Nightmare 2016 - How he did
Click here to see the Nightmare 2016 build report

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BattleBots thankfully selected Nightmare to return for Season 2 on ABC, so I scrambled to get Nightmare upgraded and ready to ship. Of course, with the limited time, I was working every spare hour on the robot leading up to the day the crate got picked up for shipment. I managed to get 99% of the upgrades in place before he went into the crate, and the last bits went together once we arrived at the venue.

Fight : loss vs. Stinger
Nightmare was selected to fight Stinger. This would certainly not have been my first pick, up against one of the best drivers in the sport, and a machine that is tough, fast and durable, but this was a fight that Stinger's driver, Matt and I had talked about for years! I knew Matt was an excellent driver, so I had my work cut out for me.

The fight was fun, but since ABC chose to run a short highlight, instead of showing the full fight, my memory of it is all I have (which isn't great). I do remember Nightmare and Stinger going at it for a while, great driving from Matt (as expected) and a lot of action. At one point, Nightmare forcibly removed one of Stinger's wheels, and a lot of titanium sparks were flying! The two robots sparred on one side of the arena for a while, but eventually Stinger got underneath Nightmare and rolled him onto his back. "Excellent", I thought, now I can show off my "Inversion Conversion"! However, when I flipped the switch on the radio, nothing happened! The LED lights on Nightmare showed red, meaning that there was either a locking pin out of position, or other software fault. Stinger held back to give me a chance to show off the inversion conversion, but nothing happened, and Nightmare was counted out. Bummer!

After the fight, the autopsy showed that one of the sensors for Nightmare's locking mechanism had broken loose and was giving a false reading, which by the programming, meant that the pin mechanism was disabled by the software. (The timing on pulling both pins is critical- if the 2 pins are out of sync, the locking mechanism can destroy itself, so I I had put this 'safety' program in so I couldn't break the mechanism during testing). Even though the system was ready, I couldn't disengage the pins! The first thing I did was program a bypass into the system, so this would never happen again. Grrr!

Anyway, it was a fun fight, and I was glad to do some damage with Nightmare. Stinger is an awesome robot, and of course I wished him the best of luck in the tournament!

Some damage Nightmare left for Stinger.

A Souvenir from Stinger! Thanks, guys!


Wild Card!
With 8 slots open for a Wild Card, after the Stinger fight, Team Nightmare was selected to re-enter the tournament this season! We felt encouraged, but embarrassed that getting back in came down to this. I would have much rather earned my way in with a legitimate win beforehand. But I'm not one to complain. Thanks, ABC and BattleBots, for selecting Nightmare for one of the wild cards!

Fight: win vs Icewave
When the fights were announced, I remember the builders who were gathered around in the pits, collectively shuddering and letting out an "Oooooh" at envisioning this fight of two massive spinners, one vertical, one horizontal, coming together in the BattleBox. One of my top-feared robots was my next opponent!

The fight started quickly. I knew I had to get in there and do what I could quickly, and not let Icewave get up to full speed. Nightmare cruised in at full speed, and the weapons clashed in a HUGE shower of sparks. The sideways impact actuallly temporarily deflected Nightmare's disc enough to shear off one of his own weapon drive belts, good thing Nightmare uses two belts! Nightmare's tooth also made direct contact with his support frame, severely gouging and bending that side of the frame. It took a while after the fight to figure this out. It took a SERIOUS sideways impact to cause this much deflection to happen. Icewave is NOT to be underestimated!

Only 2 seconds into the match, Nightmare and Icewave make contact!

Icewave slams into Nightmare's right arm, forcibly removing the wheel guard.
After the initial impact, both robots were still spinning at full speed, and Icewave came around Nightmare's right side, and was able to make contact with the right side wheel guard, shearing it clean off the robot. The impact also somehow disengaged the locking pins on Nightmare's arms, so the arms began to rotate, causing the spinning disc to hit the BattleBox floor, gouging a huge chunk out of it! Once I saw that happening, I knew I had to rotate the arms back into position, so I turned off the weapon. I didn't have too much time, though. Every second I let go by was allowing Icewave to get his weapon up to full speed, so I drove forward into Icewave again, taking another brutal weapon-to-weapon hit. After this hit, Nightmare's arms were back into locked position, so I started spinning up the weapon again. Unfortunately, the weapon speed controller was getting quite hot with all the on/off action, plus getting stalled briefly against the arena floor, and it couldn't take any more high current load. The ESC burst into a cloud of smoke, permanently disabling Nightmare's weapon. Side note: a huge thank you to Vex Robotics for immediately providing me a replacement speed controller after this match. Iam very grateful! .....Back to the fight....It was about this moment that my team and I noticed that Icewave hadn't moved after the last hit. His weapon was still spinning, but he was not moving! I wasn't sure if I should go back in to take another hit, since my weapon was disabled. Had Icewave's weapon been off as well, I would have gladly moved in to give him a shove, but I had a feeling that would be suicide. After a brief drive around to prove to the judges and referees that I was still mobile, Nighmare graciously backed into his starting square and waitied for Icewave to be counted out. The whole fight was 3 impacts, and lasted less than a minute. Nightmare wins by KO!!


Nightmare left his mark on the arena floor


Nightmare moving on!

Sweet 16!
Nightmare has made it to the Sweet 16 of BattleBots Season 2! We are so happy to have made it this far! Next up is Beta, with his incredible hammer of death!

The crewbots were unable to repair the damage to the arena floor, so they just cut off the piece and gave it to my wife, Erica as the coolest BattleBots necklace ever!

Fight: loss vs Beta
Well, Nighmare was up against John Reid's Beta next! A sort of rematch from back in 1999, when John's robot Killerhurtz fought Nightmare at the first-ever BattleBots!

Even though Nightmare is pretty tough to find a point to hammer on, as BattleBots Update describes, "Nightmare's armor is mostly air combined with having the surface area of one of those stupid toothpick bridges you had to build in high school physics." I still knew that we had to prevent Beta from damaging the critical areas of NIghmare, so we came up with the idea of building a guard over Nightmare's most sensitive electronics. Unfortunately, the damage from the Icewave fight had effectively disabled Nightmare's "Inversion Conversion" system, as the frame had been bent too far, so the holes didn't line up anymore, and there was not enough time before our match to do much about it, so I made the decision to remove the arm rotator mechanism. This freed up a pretty good amount of weight, so we came up with the the "Beta Blocker". Some fans will recognize the titanium leftover wheel guard wedges from last season's Nightmare. We took two pieces over to the great guys at the Lincoln Electric booth, and with moments to spare, we had the pieces welded to the back of Nightmare, in an effort to protect the sensitive guts!

The fight was great. Lots of action, and it seems that early on, Nightmare got one good hit on the front of Beta. From the post-fight damage, it appears that we got a lucky shot on Beta's weapon motor, mostly disabling their hammer! That was a great start. From there on, the fight was mostly about Beta trying desparately to get around the side of Nightmare to be able to wedge under. But that proved to be more difficult than he anticipated. Nightmare, although he seems squirrely and awkward, is actually very easy to control. With a combination of backing up and turning, I was able to keep Nightmare's weapon pointed at Beta for most of the match. Nightmare got a few great hits on Beta, one that tosssed him halfway across the arena! Everything was going in Nightmare's favor... disabling the opponent's main weapon, doing some great damage, and was out-driving them, but then, in the final 20 seconds or so, I made a critical driving mistake, and Beta got underneath the side of Nightmare. In my adreneline, instead of spinning down the weapon, I left it at full speed, and Beta simply needed to steer in the right direction, flipping Nightmare over. In the old days, this wouldn't have mattered because the old BattleBots rules were that once you are inside the final 30 seconds of the fight, no count out is needed, it automatically goes to the judges. And I had the confidence that the judges would edge Nightmare in as the winner. However, I didn't realize the new rules state that the referee can start a countdown pretty much any time they want, so with only a few seconds left on the clock, Nightmare was declared KO'd, and lost the fight. Bummer for rule changes.

Congratulations to John Reid and Beta! Glad to see your trip across the pond was worth it this time around! Good luck against Tombstone!

Well, that's it for Nightmare for BattleBots on ABC, Season 2! We have big plans and upgrades planned for Season 3! Thanks for following us, and make sure to post all over social media that #WeWantSeason3 #BattleBotsSeason3


Special thanks to the Lincoln Electric guys for helping us fit the Beta Blocker!


Teammate Paul gave the Beta Blocker a name right before the fight.


Some of Beta's post-fight damage from Nightmare.


Man, we were SO close to removing that hammer from Beta! Look at that crack!



That was a great event! See you in Season 3!


Click here to see the Nightmare 2016 build report

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