Team Toad: SnowFlake

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This page describes Snowflake, Jacey's Lightweight. See SnowFlake in 3D.

(23-Apr-2002) Ziggo won in November by vaporizing SnowFlake's wimpy master switch, but he also ripped the bolts holding the blade to the front clean through the aluminum (see photo at left). We're replacing the master switch with a Cool Robots switch from Team Delta.


To stop the blade from getting ripped off, we decided to weld it on. So Fuzzy wire brushed the paint off the front, and together he and Jacey used the MIG welder to attach the two pieces permanently.

Here we see Fuzzy prepping the welding gun, wearing his always stylish "Swarm" T-Shirt. Then we see him finishing the job Jacey started.

At the top of the page, you can see the finished body. Tomorrow we paint it, and then reassemble. We'll be ready for you this time, Ziggo!



(8-Jan-2002) Our first robot to appear on TV for Season 4.0, SnowFlake gets the most attention; to the right you can see Jacey and SnowFlake posing at the Pittsburgh Steeler's Heinz Field during the filming of her profile for the season 4.0 opening episode.

While the external appearance of SnowFlake is unchanged from Season 3.0, and in fact the same stickers were left in place for Season 4.0, we made one big change "under the hood."

The original NPC 60522 motors were still used, but last season they ran at 25.2 volts, because we could only fit a Vantec RDFR 23 inside. For this season, the increase of 2 pounds in the lightweight limit allowed us to go from 2x21 to 2x30 sub-C NiMH cells. We managed to fit a Vantec 33 into the tiny aluminum body only by building the batteries and speed controller into the bot. We charged the batteries in the body using an extension cord. By increasing to 36.0 volts, we got a 43% increase in speed, and just barely made weight at 59.5 pounds.

The particular Vantec 33 we used was the same one we loaned to Carlo for Biohazard last season. We figured a little "Biohazard Mojo" would be a big help.

Season 4.0 Results

With a record of 2-1 including one knock out going into the competition, SnowFlake was seeded into the TV rounds. Our first fight was Michael Winter's lightweight:

That brings SnowFlake to a 3-2 record with 2 KOs.


Whirl Wep Eel Brain

Whirl Wep is driven by Michael Winter of the Robot Action League, a long-time BattleBots veteran. We were frankly worried about the rapidly spinning disk weapon, because we knew it spun very fast.

Jacey saw that Whirl Wep had two antennas, one on each side. She decided her best chance was to drive around to the sides and knock the antennas off. Once the fight started, she drove SnowFlake straight into the spinning disk, throwing both robots to one side. After a couple of hits that left huge gouges on SnowFlake's plow blade, she did indeed manage to hit Whirl Wep on the side, and he stopped moving.

Post-fight analysis showed that SnowFlake had quite a few deep scrapes in the blade, and required a lot of work with the sledge hammer to straighten the blade for the next fight.


We were really looking forward to this fight, because SnowFlake was originally designed to take on spin bots like Ziggo. SnowFlake is built like a little tank, and up to this point had been very difficult to kill. One issue: the "expensive" master switch had failed in the "on" position in the previous match, so we were forced to replace it with a spare switch that was even less tough.

As the fight started, Ziggo was a little unstable spinning up, and we had high hopes, but Ziggo settled down by the time SnowFlake rammed into it. Ziggo's first hit nearly ripped the plow blade completely off the little bot, and SnowFlake's master switch failed, disabling it. Just before SnowFlake was counted out, Ziggo hit it again, miraculously the master switch turned back on SnowFlake was moving under its own power again. But the second chance didn't last long, another hit from Ziggo, and SnowFlake was dead a second time. We yelled over to Jonathan Ridder "hit it again", but this time SnowFlake was dead for good.

Post-fight analysis showed that Ziggo destroyed one of SnowFlake's two wheelchair motors, which are themselves heavily armored. The photo to the right shows how two 5/16" bolts were pulled straight through the 1/8" aluminum frame of SnowFlake.

It's clear that either I'll have to get some 1/8" unobtainium for the blade, or Jacey is going to have to keep the edges of the blade away from Ziggo in the future.

(21-Aug-2001) Now that the lightweight quarter-final bracket has been released on Comedy Central, we can write about the fights of our best performing robot at Treasure Island: SnowFlake! In fact, Jacey's little robot was the only one of the kid's robots that got to fight in the TV rounds with the full hazards. Good thing we used redundant bolts to keep the hubs on...the kill saws ate most of the way through one of the bolts on the right side (see photo to right).

Season 3.0 results

Not a bad record for anyone, much less a 12 year old girl!

Frozen Toast

This fight was short...Jacey drove straight across the arena, shoved Toast into the spike strip, and that was it...a knockout.


Shockwave was a 4wd bot using Sinclair starter motors. Shockwave had too much traction, and found it difficult to turn. Jacey drove around him alot, and finally pushed Shockwave a few times. Not a very exciting fight, but even though both bots were still moving at the end, one of Shockwave's NiCad battery packs caught on fire from the current draw of the 4 Sinclair' know you're doing well when your opponent says, "Can I get a fire extinguisher over here?"

Whirling Willy

Our thought is that WW must be a renamed lightweight veteran, because it was scheduled for the TV rounds in its first fight. We never saw it, and Jacey got an easy fight...forfeit.

Gamma Raptor

Jacey started out with 3 easy victories, but then she came up against the #3 ranked lightweight, it was a different story. Jacey didn't back down; she drove straight at Gamma Raptor, but his front forks run right on the ground, and she drove SnowFlake up on top of Gamma Raptor. Gamma drove forward, flipping SnowFlake on its back.

Undaunted, Jacey flipped her own controls upside down and proceeded to came back for another pass. That was the theme of the fight...Gamma would flip SnowFlake, and SnowFlake would just come back for more.

At one point, SnowFlake got caught under the pulverizers, and took two full force hammer blows, but the tough little orange bot just kept on trucking.

After the fight, we found that the 1/2" steel tube we were using as a motor mount for the two NPC 65022 motors was bent about 3/4" from the hammer blows. We gave the shaft to Team Raptor as a trophy.

When it was all over, Gamma Raptor won the decision by a large amount.

Loser's Rumble

Jacey was a veteran rumble driver, having driven FrostBite in the winner's rumble in Vegas, and she kept SnowFlake moving and hitting throughout the whole 5 minutes. Not very fast, SnowFlake couldn't impress the judges with its hitting ability, but it was tough and was one of the few bots moving at the end.

(13-Jul-2001) If you watched the Season 3.0 premiere on Comedy Central on 10-Jul-01, you might have caught a glimpse of SnowFlake fighting Gamma Raptor. Jacey did well enough with SnowFlake to get to the TV rounds. We hope that this fight will be televised later this season.

Jacey scored another first in the prelims: one of her opponents was on fire at the end of the fight! You know you're doing well when you hear the other driver say "Can I get a fire qxtinguisher over here?"


(23-Apr-2001) We had another round of driving practice today. We brought along two robot chew toys; here we see SnowFlake playing with an old pool cleaning gadget that bears a striking resemblence to a well known battlebot, Tentomushi.


(08-Apr-2001) We got SnowFlake painted and battle hardened today, and started testing. We verified that SnowFlake can flip upright if need be. We tested SnowFlake versus Ice Cube in the school parking lot. Click on the right for an MPEG video of the rumble (4.4 mb).


(31-Mar-2001) Today was painting day at the Lazy Toad Ranch. Since SnowFlake is the "mini-me" version of FrostBite, it shares the same paint-scheme: orange body and black snowplow blade.


(11-Feb-2001) Today we borrowed an RDFR33 from FrostBite, and had the first driving test of SnowFlake. Then we added the antenna mount, the armored kill switch, and the Team Delta battery eliminator, and wired up the RDFR23. We're even a little under weight (about 56 pounds), so we can add some lead in the back to improve traction.

Click on the photo to the right to see video of Jacey driving it for the first time.

(2-Feb-2001) Today we got the motors mounted in SnowFlake. As you can see in the photo, there's not too much room inside. From the back you can see the body is angled on top and body. It makes mounting the motors a little like building a ship in a bottle.

Our trick is to use plastic spacers and split-shaft collars on the inside to hold the motors against the side wall.


Here we see Jacey removing vestigial parts from the NPC 60522 motors. On the left, she clips the tie wraps holding the nylon cover on the wires. On the right, she removes the magnetic brake from the rear of the motor.


Behind her you can see piles of Panasonic 7-cell 3000 mAhr NiMH battery packs. Jacey got a head start on her science fair project. She's comparing battery capacities for her project...which will give her a great excuse to take SnowFlake to school for the fair.


Her T-Shirt:

My science project
can beat up
your science project!



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