DISCLAIMER: The following building tips and advice are intended to be used by adult LEGO® users only! Building, testing, and fighting should be done with proper safety eyewear, supervision, or in an enclosed area that is separating you from any potential dangers.
Battle Bricks was lucky enough to be sponsored by BuWizz last weekend, at Seattle’s LEGO® convention; Brickcon.
What is Battle Bricks?
For the more seasoned: it’s LEGO® Battlebots/Robot Wars. And we use BuWizz to accomplish that.
For those who are unfamiliar: what we do is bring the spectacle to public viewing in the form of LEGO®-based violence and destruction. Most importantly, we bring a bit of crowd-interaction to conventions in the form of shouting, cheering, and blood lust!
To summarize in one sentence, we put two robots in an arena and we fight them to the death.
Envision two LEGO® RC cars with saw blades and hammers strapped to them with a hundred children gathered around in the convention hall, screaming for blood. One can only describe visuals with so many words, so perhaps a video clip is in order:
Brickcon is the largest LEGO® convention on the west coast of North America. Located in Seattle, it regularly attracts about 12-15k people over a weekend’s public viewing.
Battle Bricks began as a testbed at its neighbouring convention in Vancouver BC; Brickcan.
We smashed a BuWizz-powered robot into some LEGO® and were approached by Brickcon in Seattle to see if we’d like to have a full robot tournament there.
They built an arena for us, and since 2018, we’ve had three in-person events and also two-pre recorded streams, when Brickcon became a virtual convention between 2020-2021.
From the start, I envisioned seeing just how far LEGO® could be pushed, from power limits, to material limits, and even to design limits. I also wanted to ensure that the robots in our arena would never suffer from signal connection problems, and also reduce the chances of boring pushing matches.
As a children’s toy, there are certain safety features built into LEGO® battery boxes and peripherals that are meant to limit the voltage and current. This severely under-powers your peripherals that are connected to those battery boxes. In order for your electronics to run optimally, you’ll want to make sure you hit the ceiling of what is possible under these safety features. The extreme exertion on our motors and current demand means that without BuWizz, many robots are incapable of going over 1 minute of fighting without overcurrent kicking in.
BuWizz allows us to have the upper-most efficiency that the motors are capable of. Additionally, because there are weight limits in robot combat, BuWizz’s lightweight design means that no other receiver has quite the advantages of BuWizz.
With the release of the BuWizz motor, we’ve decided to allow them into our competition with a special 50 gram weight penalty with usage, just to level the playing field a bit. With load, the motors can achieve somewhere around 1900rpm.
The Brick Bots
Our local bot building community continues to be quite small, locally. Afterall, it is a niche building theme within a niche building theme within a niche hobby. The best builders in the hobby happen to be all across the world, so I invited them to submit their digital designs to me, which I built copies of to be driven by convention attendees. Two robots were even mailed to us to compete.
Some of the competitors:
- Bruin built by Youtube handle, “LEGO® Goated,” of Virginia. It is powered by a BuWizz 3 and BuWizz motor
- Copperhead built by Jeremy Lloyd of Australia. It is powered by a BuWizz 3 and BuWizz motor
- Emulator built by Jevan Woodrow of England. It is powered by a BuWizz 2 and BuWizz motor.
- Rupture by Philip Ingold of Switzerland. It is powered by a BuWizz 2 and BuWizz motor.
For the full list of competitors, you can follow the link here: https://battlebricks.org/brickbots/
The winners of the main competition were Diana Tarlson, taking 1st place with Duck!, and Zach Lytle, taking home second, driving Skorpios. They are of course robot drivers on the TV show in which our replica builds are based on.
Taking home the Grand Rumble Winner was Keith Reed, who had been given the controls of Bruin. You can see its Rumble win in the first youtube video posted in the article.
Taking home the Organizer’s Choice Award, Joe Hafner with his robot, First Contact. He displayed fantastic driving ability, was involved in some of the most exciting battles of the convention. His robot is powered by a BuWizz 2.0 and BuWizz motor.
Battle Bricks, and a majority of the international LEGO® combat robot community could not exist in its current form without BuWizz. Its plug-and-play ability, coupled with its small size and powerful internals make it the best option for our applications, and more. We hope to stay partnered with BuWizz going into the future.