Do you know what we love? Robot Wars, and BattleBots. In these competitions, where manmade, remote-controlled combat robots go head-to-head, titanium, galvanized steel, aluminium and speed rule. Quite simply, if you don't have a tough, hard-as-nails robot, then you're going to get skinned.
Ordinarily, 3D printing would not be a manufacturing method considered for creating parts for a combat robot but MarkForged, whose Mark Two 3D printer can 3D print parts that are as strong as aluminium, recently helped Jamison Go and Charles Guan dominate the MassDestruction - Massachusetts Combat Robotics event with a robot called Foiled!, which took first place in the antweight (one pound) class, by utilising some new concepts made possible by 3D printing.
Foiled had two 3D printed parts: The chassis, which was 3D printed from Onyx, and the center of the weapon disk, which was 3D printed in carbon fibre. Usually, a combat robot with a spinning disk in the antweight class goes flying when it comes into contact with another robot, due to the force of the weapon's rotation. However, Foiled! had a party trick: upside-down spokes on the 3D printed weapon insert, which helped it stick to the ground under load.
Here's a video showing that in action:
45 seconds into that video, you can see Foiled! send AmbiSinister flying. And one minute later, the battle was over, with AmbiSinister being rendered useless.
Here's the damage done to AmbiSinister:
Jamison Go and Charles Guan noted that if they had 3D printed the weapon disk out of a traditional 3D printing material, such as ABS, then it would have shattered on the spot. The carbon fibre insert for the weapon improved its durability considerably, while the Onyx-printed chassis had enough toughness and flex to withstand even the most extreme attacks.
Foiled! competed in several events in the Antweight class, eventually taking first place in a final against Puppy, which is testament to the durability of MarkForged 3D printed parts and the engineering of Jamison Go and Charles Guan.
Combat robots is, of course, just one of the amazing and varied applications that MarkForged 3D printed parts have been used for. MarkForged 3D printers have also been used to create Tesla Turbines and wheels, and with the launch of the Metal X, it is now possible to 3D print metal parts at a high-resolution, in addition to nylon and composite (carbon fibre, Kevlar, fibreglass) reinforced parts which you can 3D print with the Mark Two.
You can find out more about Foiled! here. And, if you happen to be interested in creating your own combat robot, we say talk to MarkForged - they certainly know a thing or two about creating winning machines.