Last fall I posted a challenge to teams
to record and post their design process.
Now... I've got another challenge for you...
I'd like to see you post your designs.
Publicly. For everyone to see.
I'm not talking about one grainy camera-phone picture of your robot. I'm not talking about a CAD render of a drivetrain you'll never build.
I'm talking about posting details on robots and mechanisms your team USED in competition.
I started doing this 2 years ago. Ideally I would have done a detailed writeup for each of our robots, but I didn't even take that much effort. All I did was clean up our robot CAD Assembly a little bit, export a STEP file, and throw it up on Chief Delphi. I've been doing this ever since...
FRC148 - 2008 Robot Assembly - "Tumbleweed"
FRC148 - 2009 Robot Assembly - "Tornado"
FRC148 - 2010 Robot Assembly - "Armadillo"
FRC148 - 2011 Robot Assembly - "Raptor"
Now I know not everyone has full robot CAD assemblies. I know not everyone has full designs to share. That doesn't matter -- share whatever you can. Put it up there; someone will appreciate it...
I've been shocked by some of the comments 148 has received since we started publishing our models. The simplest thing can have the biggest impact. I had no idea the small stuff that people would thank us for, the little things that would help bring a designer to the next level.
There is no textbook out there on "how to design an elite FIRST robot.
" I remember the frustrations I felt when I when I was teaching myself about robot design, the best thing I had was a gallery of pictures on the (now mostly defunct) firstrobotics.net site and a whitepaper from Andy Baker
about strapping a servo to a Bosch drill to make it shift. I could only DREAM of seeing details on some of the designs I admired so much.
I thought it was very cool that they made the "Behind the Design" books of 2006 and 2007. It was a neat thing to see teams turning to these for inspiration at the start of this season.
Reusing a design -- not going to help you much.
Reverse engineering then improving? Now THAT is powerful stuff.
I wish we had "Behind the Design" books for every season, but we don't.
We need to share this information in a different way. We need to give budding designers more examples they can re-engineer, because it's going to help them jump to the next level as designers.
Take a few minutes and post some details -- you'll be doing your part to raise the competitive level for all of us. A stronger competition will help fulfill the mission we're all working towards.
All I can think about is the punk kid sitting in his room wondering: "how'd 217's arm work like that? I wish I could get a closer look.
Let the kid take a closer look...