SPARC Robot Construction Specifications Update – Plastic Class Rules

SPARC Robot Construction Specifications Update – Plastic Class Rules

SPARC Robot Construction Specifications (PDF)

The new text of section 4.4 is as follows:
4.4. Plastic Classes. The spirit of these classes is to have an easy entry point for new builders and to encourage creative designs by limiting materials to plastics that are easy to work with, commonly used in 3D printers and don’t have strength characteristics common in the standard classes.
4.4.1. PET, PETG, ABS, PLA, or PLA+ are the only materials that can be used for the chassis and weapons. No other types of plastics or materials allowed (ie. metal, carbon fiber, UHMW, etc). At their discretion, event organizers may allow additional plastics that meet the spirit of the rules.
4.4.2. Non-plastic parts such as motors, electronics, axles, fasteners and adhesives can be any material, but cannot be used in such a way to enhance the structural integrity, armor the robot, or enhance any weapon. Magnets to enhance traction or downforce are prohibited. Foam is allowed for wheels and padding of electronics.
4.4.3. Robots may be disqualified at the Event Organizer’s discretion if it is deemed to violate the spirit of the class. Contact the event organizer ahead of time if you are not sure your robot meets the above definition.

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SPARC Robot Construction Specifications Update – Sportsman Weapon Rules

The SPARC Robot Construction Specifications have been updated with new sportsman class rules.

SPARC Robot Construction Specifications (PDF)

The new text of section 4.2 is as follows:
4.2. Sportsman Class . A robot may be entered in the “Sportsman” class if it complies with the additional rules in this section. Any robot may be entered in the “standard” class of the same weight.
4.2.1. Active Weapon Required. Your bot must include an active weapon or device. These include but are not limited to lifters, hammers, clamps, spinning weapons (within limitations, see below), etc. Weapons such as a fixed spike that require the movement of the bot to function do not qualify as active weapons. (within the limitations specified in 4.2.3)
4.2.2. Limitations on Spinning Weapons. All devices rotating more than 360 degrees are allowed to operate with a tip speed at or below 20ft/s. (Approximate tip speed = no load RPM * diameter in inches * 0.00436) Weapon rpm will be measured by tachometer prior to the start of the event. Specific weapons of sufficiently high mass or moment of inertia (MOI) may be limited to lower speeds or disallowed by officials if they deem the weapon to be too destructive. Officials may require submission of specifications including motor, voltage, gearing ratio, weapon weight and dimensions prior to the event. Sawing and drilling weapons will be allowed to exceed the 20ft/s limit so long as they meet the following requirements: The effective tooth pitch for the saw or saw like weapon is ≥5. (Effective pitch = tooth count / diameter) For example, a 10” saw blade with 60 teeth would meet this requirement. A 10” saw blade with 40 teeth would not. For abrasives the grit size will be used to determine if the requirements are met. (Tooth count = grit * circumference ) Saws and saw like weapons are limited to the manufacturer’s rated RPM. If you are using a custom blade it will be limited to the rated rpm of an equivalent commercial blade. (± 5% on tooth count, diameter, thickness) All weapons operating above the 20ft/s limit must be submitted to the event organizer for approval during the registration period.
4.2.3. Wedge Limitations. Active wedges are allowed with no restrictions. A robot may only have a single passive wedge. An active wedge is defined as a wedge that articulated and actuated independently of the drive system. A passive wedge is any wedge or wedge like object (forks, series of small, hinged, independent wedges along the same face of the robot) that does not meet the requirements for classification as an active wedge. At the event organizers discretion any weapons being primarily used as a passive wedge may be required to undergo modifications to reduce or remove this potential prior to continuing in a tournament should this use result in the robot being in violation of the restriction on the number of passive wedges permitted.
4.2.4. Excessively Destructive Weapons. Weapons deemed too destructive by virtue of their mass, MOI or other characteristics may be further limited or disallowed at the discretion of the event. Please contact the event organizer concerning your design to avoid problems.
4.2.5. Standard SPARC Rules Apply. Unless otherwise stated, all other standard SPARC rules will apply. This includes walkers and their weight bonuses. However, a walker that uses the weight bonus for a spinning (or other) weapon that is too destructive will be disqualified.

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SPARC Match Rules Update

The SPARC Match Rules have been updated to v1.2

The sidebar link has been updated. You can also find the updated document by following the links below:

SPARC Match Rules (PDF)

Version 1.2 includes a new emergency match stoppage procedure. The full text is included below:

Emergency Match Stoppage Procedure:
In the event of an arena breach, damage to the arena that renders it unsafe, or any other event that is otherwise judged a safety risk by event staff the match shall immediately be halted. For sufficiently large or loud arenas there should be a system in place to allow any event official to quickly act to stop the fight either by triggering a notification system or having direct communication with an official that does that won’t be impacted by distance or arena noise.

It is strongly encouraged that there is both an audible (alarm, buzzer, air horn, or similar) and visual (arena lights off, flashing red lights, a deployed curtain, or similar) indication that the fight has been stopped to ensure that competitors are aware of the issue immediately. It is the responsibility of the team to ensure that the driver or another team member is watching and/or listening for these indicators.

If a competitor continues to fight after the referee has called for the fight to be stopped they will be disqualified. Repeated infractions will result in removal from the tournament. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that they respond promptly to the call to stop fighting.

Once fighting has ceased the robots will be deactivated. The deactivated robots may be left in place or moved to a safe location in or around the arena until a determination about the status of the fight is made. No work may be done on the bots during this time. The source of the safety issue will then be inspected to determine the appropriate action. Once the issue has been resolved a determination will be made as to whether or not the fight will resume. If possible, the fight will resume from the point where it was paused. If resuming the fight is determined to not be possible due to a safety concern or other issue the fight will be judged up until the point where it was stopped.

The safety of the crowd, competitors, and crew must always be considered when determining if any additional measures need to be taken beyond resolving the immediate safety issue.

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SPARC Getting Started Guide

How do I get involved?

This is a question that gets asked by almost every new roboteer when they get started. For a long time the answer to that question has been messy. Depending on who you ask, you may get the better part of a dozen different websites to look at, an email address, or a hurried speech discussing some of the ways to get started. The SPARC Getting Started Guide is an attempt to pull together the information that would typically be spread across the internet and the minds of experienced builders and put it into a single location. This is by no means a detailed instruction manual for building a fighting robot. It is however a guide that will help you move from “I want to build a fighting robot” through to “I’ve just finished my first event.”

The guide is broken up in to six major categories to make it a bit easier to find the answers you’re looking for:

Part 1 discusses what to do before you build your robot including finding an event and determining the route you’ll take to your first robot (be it custom, kit, or complete purchased machine).

Part 2 looks at the major components involved in a typical fighting robot as well as some of the more common construction methods and locomotion systems.

Part 3 covers a wide range of common weapon systems found on fighting robots of all sizes.

Part 4 provides information on many of the common custom fabrication resources available to fighting robot builders.

Part 5 focuses on the tools you should bring to your first event.

Part 6 goes through what you can expect when you’re at your first event.

The SPARC Getting Started Guide is and always will be a living document. As the sport, rules, and resources change over time these documents will be updated to reflect the current state of things. If you’ve got questions, comments, or suggestions for additional material please post them to the questions section of the SPARC Forum:

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Using the SPARC Documents

The SPARC Tournament Procedures, Match Rules, Judging Guidelines, and Robot Construction Specifications were created with the goal of balancing flexibility with consistency. They’re designed to allow for alteration to suit the specific nature of each event that is using them while also maintaining a reasonable baseline document so competitors can quickly and easily determine what differs between events.

When altering the documents to suit your event SPARC suggests the following procedure for clearly presenting the alterations that have been made.

A SPARC Compliant icon has been created to make it easy for competitors to identify when the SPARC documents have been used for the basis of an events ruleset. The icon is located at If you are posting your rules on a page that allows it then it is suggested that you place the SPARC Compliant icon at the top of the rules section.

Following that, a summary of any specific changes made to the rules/procedures should be posted. This summary can either spell out the changes or note where in each document alterations have been made.

This should be followed by links to the complete documents with any additions highlighted and a strikethrough on any portions of the document that are not being used.

If you have any questions on how to use or distribute these documents send an email to, comment on this post, or post on the SPARC Forum (

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What is SPARC?

SPARC was created to provide a common resource for event organizers and builders alike.

The goals of SPARC are to:

  • Supply event organizers with standardized tournament procedures, match rules, and judging criteria
  • Provide builders with easy access to building guidelines that will ensure that they’re building a legal machine
  • Accommodate the wide range of unique event circumstances under consistent guidelines
  • Respond to the questions that need to be answered when someone is preparing for an event
  • Capture upcoming event information from multiple sources and provide an easy means of accessing it

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