LEGO Technic has long been a favourite among builders for its intricate pieces and endless possibilities. It’s without a doubt one of the most animated types of LEGO building, literally helping you bring your displays to life. But what if you want to take your LEGO creations to the next level and engage in thrilling LEGO robot battles? Enter LEGO Battlebots, an exhilarating fusion of creativity, engineering, and competition.
But how do you master the art of building with LEGO Technic, and robots in particular? To find out, we chatted with experienced Technic builder Jeremy Lloyd.
NOTE: Want to see Jeremy’s amazing robots in real life? Stop by the BrickResales Showroom on Saturday July 8! Jeremy will be putting on two shows (11am and 1.30pm), during which his amazing robots will each have their turn to destroy a LEGO Creator Car. You won’t want to miss it! Check out the action here.
Building LEGO robots 101 with Jeremy Lloyd
How did you get into building LEGO robots? How long have you been doing it for?
It all started when I was five years old, when I was watching the original run of ‘Robot Wars’ on the telly. Loving that show was what originally got me into building LEGO combat robots (I wish I could dig up some old photos!). Fast forward fifteen years – during the pandemic, I got back into LEGO after a long sabbatical and was inspired by seeing other builders on YouTube building robots that could fight! I decided to buy the 4×4 Crawler set released in 2020 and used that as a base to build my first fully remote-controlled robot as an adult.
Tell us a bit about your previous MOCs/builds – what are some of your best robots?
So, all my bots are based on real life combat robots – mostly from the show ‘BattleBots’ in the US.
One of my favourite MOCS has to be Chomp, a four-legged walking robot with a rotating turret and an active hammer. You can see a video of it here.
One of my other favourites is Hypershock, just due to its overall aesthetic and how fast it goes! Check the build and test video here.
I also built a replica of Australia’s own Deathroll (pictured right), a competitor in the latest season of ‘BattleBots’.
How long do these kinds of builds typically take you?
Usually three to four hours, but they are always revised and improved over time when tested in battle.
What is your dream LEGO robot build, and why?
I would love to build a 1:1 scale BattleBot. It would take a lot of LEGO parts as a fully sized BattleBot that you see on the television show weighs over 110kg.
What are your favourite sets for building or MOCing robots?
Anything with lots of Power Functions like motors and Technic parts – the Liebherr R 9800 Excavator 42100 comes to mind. BrickResales has been a source of many of the parts I have used to build up the robots.
What LEGO parts do you always have on hand to build robots?
Lots of technic frames, connectors and pins for sure!
Do you have a go-to method when building robots, or do you tend to make it up as you go along? If you have a method, what is it?
I usually build the weapon first and then design the rest of the robot around that. Getting the weapon working properly is always the hard part, so if you can get that going the rest should follow!
How do you find inspiration for robot builds? Are there any specific builders you admire?
There are some great builders out in the LEGO battlebot community. William Fong is an amazing builder from Canada who runs the Battlebricks YouTube channel and does live events at BrickCon. David Harrison is another builder who runs the LEGO Wars YouTube channel and does amazing work.
Where do you go for helpful information or instructions?
The Facebook community page LEGO Robot Combat dedicated to the hobby is always a great place for inspiration and feedback on designs.
What is your top tip for aspiring robot builders? How can they get started with this style of building?
Don’t worry about what others build, just focus on what you can and don’t worry if things don’t work out exactly right the first time around. William Fong also has a very helpful article for anyone looking to start out. Check it out here.
Want to dive deep into the world of LEGO robotics?
With the introduction of LEGO Technic, the possibilities of LEGO building have expanded to build and programme robots to move, blink and make sounds!
The LEGO Robotics kits offer a challenging and educational experience, not just for Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs) but also for aspiring engineers of all ages, including girls and boys, looking to elevate their playtime with basic coding skills.
The discontinued LEGO MINDSTORMS hardware and its robot programming software, LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Inventor App, empowered users to create intelligent remote-control robots and vehicles based on LEGO bricks with interactive in-app building instructions.
One of its versions, the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, offers a more advanced build and program experience that comes with an intelligent brick, parts from the LEGO Technic line, and a set of modular sensors and motors, including touch sensors, infrared sensor, and servo motors, to create mechanical systems. Schools that use MINDSTORMS use ROBOLAB as their programming environment.
LEGO Education Spike
Despite LEGO’s decision to retire the LEGO MINDSTORMS brand, the LEGO Education Spike Essentials and Prime Kit now fill the void. These kits are designed for elementary and secondary schools, nurturing students’ confidence and introducing them to 21st-century STEM skills. For students who want to delve into real coding languages, SPIKE Prime provides a platform for delving into text-based coding using Python.
LEGO Boost also offers a simplified building and drag-and-drop coding experience with a user-friendly app. The kit includes a variety of sensors and motorised components, although more advanced programmers might find Boost limiting. The free LEGO BOOST tablet app includes easy step-by-step building instructions for creating and coding multifunctional models.
Looking for more inspiration? Make sure you’re following Jeremy on Instagram! Click here to check him out.
Start building your battlebots, LEGO guitar, construction equipment, or t-shirt folding machine today!