I am looking to get started with building a simple ant weight bot, any recommendations for starting points?
Ideally I want to work on this with my 6 year old son, he has been loving watching Battle Bots and think it would be a good project for us to do.
For our first, it may be a wedge/ram bot style we would look to go for.
Any information would be greatly appreciated!
This sounds like an excellent project, and keeping it simple with a wedge/rambot style ant is a sensible decision when starting out.
There’s a kit on the BBB store that is a good starting point for an antweight, as it will contain most of the major components you would need to make a functional robot (motors and mounts, wheels, a speed controller, power switch). That can be found here: Antweight Drive Kit – BBB Shop
There’s also a handy guide page that features some guides and recommended parts (for the bits you would need to buy extra, like batteries and a transmitter), which can be found here under the Ants section BBB: Build Guides & Rules
Reading the rules would be good to understand how to keep things safe with batteries and such, but don’t feel constrained to follow rules that govern design - just focus on the making of a bot that works and can help the pair of you understand and learn how a bot works and how it controls.
Also - never feel afraid to ask questions if there’s something in a guide or rules that isn’t clear, or if you get stuck at a certain part of the process. There’s no harm in asking for a second opinion or for some suggestions.
And a final suggestion - bots like Ribbot that allow for decorative parts to be put on top would be a nice idea to follow. Make the bot so it’s easy to stick bits of cardboard or other suitable bits on, stickers etc. that can be painted/made by the pair of you, could be a great way of adding personalisation to the bot. Everyone knows googly eyes make any bot instantly better.
Thank you, Nick, for the suggestions and links - we will definitely just want a working bot at the end of the initial build above everything but aiming for ant weight to give us a bit of a guide in terms of what we need to achieve.
Having looked at those kits, I think that would be ideal, as you say, the ability to be creative and add our own style and personality to the bot in the form of googly eyes, paint and stickers will 100% be my son’s top priority once it has been built, I dare say he will want some sort of machine wrecking weapon on it later, but perhaps that’s another project once we have got to grips with actually putting something together
When it comes to the chassis, I can see the kit comes with an A5 polycarb sheet, how far will that go?
An A5 sheet will be plenty for an antweight, but you can figure out how much you will need using CAD - Cardboard Aided Design. aka, laying the components out on some card/cardboard and working out their spacing, making sure all the components have space for them and wires to connect and route around (always remember to leave space for the wiring). you can then draw out the shape of the baseplate on the cardboard and use it as a guide for cutting out the same shapes in the polycarb.
Some solid advice, thank you! I look forward to getting this project under way and building our first bot! Once we get everything and get started, we will put some posts up!
Thanks again, Nick.
Nick’s posts covers most the points.
On top of the BBB Antweight drive kit you would also need:
Chassis material: 1.5mm polycarbonate is a good choice. Its strong but still just about thin enough for an adult with a sturdy pair of scissors to cut without too much trouble. It can also be bent/folded relative easily by an adult with strong hands.
Transmitter: The flysky i6 is the go to for beginners transmitters because its the cheapest option that is still fully featured and could stay with you if you moved to bigger more complicated robots in the future.
Battery: we generally use LIPO batteries for robot combat - usually a 2S (two cells) with a capacity between 100-300 mah for antweights. These are very power dense supplying lots of power for their weight - however they do require a decent amount of looking after.
While ant weight sized ones aren’t too dangerous, I would suggest reading up on them to get a feel for how to safely care for them. If you would like your child to be able to play with the robot without supervision though - then I’d suggest looking at other options - a 6 year old is very likely to over drain a lipo battery I’d imagine - which is likely to write it off.
Charger: You’ll need a way to charge what ever batteries you decide on. Proper full featured lipo chargers are pretty expensive, but if its just antweight sized ones you can just use a basic USB style one like the BBB store sells. If you opt for a different type of battery then you would need a different charger that works with those batteries however.
Thank you, Jack - really helpful, I will start putting together my shopping list, in terms of battery care, I will do my due diligence, last thing we want is any accidents or a dud battery after a few uses.
Do you have any recommended places to buy these things from that are not stocked on the BBB store?
The BBB Guides page has some links to places where you can buy LiPos and chargers.
Don’t forget fixings and fasteners (nuts, bolts and screws), you’ll mainly be looking at M2, M2.5 and M3 sizes. You can get them easily enough on Amazon, but if you need specific/weird sizes or large quantities, I’d recommend using an industry supplier like RS.
Also here is where we link suggested transmitters, receivers, tools, chargers, lipo bags etc
Thank you, Liam and Joe, much appreciated - BBB have such great resources, it’s brilliant!
How’s the build going?
We’re very inexperienced with builds but found with the build guides we were able to knock out a little ant quickly (maybe a weekend) with my 9 year old.
It definitely wouldn’t win awards for style and damage - but littli had great fun whizzing it around in April and she did the bulk of the build on her own (bar some help with the soldering) so was chuffed to bits with it.
Agree with Nick, you need googly eyes for extra fun in a build.
That sounds pretty awesome, great fun for the little one to get involved with. I hope we can knock ours out in a weekend too.
So we have finally just received all parts, the BBB parts arrived swiftly without issue, but battery and transmitter took a little while longer.
We have a few busy weekends ahead of us, but we will hopefully start very soon, once we have started, we will update.
I am fairly sure we have some googly eyes knocking about within all of my son’s craft supplies, we will definitely be adding those in.
Unashamedly we have a huge stash of various goggly eyes, shout if you need any sent your way.
Look forward to hearing/seeing the progress