As the 2006 season draws near, I’m wondering what people are hoping for in the kit. This can extend into anything, programming, frames, motors, gearboxes, sensors, material, etc. Post away, because I’m sure I don’t have everything in the poll.
(I figured this is a good time for this as any, nothing we say will have an effect on it. The KOP is shipped or will be shortly! Just a little while before sleep deprivation sets in…)
The kitbot is gold. Let it be–well, unless you feel like dropping in some AM Shifters instead. I wouldn’t mind a couple more of the smaller motors, like the Keyang seat motor of 2004 vintage, to make things interesting, but we can do well either way. I’m neutral on pneumatics, as my team has yet to really use them. (Gripe #1: Limited firing ability. Perhaps some larger accumulators would help?)
I’ll be very interested to see what happens in the sensor department. The CMUcam this year felt a bit like drinking from a fire hose, so I’m hoping either for something a little simpler to work with. (Of course, that can be accomplished with the game objectives as well.)
I vote new geraboxes. Some teams cant fford to have a gearbox made or arnt capable of making their own but the ones last year were so HEAVY with 2 cims i think they tipped (or broke) the scales at 22lbs EACH!
But heres the rundown:
Kitbot = awesome
Kit transmissions = awesome
of motors = awesome
Type of motors = awesome
… anyone else seeing where im heading with this?
The only department I really have no part in, so therefore would know nothing aboutneeding more/different, is sensors. So bring on the '06 KOP and whatever new innovations and headaches (*cough cough * CMUcoughcamcough cough) it may include.
Ambidextrous control sticks would probably be the best possible addition to the kit.
Other than that, I like the idea of more pneumatics, maybe some more roller chain and a larger variety of sprockets, so we can see some variation in the teams that use the Kit bots. Also maybe 6 wheels instead of the standard 4 wheels?
Okay guys, time for a quick paradigm shift.
(With or without a clutch, up to you.)
We need to remember that everything going into the KOP costs $$$. A $5 part costs FIRST $5 x 1000ish teams = $5000. This is not trivial.
If they spend money on an item for the kit, the goal is obviously to make it an item which would be as highly utilized as possible, while remaining cost effective. They want as much bang for their buck as possible.
This is why when Paul and I were brainstorming the Kit Transmission, we came up with a highly adaptable ratio, which could be used for a variety of drivetrain speeds. We came up with a housing which could be mounted in many different ways. We came up with a method by which 2 transmissions could be combined to form a high-reduction arm gearbox. We also had to build it to be robust enough to survive life in as many conceivable applications as possible. We had to make it virtuous enough that teams would use it while still keeping the costs low enough that FIRST could afford it.
Why is it ‘too heavy’?
Simple – it needed to be robust, and was designed as such. However, it costs FIRST money to drill lightening patterns in the gears. It costs teams nothing but time to do so.
Not to pick on Conor, but if FIRST put 10 sprocket sizes in the kit, and most teams pick and use 1 size, then they’ve essentially wasted money on 9 sprockets per team. This is not a good thing. Instead, they must strive to include a single size that a lot of teams will use. (This is just an example).
First off, I think the kitbot chassis and kit gearboxes are great for both rookie and veteran teams. They are both robust and flexible while keeping costs low for FIRST. If teams want to modify them like lightening the gearboxes or choping up the frame they are free to do so. I agree that FIRST can’t and shouldn’t put a large variety of parts (wheels, sprockets, etc.) in the kit because a lot of it will go to waste.
What about a voucher program? Let FIRST ship the KoP with the standard stuff (IFI control system, kitbot chassis and gearboxes, motors, batteries, air compressor, pneumatics hose and fittings) but NO “extra” parts (wheels, sprockets, chain, pneumatic cylinders, sensors, etc.). Then teams are given vouchers for X number of wheels, sprockets, etc. just like we do with the 3 free pneumatic cylinders from Bimba in the past. There is no waste for FIRST and teams still sort of get to pick from a limited list of standard parts but still get to design and build to their team specs. The list of standard stuff could even be known before the kickoff (like the prebuild materials list) but the big secret would be the game and what else might be on the “extras” voucher list. Let’s face it. Even a lot of the stuff FIRST included in the KoP last year were not used by many teams (Skyway wheelchair wheels, CMU Cam, gear tooth sensors, latex tubing, those seat motor shafts but no seat motor, the little Mabushi motor, …). How much did it cost FIRST for all those CMU cams last year that only a relatively few teams were able to successfully use? Would that money have been better spent another way? Maybe, maybe not, who’s to say. I think it would be interesting to see what teams would come up with if they could only use wheels, sprockets, sensors, etc from a specified list but get to pick what they think they can use the best.