Cryptomnesia - Beetleweight Build

There is a video version coming in future when Rapture fight footage is release (No H8 Jev but hit me up if you want a hand editing)

So I discovered Beetleweights in 2020 while sitting at home during lockdown like everyone else. Spent a day watching all the previous events and live streams etc. My only previous experience was just before covid when I built a Raspberry Pi robot that was controlled with a wireless keyboard over wifi on an RC tank chassis I bought from amazon. Which was cool, the first time doing something like that, but I wanted to do more with it.

Of course being a childhood robot wars fan this was the next logical step. I wasn’t sure how I’d build an antweight without CAD and a 3D printer, especially since I understood the electronics side but my biggest challenge would be building a chassis for it.

I found a tank/crawler chassis kit on amazon that was made for Raspberry Pi robots, however my plan immediately was to take the tracks and attach them to a chassis of my own. However I then swanned about for a year doing fuck all as I had to go back to work.

But in the year of our lord 2022, BBB announced Subterranean Showdown, an event especially for new bots and new builders, which was perfect. I signed up, got a place and got to work.

I set off with a couple of main goals,

1: Arrive to the event (On time)
2: Pass Tech checks
3: Enter in as many fights as I could (avoiding forfeiting)

At this stage I wasn’t even thinking of winning a fight, I just wanted to make something that worked and fit in the ruleset. So instead of worrying about a weapon, I focused on drivetrain and armour.

After watching the Mr Snappy build log video, I had an idea of how I’d build a chassis.

I decided early on I wanted the motors arranged in this weird one front one rear way, it helped to keep the robot thinner and since it’s tracked it meant it would still maintain controllable drive. However the tracks are just hard plastic, so to fight this I sprayed them in a rubber spray on coating that actually does a really good job. However I’ve noticed the coating only really lasts two fights at the most.

Here it is with a back plate, side armour and some electronics, as you can see I had no idea what battery Mah to use so I have this massive battery powering it (3s). And in the bottom left you can see I’ve tried some weight saving ideas on the side armour which I decided against.

My wedge, 5mm HDPE underwedge with 1mm Ti ‘skin’ over the top. I wanted to use Ti as it sparks a lot, I really wanted to build this to tank spinner hits and push them around, especially horizontals. One of my favourite ever fights was 2016 Beta vs Tombstone where John Reed nearly (and should have, don’t @ me) beaten Tombstone with his superior wedge driving. I wanted to put on a fight like this.

Here it is, a few days before the event. I made a spare of everything just in case. Also by dumb luck the battery fit between the motors and was held in just that tension which was funny.

Subterranean Showdown

So at the event, I managed to achieve all of the goals I set for myself. I arrived on time, passed Tech Checks, and made it into every fight. However the fights themselves weren’t that great. The best one was the first one, a 3 way melee with Kurgan-II and Use Your Wee-Losion which was where all the damage came from. But I got stuck in the pit.

Second was against Bruh Moment Simulator, great box rush, and then it got stuck on the floor. (Or the video showed it just died)

Third fight, Grabba-Wobba managed to get one of its arms lodged between my track and armour and track me to the pit pretty expertly.

So not quite the Beta/Tombstone 2016 I wanted, but it was still a lot of fun.

There was also a whiteboard where I teamed up with Gareth and Resistance in some big melee. I parked in front of Resistance and the plan was for him to push me and my wedge straight into Rev 4. The recording didn’t catch the bit of my robot moving, Rev didn’t quite spin up and I died randomly again.

Anyway, I took it home and disassembled it as I wanted to build something new with all the lessons I learned.

Wastelander, BBB Champs 2022. Don’t really want to dwell on this one, but basically I wanted to try a servo lifter. It didn’t come together well enough, tipping the scales at 2kg a few weeks /build days before the event, and the electronics stopped working (Wrong ESCs).

I turned up with a robot that didn’t work and had to pull out my first fight. Luckily the amazing community helped me get it driving, so many people helped I can’t remember everyone, but then Gareth Brushless went above and beyond just helping solve the issue and practically resolder my entire robot for me. Along with my receiver, that I believe was the issue with Cryptomnesia at Subterranean.

However, while it was a disheartening start to the event, another robot pulled out of their redemption round and I was able to take their place. It was against the Brushless dustpan lifter of Chucky, a wonderful robot, and it ended up being my best fight ever. A full two minutes and my first loss to a Judge’s Decision. So it wasn’t all bad of a weekend.

Cryptomnesia Vol II

So after a winter of not touching robots I managed to get a place at Rapture, I did also want to try for BBB Brawl but I fell asleep after work and missed sign ups.

However, before Rapture I also managed to get a place at Chichester Uni.

Since my attempt at a weapon with Wastelander failed, I wanted to go back to just focusing on Drivetrain and Wedge.

So the new version wasn’t held together at the front by the wedge this time. I kept the same build style but wanted the ability to switch between forks and a wedge. At Champs I got a chance to sit next to one of my favourite beetle weights, Resistance and thanks to Gareth got to have a good look at it, as well as him explaining to me his design choices which inspired a lot of my improvements. Now running on 4s, with forks, a smaller 4mm Ti wedge and a standard 2mm Ti wedge, it drove better, faster, and was more armoured than the first version. It also came together a lot easier.


My friend Beth also made me some cool designs to stick on it.

So Chichester, a really cool event, is a lot smaller and more relaxed than most on the calendar.

My first fight was the first of the day, against The Chilli Daddy. Before I could even blink he was under me and shattered my sprocket and road wheels. And that was the end of that. Jack did offer to help with repairs but it appeared if it just needed a new pair of tracks which was simple.

Second fight was against student robot Whirlpool. Was this to be my Beta/Tombstone fight? Whirlpool has its horizontal blade mounted high up, so to stop it just cutting my link immediately, I mounted my wedge upside down so it was higher up and would hopefully shatter the lawnmower blade. The fight started really well, I slammed it into the wall, pinned it for a moment and backed off as it stopped moving. Did I kill it…no it started up again after a few seconds. We did some pushing, then its weapon started up again and it grinded on my wedge for a bit until I stopped moving. What I think had happened was in the previous fight, Chilli Daddy had damaged both my motors (gearboxes) and they burned out. Shame but we move.

After that, Joe Crab helped me find the problem, and like Gareth Brushless before him, did a bunch of soldering on my robot again. Which was great as we were up next with Lobster. I put my forks on and they actually worked. I kept him at bay until he got to the side and expertly got his lifter caught on my tracks and carried me over to the pit like a baby. Lol. Was pretty cool to fight Lobster and Joe Crab though, his channel was what got me building so it was nice to get in the arena with him.

Next was the incredible Chain Bastard. I’d seen the original wood version of CB at Subterranean before and was blown away by it, but now the full version that had done well at Brawl was facing me down. (Also, sorry I don’t know the driver’s name, but I was in my first fight with Kurgan-II which was cool). Basically what we learned from this is that mini ali-express chainsaws work really well against HDPE. RIP my link and safety light, but it was cool to see a chainsaw bot working really well.

My final fight of the day was against Tazard, a horizontal spinner who’d been having trouble with its weapon all day. Could this be my moment? No, I did my side armour up too low and it was dragging on the floor meaning I really wanted to turn left from the start. Really good job though from the driver to out drive a push bot with a horizontal spinner.

So that was Chichester, a fantastic little event, 5 fights in a single day, and again learned a lot.


Now we come to the big one, a two day event at a gaming festival with over 6k in attendance. Nothing really changed on Crypto from Chichester aside from some extra Ti armour panels and a few spares I’d made. This time the heats were released in advance, and I had Night Fury, Arcticfurno, and BonbonBonbon, a true spinner fest.

While everyone was building their anti-Status setups, I was planning on how to beat Night Fury, the 2021 Champion. I went back and watched all the fights I could find, noticing that once it was off its wheels it struggled with a lot of gyro due to its massive weapon. So I came up with what I called the ‘Dragon Tamer’, some extra Ti mounted on the sides designed so that once Night Fury hit my wedge we would spin away from each other, the extra bits would catch it and knock it off at a weird angle hoping to knock it off its wheels.

I ended up ultimately not using it as I didn’t have enough 2mm Ti and I knew Night Fury’s weapon wouldn’t even be phased by 1mm Ti.

So, we went into the arena, the fight started, and it was immediately a fight for survival. Side track armour went, HDPE flew everywhere, the wedge came flying off, the tracks went early on. But it went the full 2mins. A Judge’s Decision against Night Fury after a rapid unplanned disassembly was more than I could have ever hoped for.

I sent this picture to my friend who asked if this was my robot or spare parts.

Night Fury had done a number. But the damage was actually minimal despite what it looked like. One wire needed soldering, and it needed some new tracks, a pair of sprockets and road wheels. It was ready to go back into the arena after an hour.

Arcticfurno was next, a beautifully built Vertical. Wedge came off, forks went on. My forks, again, did really well. For the first few moments I was comfortable under Arcticfurno and was pushing it around nicely. Until one of my smaller forks went under me, rose me up and I ended up on top of Arcticfurno, then creatively he used his lifter to get stuck under my tracks and carry me to the pit just in time before the grapple would have to end. A little disappointing to be in the pit again, but it was cool to see and I was still happy from the Night Fury fight.

Finally, the last fight of the day. BonbonBonbon, just back from NHRL, an amazing little dual spinner. This one I was slightly more afraid of than Night Fury to be honest, from the images the undercutter nature of it was what worried me as Chilli Daddy proved undercutters was not my strong suit. I slapped some extra 1mm Ti on the side, not to tank hits but just to block those spinners getting underneath and hitting my tracks.

But finally, after 11 Competition fights, I had the Beta/Tombstone fight I wanted. Sparks went everywhere, I got under him and pushed him around the arena, he chewed up my armour. And eventually, one of his weapon belts came off as I pushed him into the wall for a pin to end the fight at the time limit. Final fight of the day, my second Judge’s Decision of the competition. They took a long time deciding, and requested to have a closer look at our robots while we waited. And eventually it was a split decision to Cryptomnesia.

So, Sunday came around. Because, Arcticfurno, BonbonBonbon and Crpto all had 1 win, our heat was 3-way tied for second. Meaning I had to race across London, find the fastest taxi driver I could in Chatnam and get to the venue to do any last minute repairs in the morning for a 3 way decider.

Another really fun fight, carnage everywhere, and once again another Judge’s Decision, a loss but another full two mins.

So I was out, but still had time for an annihilator and a whiteboard.

So, the Annihilator, round one I went and…yeah Chilli Daddy under my armour again and ripped the tracks off. This time I got stuck on one of them and was counted out rather quickly. It’s fine as Nikki Lauda said, everyone needs an arch nemesis. We’ll get 'em next time.

Whiteboard time, my robot was still alive, I learned a bunch of lessons and had plans for my next version, this would most probably be it’s last fight. It was still covered in Ti, so I wanted to throw it into the middle of a spinner rumble. Kos-Mos, Digestive, Fang and Wii-Bot. What a time. It was absolute carnage, but eventually came down to a back and forth between Crypto and my pit mates for the weekend, Fang. The crowd decided, Fang of course which I agree with. Very fun fight for me, I loved every second of it.

But then…completely unexpectedly, ya boi walked away with a hecking award. The Judge’s Choice. Fantastic end to a phenomenal weekend, honestly could not have been any happier with it. Thank you to everyone I met and spoke with, everyone who offered a hand when my robot came out bin-bag ready a few times and gave me some ideas for improvements in the future.

What’s Next?
So I did plan on building a new version of Crypto for next year, but after the results of the weekend I’ve decided to start a fresh, new name, new theme, tracks still and a weapon. Possibly two robots for next year, depending how much time I have. Sticking with the tracks, a few people at the event gave me some ideas for how to improve them which I will be looking into in future. I’ll still be using these RC crawler ones for now but I’ve got a few ideas on where to take them next. Also have eyes set on Battle in Burgh 3 and Brawl, so hopefully I’ll see some of you then (If I get places and work approves my holiday requests)


Loving the literal embodiment of a tank that Crypto is. Keep doing what you do, Jack!

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Peepocheer for memes on the wedge!

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