Featured Maker: Team Toxic Robotics

This year at Maker Faire Orlando, among all the amazing things, there will be Combat Robots! That’s right! You’ll be able to see small bots all the way up to the heavyweight class that you see on television! How cool is that?

One team that we’re excited about is Team Toxic Robotics. We were able to speak with one of the team members, Nasir Illasarie about combat robotics and get excited about their team!

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Q: How would you explain Combat Robots to someone who hasn’t heard of it before?

A: I would describe combat robotics as a fun “sport” that involves an equal part of knowledge and imagination. It’s not all about winning; it’s more about the people you meet and the knowledge you gain. The added bonus – seeing other robots get destroyed.

Q: How did you get started in combat robotics?

A: I was brought into the combat robotics scene by Andrea Suarez at Maker Faire Orlando 2013 I believe. She brought a orange hamster ball with a little car in it. I thought that was the coolest thing. After the event I talked with her for a good 45 minutes on how to build a bot and where to find parts. From then on, I’ve been building robots for every event I could get to.

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Q: When did you make your first combat robot?

A: I was planning to compete at the 2014 battle at Maker Faire, but I had to help the OCPS tech centers with a booth. I waited till 2015 and took my 1st robot, a 3lb horizontal spinner, to the event. The spinner didn’t really work, the blade kept flying off, but it was a good pusher! I took 2nd place at my first event.

Q: How long does it take to design and build one of your bots?

A: Normally a week or two with the idea in my head, just thinking about the logistics of it, and if I have the time/funds to build it. After that, I start 3D modeling it. That process takes a few days. Then, I start sourcing places to get my parts manufactured. 90% of the time I go with our sponsor, P3D Creations. That takes about a week and then once that’s finished, it takes another week to build and test the bot. So, for a good bot, about a month. My most recent bot only took a week and was fully 3D printed and placed first. Ultimately, the time needed depends on the bot and event it’s fighting at.

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Q: How did you come up with the name Team Toxic Robotics?

A: This took over a week, as all the names I wanted were taken. I liked the green and black color scheme, so I stuck with that. Someone told me it looked like toxic waste, so that’s what I named my first robot, and the name stuck!

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Q: How many combats have your bots won? And tell us about your favorite win.

A: I have been competing for just over a year. Our first competition was Sept. 12 at Maker Faire Orlando 2015. Out of the 6 events I competed at, I have placed top 3 at 5 of them! My most recent event, I placed first and second with my 1lb robot and my 150g robot. My favorite win was against Walla Walla Driven by Paul Grata. Right until the end It looked like I was losing then I pushed him into the pit. That was super exciting. See that fight here!

Q: What is your favorite thing about Combat Robotics?

A: My favorite thing about the sport is the people you meet. Everybody I have met has helped me through problems, inspired me to keep building, and get other people to come out to events.

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Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in combat robots?

A: If you are interested in combat robotics, don’t worry about building a robot just to attend an event, though that is an added bonus. Just come out to an event, talk to the builders, ask a lot of questions, and just start networking. This will get you very far into the ecosystem of Combat Robotics and help you kick some bot at your first event!

Q: What steps are needed to get started?

A: Just build a basic robot! If you don’t know where to start, join the Combat Robotics Page on Facebook and look at a whole bunch of examples and ask questions if you have any. If you want to make a cheap starter robot, just go to Walmart and buy a cheap RC car and put a wedge on it!

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Q: What have you had to sacrifice in order to get to where you are?

A: I do not have time to do anything besides combat robotics and the vex team. I don’t play video games or things like that. I just don’t have the time. I also pour all of my income into robots.

Q: How has Combat Robotics affected your social life?

A: I have met a lot a new friends through combat robotics and a a lot of my school friends think I am nerdy, but I think they secretly think it’s cool.

Q: What is your dream goal when it comes to combat robotics?

A: My dream is to compete at Robogames in California with a 60 lb light weight robot.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Maker Faire Orlando?

A: My favorite thing about Maker Faire Orlando is all of the cool things you see and the people you meet. It is also a cool place to network and get in touch with a lot of small businesses.