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Unread 07-06-2018, 03:25 PM
Sanket Nayak Sanket Nayak is offline
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Talking Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Every year the Dean's List Winners from the Championships are offered the opportunity of attending Dean Kamen's house in New Hampshire as well as meeting some FIRST executives and sponsors. As part of this opportunity, some of us will participate a panel that is able to make suggestions for next year's Kit of Parts.

This year I won the award at the Detroit Championship and, while I have my own set of ideas and suggestions, I would love to hear what the FIRST community wants or thinks could be improved for next year considering that these changes will impact a large majority of us. The other winners as well as myself will do our best to include and take all of your ideas into consideration during our panel.

As always, every team would love to have extra motor controllers, batteries and chargers, which I will be sure to mention, but as you come up with ideas keep in mind that every suggested part, as with all things in life, has a price.

The panel is in about two weeks (July 18- 20) , but as many winners, including myself, will be traveling during this period it would be much appreciated if we could generate as many ideas as possible before the 17th as I want to create some documentation beforehand.

In 2012, there was a thread that was very similar to this one and it appeared to contribute significantly to the panel so I hope we can get a similar result this year.
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Unread 07-06-2018, 04:05 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

I would love it if they would replace the throttle motors with something useful...

Congrats on Dean's List!
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Unread 07-06-2018, 04:20 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

First off, congrats on the Dean's List win!

The big things I want in any KOP item:

1) The ability to get more of them. As we reach the age of second and third robots, let alone spares, unobtanium sits on the shelf. Whether the answer is AndyMark, WCP, Amazon, or the supplier's own site, there needs to be some website where I can whip out a credit card and get more. Calling my local distributor between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM to set up an account and pay by check does not count.

2) Relevance. If it can come in a 1/2" hex version, perfect. 1/2" keyed or 3/8" hex? Sure, that'll get some action. But ask some international teams before putting anything metric in there (except, perhaps, 8mm keyed things for CIMs) and accept that any motor below 100-150W is going to need something special about it (light weight, integrated encoder, easy output shaft, etc) to see widespread use in 2019.

(Side note: As much as everyone memes Nidec, they did make a good-faith effort to join in by doing an 8mm keyed output and sharing a bolt circle--if not a screw size--with the CIM. Still not a motor for me, but I appreciate them trying.)

(Side note 2: As much as I love the Automation Direct guys, they were coming up short on this with their relays until I saw the flyer at Championship on how to make them replace Spikes. Better late than never though, and I look forward to using these things in the future.)

As for my list:

- Expanded cooling fans--more of them, more available. Aren Hill's testing made me a believer on pointing them at motors. If they want to partner up with a sheetmetal source and make a mounting clip to fit around CIM-sized or 775-sized motors, even better.
- If someone wanted to donate a bunch of power drills, either bare or with the battery and charger, I think that would be pretty dope. Either use it in your shop, or chop the housing and enjoy easy use of clutch settings or maybe anti-backdrive depending on the model.
- A better battery charger, whether in the rookie kit or FIRST Choice, would be nice.
- PDVs are always welcome, but you've really got to make the use case clear--especially as someone new to FIRST teams. If we're just finding out about you in the Kickoff Kit, we're not going to have a lot of time to investigate you this year.
- If a company is struggling to figure out something in their product line that would benefit teams, I don't think anyone would complain if there was a FIRST Choice item for "an MK or Interstate battery with a Donated By SponsorCo sticker on the back" or some staple item like that. It'll get used, and we'll appreciate it.
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Unread 07-06-2018, 04:45 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfred View Post
(light weight, integrated encoder, easy output shaft, etc)
I would add "as an integrated linear actuator" to this list. more and more teams are looking for linear actuators they can just plug in, instead of having to monkey around with replacing motors or going with a limited set of sizes available for our current motors.
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Unread 07-06-2018, 04:45 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Congrats on Dean's List!

For the KoP, it would be great if the links to purchase more of a KoP item (in the PDF on FIRST's website) were improved. I've found a couple dead links this season, some that didn't pull up the product I was trying to find, etc.
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Unread 07-06-2018, 07:13 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Keep the POE cable above all else. REV donating that cable is one of the best things to happen this year, and even though this game wasn't as hard on routers as 2016, the cable's inclusion was greatly appreciated. If REV drops out of it for whatever reason, another sponsor should pick up the slack.

As for new items, maybe FIRST could seek out a sponsor to provide Raspberry Pi kits to FIRST Choice, since games are becoming more vision dependent (with this year as an exception) and this would get more teams the hardware needed to do it. Additionally, maybe WPI could add a small pamphlet on how to get started with GRIP? I know it's not the first choice of a lot of more advanced teams, but it's simple enough to use and it works well enough for basic stuff.
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Unread 07-06-2018, 08:09 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Full set of bumper parts with instructions. This includes how to make numbers. For international teams, a tape measure or equivalent with standard measurements.
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Unread 07-06-2018, 08:27 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

No argument with anything so far..Especially Billfred's call for a really useful battery charger.

How about bumper FASTENERS? That is, not just the angle brackets to make it work, but a plan and parts to make it straightforward to switch bumpers (not just covers) from red to blue in accordance with next year's analog of R26.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2018 rule R26
BUMPERS (the entire BUMPER, not just the cover) must be designed for quick and easy installation and removal to facilitate inspection and weighing.
Quote:
As a guideline, BUMPERS should be able to be installed or removed by two (2) people in fewer than five (5) minutes.
We have come up with several solutions over the years. The best so far is to shove 10-32 bolts up through the chassis, secure with nylock nuts, then mount the brackets appropriately high and secure there with wing nuts. We've used this several years, including the 2018 post-season. We shouldn't have had to invented this. I know there are teams who have used pins which held in place based on ball bearings, but we've never been able to make the dimensions right for these.

Addition: I'm probably spitting in the wind here, but it would be great if there were some COTS chain and sprockets, or belt and sheaves, apart from the chassis. In our early years, this seemed outside of our capabilities, but would have answered our problems if we'd had a bit of hardware on hand to prototype and get used to the idea.

Addition2: Any of the tools suggested in Inexpensive Tools that Changed your Build, especially if they really are less than about $100.
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Unread 07-06-2018, 08:52 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

I will never deny control system parts. Especially motor controllers. Also I would like more of the AndyMark compliant wheels.
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Unread 07-06-2018, 08:59 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard C View Post
Full set of bumper parts with instructions. This includes how to make numbers. For international teams, a tape measure or equivalent with standard measurements.
And make sure that whoever donates the bumper numbers actually makes legal numbers. If I'd wanted to be a real PITA doing inspection this last year I'd have failed anybody using a certain maker of numbers, on the spot, until they could apply paint to the top or bottom. (I'm not THAT mean... though I did get some folks to send feedback about that. Something like "measurably too short... but it's readable, and it's not that much too short. Hope you don't get a **** at your next event who wants everything to be exact." Ain't worth the trouble to be strict when it's that close.)


Can I request a "better Nidec", something with about the power rating of a 550, so it can actually be useful?
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Unread 07-06-2018, 11:55 PM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeTwo View Post
No argument with anything so far..Especially Billfred's call for a really useful battery charger.

How about bumper FASTENERS? That is, not just the angle brackets to make it work, but a plan and parts to make it straightforward to switch bumpers (not just covers) from red to blue in accordance with next year's analog of R26.



We have come up with several solutions over the years. The best so far is to shove 10-32 bolts up through the chassis, secure with nylock nuts, then mount the brackets appropriately high and secure there with wing nuts. We've used this several years, including the 2018 post-season. We shouldn't have had to invented this. I know there are teams who have used pins which held in place based on ball bearings, but we've never been able to make the dimensions right for these.

Addition: I'm probably spitting in the wind here, but it would be great if there were some COTS chain and sprockets, or belt and sheaves, apart from the chassis. In our early years, this seemed outside of our capabilities, but would have answered our problems if we'd had a bit of hardware on hand to prototype and get used to the idea.

Addition2: Any of the tools suggested in Inexpensive Tools that Changed your Build, especially if they really are less than about $100.
Bumper mounts, bumper mounts, bumper mounts. Please mention these like above. We finally went to the same 10-32 bolt solution this year and it was the first set of bumpers we have built that work well. I personally like using Thumb Nuts instead of wing nuts because of their small diameter and how well they lock down oversized holes so that you can compensate for tolerance errors (https://www.mcmaster.com/#93886a130).

As a RI, I have seen teams build complicated robots capable of playing all game tasks who still have weak and suspect bumper mounting. And it just gets worse as you get to teams who struggle to make the kitbot work. The kit needs a good set of bumper fasteners that don't thread and unthread into T-nuts guaranteed to fall into the bumper with no means of repair at the worst time, and that don't require a level of precision over a long span of plywood that is difficult for teams with low machining resources to hold to (that's partially our fault for trying to build bumpers that wrap corners though).
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Unread 07-07-2018, 08:23 AM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Stratis View Post
I would add "as an integrated linear actuator" to this list. more and more teams are looking for linear actuators they can just plug in, instead of having to monkey around with replacing motors or going with a limited set of sizes available for our current motors.
A linear actuator would totally be "something special"! The DART is among the last of the Things Really Made Just For CIMs, before high-powered 775s arrived on the scene.

Oooh, another thing for the "I don't know if we have something teams will really use" crowd: Safety glasses. When colleges have given out logo'd ones at the scholarship area at events, I've seen them afterward for years. Good place for a supplier to get bang for the buck.

Some more:

Rivet tools, #11 drill bits, 3/16" aluminum rivets in some decent grip range. A tandem of the bit and the rivets would be a great FIRST Choice item, as it ensures teams drill a properly-sized hole for better results.

Whirlybird deburring tools.

Dremels, or similar.

I hate receiving in the 1x1 tubing as a Kickoff Coordinator (four pieces per team and 45 teams means I count 180 pieces of metal on a pallet), but it's super useful and if someone wanted to boost that supply to teams with things like angle or 2x1 then I'm in.
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2004-2006: FRC 1293 (D5 Robotics) - Student, Mentor, Coach
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2009-2013: FRC 2815 (Los Pollos Locos) - Mentor, Coach - Palmetto '09, Peachtree '11, Palmetto '11, Palmetto '12
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2018-: FRC 1293 (Pandamaniacs) - Mentor

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Unread 07-07-2018, 08:43 AM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfred View Post
A linear actuator would totally be "something special"! The DART is among the last of the Things Really Made Just For CIMs, before high-powered 775s arrived on the scene.

...

I hate receiving in the 1x1 tubing as a Kickoff Coordinator (four pieces per team and 45 teams means I count 180 pieces of metal on a pallet), but it's super useful and if someone wanted to boost that supply to teams with things like angle or 2x1 then I'm in.
+1 on the linear actuator (one that would accept a 775 or have a built-in motor would be very useful)

And +1 on the 2x1 tubing--1x1 is good, but isn't always a solution
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Unread 07-07-2018, 09:08 AM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbysq View Post
Keep the POE cable above all else. REV donating that cable is one of the best things to happen this year, and even though this game wasn't as hard on routers as 2016, the cable's inclusion was greatly appreciated. If REV drops out of it for whatever reason, another sponsor should pick up the slack.
I 100% agree with this. The cable was a blessing for us this year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeTwo View Post
How about bumper FASTENERS? That is, not just the angle brackets to make it work, but a plan and parts to make it straightforward to switch bumpers (not just covers) from red to blue in accordance with next year's analog of R26.

We have come up with several solutions over the years. The best so far is to shove 10-32 bolts up through the chassis, secure with nylock nuts, then mount the brackets appropriately high and secure there with wing nuts. We've used this several years, including the 2018 post-season. We shouldn't have had to invented this. I know there are teams who have used pins which held in place based on ball bearings, but we've never been able to make the dimensions right for these.
I absolutely agree that bumper making should not be a priority or a large project for teams as they should focus on building the robots themselves. In past years my team has tried to let younger and less experienced members work on the bumpers themselves with supervision but what I've realized is that it shouldn't be such a struggle to make quality bumpers that don't take 10 minutes to switch out after every match. This goes particularly for younger and rookie teams who often need this time to work on their robots during competitions.

I'll make sure to talk about this on the panel. However, considering that I have only one opportunity to vocalize the specifics of what products we would want, what types of latching mechanisms would you suggest? In previous years we have also used the bolt and wingnut method but this year we are going to transition over to using snap slide latches.
https://www.mcmaster.com/#snap-slide-latches/=1b34zbi
(I realize that bumper mounting could be a thread of its own, but I would like to focus particularly on very simple mechanisms that rookie teams could assemble quickly)

I will also do my best to advocate for bumper fabric which is something that most teams could use.
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Unread 07-07-2018, 09:10 AM
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Re: Ideas for the 2019 Kit of Parts

Not new parts but replacements for existing ones.

Replace the CB185-120 with the CB285-120. It's the same part but the latch is yellow instead of black and it will make new students/users more easily aware of how to operate it. It might seem minor but it's a substantial difference and one that would be welcome in my book.

Replace the Allen Bradley RSL with the am-3583 or something else even cheaper. It's absurd that replacement safety lights cost what they do. I know AB donates them but they are like $5 to manufacture them in bulk and there isn't a way for me to buy them for that cost so the least FIRST could do is replace them with a cheaper component in the KOP.
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