Pre-Season Engineering Skill Builder for Colorado FRC Teams: the "Gobble Squabble"

We’re organizing a pre-season event specifically to help students on FRC teams in Colorado to build more engineering and design skills. The challenge is to design and build your own custom 1 lb (aka “Antweight”) plastic 3D-printed combat robot, and to compete with it in Colorado Springs on Saturday, 11/23/2019. This challenge will help students develop robot design, mechanical engineering, CAD, game strategy, electronics, digital fabrication and other skills, with real hands-on activity.
The event is named the “Gobble Squabble” because, well, it’s the Saturday right before Thanksgiving… We plan to repeat this as an annual event. It’s limited to high school students on Colorado FRC teams because students need to be at the event in person to compete – but we will share learnings afterwards in case other regions want to leverage this program.
This is a non-profit event so there’s no cost to register or compete – all that is covered by business sponsorship and volunteering – but students must purchase their own parts to build their robot, either directly or through their own local sponsorship activity. Leveraging some parts and tools you may already have in your robotics team or at your school, nearby libraries and makerspaces, a resourceful team can complete one of these robots for less than $200. We’re investigating some alternative parts that may reduce this cost to near $100 with a modest reduction in performance, and will report on that shortly. Students will purchase their own parts; we list many available low-cost sources on the event web pages, but we’re not providing or selling any of the parts (unique part selection is one of the things that can differentiate your robot). We will accept teams of up to 3 students, to allow students to share costs while still benefiting from the in-depth engineering experience.

  • To get more info about and register for the event, click here
  • To investigate information about design and build of 1 lb Antweight plastic robots, click here

Hopefully many of you will be able to join us for the event!


Curious as to why you opted for antweight (1lb) instead of beetleweight (3lb). Beetleweight tends to provide a lot more options for reasonably priced/sized electrical and mechanical components, thus making it a more popular overall weight class.

There are similar numbers of Antweight and Beetleweight robots out there, so plenty of info, resources and parts for each. I agree Beetleweights can be a little easier to build because they have more space available, which allows more room for a wider range of motors and other components. But I was concerned about the safety factors around Beetleweights: because of the greater weight allowances available for motors and weapons, Beetleweight weapons can develop 10X or more the kinetic energy compared to Antweight weapons, and thus require many more cautions around engineering and operation. I prefer that students get more experience before they take on that kind of risk. The focus of this challenge is engineering skill development, and the Antweight scale demands more attention on physical space compression, material selection, engineering trade-offs, and detail design. That seems like a good mix as we kick off this event.