Always wanted to build a
Want to do competitive robotics?
The Sierra College mechatronics department hosts a Robotics Club for students that are interested in designing and building actual working robots. Besides being a great learning experience, we have a great time! Our club currently competes in 120-pound and 220-pound combat robotic competitions (sometimes generically called "battelbots") as well as designing and racing one-person electric cars. If you have an idea for a great robotics project, or just want to learn about robotics by doing it, we would love to have you join us..
Want to participate? Join us at a regular
meeting. You can stop by our lab in Room V-106 to find out our
current meeting day and time or contact our faculty advisor at
The club began in 2007. We started out competing at the International RoboGames, the worlds largest robotics competition, with a 1-pound combat robot. We went back in 2008 with a 1-pounder with a spinning-drum weapon. We finished both events with a 2 and 2 win-loss record, had a great time and learned a lot both times.
We were aided in our design by Ray Billings, whose robot Tombstone was the 2nd-place finisher on "Battelbots" that aired on ABC TV this summer. Ray taught us everything we needed to build a big combat robot.........and then destroyed much of it 10 seconds into our very first fight (with him). Boy did we learn a lot about weak spots in combat robots! (See video here: In 2010 we completely redesigned and rebuilt the 120-pound bot. We used two blades from a horizontal milling machine as our weapons. (See picture to the left.) To be honest, it kind of scared us. Here is a video.: Although we lost that fight, we won some others and knew we had a solid design on our hands. At the ComBots Cup in October 2010 we were able to finish with 3 wins and 1 loss, our best results to date. We were getting the hang of this.
In 2011 we again redesigned and rebuilt our robot
with our current design, sometimes called the "horshoe crab"
design. With sloped sides armored with HDPE plastic, it is very
hard for a competitor to make solid contact with our robot, even
with big weapons. But we are not all defense either - our 20-pound
spinning blade is powerful enough to inflict serious damage. In
2012 we also competed with this design at both RoboGames and the
Combot Cup, taking second place in our weight class at the Combot
Cup. In the process we finally had a win against Ray Billings, our
mentor! Probably our sweetest victory ever.
In 2012 we also added a 220-pound combat robot to our roster. Although only a simple wedge, the inch-thick HDPE armor and cross-braced steel frame make it almost indestructable. It has competed at every RoboGames since 2012 and has been a thorn in the side of many a robot in the heavyweight weight class!
Our two robots have competed at every RoboGames since then and, although never taking the grand prize, have always finished in the upper-half of their weight class. We are very proud of our robot children.
In 2014 we got the crazy idea to compete in the
"Power Racing Series" an event held at Maker Fairs all over the
United States. The Power Racing Series requires you to
(More to come. Please pardon us while the rest of
this page is under construction!)
(Special thanks to the Sierra College welding and drafting departments for their support and assistance!)