Builder Resources


Want to come fight at NHRL? NHRL is open to competitors of any experience level!

There is a $25 deposit for each bot you register. As long as you check in for the event, you'll get your deposit back a few business days later. Signups will close 2 weeks before the event.

Here are some resources for builders:

  • Information about radios for your bot.

Builder FAQ

How do I register for an event?

There are two ways to register:

Open reservation is the most common way to reserve a spot. We will announce on our mailing list and in our Discord when registration opens.

Open registration will run for a week. There's no limit to the number of people who can register. However, when registration closes, we will randomly select the competitors, up to our registration caps (generally 96 3lb bots, 24 12lb bots, and 16 30lb bots, though this may vary between events). The fewer events your bot has fought in this year, the more likely it will be selected. Selections are announced at least 6 weeks before each event, to give competitors ample time to travel.

We also offer event reservation on a limited, case-by-case basis. If it takes more than 6 weeks for you to make travel arrangements, or if you have some other contingency that would make a lottery difficult for you, you may apply to reserve a spot at one of our events. This lets you bypass the lottery.

Read more about our registration system here.

How much does it cost to fight at NHRL?

All builders must pay a $25 deposit per bot when registering. You will get this deposit back as long as you check in at the builder desk for the event, or withdraw before the deposit refund deadline for the event. If you are put on the waitlist, you are not immediately refunded; you will have to withdraw your bot from the waitlist (giving up your chance to replace a bot that drops out of the main competition) before the deposit refund deadline to get your refund.

The deposit refund deadline is usually 3 weeks before the event.

Other than the deposit, there is no fee to compete at NHRL.

What should I bring with me to compete at NHRL?

Most competitors will bring their own set of tools, spare batteries, a battery charger, and spare modules/copies of their bot for faster repairs. See the question below "What tools/equipment/space do I get to use as a competitor at NHRL?" for more information on what you can use from our facilities.

I am new to building combat robots. Where should I start?

If you are new to combat robotics, I would suggest reading The Combat Design Handbook, which can be downloaded for free here. You should also join our Discord, where you can ask questions and get advice from other competitors as well as our staff.

Is there any way to get help with my bot?

The staff and facilities at NHRL are also available to help builders. Our staff can offer technical advice, assistance in assembly/construction, loan new builders parts to use, and even assist in fabricating parts for your robot. Contact or ask a staff member on the Discord for more information.

What tools/equipment/space do I get to use as a competitor at NHRL?

Each competitor at NHRL gets 1 pit table, which is a 6' x 36" folding table, and 2 padded folding chairs. Each pit table has at least 2 outlets and 2 USB charging ports at it. Competitors also get access to free high-speed WiFi during events.

During the event, all of our safety test boxes are available for competitors to use. We ask that you refrain from fighting in these cages though.

All competitors have access to our workshop facilities, fully stocked with tools, hardware, and equipment. Tools from the workshop are not allowed to be removed from the workshop, so any work with them must be done there rather than at your pit tables. For help with specialized equipment, like welders, staff can assist you.

What does the schedule look like for the day? When can I come to NHRL?

Competitors can access the facilities on both the Friday before the event and the Saturday of the event. On Friday, the facility is open from noon to 9 pm, and bot inspection is open from 5 pm to 9 pm. During this time, competitors can complete check-in, set up their pits, pass safety, and use the workshop facilities. Once doors close at 9 pm, all equipment must be unplugged (especially battery chargers!), and the facility doors will be kept locked until the event on the following day under 24/7 CCTV monitoring, so don't worry about leaving stuff overnight.

On Saturday, doors open to competitors at 6 am. Keep in mind that the line for safety is longer on Saturday than it is Friday, so try to get there early to pass bot inspection (or even better, come Friday!). Failure to pass bot inspection on time can result in disqualification.

The first fight of the day will take place at 9 am, and fights will continue back-to-back across all weight classes until we finish all fights. We usually finish around 10 pm Competitors are welcome to stay the entire event, or are also allowed to leave once their fights are done for the day.

How many fights will I be in during an event?

NHRL utilizes a 3-round qualifier that feeds a single-elimination tournament. Most competitors get to fight at least twice in the tournament. Later in the day, competitors are also allowed to request Freestyle fights against each other, where two (or more!) bots can face off against each other, independent of the tournament bracket.

How much time do I have between fights?

Competitors are guaranteed at least 20 minutes between fights. Towards the start of the day, though, this can be more in the range of hours. When your time is nearly up or your fight is coming up soon, your name will appear on a list on all the TVs in the pits, indicating it is time to report in for your fight.

Can I bring multiple bots?

Each bot in a weight class must be driven by a different driver. You can drive one bot in each weight class, but not multiple bots in the same weight class.

One exception: If your bot is a multibot entry, this rule only applies to the heaviest component in the entry. So you may drive other bots in the same weight class, as long as the other bots are not their heaviest components of the entry.

Is there a code of conduct that all builders must follow?

Yes, we have a Builder Conduct Policy that we expect all builders to adhere to.