UFO was a competitor robot that attempted to enter Series 3-5 of Robot Wars. It failed to qualify for the main competition of each but was selected for the Series 3 Super Heavyweight Championship before it was cancelled.
Team MadScientists would later appear on Robot Wars, albeit exclusively in the Antweight Championships. They would enter Legion, an antweight Clusterbot for the Extreme 1 Antweight Championship. They later entered the Extreme 2 Antweight Championship with two robots; Buzzant and Mesmer 2.
UFO was a white and brown rectangular-shaped invertible robot. It was armoured in 6mm of Lexan, although this could be increased to 10mm in certain areas. The main weaponry consisted of a 0.51m long u-shaped wedge constructed from three pieces of stainless steel. It was articulated, remaining effective even when UFO was inverted. The design also enabled UFO’s wheels to be placed in the centre of the robot, enhancing the robot’s traction. UFO was also equipped with a 0.58m axe driven by a pneumatic ram that pushes a lever. It had an impact pressure of 7.9 tonnes per square centimetre which could penetrate through 4mm of stainless steel. However, its speed controllers were homemade, as the team could not afford a Vantec or 4QD. These proved unreliable, costing UFO during its attempts to qualify for Series 3 and 4.
With plans to qualify for Series 5, Team MadScientists built UFO 2, a dome-shaped machine. UFO 2 was the name given to the drive pod, weighing around 15kg. The Claw was the codename for the primary weapons pod, containing a large crushing claw driven by a 200mm bore pneumatic ram at 150psi, giving the crusher a compressive force of 1.5 tonnes. The Claw’s shell was equipped with a self-righting mechanism, where the crusher would right the robot when opened.
- "We UFO unidentified fighting object (for reasons which u will notice) could not even ride the thing. We had a few problems with the speed controller, that was just one of the problems we also were over weight by 11k ontop of that the armour did not fit. But we remain hopefull. They seemed impressed in our efforts and engineering quality, plus it is better to have children on TV than adults nothing personall lads. Oh the weapon was not working either."
- — Chris Aylott on UFO's Series 3 audition
UFO first attempted to qualify for Series 3. During its weigh-in, it was discovered that not only was UFO 11kg over the 79.4kg weight limit for heavyweight competitors, it also had armour that did not fit the chassis. Furthermore, technical issues with its speed controller prevented it from starting a test run. Nonetheless, although a technical check showed that UFO’s weapon was also non-functional, Team Mad Scientists did receive praise from the production team for their engineering and efforts.
- "Well we are not through into the heavyweight class. We were 4/6kg overweight which we can easily reduce with smaller batteries but no we are out. Insted we have been put into the super heavyweight class. Us against robots that weigh 100kg+ somehow that does not seem fair. If we accept then we will beef our robot up a bit (36v in GPA 750 + thicker armour). The thing is live events, whatever they are if we upgrade then for next year and the auditions we are going to have to cut down. It also means i only get to fight once. Maybe if i turn up with a robot which is 80kg i can still fight in those internet page rounds, or be on reserve incase something goes wrong. Oh bummer. That is another thing we blew up our speed controller, now i have got to strip down 36 fett's and find out which one blew. Why can't they make fetts that when blown shut off."
- — Chris Aylott on UFO being placed in the Super Heavyweight Championship
Team MadScientists managed to reduce UFO’s weight by at least 5kg after the audition. However, they were informed by the production team that UFO would not be selected for the main competition but was invited to compete in the Super Heavyweight Championship. Although unhappy with the decision, Chris Aylott did express plans to increase UFO’s weight to compete with other superheavyweight competitors. Ultimately, the Super Heavyweight Championship was cancelled because of a behind-the-scenes accident in The Pits, thus preventing UFO from appearing in The Third Wars.
- "We set off from Sheffield at about 6:00 on the Thursday morning, having spent an hour packing UFO into the car, in several pieces. Having arrived, we reassembled UFO,vented our nitrogen back to the atmosphere and went inside. We ended up on the bench next to Anthrax. (Was this the start of a jinks or something?) We then got our reservoir filled again with compressed air - this proved difficult to get, as despite the fact that we had told them we wanted air, and why, we still got told to fill it with CO2, and that CO2 was so much better. If you haven't got a CO2 regulator, and any liquid CO2 gets into it, then it freezes instantly and may burst the diaphragm, thus flooding your low pressure side with 750psi CO2. The tech guy then came over to test the failsafe. Turn on, wheels spin instantly. Damn, FETs have gone (again). Tech guy instantly fails us. Have a chat with the people next door (Anthrax), and they've had an explosive affair with their voltage regulators, and want to know if we have one. They've never blown a FET. In fact, no-one there has ever blown a FET. (What am I doing wrong?) Decided to scrap speed control, as we have no FETs left. Rig the relays to give us forwards, although everybody there seems to think it's backwards (Huh??) This takes until just before lunchtime. Tech guy gives us a failsafe test, our PIC behaves itself and UFO is passed. We're in! UFO is weighed - 88.4 kg - they take a photo (how come they were worried when I took the axe restraint off?), we look good. We get put in the queue for a fight with 'Banana-armour', and have a chat. Wander round the exhibitions - not much there really. Have a chat with 101's driver, he suggests we do a range check, as we've never done one before and it'd be embarrassing to just sit there in the arena. He looks at our aerial installation and we wander off to a nearby skip to find a springy aerial. Upright aerial in place, we try range check. UFO fails range check, badly. The failsafe does not cut in, the PIC crashes. ...We drop out of the queue, and the tech guys have a bit of a conversation. For some reason, Bill Hobbins (the producer) takes pity on us, and decides to watch UFO in the test arena, but we can't fire the axe. UFO does exactly what it did during range check. It drives happily for five seconds, then the PIC crashes and sets it to full forward, both motors on. UFO hits barrier at speed. Take two, and it does the same. Producer says sorry, but although you have built a very good robot, it won't stop when it should and therefore you're not on. Ah well, maybe next year..."
- — Team MadScientists on UFO's failure to qualify for Series 4
UFO then attempted to qualify for Series 4. However, the machine originally failed its failsafe test after its field-effect transistor (FET) failed to function. Upon swapping it for a programmable intelligent computer (PIC), UFO successfully passed the failsafe test on the second attempt. It was then placed in a qualifying battle against Banana-R Armour. But upon the recommendation of Mike Franklin, Team MadScientists conducted a range check, which revealed problems with UFO’s failsafe and PIC. This caused UFO to drop out of the qualifying battle queue, where it was then checked by producer Bill Hobbins in the test arena. After exhibiting the same issues that plagued UFO in the original range check, Hobbins informed Team MadScientists that although UFO was well-built, safety issues meant that UFO would not be allowed to compete, thus meaning it failed to qualify for The Fourth Wars.
Team MadScientists had plans to enter UFO 2 for Series 5. However, it is unknown whether the robot officially entered qualification for The Fifth Wars, and if so, how it failed to qualify.
|Main Series||UFO Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Not selected for main competition|
Entered Super Heavyweight Championship (event cancelled)
|The Fourth Wars||Failed to qualify|
|The Fifth Wars||Failed to qualify|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|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||Entered with Legion|
|Series 2||Entered with Mesmer 2 and Buzzant|
Outside Robot Wars
- "This walker was built by my younger brother the day after the final of TechnoGames 2000. It uses a cam-and-rocker system to walk - you can see the rockers at the top of each leg. The cams are the standard Technic gears with a rod inserted into them. It is capable of carrying its own batteries, and with a better control system it is capable of steering. Currently this is done by breaking the connection to one or other of the drive motors, which is not ideal, but is fine for this prototype."
- — Richard Thompson on Lego Technic Walker
Team MadScientists also attempted to enter Techno Games 2001 with Lego Technic Walker, a walker robot. It utilised a cam-and-rocker system to walk; the team estimated that had Lego Technic Walker completed the 10m race, it would have posted a time of just over four minutes.