- "When the speed controllers worked this robot was a beast."
- — Essex Metal Detectors Fighting Robots website
Knuckles was a competitor robot that attempted to enter Series 3-6 of Robot Wars. It was not selected for Series 3 and failed to qualify for the remaining three series it applied for, but was invited to take part in the New Blood Championship of the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. However, the team declined, with Knuckles never appearing in televised combat.
Versions of Knuckles
Knuckles 1 (Series 3-4)
Knuckles was a box-shaped robot running on three wheels, and armed with a set of rotating spikes as its weapon. For Series 3, it was equipped with go-kart wheels with slick tyres, and was powered by a large battery and two Vauxhall starter motors controlled by two car starter solenoids. This drive system made Knuckles very powerful and fast, but almost impossible to control, resulting in it not being selected for Series 3.
For Series 4, the team installed custom-made water-cooled motors and speed controllers in order to make Knuckles easier to control. These were used in tandem with the Vauxhall starter motors used previously, and otherwise Knuckles remained largely unchanged from its initial appearance.
Knuckles 2 (Series 5-6)
For Series 5, Knuckles underwent an extensive redesign, with a roughly octagonal-shaped chassis and an invertible three-wheeled layout, although keeping the rotating blades. The unreliable starter motors were discarded in favour of a 24v two-speed disability trike motor donated to the team, offering much easier control than before. This was aided by the third wheel, which was now powered and used for steering. The robot was painted black.
Knuckles was finished two days before the Series 3 auditions, and thus was untested by the time it entered the studio. It proved nearly impossible for the team to drive effectively, with its Vauxhall starter motors giving no control over the robot's speed or direction. Knuckles constantly spun around and smashed into every obstacle in its path, failing to impress the judges, and was not selected to take part in the main competition.
In its Series 4 qualifier, Knuckles faced Fat Boy Tin. Despite an incident where it drove into a door post while entering the arena, it started well, piercing a few holes in Fat Boy Tin's bodywork with its rotating blades. However, both of Knuckles' speed controllers burnt out shortly afterwards, allowing Fat Boy Tin to win the qualifier and secure a place in Series 4. Knuckles, on the other hand, failed to qualify once again.
With its starter motors swapped for the trike motor, and its chassis and drivetrain considerably revised, Knuckles would fight The Chuck Wagon in its Series 5 qualifier. Knuckles made several dents in The Chuck Wagon's steel armour, before being flipped over. The Chuck Wagon then broke down, handing Knuckles a rare victory. Despite this however, neither robot would make the main series.
Knuckles would again attempt to qualify by the time Series 6 was due to be filmed, however it is currently unknown which robots it faced during its qualifier, or how it lost.
Knuckles was finally invited to fight in a televised competition, being selected to take part in the New Blood Championship during the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. However, Katy Smith, daughter of team captain David, had joined the team to replace his friend Peter Watt at the time, and filming of the New Blood Championship coincided with her school's term time. As a result, the team declined the offer to compete, and Knuckles never appeared in a televised Robot Wars competition.
|Main Series||Knuckles Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Not selected|
|The Fourth Wars||Failed to qualify|
|The Fifth Wars||Failed to qualify|
|The Sixth Wars||Failed to qualify|
|The Seventh Wars||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
|Series 1||Did not enter|
|Series 2||Declined position|
Outside Robot Wars
In between its attempts to qualify for Series 5 and 6, Knuckles also competed in the annual Debenham Robot Rumbles in Suffolk, appearing for three years. Over these events, it fought robots such as Vader, Toe Cutter, X-Terminator and Judge Shred, at one point leaving the arena in pieces after fighting the latter.
- As it was not selected for Series 3, and failed to qualify for Series 4-6, Knuckles has failed to qualify for the most series, more than any other single robot.