Kevin Berry

Kevin's Articles

The Art of the Bot
January 2017
To robot fans and builders who still have some shred of non-metallic awareness, there is another form of art in our sport.

Florida BattleBots Storm Kennedy Space Center
November 2016
Gearheads intersect with rocket nerds to discuss common issues in both camps.

Witch Doctor’s Secret Recipe Revealed!
November 2016
The secret concoction that brewed up such a vicious and successful BattleBots machine is revealed in this Q&A.

The Five Dimensions of Judd’s Law
October 2016
Details on the Five Dimensions of Judd’s Law written for robot combat event organizers.

Memoirs of a Traveling Bothead
September 2016
There’s something very special about the giant venue/large robot competitions like BattleBots™ and RoboGames.

Combat Zone
March 2016
Special coverage on some of the bigger combat robot competitions.

The Combat Zone Guide to Beetleweight Weapons
January 2016
A rundown of all your favorite beetleweight destroyers.

Dear Santa: All I Want for Christmas is a Heavy Weight Bot
December 2015
Ho, ho, hold on a minute, there. People don’t just GET a combat bot. You have to BUILD it, if you want to have any respect among builders.

German Robots Speak A Universal Language: “Love Of Destruction”
October 2015
Robot combat doesn’t just happen in central California where the two most well known events — RoboGames and BattleBots™ — deal out mega doses of mechanical destruction.

BattleBots is Back. Now What Do I Do?
July 2015
This article is meant to help ease you into the sport with some tips, clues, and warnings.

A Veteran Builder Experiments with Brushless Drives
March 2015
Hal Rucker has lots of experience building combat bots using brushed motors. Over his 13 years in the sport, he’s built two super heavyweights, two heavyweights, and two lightweights.

PARTS IS PARTS: Today’s Beetle
February 2015
Every few years, the Combat Zone surveys the builder community to help keep current with the state-of-the-art in destructive bot technology.

Buzz Dawson: Rockets to Robots
November 2014
In September, the world of combat robotics lost a founding member, Brett "Buzz" Dawson. Buzz was an integral part of the creation of our sport, as well as one of our media rock stars. The SERVO family is greatly saddened by his loss, and wanted to share some of our favorite stories.

Robot Battles Turns 24!
September 2014
Robot Battles™ is the second oldest robotic combat competition in the world, and is a direct descendant of the oldest event — the Critter Crunch every year at MileHiCon in Denver, CO.

Pushing Power: How Strong is Strong Enough?
April 2014
This month, we address the other variable: torque. In terms of robot combat, torque is our fancy word for pushing power.

THEN AND NOW: A Decade Later with Alexander Rose
January 2014
This is the next installment in our series of articles about famous figures from a decade ago. 2002 ended the popular Comedy Central series, BattleBots™.

THEN AND NOW: Carlo Bertocchini
November 2013
When it comes to the glory days of televised robot combat, few competitors can beat Carlo Bertocchini's record.

National Robotics League Begins Their 6th Year of Combat Competition
October 2013
The National Robotics League (NRL) 2013 Championships held in Indianapolis this last May, featured 48 robots built by nearly 200 students from 25 schools across the US.

THEN and NOW: A Decade Later With Richard Stuplich
September 2013
Richard Stuplich first came to the public’s attention in the final two seasons of BattleBots. His super heavyweight, New Cruelty, was eight wheels and 220 pounds of rock solid battering ram.

RoboGames Requiem: A Facebook Epic
August 2013
The announcement that RoboGames was not being continued by Dave Calkins and Simone Davalos started a FaceBook conversation with over 1,000 comments. A spinoff post worthy of recording as part of our “History of Robot Combat” series also ensued.

Then and Now: A Decade Later With Jim Smentowski
July 2013
Jim Smentowski is the builder of one of the legendary bots in our sport: Nightmare.

Then and Now: A Decade Later With Brian Nave
June 2013
Last month, the Combat Zone started a new series about the “big names” of our sport during the glory years of television coverage. Now, 10 years after the demise of that major coverage, we tracked down some of the most famous names from that era to gain their perspective after robot combat underwent a drastic change in direction.

NASA Engineers Building Lunar Mining Robot
April 2013
Although RASSOR is far from being space-ready, this autonomous machine will ultimately play a key role in being able to process water and fuel from lunar soil.

Happy New Year from the Combat Zone
December 2012
Grit your teeth, readers. It's what you've come to expect in December issues of magazines — the dreaded year-end retrospective.

Far Eastern Federal University’s ALIEN ROV Revealed!
September 2012
Learn more about “Primorye Coast’s” first place entry in this year’s MATE ROV event.

FEATURE: So, You Want to Cut Metal on Your Table Saw?
November 2011
Like many bot builders, I started out as a woodworker. So, I have a shop full of woodworking tools and, now, a serious bot building jones.

EVENT REPORT: National Robotics League Championship
August 2011
Twenty-nine robots built by 91 students from 14 schools battled for national recognition in two days of intense competition at the National Tooling and Machining Association’s (NTMA) 2011 National Robotics League (NRL) Championships held May 21-22 at Vincennes University’s Aviation Technology Center in Indianapolis, IN.

Dust in the Wheels
August 2011
With apologies to the band, Kansas: Dust in the wheels ... All they see is dust in the wheels.

June 2011
This month's theme: Kids Building Combat Bots Become Better Kids.

So You Want to Fight Robots?
April 2011
Turning Your Destructive Instincts into a Socially Acceptable Hobby

RioBotz Combot Tutorial Summarized: Brushless DC Motors
March 2011
Original Text by Professor Marco Antonio Meggiolaro; Summarized by Kevin M. Berry

EVENT REPORT: Full Metal Carnage 2 Pushes Robot Combat Over the Edge
January 2011
The Queensland Robotics Sports Club teamed up with The Edge to present two full days of remote controlled carnage on November 27th and 28th.

February 2011
Lithium-Ion vs. Lithium-Polymer

RioBotz Combot Tutorial Summarized – DC Motors
January 2011
Editor’s note: Professor Marco Antonio Meggiolaro, of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has translated his popular book, the RioBotz Combot Tutorial, into English.

PARTS IS PARTS: Identifying Unknown Brushed DC Motors
January 2011
This month’s column is blatantly stolen (Editor’s note: “researched,” not stolen!) from Professor Marco Antonio Meggiolaro’s popular book, the RioBotz Combot Tutorial.

December 2010
That’s right, botheads, I used the word “potpourri” in an article title! Just like a fighting machine, I have a soft vulnerable inside also. Get over it, okay?

MANUFACTURING: RioBotz Combot Tutorial Summarized – Tooth Design
November 2010
Original Text by Professor Marco Antonio Meggiolaro; Summarized by Kevin M. Berry

PARTS IS PARTS: TAIG Tools Desktop CNC Mills
November 2010
On the ever interesting Robot Fighting League forum, I ran across this spontaneous product review. It meets my criteria for this column, which is “builder tested.” I am a firm believer that all product reviews should be after they’ve been “in the box."

October 2010
Pete Smith, of KitBots fame, sent in this one from the recent “Clash of the Bots” event. Pure Dead Brilliant, whose blade was featured in the August ‘10 edition of Combat Zone, took a bit of a beating at the “hands” of MH2.

Combat Zone’s Greatest Hits
September 2010
Dalton O’Conner of Team Massacre Robotics sent in this one. The bot is Sonic the Hedgehog from the 12 lb class.

Combat Zone’s Greatest Hits
August 2010
Ray Billings sent in this great selection of damage shots. All of these are results of fights against his HW Last Rites.

COMBAT ZONE’s Greatest Hits
July 2010
This month, once again, only one builder submitted to Greatest Hits. Come on, bot fighters! There are tons of events going on, and gourmet damage abounds!

RioBotz ComBot Tutorial Summarized: HammerBots
July 2010
Professor Marco Antonio Meggiolaro, of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has translated his popular book — the RioBotz Combot Tutorial — into English.

Combat Zone’s Greatest Hits
June 2010
This month, only one builder submitted to Greatest Hits. Going by the mystery handle “kkeerroo,” this Australian fighter highlights his bot — “Vendetta” — competing at RoboWars 7 in a semi-final fight against a spinner call Bender.

Dual-Dif ferential RPM Sensing or a Melty Brain/Translational Drift Robot
June 2010
While there are many ways to tell your Melty bot’s microcontroller how fast it’s spinning, an on-board accelerometer is a particularly compact solution that can be built right onto the control board.

Open Melt — Generous Sharing or a Threat to Society as We Know it?
June 2010
The author — in a blatant attempt to up his word count and thus his income — summarizes material he’s already sold to SERVO once ...

MANUFACTURING: Tentacle Calculator Rehosted by Killerbotics
Column: The Combat Zone
June 2010
The combat robotics community was deeply saddened by the passing of Steve Judd last year. Steve was an icon in the sport, and left behind a lasting legacy in many areas.

Combat Zone’s Greatest Hits
May 2010
Last month’s debut of this new feature generated a lot of buzz — or should we say crash!

RioBotz Combot Tutorial: LaunchBots
May 2010
Original Text by Professor Marco Antonio Meggiolaro, Summarized by Kevin Berry

PARTS IS PARTS: Kitbots Rolls Out B-16 Gearmotor Mounts
May 2010
Ihave a pretty solid policy that this column only promotes parts that are thoroughly “combat tested” by the fighting community. This month, I’m bending that policy.

Combat Zone’s Greatest Hits
April 2010
This month, CZ is experimenting with a new feature. We all know that creating bots is a fulfilling mental exercise, building them is satisfying craftsmanship, and going to events is great for bonding with your buds. But let’s face it — it’s about the destruction!

FingerTech Robotics’ Spark Motor Series
April 2010
FingerTech Robotics ([url=][/url]) has a new line of motors.

February 2010
3pd has competed in: Robot Club & Grill (RCG)-301; Motorama 2003; RCG-303; RCG-304; RCG-305; 12 Lbs of Pain; Robot Assault 2003; House of NERC 2003; Motorama 2004; Pound of Pain 7; Robot Assault 2004; House of NERC 04; Motorama 2005; Robotic Revolution — New Orleans; House of NERC 05; 2005 RFL Nationals; and Motorama 2006.

Debugging Welding Problems
January 2010
The poster has some very old welding experience, from 15 years ago. He just bought a battered old arc welder, 220V AC, with no DC conversion unit.

My First Welder (or not?)
January 2010
Most bot builders, at some time, think about buying a welding system. There are dozens of choices out there, each with their own jargon, culture, and opinions (think Ford vs. Chevy!).

December 2009
Pyromancer has competed in Fall W.H.R.E 2006, Mechwars 10, Rotunda Rumble, Motorama 2007, ComBots Texas Cup, and RoboGames 2009.

Screws For You!
December 2009
For this month’s Parts Is Parts section, we dip once again into the bottomless well that is known as the RioBotz Combot Tutorial.

Gutter Monkey
November 2009
Gutter Monkey has competed in: Seattle Bot Battles 4, Robothon Robot Combat 2006, Seattle Bot Battle 5, NW Hobby Show 2, RoboGames 2007, Robothon Robot Combat 2007, Robothon Robot Combat 2008, Dos Ratas Muertos, NW Model Hobby Expo 2009, and Seattle Bot Battle 7.

Professor Chaos
October 2009
Professor Chaos has competed in: RoboGames 2008 and RoboGames 2009.

Coloring Titanium
October 2009
A curiosity about titanium is that its surface can be colored without paints or pigments; just using Coke (or Pepsi) in a technique called electrolysis or anodizing.

RioBotz Combot Tutorial summarized - Materials: Part 2
October 2009
Last month, SERVO summarized the first part of Chapter 3 — “Materials” — focusing on commonly used metals in combat bot building. This month, we switch focus to non-metals.

The Big B
September 2009
The Big B has competed in: BattleBots 4.0, BattleBots 5.0, Steel Conflict 2, RoboGames 2005, February Fun Fest, RoboGames 2006, ComBots Cup II, RoboGames 2007, ComBots Cup III, RoboGames 2008, ComBots Texas Cup, and RoboGames 2009.

RioBotz Combat Tutorial: Materials
September 2009
Original Text by Professor Marco Antonio Meggiolaro; Summarized by Kevin M. Berry

August 2008
Touro has competed in RoboGames 2006, RoboGames 2007, and 7 ENECA-Recife. Touro debuted in RoboGames 2006 achieving third place. Afterwards, it won Brazil’s III Winter Challenge and VI Robocore ENECA – both in 2006. In 2007, Touro won a RoboGames gold medal and kept both Brazilian competition titles.

Surgical Strike
September 2008
Surgical Strike has competed in: Motorama 2006, Pre-Nationals Last Chance Qualifier 2006, Motorama 2007, Carolina Combat 2007, RoboGames 2007, Franklin Institute Robot Conflict 2007, Wreck-The-Halls 2007, Motorama 2008, and CCR Memorial Day Qualifier.

October 2008
K2 has competed at RoboGames 2007 and 2008.

Roaming Robots Goes to Qatar
October 2008
John Findlay — head honcho of the United Kingdom’s Roaming Robots — was commissioned to do a show in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar. He graciously provided details and photos to Combat Zone for this article.

November 2008
Limblifter has competed at Kilobots X, WBX-IV, Kilobots XI, and WBX-3.

Chain Length Calculator and Chain Path Visualizer
November 2008
An endless source of information on bot building is the RFL forum on Delphi Forums ([url=][/url]).

Micro Drive
December 2008
Micro Drive has competed at Marin Ant Wars 5, RoboGames 2006, SRJC Day Under The Oaks 2006, Marin Ant Wars VI, Halloween Robot Terror 2006, Smackdown in Sactown III, RoboGames 2007, SRJC Day Under The Oaks 2007, RoboGames 2008, and SRJC Day Under The Oaks 2008.

Devils Plunger
January 2009
Devil’s Plunger has competed at Steel Conflict 2, Steel Conflict 4, Triangle Series Nationals, RobOlympics 2004, Southwest Division Championships, NPC Charity Open, 2004 RFL Nationals, WBX Premier, RoboGames 2005, Battle Beach 3, Robotic Revolution, 2005 RFL Nationals, RoboGames 2006, Game Developers Conference, and the 2005 February Fun Fest.

February 2009
Tourinho has competed at RoboGames 2007, Winter Challenge 3 ENECA - Recife, 7 ENECA - Recife, and Winter Challenge 4 ENECA - Recife.

March 2009
Ziggy has competed at RoboGames 2008, RoboGames 2007, RoboGames 2006, Battle Beach 4, Game Developers Conference 2006, February Fun Fest 2006, ComBots Cup I, RoboGames 2005, and MMER.

Flipper Calculators Turn “Cut and Try” (nearly) into Science
March 2009
Irecently ran across a couple of very well written websites that show how to design pneumatic flippers.

April 2009
Upheaval has competed in: Franklin, Institute Robot Weekend, Motorama 2008, Franklin Institute Robot Conflict, Motorama 2007, and House of NERC 2006.

Gulf Coast Robot Sports
May 2009
Hobby Marketplace, in Bradenton, on the Gulf Coast of Florida was the venue for a small but entusiastic crowd of bot fighters.

DragonCon to MegaCon
May 2009
RobotBattle, long a staple at Atlanta's Dragon*Con, recently held an event at Orlando's MegaCon.

BattleBots Returns!
July 2009
During April 21-26, about 64 bots brought their owners to Vellejo, CA for the much anticipated return of BattleBots to the public stage.

Original Sin
July 2009
Original Sin has competed in the following events: RoboGames 2006, 2007, & 2008, ComBots Cup I & II, and Combots Texas Cup.

RioBotz Combot Tutorial - Part 2
July 2009
The iNDi 16x4 Pro Charge has both 110V AC and 12V DC inlets so that you can use it both indoors with the lincord provided or outdoors with the separate 12V leads.

Black Death
June 2009
Black Death has competed in: Motorama 2007, Motorama 2008, Motorama 2009.

RioBotz Combot Tutorial
June 2009
SERVO Magazine, as a service to the building community, is summarizing the tutorial in a series of articles beginning with part of Chapter 2, “Design Fundamentals.”

The Intro Ant
June 2009
Thanks to Travis Schmidt, Dan Wiseman, Donald Sung, and Dennis Beck who provided information for this article.

The Door Into Spring
Column: Appetizer
February 2008
WARNING: This Appetizer contains opinions which may not taste good to the robotics community! Consume with caution! It’s New Year’s Eve, I’m 50 years old, and instead of partying until I’m stupid, I’m home writing a column for SERVO. It’s amazing how a few years change things! Three decades ago, I thought New Years was the best party opportunity of the year; now it’s a quiet night to write. I’m reminded of the changes time brings because the soundtrack to this evening’s writing is my wife’s ...

Robot Combat Event Safety Primer
May 2006
Rule #1 — Don’t do anything stupid or dangerous.