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Unread 11-28-2018, 03:29 PM
justaparent justaparent is offline
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FIRST post, and also .. any old people do RI3D?

I'm a 3rd year mentor with Team5496 in Vacaville, CA (Go RoboKnights!) and a hardcore FIRST believer. During the day, I am a "software developer" (in quotes to denote sarcasm ) .

I have talked my employer (who shall remain nameless, but let's just say they currently sponsor about 40 teams mainly via competition registration grants) into sponsoring a 2019 RI3D (including KOP cost and space for 72 hours of build) at a location somewhere in Silicon Valley. I have talked several of my colleagues/fellow mentors into joining, and I think I have enough interest to get something going.

Is there anything that would be helpful to know? I'm assuming we will need a KOP + (retail) RoboRIO , tools and misc. materials, and gallons of coffee. Do I just go to Andymark and buy stuff? Any special dispensation needed from FIRST? Any tips from any veteran RI3Ders?
Thanks!
--Brendan
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Unread 11-28-2018, 03:35 PM
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Ginger Power Ginger Power is offline
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Re: FIRST post, and also .. any old people do RI3D?

Maybe not fully relevant to your situation but here is some Ri3D related advice.
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Unread 11-28-2018, 03:57 PM
justaparent justaparent is offline
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Re: FIRST post, and also .. any old people do RI3D?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginger Power View Post
Maybe not fully relevant to your situation but here is some Ri3D related advice.
Thanks - your post really frames the context nicely.
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Unread 11-28-2018, 04:41 PM
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Re: FIRST post, and also .. any old people do RI3D?

Pretty sure I don't qualify as an old person, but like Ryan, I started doing Ri3D in 2015. I helped found 'Snow Problem then, who still does Ri3D focusing on serving the Twin Cities area for both FTC and FRC. Almost everything he points out there is very true. We definitely didn't perfect the Ri3D team while I was there, and I make absolutely no pretensions about having figured it out. It's a lot like doing FRC-- there's a lot you learn from doing it. That being said, having made and learned from a lot of mistakes in the four years we did Ri3D, hopefully some of my opinions/advice are useful to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justaparent View Post
I'm assuming we will need a KOP + (retail) RoboRIO , tools and misc. materials, and gallons of coffee. Do I just go to Andymark and buy stuff? Any special dispensation needed from FIRST?
No special dispensation from FIRST, pretty much just go an buy what you need. Since you're FIRST-affiliated, you probably shouldn't need to pay retail for the RoboRIO. There are far better uses for those funds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justaparent View Post
Any tips from any veteran RI3Ders?
For prep, hopefully a lot of this seems obvious:
  1. Figure out what kind of robot you want to build, or what kind of 'niche' you want to fill in the community
    • For Snow Problem, we've tried a few things here-- alliance captain, first pick, second pick, proof of concept for an "out there" design
  2. Figure out what your "kit" will be for building the robot
    • For us, it was KOP drive train, and various box tubing/angle aluminum, plus VersaPlanetaries
    • We made this decision to focus on specific solutions in 2016, and it's a huge thing to simplify your solution space to using specific things you already have
  3. Figure out who your backup people are-- who are you going to ask if you can't find a part?
    • You don't have time to order things during Ri3D-- set up something with a few local teams to buy parts off them if you need something weird on Monday. Having a few teams that you're comfortable reaching out to increases the chances you can find what you're looking for. For us, this was largely the teams members were alumni of. We've gotten out of some tight spots because a team had weird parts we needed lying around.
  4. Get enough sleep. Seriously. The vast majority of Snow Problem sleeps 6-8 hours each night. Staying up later provides diminishing returns.

Once you've gone thought the effort of actually building a robot...

One of the big things I know we were guilty of and I see too frequently is lack of video that shows the robot trying to do a task-- it might seem counterproductive to show the failures, but IMO it's just as, if not more important, to show the disadvantages/problems with the design as it is to show it working.

One of the other things 'Snow Problem tried to do with our documentation in 2018 was give teams that wanted to try to emulate part or all of our robot an idea of what we would have focused on improving if given the chance. You can see this in our Technical Walkthrough. As Ryan points out in his thread, documentation is everything-- people don't watch the livestreams from individual teams.

Good luck, and I can't wait to see what your group comes up with!
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Last edited by cadandcookies : 11-28-2018 at 04:44 PM.
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Unread 11-29-2018, 02:37 PM
BoilerMentor BoilerMentor is offline
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Re: FIRST post, and also .. any old people do RI3D?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justaparent View Post
I'm a 3rd year mentor with Team5496 in Vacaville, CA (Go RoboKnights!) and a hardcore FIRST believer. During the day, I am a "software developer" (in quotes to denote sarcasm ) .

I have talked my employer (who shall remain nameless, but let's just say they currently sponsor about 40 teams mainly via competition registration grants) into sponsoring a 2019 RI3D (including KOP cost and space for 72 hours of build) at a location somewhere in Silicon Valley. I have talked several of my colleagues/fellow mentors into joining, and I think I have enough interest to get something going.

Is there anything that would be helpful to know? I'm assuming we will need a KOP + (retail) RoboRIO , tools and misc. materials, and gallons of coffee. Do I just go to Andymark and buy stuff? Any special dispensation needed from FIRST? Any tips from any veteran RI3Ders?
Thanks!
--Brendan
I don't know if I count as old, but I am a former Ri3D participant of Team Indiana, I'm nearing 30, and I've got 10 years of FRC mentoring experience.

I think the thing that people often miss when undertaking an Ri3D effort that we were lucky to have when I was helping with the team out of Andymark is people with av production experience on board. While the teams in 15', 16', and 17' were reasonably robust groups in terms of on camera talent there was an equally talented team behind the scenes helping us put all those pieces together. Make sure you have that end of things covered.

I can also say the experience I brought back to my team after three days was hugely valuable, but not so impactful as my absence for those critical early days of the build season, which a large part of why I no longer participate.

I'd also encourage you to remember that the key point here is that you're mentoring any students watching your channel and try to use that concept to frame your content.

Definitely show off any prototypes you make and talk about your methods and results. Many teams lean on Ri3D to complement their prototyping efforts in some capacity.

Good Luck!
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Unread 11-29-2018, 03:09 PM
Marcus Q Marcus Q is offline
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Re: FIRST post, and also .. any old people do RI3D?

Make as much useful content as you can. It doesn't need to be have ultra high production value with tons of cuts and different shots. Just make sure the video and audio are decent, a smartphone or that new OSMO pocket with a lav mic attached would be a awesome inexpensive choice.

Show your prototypes, show your tests, show what failed, show it even if you think it sucks; don't focus on the reveal and don't focus on your "Ri3D experience".
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