MegaBots calls it quits, puts battle robots on eBay

Need to start a robot army on the cheap?

The era of giant battle robots appears to be over... although you might have a chance to bring it back. MegaBots has gone bankrupt after once again running out of money, and it's auctioning its 16-foot-tall Eagle Prime robot on eBay as part of the shutdown. It's a fully functional bot that even includes weapon attachments, CAD files and a shipping container full of parts, and the only real damages are its battle scars and some worn-down plastic pads. The real challenges are the support costs, as MegaBots and its co-founder Matt Oehrlein explained.

To start, merely shipping it to your part of the globe is expensive. It could cost $4,000 to ship it to the West coast of the US, $17,000 to the East and as much as $50,000 abroad. You'll need about $7,000 to replace the worn-down pads, and a forklift to swap weapons. And remember, you're running a 15-ton robot powered by a Corvette engine -- that requires maintenance, too. The machine tends to spring a hydraulic leak with every four hours of use, and there are costs like oil changes to consider. Throw in the costs of displaying and hauling Eagle Prime and you'll need to be well-heeled to think of even running this, let alone putting it on tour.

As for why MegaBots is bankrupt? Simply speaking, the company can't make the interest payments on its loan. It's selling assets to pay the bank as much as possible before formally declaring bankruptcy. Oehrlein was candid about the struggle to get enough appearances and videos. He added that he didn't necessarily expect the buyer to simply continue the business. He'd be happy if the robot was relegated to a collection as long as it didn't end up in a junkyard.

There is at least some interest in Eagle Prime. Bidding had topped $50,000 as of this writing after starting at a mere $1, and it's likely to climb higher before the auction ends on October 3rd. Oehrlein added that this was only the end to MegaBots "in its current form," and that people should "not feel bad" for him or the company. He's "very happy" the project happened, and wanted to cheer how far it got.

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