Battle robots get a five-axis boost

For followers of the BBC’s Robot Wars programme, the names Sir Killalot, Shunt, Matilda and Dead Metal will be familiar as the house robots whose sole purpose is to lie in wait for competing bots and take their opportunity to destroy them.

These mean weapons are designed and built by two brothers in a small corner of their family business that is more used to manufacturing furniture castors.
Grant and James Cooper both worked for the family company of Priory Castor and Engineering in Birmingham, but as that business changed they saw a need to diversify and put their knowledge of engineering design to good use. The result was Robo Challenge, a design and creative engineering company that now works alongside TV production companies to create one-off robots and engineering concepts.
Robo Challenge employs an XYZ LPM vertical machining centre to create a range of parts from aluminium, titanium and stainless steel.
“We tend to be at the end of the process after weeks, if not months of discussion have taken place,” says Grant Cooper. “We are then asked to produce complex machines in a short space of time. For example, the four house robots for Robot Wars were designed and built in less than eight weeks, but typically we get one to three weeks to complete a project, so an efficient machine that can be used by anyone here was essential for us. The LPM with its ProtoTrak control, tool changer and large table, works perfectly for us, especially as just about everything we produce is a one-off.”
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