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View Poll Results: Team-provided bandsaws and drill presses at competitions
Allow them in the pits 87 59.59%
Allow them in a supervised "quick cut/drill" station 49 33.56%
Allow them only in a FIRST-approved machine shop 9 6.16%
Forbid teams from bringing them to events 1 0.68%
Voters: 146. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 03-11-2007, 07:25 PM
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Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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 This plan was not put in place, though, because we were informed on Friday morning that the ban in Update #16 was rescinded by FIRST, thus allowing these machines back in the pits.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?
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Unread 03-11-2007, 07:32 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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
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Unread 03-11-2007, 07:38 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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.
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Unread 03-11-2007, 07:39 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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.
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Unread 03-11-2007, 09:22 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

i think this was the idea that many of us had in the first place when update #16 came out.
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Unread 03-11-2007, 09:34 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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
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Unread 03-11-2007, 11:16 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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... )
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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!)
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Unread 03-11-2007, 11:29 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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Originally Posted by artdutra04 View Post
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)


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(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.
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Unread 03-11-2007, 11:45 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
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.
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Unread 03-11-2007, 11:47 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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.

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Unread 03-11-2007, 11:48 PM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
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.
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Unread 03-12-2007, 12:09 AM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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Originally Posted by Nuttyman54 View Post
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.
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Unread 03-12-2007, 01:20 AM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
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.)

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.
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Unread 03-12-2007, 01:29 AM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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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
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Unread 03-12-2007, 03:14 AM
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Re: Drill presses and bandsaws back in the pits

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Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
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
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