Building a Prototype
You might be eager to put it all together on a sleek body, but veteran SozBot competitors recommend building a mock body to try out your design. Keep it cheap and simple, using wood, Velcro, plastic, or cheap aluminum. The prototype allows you to practice driving and modify what works and what doesn't. You might also want to modify your design after your first battle. Remember that destruction is all part of the learning process.
"This isn't chess," Herbst says. "Something is going to get broken. The first one you build is going to be terrible. With a prototype, you get that out of the way."
The last consideration, but certainly the most fun, is the weapon. Saw blades, spikes, flippers, or wedges? It's all up to your imagination. Herbst says vertical spinning saws or drums are the most efficient way to get a lot of kinetic energy into your weapon. On a pushy bot, a plain wedge can be very effective. There seems to be no sure-fire weapon, however. It all depends on the particular battle and your opponent.
In the end, the most important thing, SozBot battlers agree, is to have fun. "You can build these robots in a night," Abrahamson says. "The emotional payback is better than with the larger robots. They are so much more fun."