Combat Robotics

During the competition off-season, growingSTEMS Students have the opportunity to participate in several different activities. One of those activities being Combat Robotics! Very similar to the popular TV Show Battle Bots, just on a smaller scale.

All participants build and operate robots at their own risk. Combat robotics is inherently dangerous. There is no amount of regulation that can encompass all the dangers involved. Please take care to not hurt yourself or others when building, testing and competing.



  1. Size Limits:
    • Robots must fit through arena door ( 24″ x 24″)
    • weigh less than 3lbs
  2. Robots may only expand from their size limit once the match starts, and only if the expansion is instigated by remote control (i.e. not just by being springy).
  3. Robots must have an externally accessible way of being shut down (e.g. a power switch, removable link or battery plug).
  4. Robot must have a light indicating if the robot is turn on.
  5. Batteries must not exceed a maximum of 24 volts.
  6. Batteries must be puncture proof or in a puncture proof case.
  7. Only all electric systems allowed.


  1. The following weapon types are not permitted:
    • Weapons designed to cause invisible damage.
    • Fluid based weapons
    • Glue or sticky pad weapons
    • String or entanglement weapons
    • Heat and Flame based weapons
    • The use of electricity as a weapon
    • Explosive weapons
    • Weapons that may shatter
    • Magnetic/inductive systems
  2. Pneumatics
    • Pneumatic systems on board the robot must only employ non-flammable, nonreactive gases (CO2, Nitrogen and air are most common). It is not permissible to use fiber wound pressure vessels with liquefied gasses like CO2 due to extreme temperature cycling.
    • You must have a safe and secure method of refilling your pneumatic system.
    • The maximum actuation pressure is 250 PSI or less.
    • All components have to be used within the specifications provided by the manufacturer or supplier. If the specifications aren’t available or reliable, then it will be up to the event organizer to decide if the component is being used in a sufficiently safe manner.
  3. Weapons are not permitted to deliberately detach completely from the robot but may be partially separated as long as it is connected by a tether of no more than 3 inches. The tether may not be used as an entanglement weapon.
  4. All sharp edges must have protective covers outside the arena. All protective covers are to be colored red and made clearly visible.
  5. Locking devices:
    • Moving weapons that can cause damage or injury must have a clearly visible locking device in place at all times when not in the arena.
    • Locking devices must be painted in neon orange or another high-visibility color.
    • Locking devices must be clearly capable to stopping, arresting or otherwise preventing harmful motion of the weapon.


  1. All battles must take place on the field (enclosed 4’x6′ arena) or other protected area, regardless of weapons being used in the battle.
  2. Part of the edges of the arena will be unwalled, to allow robots to drop directly out of the arena.
  3. Battles will last for a maximum of two minutes.
  4. A robot that falls out of the arena has lost.
  5. When any robot is immobile or lacks controlled motion then a judge will call cease and the driver will have ten seconds to demonstrate that control has been restored, otherwise the robot will have lost.
  6. At any time in a fight, a robot may surrender, if so they will have lost. The driver shall raise their controller to surrender, high enough to clearly indicate intention.
  7. Robots may hold or pin each other for a maximum of 10 seconds. The judge will give a verbal warning at 5 seconds into any holding or pinning, for the contestants to disengage. Should they not do so within final 5 seconds then the battle will be paused and the robots returned to their respective corners. The battle will then recommence immediately.
  8. Outside manipulation is not permitted during the contest (they may be manipulated by a judge during a pause in the battle, as described in the previous rule).
  9. If a robot leaves the arena after the battle has started but before the robots have made contact then the judges shall decide if the battle is to be restarted.
  10. If the match time runs out and neither robot has lost, it is up to the judges to decide who won the match. This decision will be evenly based on:
    • Aggressiveness
    • Amount of damage dealt
    • Strategy


  1. There shall be judges identified before each battle and all shall have an equal vote.
  2. Contestants must obey the event organizer at all times, or be disqualified.
  3. A drive team can be made up of 2 people maximum. The size of the team is not limited.
  4. Before combat commences, each robot will be checked by the event organizer or their delegate to ensure that a minimum of the following rules are complied with before being allowed to compete: size, power link/switch, sharp edges.
  5. Contestants must communicate in a socially acceptable way.
  6. A team may enter a maximum of one robot.
  7. All teams must be self-contained in terms of driver, transmitter, robots and battery packs, i.e. these cannot be shared with another team.
  8. If opposing robots have left the arena simultaneously (e.g. because they struck each other so hard that they flew apart) then the following will occur: – The battle will be paused – The robots will be placed straight back into the arena, in their former starting positions, without repairs. – The battle will be restarted.
  9. After combat has ceased, only the driver or one of the designated officials may retrieve a robot from within the arena. The driver is responsible for ensuring that their robot is in a safe condition before retrieval takes place. If the robot has active weapons then it is essential that the weapon is made inactive before retrieval.
  10. A robot must be placed in the arena, ready to fight within three minutes of being called to fight by the event organizer (this is a maximum limit, contestants are encouraged to be ready to fight as soon as possible). Failure to be ready to fight within three minutes will mean the robot may be judged to have lost the fight.
  11. Safety glasses must be worn when working on robots and by the drive team when competing in a match.

**Actions made by any member of a team to intentionally harm another human (with robot, tools, or any other object at the competition) will result in the whole team being disqualified from the event.**


Each participant will be provided with the below items as part of their Kit of Parts (KOP). The provided kits are DIY which will require electrical, mechanical, and programming skills to assemble into a fierce combat robot. Assistance will be provided as needed for those participants who are in need.

Participants are free to add their own materials and other components so long as they comply with all rules posted above. The only component that participants are required to use are the drive motors that are provided in the KOP, this is mandated in an effort to help keep the playing field level for all bots.


Below is the tentative 2021 Combat Robotics schedule for growingSTEMS. Dates subject to change as the summer continues.

March 19th 2021 – Challenge released to participants competing in the 2021 Combat Robotics activity.

Week of April 12th 2021 – KOP released to participants.

June 5th & 6th 2021 – Competition! Participants will be split between different time sessions throughout the two days. A more detailed competition schedule will be released as we get closer to the competition.


Want to build a robot but unsure of where to start? check out some of the build resources below. Keep in mind that every event is different. If following any tutorials or other peoples builds, make sure you are building a robot that is legal for the growingSTEMS Combat Robotics events.

YouTube tutorial videos:

Forums and tutorials:

Check these out to see what others have done:

Robot kits that are available: