A software developer by day and an assistant Cubmaster by night (and weekends), Randy Farmer has one of the coolest hobbies imaginable.
Farmer (top row, left) is a member of Chaos Corps, a robot-building team from Atlanta that will appear in tonight’s Season 2 premiere of BattleBots on ABC.
In BattleBots (8 p.m./7 p.m. Central tonight), robots equipped with jets of fire, spinning blades and spiky jaws enter the ring to fight against similarly weaponized hunks of metal. The robot still standing (er, rolling) when time runs out moves on to the next round.
The entry from Farmer and Chaos Corps is Bombshell, a 250-pound robot with an ax, a lifter, and both vertical and horizontal spinning discs. And there’s a secret weapon: Short Fuse, a companion quadcopter with a downward-facing flamethrower.
Bombshell will fight Complete Control, a bot from San Francisco that boasts a grappling lifter and flame torch. The winner of that qualifying fight advances to the round of 32. The loser is eligible for one of eight wildcard slots.
Most of the members of Chaos Corps were Scouts, Farmer says, and one member — Julie — earned her Gold Award as a Girl Scout. They have widely varying backgrounds: professional engineers, software and computer professionals, artists, welders, and machinists.
The team began designing Bombshell in December 2015 when the BattleBots application process started. They started building in February and finished by early April.
“Each team member has hundreds of hours of time invested into the robots,” Farmer says, “The robot has a final price tag rivaling that of a modest new car.”
Farmer, a former Scout and a Wood Badge Beaver, also serves as a counselor for the Robotics merit badge. Those Scouts who earn the Robotics merit badge from a bona fide BattleBots pro? Yeah, they’re some lucky dudes.
Tips from a BattleBots expert
Robots don’t need spinning blades of destruction to spark creativity and excitement in Scouts.
We asked Farmer for some of his robot-building tips, and he shares some great ones with Scouts in the August 2016 issue of Boys’ Life (Boy Scout edition), out in late July.
Read that issue in print or by searching “Boys’ Life magazine” on your favorite app store.
Read about the Scouting families that competed in Season 1 of BattleBots over on Scouting Newsroom.