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NUCLEAR BLAST x BLACKSMITH Return To BattleBots For Season 6

It’s a Sin City slugfest! The fire-breathing hammer of Blacksmith brings the heat to Las Vegas as the season 6 premiere of Battlebots begins January 6th. Over 60 of the most destructive combat robots from across the globe will seek and destroy each other until there is only one left to win the coveted Giant Nut.

Nuclear Blast has again sponsored the most heavy metal bot in the competition. Blacksmith is a 250 lb war machine noted for its intense matches and all-out aggressiveness as it beats down opponents relentlessly, all the while raining fire down from its hammerhead.

NB’s General Manager, Gerardo Martinez says ”Blacksmith is the perfect bot to represent our brand….fast and hard-hitting. Hell Yeah! It gives us an opportunity to reach new audiences and show how awesome and versatile the NB brand truly is!.”

Blacksmith is custom fabricated in New Jersey by a team of engineers, fabricators, and artisans. Team Captain, Al Kindle, is a 27-year veteran in the sport of combat robotics. 6 months of design, construction, and testing are needed to ensure Blacksmith will survive 3 minutes in the Battlebox. “It’s quite a challenge,” says Al, “it’s all about the details. Trying to figure out all the possibilities that could go wrong and having an effective solution.” It’s this mentality that has made Blacksmith one of the toughest bots in the competition making it very difficult to knock out. “It just won’t die,” laughs Al, “even when it takes a huge hit, it flips back over like nothing happened, ready to go again.

Blacksmith makes its triumphant return to the battlebox as it sat out the 2020 season. In 2019, the team made it to Round 16 before being eliminated by rival Witch Doctor. They are looking to make a deeper run this season and win the Giant Nut. BattleBots remains the most popular robotic combat sport in the world, now seen in over 150 countries. You can watch all the action on Discovery and Discovery+ Thursday, January 6 at 8 PM ET/PT.

Find out where BattleBots is broadcasting in your country:

Bringing Blacksmith to life is not a one-man job. Al has been able to assemble a team that have shared his passion for fighting robots, each having dedicated skills, but all willing to spill some blood putting this machine together. Co-captain, Alan Young has been around the sport as long as Al has and both have faced off in the box many times in their local competition. “What better person to have on your team, than the guy that beats you all the time?” jokes Al. Alan designed the flame system that gives Blacksmith its signature look. Over the years with much research and development, Alan has been able to ensure that the bot has the most reliable fire in the competition. “You think it would be simple, but you don’t realize how tough it is to make flammable gas ignite,” says Alan. Currently, Blacksmiths’ fire is limited to 4ft per rules of the competition, but Alan is confident and curious to know how high/far it can go. “We never had enough spare time to play around with it, but looking forward to experimenting with it this year.”

James Ioacca is the Team’s engineer, whose experience as a military contractor is applicable for this build. Before any one piece of metal is cut or welded, the entire bot is designed and laid out in CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) software. Here is where a lot of time is spent trying to fit in all the components and electronics while trying to keep it underweight. “Jim’s knowledge and skills take Blacksmith to a whole other level,” says Al. “I’m a DIY-garage type builder, constructing things as I go and going by gut feeling. He’s come up with some innovative ideas that allow the bot to come to life that I don’t think we’d ever achieved on our own.”

Rounding out the team are Kyle Singer and John Wolan, both helping out in the fabrication and anywhere else. Kyle is no stranger to building weaponry and has built full-scale trebuchets and ballistas. When not building chainmail armor, you’ll find him repairing firearms at the gun shop. “Having Kyle at the event is key for us,” says Al. “At the end of a match, and the bot is bent, torn, and shredded, he takes remains of the frame and disappears for an hour or so and it all magically comes back together. He truly has saved us a few times as well with his improvisation in fabricating defensive armor before a match.” John takes on the graphic design and paint along with helping with the build. “This year the team wanted to make a bolder impression on the look of the bot this year,” says John. “They kind of gave me more free-reign than in the past. It was fun this year kicking it up a notch and really trying to make it more metal and mean-looking. You definitely can see it from far away,” he laughs.

Paint and graphics aren’t the only things new on Blacksmith this season. This is the 3rd version of Blacksmith. It’s mostly an entirely new build and look, but keeping the key things that have kept Blacksmith successful. “There’s a balance,” says Al, “Keep the things that worked, fix the things that didn’t. Change it, but don’t change it enough that it does not look like Blacksmith. I think this version does it well.” One major change was switching out the iconic hammer of doom. Blacksmith is now armed with a “Power Hammer”, a hammer with a kinetic energy spinning disc. The disc spins up to 10K RPM, easily punching through ¼” AR500 steel, the same material used at target ranges and gun clubs. “It’s an evolution we had to make because not only are you improving and making your bot better but so is the competition.” It’s hoped that the Power Hammer will give that extra knock-out power to impress the judges. But what about the fire? Yes, the team still figured out a way to cram the fire in the head too.

Come on in!

Metal Digest is an online music magazine specializing in rock and metal. It is aimed at the mobile market, who can get their fix whilst on the go. Whether you walk, drive, fly, sail or teleport make sure you do it with Metal Digest, bitesize heavy metal rock and metal news, reviews and interviews for when you’re on the go.

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