Once (as a test) I ran Vlad at full speed into a steel dumpster," boasts Gage Cauchious, builder and controller of the Battlebot robot Vlad the Impaler. "That's 210 lb abruptly halting from 20 mph. Parts bent but stayed put." Cauchious credits threadlockers and retaining compounds from Loctite Americas, Rocky Hill, Conn., with keeping the robot intact.
"Failures from vibration and impact can cost a tournament," Cauchious says. "Loctite compounds are used throughout the robot." For example, Loctite 294 wicking threadlocker and setscrews fix drive sprockets to shafts. And a medium-strength blue formula and the highstrength 609 type secure other critical assemblies. "Nothing inside Vlad has come loose in over four years of competition," adds Cachious.
For the uninitiated, Battlebots is a TV program that showcases combat between contestantbuilt, radio-controlled robots in an enclosed, hazard-filled ring. Heavyweight-class (210 lb) Vlad the Impaler is named for its sharpened-prong, compressedCO2-powered forklift capable of hoisting 208 lb. The apparatus is used to gore and overturn competing robots. Although Vlad can dish it out, it must also endure similar attacks and survive destructive ring-based weapons such as carbide-tipped saws, pneumatic sledge hammers, and spikes.