973 Remote Assistance and Mentorship Program (RAMP)


Over the years, 973 has helped a great number of teams informally through direct communication (private messages, instant message, email, etc…) providing everything from basic design advice to design review to fabrication of key parts in a pinch. This was never advertised, so we believe we could reach more teams by doing so.

For the 2014 Season, 973 is pleased to announce the Remote Assistance and Mentorship Program (RAMP). By emailing 973Ramp@gmail.com with your team number in the subject line teams can apply for help by answering some brief questions:

  • What kind of help you are looking for.
  • how many mentors you have.
  • what events you are going to.
  • what machines/resources you have in house and at sponsors.
  • what communication methods works best for you.

From there, we will do our best to respond and help as many as possible. We are unsure how many people will ask for help, so we will do our best to help everybody, but we will focus our help where we feel it is appropriate. Some rough guidelines explaining our selection process are below

  • Teams without mentors will be given #1 priority.

  • Teams with simple problems with quick answers will likely get their answers due to the low cost involved on our end.

  • We are interested in helping teams that need it, but we also have to balance our own needs. Requests for parts manufacture need to demonstrate a GREAT need, and our own schedule needs to be free enough to allow it. We may reply with recommendations of COTS parts that can solve your problem. It’s very likely we will fabricate parts for teams this year, but it may not be your team. So please do not be upset if this is the case.

  • We will not design your robot for you, or give out designs. We will gladly review and recommend changes to your design though.

In the interest of maximizing the amount of people we can help for our efforts, we may respond not with a direct answer, but instead with links or information that pushes you pretty nicely into the direction of your answer. Of course, if further clarification is needed feel free to contact us again.

We are focused on giving quality and actionable advice rather than quantity of advice, so all mentorship provided will be from our Top mentors. If the demand far outpaces our ability to reply, we will unfortunately be unavailable to those that ask. If this is the case, we will put efforts into recruiting other capable teams/mentors to assist for the 2015 season.

We will also be posting a series of videos to help teams with the design process, so if you have any questions or ideas that you’d like covered, please submit them to 973Ramp@gmail.com.


I’m glad to hear this is being made officially available. 973’s(indirect or direct) help has been a key part of the development of Team 1836 these past couple years. In just these two years we have advanced so much: we went from rank 38 at the LA regional in 2011, to 8th alliance captain at Israel 2013, culminating in alliance captaining the finalist alliance at The 2013 Madtown Throwdown. We know that they’re always open to help and we’re glad to call them good friends. I highly recommend that everybody takes advantage of this resource. It’s an amazing opportunity to get advice and help from a powerhouse team.


We to have been helped by 973 in the past and very much welcome the RAMP program. It’s good to know you have a resource like this in a pinch.


Adam was one of the first people in FRC I reached out to when I wanted to learn more about FRC and design work, especially after I saw Raptor in 2009. 973’s robot inspired me a ton that year. He also used to help me and RC when we were learning things. Even past that, his public CAD files and presence on CD always teaches me new things. Adam is also always willing to help if you message him asking questions.

I guess this is just my long overdue thank you to him, as well as a little testimonial :slight_smile:




Thanks for the kind words everybody, rereading what I posted I realize I missed a little bit of what I wanted to say.

We really just want to help teams be better in any way they can. No question is too big or too small (from design issues to simply where do you buy XYZ), so please don’t hesitate to ask.


Can we pay extra for direct phone support? :smiley:


So, just to be clear, this is basically just a way to advertise your “services” and build a contact list for teams that want help?


First video is out, I’m going to try to do a bunch before kickoff.

Youtube capped my video to 360, anyone know how to fix that?

Also the recording program caused some artifacts and weirdness. I’m using Camstudio, any recommendations on a better program?

Not exactly how I’d phrase it, but more or less that’s the case.

I’ve helped a lot of teams in the past both where I’ve initiated the communication and where they have. I’d like to think now that we’re encouraging teams to contact us, more will and therefore we can help more people. There isn’t some secondary motive here, I just have a soft spot for teams without mentors (or teams that just haven’t figured it all out yet). A little bit of advice or a push in the right direction can really make a big difference to a team, and the improved experience the kids get out of that is just awesome.


That’s quite neat! I can help spread the word, if you’d like :smiley:


Open Broadcasting Software. You can live stream, or stream to a file (aka record). Records audio inputs as well.


In action with solidworks


Great great video, my only problem with it is that the audio is VERY quiet. Other than that, awesome video, and I can’t wait to see the rest of what you guys have to offer.


I’m using a mic off my headphones, and I know it’s quiet. I ordered a better mic for future videos, but it’s not here yet obviously. Thanks for the heads up though!


Just watched most of the video, and I can already say that I’ve learned enough tips and tricks to be a more efficient designer than I was 10 minutes ago. Thanks for this!


I assume you mean 360p resolution? Youtube processes lower resolutions first, and over the course of a few hours, all resolutions will be available (assuming the source video was HD). I see 1080p available now.


Seconding Open Broadcaster Software. It’s made for live streaming, but recording to a file works excellently. I’ve used it for a bunch of things with no trouble.


Adam, have you ever used the “Copy with Mates” tool? It looks like you could save some time on stuff where you’re inserting multiple parts at once, like those wheel trucks or gussets. I learned about it last year, and it saved me a ton of time over individually dropping in parts and then adding mates.


Nice! I’m already learning some new features. This is a cool one.

Also, Joe, you are correct. I noticed the other video sizes came later. Good to know.


I watched your video just to see what cool solidworks/design tricks you use (gotta love youtube 2x), and figure I might as well share some of my favorite with you. Particularly because you called out that you enjoy hearing about other’s favorites.

I personally prefer to have only one contiguous outline in sketches (instead of having overlapping contours and selecting the regions when executing the feature). I realize it may take a little more time, but it makes me happier and I think it may reduce confusion when adding more contours back into sketches. I find the power trim tool to be pretty effective at turning things into non-overlaping closed contours. I probably would have used it on the gearbox, but doesn’t look like it would have done much good on the gusset.

Also, on the gearboxes, I find myself drawing the pitch circles and then dimensioning the circles apart by the .003 spacing. This is just one of the many other ways as you mentioned. I recently found that when dimensioning between circles, you can select the arc condition between center (default), closest, and furthest. This saves me a lot of time over drawing construction geometry, constraining it to be the minimum distance between circles, and then dimensioning that. I think solidworks lets you alternate which condition it places it down with if you hold shift as you place them, or you can change it afterwards by going to the second tab in the property manager when selecting the dimension after the dimension is placed.

I look forward to the rest of your videos.



Three new videos up! A rambling finish to the WCD, and then two short videos; one on symmetry/mirrors and one on pocketing.


Oh boy. You’re not going to like the pocketing video that just finished uploading…

I agree with your point, and I’m a bit sloppy in that regard but generally do trim to make things clean (except in the pocketing example).

Thanks for the tip on the gears, I was doing PD circles + .003 and then also doing the OD (as I like seeing the clearances) as a radial dimension off the PD, but I kind of got sick of drawing all that and it was visually clunky.


It made me cringe a little, but I do appreciate how quickly you laid out that pocketing. I will have to give it a try on some parts and hope that Austin doesn’t kill me for it.