for the wiring, I would STRONGLY recommend watching the video I have included in this step and follow from there. Everything written is explained into the video with more detail.

Drive motors to Drive Controller connection

Gather one drive motor, one drive controller, and 2 wire connector blocks with 2 spaces. On a wire connector block, lift up the lever, and slide a red wire from the drive motor in one space, and either a purple or blue wire from the drive controller. Repeat with the other wire connector block and 2nd wire of the drive motor and drive controller. Now repeat the same process with the second drive motor and drive controller.

Drive Controller to Main Wire Connector Blocks and Receiver

Take two, 5 space wire connector block, the receiver, and a drive controller. Lift all levers of both wire connector blocks and put a red wire from the drive controller in one connector block, and the black wire into the other wire connector block. Repeat with the second drive controller. Take the last wires of the drive controllers (with the black square on the end) and plug into the receiver in channels 1 and 2.

Weapon Motor to Weapon Controller connection

Take the red weapon motor, the brushless ESC, and 3, two space wire connector blocks. Plug each of the three black wires from the weapon motors into a separate wire connector block. Do the same with the brushless ESC. Now, take the red wire from the brushless esc and plug it into the 5 space wire connector block that has a RED wire plugged into it already. Now take the black wire and plug it into the wire connector block with the BLACK wire already plugged into in. Take the black and white wires and plug into channel 3 of the receiver.

Plugging Battery into Power Switch

Take the battery and plug the red JST connector and plug into the red JST connector from the power switch (male and female JST connection). Now take the black wire and plug into the black terminal block, and red into red terminal block.

Congratulations! The hard part is done. You are now much closer to you completed Plastic Ant, Combat Robot!

Step 3: Putting the Parts in the Frame

Note: The video demonstration for this step has 3 parts. The STL file for the frame and the weapon is included in this step. Take your drive motors and screw the mounting block in through the frame. Now slide the wheel onto the motor (it's just a press fit). Place the rest of the electronics into the body of the frame. Take the weapon motor and press it into the weapon. I designed the disc so that friction should hold in place though if they start slipping in, you can always put a dab of hot glue in the inner tube. Screw your weapon motor into the frame with the long black screws that came with the motors.

Step 4: Lid and Driving Instructions

Screw in the lid into the frame with some 4-40 screws or really any 1/8 inch long screws.

Your RIGHT joystick will drive the robot. Push the joystick forward, the robot will go forward. Push the joystick to the right, it will go right, and so on. This is why it is so nice to have a pre-programmed transmitter. The left joystick controls the weapon. The higher up the joystick, the more power applied. Your left joystick must be ALL THE WAY down for at least 3 second when the robot turn on for the weapon motor to turn on and calibrate. It will play a funny little chime, and when it stops (ending on a high note), the motor is ready for combat.

Step 5: Troubleshooting

Top 3 Problems you may experience when building. And they have simple fixes!

#3 - Weapon motor is not working and not playing chime.

#3 FIX - Your knob is not all the way down, if is still does not work, move the Vertical trim down all the way on the transmitter.

#2 - Drive is not going right direction.

#2 FIX - Switch the blue and purple wires on the drive controller and if that does not fix the problem, put the wires back to how they were before the switch and put the channel 1 wires into channel 2 (and 2 to 1)

#1 - Weapon is spinning wrong direction. CHECK FOR THIS PROBLEM OR THE WEAPON WILL NOT GIVE DAMAGE OUT.

#1 FIX - Switch ANY 2 black wires from the weapon motor into each others wire connector block.

Step 6: Have Fun

Test your robot on a soda can, box, or small Cheap RC car you don't care about.

I hope this Instructable helped many people feel the excitement of the combat robot world! If you enjoyed and learned from this please comment, share, and vote for this instructable. Also if anyone just wants a battle ready, proven 150 gram combat robot (wedgebot), it can be found Here with similar wiring. I also attached the end results of the poor test frames that got hit.

Step 7:

Step 8: Gyroscopic Effects

Due to the extreme power of the weapon, when turning, the weapon can literally lift the entire robot onto one wheel. This is extremely helpful when trying to self right, and just fun to play with-watching your robot drive on one wheel. Always be careful with your robot. See the video attached for a demonstration of gyro effects.

If you liked this instructable, please consider voting this in the Make it Move contest. Any questions I will be happy to clarify.

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