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View Full Version : Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits


David Brinza
03-11-2007, 08:25 PM
On Thursday at the LA Regional, discussions were held between a few mentors, the head safety advisor and the Western regional director regarding the ban on "non-approved mobile machine shops" established in Update #16. The discussions led to a reasonable solution - a space near the approved machine shop just outside of the pits would accommodate drill presses and bandsaws brought in by teams. Responsible adults would man the machines so teams could safely cut and drill materials without submitting a work request and waiting for the NASA-provided machine shop. Unsupervised use by students would not be allowed. This plan was not put in place, though, because we were informed on Friday morning that the ban in Update #16 was rescinded by FIRST, thus allowing these machines back in the pits. Team 980 brought their bandsaw and drill press back into the pit, but we really missed having them on Thursday when we were very busy modifying the robot.

The concerns that led to the ban in the first place (risk of injury, liability) are not going to simply vanish. There are some drawbacks to having bandsaws and drill presses in the pits. Pit space is very limited and working in cramped quarters creates added risk. These operations produce debris and noise - something we could use less of in the pits.

Do you think that a "quick cut/drill" station is a reasonable approach to providing teams safe, rapid access to bandsaws and drill presses?

Nuttyman54
03-11-2007, 08:32 PM
If they're not going to let teams use them in their own pits, then I think this is a wonderful solution. There's no reason that a simple cutting operation has to take an official request, and there's no reason that the nice NASA machinists need to spend their time making such cuts, while teams with more complicated problems are waiting. I hope this gets put into place at more regionals

technoL
03-11-2007, 08:38 PM
I didn't hear that Update #16 was recalled. When I saw 2 teams with drill presses, a mini lathe, and a bandsaw in the pits, I thought that they were just breaking the rule and no one caught them, or it was too late because it was already packed in their crate.

But the cut and drill station sounds like a great idea...not many teams bring in their own mini machine shops, so would be nice to be able to do a quick clean cut or stable hole without having to whip out the hacksaw or risk accuracy with a hand drill.

Cuog
03-11-2007, 08:39 PM
I would certainly have an area in the pits somewhere, that teams may setup drill presses or bandsaws for use under supervision of safety judges. I still worry about having them in the very cramped pits but having an safe area to set them up would be just fine.

cziggy343
03-11-2007, 10:22 PM
i think this was the idea that many of us had in the first place when update #16 came out.

Sean Schuff
03-11-2007, 10:34 PM
I think this still does not get to the root problem of shared decision making between FIRST and the teams. Based on the already infamous Update #16 thread there are bigger problems than providing an on-site quick fix shop.

And while this sort of shop seems great in concept it still takes more time than would be required if you had exclusive access to the same equipment right in your pit. Not to mention the fact that many fixes are cut - test - cut some more - test again - round an edge - test again - drill a new hole - retest yet again.... You get the picture. Many of the fixes aren't precision fixes but quick, on-the-fly, get-it-done-now, we're-being-called-for-our-next-match fixes.

Good idea but still not good enough in my opinion.

Sean

artdutra04
03-12-2007, 12:16 AM
If Team Update #16 was not rescinded, a communal drill press and band saw area would have been the best possible solution under the circumstances. But the most preferable option would still be to have the tools right in your pit, which is the way it was before Update 16, and apparently now as well.

This is the way the "system" has been run for many years, and for the most part teams (with the oversight of their safety captains) have managed themselves well. Teams know space is limited and teams know that cuttings and shavings add up, which is why they mark out special areas for the drill press/band saw in their pit, and bring small vacuum cleaners to the event to clean everything up.

(And besides, how would hand tools make any less shavings than drill presses or band saws? They both remove the exact same amount of material if the same cut/hole was made by each... ;))

The concerns that led to the ban in the first place (risk of injury, liability) are not going to simply vanish. There are some drawbacks to having bandsaws and drill presses in the pits. Pit space is very limited and working in cramped quarters creates added risk. These operations produce debris and noise - something we could use less of in the pits.Yes, it is true that there are some drawbacks to allowing drill presses and band saws in the pits. But as we saw with the Update #16 thread, the drawbacks of NOT having these tools in the pits far outnumbers of having them in the pits.

Regardless of whatever tool you are using in the pits, the risk of injury is more or less still elevated. If you worry about getting bumped while using a band saw, chances are you'd still get bumped if you were using a jigsaw. And chances are a jig saw would make a similar amount of noise as a band saw, so if noise reduction was a reason behind the original rule then it wouldn't make much sense.

The bottom line is that instead of FIRST mandating how teams should govern themselves in their pits, they should strive to teach teams about the possible risks associated with working in tight spaces in the pits, as well as ways to overcome them. In the end, let teams and their safety captains govern themselves.

Instead of banning these tools, let the mentors teach the students how to safely use them in the time and space constricted pit environment. (Which is 100% more productive and inspiring than telling students to walk over to the machine shop, hand the people working there a part, and having the finished part handed back to them!) ;)

MrForbes
03-12-2007, 12:29 AM
If you worry about getting bumped while using a band saw, chances are you'd still get bumped if you were using a jigsaw.

If you get bumped while using a bandsaw, your fingers can get cut off. If you get bumped while using a jigsaw, you might break the jigsaw blade. Jigsaw blades are expendable...fingers are not.

You could probably find a different example for comparing the safety of the two ways of sawing that would be more favorable to your argument (the problem of finding a way to safely clamp a piece for cutting with a jigsaw comes to mind)


(Which is 100% more productive and inspiring than telling students to walk over to the machine shop, hand the people working there a part, and having the finished part handed back to them!) ;)

I would be VERY impressed with a student who could make a drawing and present it to a machinist, and have the finished part be made such that it could be attatched to the robot with no additional work. That's what engineering is all about.

But one of these days our team will have some neat machinery, and my attitude will change.

AdamHeard
03-12-2007, 12:45 AM
I would be VERY impressed with a student who could make a drawing and present it to a machinist, and have the finished part be made such that it could be attatched to the robot with no additional work. That's what engineering is all about.

But one of these days our team will have some neat machinery, and my attitude will change.

This sort of thing happens all the time on many teams. Our robot was almost entirely machined from drawings (At a local community college and by Northrop Grumman Machinists) and very few parts had to be adjusted to fit. Mainly just some filing to take off a few thousandths.

I don't want to make assumptions so I won't name teams, but I bet there are a good number whose students have this ability.

Pavan Dave
03-12-2007, 12:47 AM
I am very disappointed at this rule. I can say that although I have had a change of heart towards the game, this rule bothered me quite a bit. At bayou there were a few pits with these banned tools but I think that it was irresponsible of them to only think in their best interests. I don't think it would be a big problem if they had a separate station where only certain people could use the equipment, but the NASA machinists should not be bothered for the smallest things IMO. They have talents with their lathes and mills and do not need us to detract them and waste their time on pulling down a band saw for us. Hopefully next year, they could add a separate station where we could use these tools and I do not think many of us would mind if we were allowed to set up the equipment but let "FIRST Selected" operators push the button, because quite frankly it would be much faster, and when you are at a competition, time is precious.

Pavan.

Nuttyman54
03-12-2007, 12:48 AM
I would be VERY impressed with a student who could make a drawing and present it to a machinist, and have the finished part be made such that it could be attatched to the robot with no additional work. That's what engineering is all about.

What's even more impressive is when a student can make such a drawing, and present it to another student, who then makes said part.

MrForbes
03-12-2007, 01:09 AM
What's even more impressive is when a student can make such a drawing, and present it to another student, who then makes said part.

yeah, that's even better! Doing that during the stress of having to get the robot working thursday afternoon is an added bonus....and kind of what is the issue here.

I can easily see both sides of the machines-in-the-pits issue. I certainly see the problem with FIRST springing the rule on us as they did. Fortunately our team is in a position where it did not affect us at all.

artdutra04
03-12-2007, 02:20 AM
If you get bumped while using a bandsaw, your fingers can get cut off. If you get bumped while using a jigsaw, you might break the jigsaw blade. Jigsaw blades are expendable...fingers are not.Quite true. ;)

I would be VERY impressed with a student who could make a drawing and present it to a machinist, and have the finished part be made such that it could be attatched to the robot with no additional work. That's what engineering is all about.I've done that several times this season, including this interesting CNC sheet metal shoulder bracket for our robot's arm which bolts right onto an IFI 72t sprocket.

http://www.team228.org/media/pictures/view/2913
http://www.team228.org/media/pictures/view/2911

But when you're in the elimination rounds and a critical part on your robot fails, you don't always have the time to create drawings and have the on-site machine shop fabricate a new one. In that case, I'd rather teach a younger student to be make up a creative, MacGyver-like solution out of a few bent up pieces of Lexan, some Gorilla glue, a hose-clamp, and an empty Mountain Dew can. (Or any other random stuff in the pits.) :p

I've been inspired for real engineering during the build season and on the playing field, but the inspiration I found in the pits is often for creative thinking and intuition.

Guy Chriqui
03-12-2007, 02:29 AM
What's even more impressive is when a student can make such a drawing, and present it to another student, who then makes said part.

Sounds like our team. =D
-Guy

John Gutmann
03-12-2007, 04:14 AM
If you get bumped while using a bandsaw, your fingers can get cut off. If you get bumped while using a jigsaw, you might break the jigsaw blade. Jigsaw blades are expendable...fingers are not.

You could probably find a different example for comparing the safety of the two ways of sawing that would be more favorable to your argument (the problem of finding a way to safely clamp a piece for cutting with a jigsaw comes to mind)




I would be VERY impressed with a student who could make a drawing and present it to a machinist, and have the finished part be made such that it could be attatched to the robot with no additional work. That's what engineering is all about.

But one of these days our team will have some neat machinery, and my attitude will change.

Did it last year. Thank you Project Lead The Way for making us draw all that stuff out by hand before on autodesk!

-John

GaryVoshol
03-12-2007, 08:59 AM
So is it recinded or is it not? Team Update #16 is the last one out there, and the ban is still noted. Has there been any communication from FIRST changing Update #16?

David Brinza
03-12-2007, 09:59 AM
So is it recinded or is it not? Team Update #16 is the last one out there, and the ban is still noted. Has there been any communication from FIRST changing Update #16?
Perhaps there will be an Update #17 on Tuesday to clarify the situation.

MrForbes
03-12-2007, 10:18 AM
But when you're in the elimination rounds and a critical part on your robot fails, you don't always have the time to create drawings and have the on-site machine shop fabricate a new one. In that case, I'd rather teach a younger student to be make up a creative, MacGyver-like solution out of a few bent up pieces of Lexan, some Gorilla glue, a hose-clamp, and an empty Mountain Dew can. (Or any other random stuff in the pits.)

I completely agree with you! Notice that you don't need a band saw, lathe, or drill press to make that part from a few pieces of bent up lexan and a Dew can..you just need a small vise clamped to your pit table, some tin snips, maybe a hacksaw, and a cordless drill. Oh yeah...you also need to keep your cool and be careful while doing the work, so you can be safe (no matter what tools/equipment you have available)

Bob Bonczyk
03-12-2007, 11:31 AM
For nine years team 107 has provided help to other teams at all the regionalís we attend with services that they needed with are machines in are pit. The lessons are students have learned by helping others has been inspiring. There have been times when I have had to wait to make a part for our robot so that a part for someone elseís robot could be fixed first. Our passion on team 107 is to help teams get though a tough weekend and have fun doing it. Along the way make friends by helping out others.

Pat Fairbank
03-12-2007, 11:46 AM
So is it recinded or is it not? Team Update #16 is the last one out there, and the ban is still noted. Has there been any communication from FIRST changing Update #16?
I've been wondering the same thing myself. I heard Wednesday evening from a reliable source that the ban had been rescinded earlier that day, and the regional staff evidently were informed, as they weren't enforcing the rule, so I've been waiting for an official communication from FIRST ever since. I wouldn't like to think that the reason for FIRST's silence is that they are embarassed over the flip-flop decision.

David Brinza
03-12-2007, 11:54 AM
I've been wondering the same thing myself. I heard Wednesday evening from a reliable source that the ban had been rescinded earlier that day, and the regional staff evidently were informed, as they weren't enforcing the rule, so I've been waiting for an official communication from FIRST ever since. I wouldn't like to think that the reason for FIRST's silence is that they are embarassed over the flip-flop decision.
I can tell you that on Thursday, the FIRST officials at the LA Regional believed that the ban was in effect and informed teams that were not aware of Update #16 that bandsaws, drill presses and grinders were not allowed in the pits. Hence, the discussion that led to the alternative solution of a "quick cut/drill station". We got word Friday morning that the ban had been lifted by FIRST.

Warren Boudreau
03-12-2007, 12:19 PM
Our machinist was crushed that he would not be able to help out teams by milling or lathing parts for them during the regional.

He would be more than happy to man our mill and lathe in any area that FIRST would allow.

Maybe FIRST can come up with a reasonable compromise before the Championship.

I am very worried about overloading the machine shops in the area if teams are restricted in what they can do themselves. But that is for another thread.

MrForbes
03-12-2007, 12:28 PM
Our machinist was crushed that he would not be able to help out teams by milling or lathing parts for them during the regional.


Strangely, I think this is the reason that there has been so much uproar about this rule....some experienced teams have gone to quite a bit of effort to get this equipment, and have become used to having it around. It really is a great loss to have it taken away. At young regionals like AZ, no one expects it to be there, so we do without, and all goes well.

I was trying to explain this to my son last night, he couldn't see what the big deal was about update 16.

BrianR
03-12-2007, 12:36 PM
I know that at Milwaukee there was no word about Update #16 being rescinded, and no one used any of the banned machines. FIRST really needs to clarify this soon so that there is a fair and consistent implementation at this week's regionals.

IndySam
03-12-2007, 12:49 PM
Just got an update that we may bring bandsaws and drill presses into the pits at Purdue.


Funny we werenít allowed to use them last year at Purdue.

Looks like Iíll have to buy a new blade for our mini-bandsaw.

Pavan Dave
03-12-2007, 12:52 PM
Did it last year. Thank you Project Lead The Way for making us draw all that stuff out by hand before on autodesk!

-John

I can honestly say the days that we have to hand draw our parts it turns IED from a fun class to a chore...But, I can also say that if it wasn't for those drawings of the cube, Lego, et cetera, than I would not be as fast on ADI as I am because when I draw the pieces you realize the different ways to make it happen.

artdutra04
03-12-2007, 02:44 PM
Strangely, I think this is the reason that there has been so much uproar about this rule....some experienced teams have gone to quite a bit of effort to get this equipment, and have become used to having it around. It really is a great loss to have it taken away. At young regionals like AZ, no one expects it to be there, so we do without, and all goes well.

I was trying to explain this to my son last night, he couldn't see what the big deal was about update 16.Now that you mention that, I think that is exactly what everything comes down to. When you have regionals like UTC, which have been around for more than a decade, teams get used to fact that Team X will usually bring this tool, and Team Y will usually bring that tool, and if needed you can always ask to borrow such tool. People generally don't like giving up resources that they become accustomed to.

(It's like if you always build your robot with copious amounts of CNC parts, and then you're told you can only use a manual mill. Or if you always use a manual mill and lathe, and are told you can only use hand tools. Or if you always use a calculator to solve problems, and then are told to only use long division with a pencil and paper to find out the answer to 21554/3967 to eight decimal spots.)

RoboMom
03-12-2007, 03:03 PM
Out to the Chesapeake Teams:

Chesapeake Regional Team Development Committee Representatives Response to Update#16:

Update 16 has provoked considerable discussion and debate over machining activities allowed in the pits at FRC competition events. Teams are advised that Update 16 stands as the official word from FIRST and that plans are in place to address the issues presented and will be issued in Update 17 (most likely distributed on Tuesday, March 13).

As teams pack for the upcoming week, please be advised that safety is of the utmost concern at all events and that teams need to work smart in the pits. Teams need to be aware of the dynamic nature of communication that occurs as part of the FIRST program and that FIRST is aware of the issues at hand. The Chesapeake Regional event staff and volunteers cannot change or create its own rules even if the aim is to satisfy the needs of the teams as the rules are set down by the FIRST organization.

The event staff requests that all teams continue to monitor the FIRST website over the next few days and be prepared to help each other as you have in the past at the event. Teams are asked to be flexible, patient, and considerate during the entire event as these issues are addressed. There is nothing wrong with teams being prepared, if changes directed by FIRST occur prior to or at the event.

David Brinza
03-12-2007, 10:47 PM
FIRST has responded to a question in the official Q&A forum regarding approval of mobile machine shops:

Approving a mobile machine shop (http://forums.usfirst.org/showthread.php?t=5968)

There still may be further information regarding bandsaws and drill presses in Update #17 (tomorrow or later?).

meatmanek
03-12-2007, 10:56 PM
Oh yeah...you also need to keep your cool and be careful while doing the work, so you can be safe (no matter what tools/equipment you have available)

Those Dew cans are vicious.

Justin M.
03-14-2007, 11:53 AM
I disagree with the noise factor, drill presses are definitely quiter than most hand drills. I can see bandsaws when cutting metal, because, well, you are cutting metal, and it makes noise.

I can see the safety part, and space part, but that should be up to the teams. I like how FIRST is quite slack when it comes to these things, allowing the teams to make the right decisions. Our freshman team does smaller robotics competitions, this year they did BEST. They don't allow ANYTHING in the pits, in fact, if the judges see you, they actually take points of (which is why we have the freshman do it, BEST is a show competition that has little or no robotic challenges).

As for the noise, the pits aren't exactly quiet, nor do they need to be quiet. They're usually blasting music anyway and screaming over the PA - come to the Philly regional and you'll know what I'm talking abobut.

Zoheb N
03-14-2007, 11:54 AM
FIRST has listened to our requests and they are allowing us to bring back some tools check update 17