BattleBots Wiki
BattleBots Wiki

Shell Spinners, sometimes known as Full-Body Spinners, are a variation of horizontal spinners whereby the robot's entire shell spins around a central shaft, meaning its defence is also its attack. They generally have some sort of blades on them, with a pole protruding from the top, making them unstable when inverted, righting themselves.

History and Design[]

Blendo rw95

Blendo at Robot Wars 1995.

Shell spinners have been typically potent since their introduction, as opponents often find themselves unable to attack without driving directly into a spinning weapon. However, early iterations of shell spinners could typically be beaten by flipping them over, as they had no way of running inverted or righting themselves reliably. Due to having no distinct front or back when the shell is spinning, they can also be difficult to control. This is why many shell spinners feature a directional indicator in the way of a pole, flag or set of LEDs. In some cases, poles protruding from the center of the robot can also serve as a self-righter.

The original shell spinner, Blendo, debuted in the 1995 US Robot Wars event. Built by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame, Blendo's 80mph spinning shell was the most destructive robot of its time. It received notable fame for becoming the first robot to be "banned" from Robot Wars for being too powerful.

Ziggo Afterthought KO

Ziggo attacking Afterthought during Season 2.0.

Following this, Jonathan Ridder took inspiration and built his own lightweight shell spinner named Ziggo. Debuting in the inaugural BattleBots event in Long Beach, Ziggo hit the ground running, destroying its first opponent and even being asked to tone down its spinning speed due to an arena breach. Despite this, Ziggo still progressed to the final of its division and took home the first kilobot (now lightweight) championship. Blendo returned for the second event in Las Vegas, Nevada that same year. However, it was unable to replicate the same success in BattleBots, falling in Round 2 of the Vegas event to Punjar. Blendo lost its first battles in the three Comedy Central BattleBots seasons which followed, but the torch had already been passed on. Ziggo fought in all five seasons of Comedy Central BattleBots, reaching the quarter-finals in Seasons 1.0 and 2.0. Ziggo managed to replicate its 1999 success in the years that followed, winning its second championships in Season 3.0, and its third in Season 4.0. With three titles to its name, Ziggo retired as one of the most successful and influential shell spinners of its time. Later iterations of Mauler 51-50 also incorporated a design more akin to shell spinners than its original look, but with minimal success.

BattleBots 2009 Megabyte Brutality

Megabyte takes on Brutality during the 2009 Pro Championship.

In the years that followed, Robotic Death Company converted their heavyweight entry to Season 5.0, Megabite, into a shell spinner. They, alongside Team LOGICOM, who previously competed in BattleBots with Phrizbee and Phrizbee-Ultimate, as well as finishing second in Season 1 of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors with The Revolutionist, became the most notable shell spinner robots on the US live circuit. Team LOGICOM fought in the 2005 Rochester Robot Rampage event with Shrederator and a scaled-down build called ShredHead. Meanwhile, Robotic Death Company built a reputation in RoboGames, winning the inaugural event in 2004 and losing in the Consolation Final to a fellow shell spinner and Robot Wars UK champion, Typhoon 2. Megabyte earned two more semi-final finishes before going into retirement in 2009.

Gigabyte captain shrederator s6 2021

Gigabyte and Captain Shrederator square off during the 2021 season.

With the return of BattleBots in 2015, Team LOGICOM entered the first ABC season with a new version of their most successful shell spinner, named Captain Shrederator. It has achieved mixed success in its competitions to date, earning a Top 32 finish during the 2021 season. Robotic Death Company, however, reused parts from their superheavyweight Super Megabyte to build their own 250lb shell spinner - Invader. It lost its only fight, however, and the team have since brought Gigabyte to BattleBots events. Gigabyte won the Son of Whyachi bracket of BattleBots: Bounty Hunters in 2020, earning a Top 16 finish in the same season.

Blendo and Ziggo were two of the inaugural inductees into the Combat Robot Hall of Fame, whereas Megabyte was inducted in 2005.

Advantages & Disadvantages[]


  • The weapon doubles as armor as nowhere is a weak-spot susceptible to attack.
  • They are very powerful and have good guarantee of inflicting damage. Ziggo in particular has been known to outright mutilate its opponents to bits.
  • They're better than the Sit and Spin attack as a shell spinner can both move and spin at the same time.
  • Shell spinners often have gyroscopic forces that can keep them upright when airborne.


  • As it's usually a lone weapon, the robot tends to struggle winning if the body stops spinning (though Eye of the Storm stands out by having a hammer as well).
  • They can be destructive to themselves as much as on their opponents: if a full-body spinner collides with the arena wall or a very durable opponent, the recoil from impact can be disastrous. Captain Shrederator is well known for succumbing to it's own power.
    • They can even be dangerous to the arena itself as said collisions could remove a piece of the wall off and force the match to pause.
  • Driving a shell spinner can be tricky as they have no obvious directional indicators (though said indicators can be built into them as Ziggo sports a flag and Gigabyte a bent pole to ease direction control).
  • They are incapable of being invertible, and leave little room for a self-righting mechanism (the aforementioned Eye of the Storm can use its hammer to self-right).
  • Few shell spinners have a second layer of skin under their weapons, meaning that if the shell comes off completely the internals would be exposed (this has happened to Gigabyte at least three times).

Notable Competitors[]

Robot Seasons Image
Blendo Las Vegas 1999

Season 1.0 - Season 3.0

Captain Shrederator World Championship I - Present
Captain Shred BB2022
Gigabyte World Championship III - Present
Gigabyte BB2022
Megabyte Season 5.0
NPC Charity Open 2004
2009 Pro Championship
Shrederator R3: Rochester Robot Rampage 2005
Ziggo Season 1.0 - Season 5.0
Ziggo sfb01