Everything old is new again.... Nightmare has been almost completely rebuilt for BattleBots 2015. Here's a rundown on what's different:
Yeah, we can't sneak that one past ya.... The biggest change is Nightmare's new disc. This is the biggest upgrade Nightmare's ever had. The old disc was 3/8" thick T-6061 aluminum, and every time I hit another robot, the disc was being subjected to a huge amount of stress. The disc would sometimes bend, and even worse, sometimes it would not be strong enough to hold the huge teeth in place. The softer aluminum gave way, ripping the tooth completely out! This happened both in our Season 5.0 fight against Warhead, as well in the Season 5.0 rumble. I knew I had to move up to a better material construction for the disc. The plan since BattleBots ended in 2002 was to upgrade the disc to titanium. However, titanium is heavier than aluminum, and with the minimalistic shape of Nightmare already, there was not much weight that could be sacrificed to add on the same diameter titanium disc. So, back in late 2002, I designed the new "twisted bowtie" shape - a shape that would maintain the same diameter (over 40" tip to tip), but save some of the weight to upgrade to titanium. When BattleBots did not renew in late 2002, I put these plans on the back burner. For the past few years, Nightmare has been living the retired life in Florida, being on display in my store, Hobby Marketplace in the Sarasota Square Mall, along with Backlash.
Fast forward to 2015, BattleBots announces the new partnership with ABC, and I dusted off the old files for the new disc design. Surprise! We now get an extra 30 pounds to work with, up from 220lbs to 250lbs weight limit! So now, not only can I go with titanium for the disc, but I can also make it THICKER. So I sourced a HUGE plate of Grade 38, 1/2" thick Ti, and had Team Whyachi waterjet it up for me. The result is spectacular, and deadly! I also chose to upgrade to new bearings for the disc, and a new Titanium main shaft, an upgrade from the old hardened steel.
Back in 2002, after the Season 5.0 BattleBots ended, I decided to redesign the teeth so that they would have less of a chance of being ripped out of the disc. Previously it was 4 bolts inline in a small tooth format. I designed a "bigfoot" style tooth with 5 bolts that would not only grip more surface area of the disc, but also pocket further into the disc material, to help avoid any shifting of the tooth on impacts. These new teeth added almost 2 more pounds to the overall weight of each tooth, bringing the entire spinning mass of Nightmare to over 50lbs.
Nightmare frequently had issues with battery life, not being able to last a full 3 minute fight (let alone a 5 minute rumble) at full power. In the past BattleBots events, I've used NiMh batteries for drive power, and NiCad for weapon power. 13 years of battery evolution have resulted in some pretty fantastic improvements! Nightmare is now separately powering weapon and drive systems, but now it is by custom built Lithium Ion Nanophosphate battery packs. These batteries outperformed my highest expectations. So much so, that after Nightmare's first ~2 minute fight against Warrior Clan, less than 20% of the battery charge had been used!
New Wheel Guards
Another very recognizable difference with Nightmare is the front Wheel Guards. These are also manufactured out of Grade 38 titanium, nearly 1/4" thick! They wrap around the front and sides of the robot, designed to deflect the blows from a spinning weapon, and to protect the wheels, which have always been Nightmare's biggest vulnerability. Statistically, Nightmare is most likely to lose a fight from losing a wheel, so I had to address the issue. These wheel guards can be bolted on when fighting a spinner, or removed when not needed.
Due to other technological improvements in the 13 years since the last time he fought, Nightmare was able to get some other nice upgrades under the hood. New, smaller speed controllers, new drive motors/gearboxes, new wheels, new transmitter/receiver, and all new wiring throughout. In all, the only things left from the old Nightmare were the chassis, arms and weapon motor.