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PP3D is a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 8-9 of Robot Wars. It reached the Head to Head stage of its qualifying episode in that 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. He is joined by his partner Sarah, and live events roboteer Jamie McHarg. The team use infrared cameras to measure the heat and damage within the robot between battles.

The name PP3D stands for "Parts Printed in 3D", as the robot is sponsored by Cairns' 3D printing company PlastiPrint 3D, and 3D printing was used during construction 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.

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.


PP3D with team

PP3D with its team

PP3D is a wide, invertible robot with two-wheel drive and a large horizontal flywheel mounted underneath the robot's chassis. Its design shares the same advantages as Twister, by covering its entire front and back ends with the flywheel, although its wheels are left exposed unprotected. The team stand by their decision to leave the wheels exposed, as it aids to the robot's visual design. PP3D contains several 3D printed parts.

The bottom-mounted 31kg undercutting flywheel (which is heavier than Matilda's original 27kg spinning disc) is made of HARDOX and delivers over 20 kilojoules of energy at its tip when spinning at its full speed of 1800rpm, and is 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 was replaced with an Etek motor.

The robot underwent a number of upgrades for Series 9, which have yet to be publicly revealed.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 8Edit

PP3D competed in Episode 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 wheel

PP3D loses a wheel to Apollo's flip

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, being 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 wheels 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 vs eruption 1

PP3D whacks Eruption

Pp3d vs eruption 2

Continued attacks from PP3D

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

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 lent 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
Storm2 vs PP3D

PP3D recoils into the air

Storm 2 vs pp3d 2

PP3D bends the ARMOX armour of Storm 2

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. 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 episode.

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

Series 9Edit

PP3D will compete in Episode 2.[1] It was originally intended to compete in a later episode, but its participation was brought forwards when another robot was not ready to compete in Episode 2[2].


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


  • Wins: 2
  • Losses: 2

Series RecordEdit


PP3D Robotics enter the arena in Series 8

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

Although PP3D Robotics had not competed in any previous series of Robot Wars with a robot they had built, Gary Cairns drove Typhoon 2 in Series 7 and Extreme 2, as well as Typhoon in all of its Middleweight Championships, and Typhoon Cadet in Series 7's Featherweight Championship

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.


  • 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.



External LinksEdit

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