"PP3D is the most powerful robot that I've ever built. You're going to have to bring something special to the arena to beat us."
— Gary Cairns in PP3D's VT segment for Series 9

PP3D was a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 8-9 of Robot Wars. It reached the Head-to-Head stage of its heat in both series, but did not progress any further after failing to score enough points to secure a place in the Heat Final.

PP3D was built by Aberdeen-based Gary Cairns, formerly the driver of three-time middleweight champion Typhoon and Series 7 champion Typhoon 2.


"A powerful spinner that unleashes 20kJ of energy at its weapon tip, which sits just millimetres from the arena floor. It's made up from 3D printed parts, a new approach not previously seen on Robot Wars."
Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on PP3D in Series 8

PP3D in Series 8

PP3D was a wide, invertible robot with two-wheel drive and a large horizontal flywheel mounted underneath the robot's chassis. Its design offers a large area of offence and defence, with its entire front and back ends housing the powerful flywheel weapon, although its wheels were left exposed and unprotected. The team stood by their decision to leave the wheels exposed, as it aided the robot's visual design. PP3D contains several 3D printed parts, hence the name.

The bottom-mounted 31kg undercutting flywheel (which was heavier than Matilda's original 27kg spinning disc) was made of HARDOX. In Series 8, it delivered over 20 kilojoules of energy at its tip when spinning at its full speed of 1800rpm. It was only 2cm off the ground. The robot's logo is illuminated internally. PP3D was supposed to be protected by a HARDOX lid, but this pushed the robot over the weight limit, and it was removed. PP3D's flywheel should have been powered by two Perm motors, but these burned out and were replaced with an Etek motor.

"PP3D returned for Series 9 with a 31kg horizontal spinning disc - one of the heaviest in the competition. The team has also mounted its drive motors on custom shock mounts to dampen the impact of any damage it inflicts on itself whilst attacking."
— Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on PP3D in Series 9
Pp3d turntable

PP3D in Series 9

Pp3d s9 arena

PP3D in the arena during a Series 9 battle

The robot underwent a number of upgrades for Series 9; these included the flywheel being upgraded from 1,800 to 2,500rpm, in turn going from delivering 20 kilojoules of energy to 65 kilojoules, slightly higher than the output of Carbide. This made it one of the most powerful spinners ever seen on Robot Wars, but brought severe reliability issues with it. The wheels were also moved backwards slightly, so that they are not as exposed from the front, and the robot's top speed escalated from 12mph to 15mph.

PP3D disccloseup

Some of the names laser-printed on one of PP3D's Series 9 flywheels

Two identical flywheels were made for Series 9, as the Series 8 one was too warped to use again. The flywheels featured the names of all Kickstarter backers who pledged £10 towards the project. The backers also provided the funding necessary to buy spare parts that would prove to be essential for PP3D to remain in the competition.

"We had planned to have lights fitted behind the slots on the top of PP3D however with time being short before we left for filming we prioritised the mechanics of the robot above the nice to haves. We thankfully did have time to give the chassis a new meaner paint job to go with the new top and disc."
— Gary Cairns on the visual updates for Series 9[1]


PP3D Robotics logo

The logo of PP3D Robotics

PlastiPrint 3D

The logo of PlastiPrint 3D, sponsor and partial origin of the robot's name

The name PP3D stands for Parts Printed in 3D, as 3D printing was regularly used during the construction of PP3D to create temporary parts to fill in for the robot's internals which were being delivered from the USA. Smaller 3D printed parts are still present within PP3D. Additionally, builder Gary Cairns is the owner of his own 3D printing company, PlastiPrint 3D, which was listed as the robot's sponsor and also helped to determine the name of PP3D.

The TeamEdit

PP3D with team

PP3D with its team in Series 8


PP3D Robotics enter the arena in Series 8

PP3D's Aberdeenshire-based team were known as PP3D Robotics, which was captained by 29-year old Gary Cairns, the director of the 3D printing company PlastiPrint 3D. Gary Cairns had previously been the driver of Team Typhoon during the original run of Robot Wars, notably driving Typhoon 2 to victory during the Seventh Wars, and winning three Middleweight Championships with the original Typhoon. However, PP3D was the first Robot Wars competitor which Gary Cairns had built himself, and is not associated with Team Typhoon beyond the shared driver.

PP3D Robotics

PP3D Robotics in Series 9

Pp3d s9 gateway

PP3D Robotics enter the arena in Series 9

In Series 8 and 9, Gary Cairns was joined by his 27-year old fiancée Sarah Dennis (now Sarah Cairns), who assisted with the aesthetic design of PP3D. In Series 8, the third member of PP3D Robotics was Jamie McHarg, the captain of Team RogueTwo Robotics, who was unable to complete a heavyweight robot of his own in time for the series. However, Jamie McHarg left the team before Series 9 in order to enter with his own heavyweight, Coyote, and his position was filled by 19-year old mechanical engineering apprentice Laurence Caie Hosie.


PP3D Robotics applied for Series 8 of Robot Wars through open applications, and PP3D was selected to compete. When returning for Series 9, Gary Cairns utilised his Kickstarter campaign as a key factor of his application form, and the improved machine was again selected to compete in the series. However, the team voluntarily chose not to enter Series 10, as Gary Cairns and Sarah Dennis were occupied with their upcoming wedding, and work commitments[2].

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 8Edit

PP3D competed in Heat 4, where in the first round, it was drawn against Team MAD's flipper Apollo, two-time Annihilator champion Kan-Opener, and middleweight newcomer Sweeney Todd.

Angela Scanlon: "There are a lot of very menacing-looking machines around, this is quite modest!"
Jamie McHarg: "It is quite modest, yeah, it's quite unassuming, folk might look at it and think, ah it doesn't look too dangerous, that's a good thing as maybe they'll underestimate it."
— Angela and PP3D Robotics on the hidden blade
PP3D vs Apollo vs Kan-Opener vs Sweeney Todd

PP3D cuts a wheel from Apollo

PP3D vs Kan-Opener

PP3D is gripped by Kan-Opener

After being slammed by Kan-Opener once, PP3D was left relatively unchallenged in the opening moments of the fight, allowing it to catch Apollo off-guard and slice one of its wheels off. It next tried to attack Kan-Opener, but was gripped by the yellow machine's claws, and was thrown by the floor flipper and then Apollo in sequence. PP3D was now inverted, and drove over the floor flipper, possibly to put its spinner back on the ground, but landed the same way up and knocked an angle grinder out of Sweeney Todd upon contact. With Kan-Opener now immobilised, PP3D struggled to gain a purchase on the arena floor, sliding around and bouncing when its disc makes contact with the surface. It attacked the seemingly immobile Sweeney Todd various times, sustaining a flip from Apollo in return, but both robots qualified for the next round.

"What's amazing, is when, you know, you spend weeks and months building these things, and it works!"
— Gary Cairns

PP3D faced off with Apollo in a head-to-head environment in the next round. PP3D's plan was to once again target the wheels of Apollo, but this did not go according to plan.

PP3D wheel

PP3D loses a wheel to Apollo's flip

Rather, PP3D was buffeted around the arena in the opening stages. PP3D landed glancing blows on the side of Apollo, but a strong flip from the opposition removed one of PP3D's tyres entirely, leaving it only able to drive in circles.

"Well that's wheely dangerous for them! Wheely dangerous... never mind!"
Jonathan Pearce
Apollo vs pp3d

The flip that knocked out PP3D's removable link

Although PP3D could not move, it was still considered mobile, and it hit Apollo hard, and spun on the spot to impose more danger. However, Apollo showed no fear, and threw PP3D into the wall, knocking out its removable link. This officially immobilised PP3D, awarding the robot its first loss.

"We lost a wheel early on, and at that point, we were just a hockey puck in the arena!"
— Gary Cairns

PP3D was then drawn against another full-pressure flipper, Eruption. PP3D Robotics went into the battle with quiet confidence, and the plan to shred Eruption's wheels, which were also exposed at the rear.

PP3D v Eruption

PP3D makes early contact with Eruption

Pp3d vs eruption 2

PP3D and Eruption are deflected against each other

PP3D landed a huge blow in the opening stages, causing both robots to recoil away. The next two blows were more in PP3D's favour, but the blow after that sent both robots reeling again. A huge attack from PP3D smashed pieces of armour away from Eruption, but this blow was so significant that both robots lost drive on one side simultaneously. The two competitors fidgeted around their respective parts of the arena, with PP3D being threatened by Dead Metal at the end, but cease was called after two minutes of inactivity.

PP3D vs Eruption

Both robots unable to move

"Well there's one for the purists! When the history of Robot Wars is written, this battle may not be logged!"
Dara Ó Briain

The Judges made their decision based on the first minute of the fight alone, and they unanimously voted for PP3D, awarding it two points. However, it was revealed afterwards that PP3D had burnt out one of its motors during the fight, and the team had not brought spares. PP3D may have had to withdraw from the competition, had they not been sold a spare motor by Team Legion.

Gabriel Stroud: "I do have a spare, it is promised to another, but he doesn't need it straight away, you are more than welcome, but I think you will be buying it!"
Gary Cairns: "I think so."
— The deal, followed by laughter

PP3D had the opportunity to qualify for the Heat Final, if it could defeat Storm 2, the robot that Gary Cairns had defeated in the Seventh Wars Grand Final with Typhoon 2.

Storm2 vs PP3D

PP3D recoils into the air

Storm 2 vs pp3d 2

PP3D bends the ARMOX armour of Storm 2

PP3D remained stationary to power up its undercutter, and was thrown into the air when Storm 2 collided with it. Although PP3D was damaging Storm 2, it was gradually knocked towards Shunt, which hit the top of PP3D with its axe. However, PP3D used its flywheel to rip Storm 2's side panel loose, and also buckle the scoop of Shunt. PP3D continued to use its weapon defensively, hitting Storm 2.

"There's an awful sound coming out of PP3D now! Shake, rattle, and not exactly rock and roll, it sounds like an old steam engine!"
— Jonathan Pearce on the sound of PP3D's weapon
PP3D vs Shunt

The damage caused to Shunt by PP3D

PP3D Pit

PP3D is resigned to the pit

The sound emitting from PP3D's spinner was caused from PP3D striking Storm 2 so hard that its HARDOX undercutter bent, and started to scrape along the floor. Eventually, one of PP3D's wheels locked up, causing it to become immobile directly on top of the pit. After Storm 2 pressed the pit release, PP3D descended, and its Robot Wars campaign ended with just two points in the league table, putting it in 4th place in the heat.

"Innovative design on PP3D, it's a shame they've gone in many ways!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Series 9Edit

PP3D competed in Heat 2. It was originally intended to appear in a later heat, but was drafted to compete in Heat 2 when another robot scheduled to fight in that heat was not ready in time[3], believed to be Pulsar. In its Group Battle, PP3D faced Draven, Cherub and Push to Exit.

PP3D vs Cherub R1

PP3D hits the front of Cherub

At the start of the battle, it stayed out of the way of its opponents before approaching Push to Exit, although not without attacking it. PP3D then attacked Draven, deflecting it and causing sparks to fly as its disc hit Draven's side twice. A few seconds later, PP3D drove head-on into Cherub, another shower of sparks flying as PP3D was deflected away by Cherub's wedge.

"See what I mean about that spinner?"
— Jonathan Pearce as PP3D is launched into the air after driving into Cherub
Pp3d vs draven

PP3D attacks Draven's underside

Pp3d KOs push to exit

PP3D knocks out Push to Exit, under Cherub

PP3D slammed into Draven again, breaking the lower jaw of its crusher, before being briefly pushed around by Cherub. It recovered to resume its attack on Draven, pushing it towards Shunt's CPZ and tearing into its left-hand armour with its disc. PP3D drove away to slam into Cherub and Push to Exit, the three remaining competitors rebounding in different directions upon contact with PP3D's disc. The impact knocked a wire loose from inside Push to Exit, which caused it to stop over the arena spikes seconds later. With Draven also becoming immobilised through an attack from Shunt, PP3D progressed to the Head-to-Head round along with Cherub.

Angela Scanlon: " looked like you literally took the bottom out of Draven. Relentlessly as well, you did not back up."
Gary Cairns: "Well, that's it, until they stop moving, you keep attacking."
— The post-battle interview

In the pits, PP3D Robotics discovered that the connectors for PP3D's wiring had fused together, as a result of the high amount of current being drawn to power its disc. This required the robot to be completely stripped down and rebuilt ahead of its first Head-to-Head against Cherub.

Pp3d vs cherub 1

PP3D flies after hitting Cherub

PP3D immediately drove away from Cherub as the latter approached, sending it careering across the arena after hitting its right-hand wheel. Seconds later, it slammed into Cherub's front, with PP3D’s disc clipping one of Cherub's forks and sending itself spinning into the air. PP3D was pushed over the Flame Pit by Cherub, before another hit deflected Cherub away and into the Arena Tyre, where Rogue House Robot was activated and Dead Metal left his CPZ to attack Cherub. This allowed PP3D to spin its disc up to maximum speed, with an audible hum reverberating throughout the arena as it did so.

"She's up to speed now, boys!"
— Gary Cairns as PP3D gets its disc up to full speed
Pp3d vs cherub 2

Sparks fly as PP3D sends Cherub hurtling towards the wall

As soon as Cherub escaped Dead Metal's grasp, PP3D hit it, sending Cherub spinning into the wall and breaking one of the wall sections off. This caused the battle to be immediately stopped while repairs to the arena were carried out, with PP3D's attack being powerful enough to shear part of Cherub's wedge off and send itself recoiling into an empty CPZ.

Cherub PP3D arena wall damage

The impact between PP3D and Cherub

""Oh yeah, we're safe now – oooh, no we're not!" One moment, they [Cherub] thought they were okay and look at that! No wonder Gary thinks this is the most powerful machine he's ever built."
— Jonathan Pearce during replays of PP3D's battle-stopping attack on Cherub
Cherub vs PP3D

PP3D fails to move from its position

Once repairs were completed, the battle resumed, with both teams sharing the same control room and their robots restarting from the positions they were left in by the time 'cease' was initially called. However, neither robot showed signs of controlled mobility upon the restart, with PP3D spinning in circles on its disc after one of its drive motors had sheared off its mounts, and Cherub's forks being left inoperable and unable to lift it back upright. The battle went to a Judges' decision as a result, with the audience noticeably jeering at the lack of action in the last ten seconds. With both PP3D and Cherub becoming immobilised at the same time, the Judges assessed both halves of the battle. To the surprise of the teams, the Judges unanimously voted in favour of Cherub, with PP3D scoring no points as a result of its loss.

"I'd never tone down the disc. The disc will spin at its maximum and we just have to, you know, repair the rest of the robot to survive it."
— Gary Cairns maintains his optimism about PP3D's reliability

Extensive repairs to PP3D's drive motor were required before its second Head-to-Head, against long-standing Robot Wars veteran Behemoth. Both robots shared joint-last place on the leaderboard with zero points, and needed a three-point knock-out victory in order to remain in contention for a place in the Heat Final.

"PP3D have had frazzled circuitry... They've had problems caused by the great power of that spinning blade. Can they control its force?"
— Jonathan Pearce expresses reservations about PP3D as its battle against Behemoth commences
Pp3d vs behemoth

PP3D and Behemoth recoil after their collision

Shunt axes pp3d

Shunt axes and pushes PP3D into the wall

PP3D began the battle by buffeting Behemoth's side and anti-spinner scoop, sending it spinning away. It clipped Behemoth again as the latter attempted to position itself for an attack, before luring it close to the wall as Behemoth gave chase. However, Behemoth lifted PP3D onto one wheel and left it close to the wall before charging into PP3D, sending PP3D violently recoiling into Shunt's CPZ. At this stage, PP3D had also lost forward drive, and could not move away from Shunt. PP3D was axed and pushed against the wall, with sparks flying as its disc hit the House Robot's scoop. PP3D was eventually deflected free from Shunt, but it was suddenly engulfed in a shower of sparks as its weapon motor shorted out, and was left helpless as Shunt lifted it towards the wall.

"...ooh, but I think there, PP3D has exploded!"
— Jonathan Pearce as sparks fly from inside PP3D
PP3D sparks

PP3D is engulfed in sparks

Meanwhile, Behemoth pressed the Arena Tyre, triggering the Rogue House Robot mode. As a result, Shunt rammed PP3D into another CPZ, with smoke and more sparks flying from PP3D as it spun aimlessly around in circles. Seemingly unable to drive straight, it was counted out as Behemoth rammed it again, before 'cease' was called. As before, PP3D scored no points, and remained in fourth – and last – place on the leaderboard. Gary Cairns revealed afterwards that the sparks resulted from damage sustained to PP3D's weapon motor, but also that PP3D had torn away part of Shunt's scoop, which the team kept as a souvenir.

"Unfortunately the etek motor powering our disc had sheered it's mounting points and the terminal for the motor was shorting onto the chassis. Essentially we were welding using our motor and batteries!"
— Gary Cairns

In its last Head-to-Head, PP3D faced Eruption, a rematch of their Head-to-Head battle from Series 8, with Cairns revealing in the pits that he intended to target Eruption's back end and damage its wheels. As PP3D had not earned enough points to reach the Heat Final, the team admitted that their only option was to totally destroy Eruption and force them to withdraw from the competition[4], making this the team's unfortunate battle plan.

Eruption vs pp3d

PP3D is sent airborne upon contact with Eruption

Eruption vs pp3d floor flipper

PP3D is pushed onto the Floor Flipper

Both robots slammed into each other in the opening seconds, with a second slam sending PP3D flying into Dead Metal. PP3D landed on the Flame Pit, where it was pushed off by Eruption and struggled to drive forwards as it attempted to get its disc spinning. Eruption rammed into PP3D again as it spun round on its disc, with PP3D being grabbed by Dead Metal and narrowly escaping an attempted flip from Eruption. Still spinning on its disc, PP3D was pushed into Sir Killalot and the Floor Flipper by Eruption, the Floor Flipper throwing it onto its back and improving its mobility as it drove away from Eruption.

"Oh, go, GO! Get it on!"
— Gary Cairns as PP3D is inverted
Eruption vs pp3d oota

Eruption throws PP3D out of the arena

However, this allowed Eruption to get underneath PP3D and throw it out the arena, once again resulting in PP3D scoring no points, although not without leaving sizeable gashes through Eruption's flipper and anti-spinner plates. PP3D finished the Head-to-Head round with no points and in last place on the leaderboard, resulting in its elimination from Series 9.

"So that was us out of the competition. We had given it our best but it just wasn't good enough. Initially I was disappointed that we hadn't got further especially with our backers behind us but at the end of the day, we had put on a good show."
— Gary Cairns


Series 8
Series 8 - UK Championship
Round 2, Fourth Place
Heat 4, Group Battle vs. Apollo, Kan-Opener, Sweeney Todd Qualified
Heat 4, Head-to-Heads vs. Apollo Lost (0 points)
Heat 4, Head-to-Heads vs. Eruption Won via Judges' decision (2 points)
Heat 4, Head-to-Heads vs. Storm 2 Lost (0 points)
Series 9
Series 9 - UK Championship
Round 2, Fourth Place
Heat 2, Group Battle vs. Cherub, Draven, Push to Exit Qualified
Heat 2, Head-to-Heads vs. Cherub Lost (0 points)
Heat 2,Head-to-Heads vs. Behemoth Lost (0 points)
Heat 2, Head-to-Heads vs. Eruption Lost (0 points)


  • Wins: 3
  • Losses: 5

Series RecordEdit


An unpainted PP3D in its Series 9 VT

Series PP3D Series Record
Series 1-7 Did not enter
Series 8 Heat Round 2, Fourth Place
Series 9 Heat Round 2, Fourth Place
Series 10 Did not enter

Outside Robot WarsEdit


Swarm, with the disc used by PP3D

Gary Cairns previously built a heavyweight robot called Swarm, from which PP3D took its original disc, for the 2006 Roaming Robots UK Championships. However, it suffered technical difficulties before it was due to compete, and withdrew from the UK Championships as a result.

KoB Crossfire

Crossfire at King of Bots

Aired in early 2018, PP3D Robotics (now Team Far North) entered the Chinese TV show King of Bots with Crossfire, a X-shaped robot with a flamethrower and a huge bar spinner exceeding one metre in length, angled upwards at the front of the robot, which was driven by two wheels pointing in different directions. In the first round, Crossfire fought a fellow British team in Team Big Brother and Team Terror Turtle, with their robot The Grubs. However, Crossfire lost via knockout after two of its supporting legs broke, leaving it stranded on its weapon assembly after getting thrown by one of the floor flippers. Regardless, it received a wildcard to be reinstated during the third round of the competition, where it fought Spin Doctor, built by the founder of RoboGames. Crossfire was immobilised by a hit from Spin Doctor's drum, and it was eliminated at this stage, also becoming immobile in a nine-robot rumble at the end of the series.


008 at This is Fighting Robots

For the associated TV show This is Fighting Robots, Team Far North built a new invertible heavyweight robot, 008. Like PP3D, it was armed with an undercutting spinner which was previously made to be PP3D's spare blade. 008 was also armed with four rear flamethrowers, and reused other components from both PP3D and Crossfire. It fought Ninja, Saturn and Xiake in its preliminary rumble, but despite performing well, it was not selected for any celebrity teams. However, when Raging Moustache withdrew from the competition, 008 was chosen as a late entry for Sa Beining's team, and under his captaincy, 008 fought Cat King, Weber and Red River Hong. 008 lost full mobility and the use of its weapon over the course of the match, but although it survived to a Judges' decision, this was won by Weber. Nevertheless, 008 progressed to the Tag Team round, where it was partnered with Greedy Snake in order to battle Xiake for the second time, alongside its teammate Vulcan. 008 was immobilised by big hits from Xiake, but its teammate Greedy Snake was able to win the battle on a Judges' decision by pitting Xiake and holding Vulcan aloft, allowing 008 to progress in spite of its immobility. 008's place on Sa Beining's team was then challenged by Formula, and 008 fought the fellow UK team to stay in the competition, but despite causing major damage to Formula, 008 lost the use of one wheel, and was counted out, eliminating 008 from the competition.

Mini Spinny

Mini Spinny

A beetleweight replica of PP3D in its Series 8 design has been created under the name Mini Spinny, built by Rory Charlesworth. It competed in the online web-series Bugglebots, where it lost to Snappy in the first round, but won the losers melee to reach the second round, where it was eliminated by Limpet. Mini Spinny also competed in a Wedges vs Spinners whiteboard battle where it captained the spinners, but lost an audience vote, with Mini Spinny itself driving into the pit during the battle. It also made an appearance at the Robodojo event in November 2018, using its powerful spinner to win a four-way rumble.


  • PP3D was the only robot in Series 8 to come fourth place in a league table, but still win a battle within the second round.
    • It was also the only robot in both Series 8 and 9 to come fourth place in the head-to-head round after defeating the robot that would finish in third place.
  • The team used infrared cameras to measure the heat and damage within the robot between battles.
  • In October 2016, a Kickstarter campaign raised £3,223 to crowdfund the cost of upgrades to PP3D, allowing backers to receive pieces of the old PP3D as a reward. The names of those contributing were imprinted on the flywheel.
  • On October 19th 2018, the chassis piece mounted centrally atop the Series 8 version of PP3D was sold on eBay for £90.88[5].
  • Sarah Dennis was unable join the team for PP3D's head-to-head battles in Series 9 as she was suffering from food poisoning[6].
  • PP3D was one of eight robots whose silhouette was used as a placeholder when demonstrating the Series 9 heat format. During this demonstration, it qualified alongside Eruption and Terror Turtle by defeating Robo Savage (despite it not being possible for three robots to qualify from a four-way melee). It then lost to Terror Turtle and Eruption by knockout, but defeated Kan-Opener by knockout to place third in the head to heads.



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