Cutting Discs were a type of small rotating weapon usually prevalent in the original series of Robot Wars. They were specialised to cut, slice and tear into other robots, targeting their armour, wheels/tracks, aerials, batteries and other sensitive components, and were capable of causing severe or terminal damage. Series 4 Grand Finalist Pussycat was the most notable robot to be armed with a cutting disc, while the first robots to feature this weapon were Plunderbird 1, Uglybot and Scrapper, all of which competed in Series 1.
- A cutting disc (also referred to as a cutting blade) is a generally small, thin disc weapon which has pointed edges all the way around it, as opposed to circular saws which have serrated edges. Unlike most flywheels, which have teeth welded onto them, cutting discs usually have their sharp edges integrated into the disc, preventing them from shearing off upon impact.
However, this was not the only way in which a cutting disc could be designed. Some, like the four and eight-toothed Pussycat blades, were custom made from multiple pieces of metal forged together, while others, like Manta's three-toothed blade, bore closer resemblances to shrunken bar spinners than discs.
Most cutting discs were small in size, although some competitors used larger-diameter discs throughout both of the show's runs. These discs, such as those equipped on the original version of Ming and the Series 8 version of The General, were closer to horizontal or vertical flywheels in size, but featured more teeth or pointed edges along their circumference than a typical flywheel.
- The primary purpose of cutting discs is to cut, shred and slice through other robots, unlike circular saws which are only used to slice, and flywheels/heavy rotating blades which aim to gouge, tear and concuss.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- As with other spinning weapons, cutting discs proved very effective in causing damage to not only most kinds of armour - especially in earlier series - but also wheels, wheelguards or other exposed components. Pussycat's Series 4 run best demonstrated this - not only was it able to cause extensive damage to the armour of Robochicken, Thermidor 2, Dominator 2 and Chaos 2 at various points during this series, but also sever Reptirron's fuel lines and damage the wheels/wheelguards of Razer and Hypno-Disc respectively.
- They could be easily integrated into an invertible design, as Pussycat, 3 Stegs 2 Heaven and the Series 3-5 and 7 versions of King Buxton demonstrated.
- As with circular saws, cutting discs could easily be mounted on a moveable arm, enabling them to be swung down from overhead to improve the weapon's effectiveness or allow for a potential synergy with other weapons. The arm of American competitor Tentoumushi, for example, featured a cutting disc directly beneath its famous 'smothering shell', allowing it to simultaneously clamp and damage opponents caught underneath the shell.
- Compared to heavier spinning weapons, cutting discs are generally less affected by recoil, making them potentially more reliable at operating for full matches.
- The lightweight nature of a cutting disc meant that any spare weight left over for the wielding robot could be used to incorporate additional weapons (e.g. a second cutting disc), tougher armour or more powerful drive systems. The cutting discs formerly used by King Buxton, for example, were added in such a way that they increased the robot's damage potential without compromising on the robot's armour, motors or main lifting weapon.
- Especially in later series, cutting discs very often struggled to damage tough armour, which put robots with them at a significant disadvantage on Judges' decisions. Pussycat's loss against M2 in Series 7 demonstrates this, as its blade could only cause superficial scratches to M2's armour at best. Only four robots have used a cutting disc in the rebooted series, and no robots used this weapon type in Series 9 or 10.
- As with circular saws, cutting discs typically required sustained contact with an opponent to cause substantial amounts of damage, as opposed to the more instantaneous damage achievable using vertical flywheels, bar spinners or drums. Pussycat's exceptional damage capability was partially attributed to its capacity to constantly slam into opponents with its cutting blade.
- An additional disadvantage over circular saws - and indeed, most flywheels - is that if a cutting disc is designed with fewer teeth or sharp edges, the disc can stop spinning entirely upon making contact with opponents. Pussycat's cutting blade, for example, was often prone to stopping once it made contact with opponents' armour, requiring the robot itself to reverse in order to get the blade spinning again for another attack.
- If they were not attached properly, cutting discs were very prone to breaking or separating from the robot. Pussycat notably had its blade dislodged during the first Extreme 1 Annihilator after Alan Gribble forgot to secure the bolt holding it in place, while one of Shredder's discs was ripped off entirely in a head-on collision with S3's vertical flywheel in Series 6.
- Cutting discs were also prone to getting snagged, either through becoming entangled in exposed cables or by catching opponents' armour and being unable to break free. These weaknesses were best demonstrated in 3 Stegs 2 Heaven's Series 5 fight with Eleven and Wild Thing's Series 6 battles with Vader.
- Depending on their size, cutting discs had a very narrow attack range, which many robots could avoid entirely. This proved crucial in Pussycat's losses against robots like Firestorm 3, Tornado and M2 in its later career, with all three opponents successfully avoiding the disc.
- Some robots, such as the original Unibite, circumvented this issue by having larger cutting discs which boasted a similar size to horizontal flywheels. Others, such as Shredder, utilised two horizontal or near-horizontal cutting discs mounted side-by side, which doubled the weapon's range without increasing the size of the individual discs.
List of Robots with Cutting Discs
Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots that are not heavyweight are listed with a green background.
|Robot||Series Appearances with Cutting Discs||Notes|
|3 Stegs 2 Heaven||Series 5||Was a spinning blade in Extreme 1, replaced with a toothed disc for Series 5.|
|Series 2||Eliminated in Gauntlet. Discs never seen in action.|
|Automatic Jack||Series 2||Rear-mounted. Originally armed with a chainsaw, drill and spike.|
|Black Widow||US Season 2||US Season 2 Tag Team Terror Champion, partnered with Rocky-Bot-Boa.|
|Cerberus||Series 3||Tungsten-tipped circular saw-like disc. Had to be removed before entering the arena due to hardened steel blades being prohibited.|
|Colossus||Series 6-7||Main weapon was a rear-hinged flipper.|
|Crasha Gnasha||Series 3||Cutting saw came from the Swedish Air Force.|
|Crazy Coupe 88||Series 8||Features its vertical disc at the rear, with a heavier horizontal blade at the front.|
|Damacles||Series 2||Lightweight robot. Cutting disc mounted on a spring-loaded arm.|
|Darkness||US Season 2||Pair of cutting blades mounted horizontally.|
|Diabolus||Series 7||Pair of horizontal discs mounted at the front.|
|Diskotek||US Season 2, Nickelodeon|
|Flensburger Power||Extreme 1||Invited to compete in Extreme after its native German series did not proceed that year due to a lack of entrants.|
|G.B.H.||Series 2||Two 7-inch and two 9-inch saw blades mounted at the rear, spinning at 6,000rpm. Series 2 Semi-Finalist in this form, although relied on its lifting scoop for victories.|
|GroundHog||Series 2||Predecessor to Firestorm.|
|Hard Cheese||Extreme 1||First official Middleweight Champion. Four-toothed cutting blade replaced a spiked hammer for Extreme 1.|
|Hell's Teeth||Extreme 2||13kg disc, spinning at 1,800rpm and 16 inches in diameter.|
|Kill-E-Crank-E||Series 8||Spins at 450rpm, can cause extra damage by swinging its body overhead.|
|King Buxton||Series 3-5, 7, Extreme 1||Disc was mounted at the rear. Spun at 3,000rpm as King B3, and 8,000rpm as King B Powerworks. King Buxton also competed in Series 2 and 8 without a cutting disc.|
|Kitty||Series 7, Extreme 2||Featherweight. Essentially a scaled down version of Pussycat, with its interchangeable discs including a circular saw and a four-toothed Pussycat-style blade.|
|Lizzard||Dutch Series 2||Heat winner in this form, used in combination with a sit-and-spin design.|
|Malfunktion||Series 3||Football-only competitor.|
|Malice||Series 2||Reserve Robot.|
|Manta||US Season 1-2||Three-bladed spinner, capable of flipping other robots over.|
|Max Damage||Series 3|
|Maximus||Extreme 2||Located in the centre of a front-hinged lifter. Claimed to spin at 18,000rpm.|
|Mean Streak||Series 7||Two small horizontal discs made from motorcycle flywheels, and connected together with gear-like teeth at the top. Erroneously stated to have four discs on its statistics board and by Jonathan Pearce.|
|Mighty Mouse||Series 7||Equipped with a pair of horizontal rear discs to comply with the active weapons rule.|
|Milly-Ann Bug||Series 2||Replaced with static spikes following Series 2.|
|Series 7, Extreme 2||Mini Morg used a vertical spinner in Extreme 2, and Mega Morg used a horizontal spinner in Series 7.|
|Ming||Series 3||Size was closer to a horizontal flywheel than a usual cutting disc/circular saw.|
|Neoteric||Extreme 2||Sized closer to a vertical flywheel than a typical cutting disc.|
|Panzer||Series 3, Extreme 1|
|Plunderbird||Series 1, Series 3||Interchangeable with a retracting spike in Series 1 as Plunderbird 1. Unused in Series 3 as Plunderstorm.|
|Prometheus (US)||Series 3|
|Pussycat||Series 3-5, Series 7, Extreme 1-2.||Most notable and successful robot with a cutting disc. Series 4 runners-up, as well as winning numerous side competitions. Two- (Extreme 1), four- or eight- (Series 7) toothed custom-forged blades, replacing circular discs used in Series 3.|
|Reptirron||Series 4, 6-7||Mounted on a hydraulic arm in Series 4, paired with a flipper in Series 6-7.|
|Rippa Raptor||US Season 1|
|Saw Point||Series 7, Extreme 2||Had two near-horizontal discs angled towards each other.|
|Scar||Series 4||Carried three interchangeable spinning discs, each capable of spinning different directions.|
|Scorpion||Series 4||Featured two smaller cutting discs in addition to a larger spinning disc at the rear.|
|Scrapper||Series 1||A set of four vertical sawblades at the front, connected on the same axle, and two horizontal saw blades at the rear. The individual blades were 7-inches and 9-inches in diameter.|
|Shapeshifter||Dutch Series 1|
|Shredder||Series 5-7||Two small, thin counter-rotating discs were located side-by-side in Series 5-6. Thicker discs were used by Shredder Evolution in Series 7.|
|Silver Box||US Season 1, Nickelodeon|
|Small Torque||Series 4||Spun at up to 4,000rpm. Designed to function as a third wheel, allowing the robot to run inverted at speeds of up to 20mph.|
|Spirit of Knightmare||Extreme 1|
|Sub-Version||Series 7, Extreme 1|
|Sumpthing||Series 5, Extreme 1||Used an axe weapon in place of the discs for Series 3-4 and 6.|
|Tender Caress||Series 2|
|Tentoumushi||Series 3||War of Independence Champion. Concealed within a 'smothering shell' which lowered and trapped other robots.|
|Terror Turtle||Series 7-8||Used a horizontal spinning disc in Series 7-8. Instead used an overhead spinning bar in Extreme 2, and a conventional bar spinner in Series 10.|
|The General||Series 8||Dual cutting blades, taller than the robot itself, spinning at between 500 and 1,000rpm.|
|The Termite||US Season 2|
|Thorgrim||German Series 1|
|Unibite||US Season 1||Disc was closer in size to a horizontal flywheel than a typical cutting disc. Replaced with a conventional flywheel for US Season 2 when it competed as Unibite 2.0.|
|V.I.P.E.R. 01||Series 5|
|Velocirippa||Series 5, Extreme 1|
|Widow's Revenge||Series 5|
|Wild Thing||Series 6||Series 6 Semi-Finalist. Used a wedge and lifter in all other appearances, incorporating a horizontal flywheel in Series 5.|