A modest proposal...

In another message I put forth a theory as to why FIRST has made the ruling about no repair time after a regional.

You should read that message, but it boils down to helping teams limit costs to sponsors (and themselves) by more strictly limiting the build time (more specifically, the re-design and re-build time after a regional).

Now, suppose that this is the reason for the new stricter rules.

I have the following proposal that would allow FIRST to have its cake and for us to eat it too.

FIRST keeps the rules exactly as is: No building parts except during the 6 weeks and at events.

FIRST initiates a petition process that allows teams up to 3 days of “repair time” in make parts for their robots. Petitions are only granted for the following cases:

Part broke at regional that is not manufacturable at a regional AND one of the following conditions are met

  1. the break was due to unusual circumstances. Some acceptable examples may include:
    . A) a particularly vigorous interaction with another robot
    . B) the machine was mistakenly driven into the wall at full speed by our drivers
    . C) the part was damaged or lost while trying to fix another problem
    . D) we forgot to tighten a bolt down and as a result our gearbox toasted itself.

  2. the break is an UNFORSEEN chronicly breaking part that a SIMPLE redesign/re-manufacturing will address, but this re-manufacturing is not makeable at a regional.

An example of a petition that would NOT be approved would be “my robot needs mechanism X so that it can win the Grand Championship.” Another petition that should go un-granted would be “my gear ratio is too high and I am popping the breakers and/or losing pushing matches.”

I think that this could be a fair compromise that will allow us to fix broken robots without cheating AND it will allow 99% of us to keep our costs down by limiting our ability to do rush re-designs/re-manufacturing/robot improvements.

What do you think?

Joe J.

not to say any one should do this but if you made another part after the 6 week build period how would first know. All you have to say is i built it at the reigional and what are they going to say no. And if they did say no tell them to prove you did not.

I have nothing against having repair days, but wouldnt making 3 days of repair time a bit complicated for FIRST or the teams/sponsors.

If FIRST has to regulate the shipping and follow the schedule for what teams want as their repair days that would get kind of complicated. Remeber they might have 600+ teams to schedule,ship and watch to make sure they only get 3 days.

It seems rather complicated to me, but I am sure there is a way to make this fair, and not too hard for FIRST

Thats my thought…

I hate to say it, but without a change, there will be at least one team, that along with bringing their tool chests to a competition…oops! a recently fabricated spare! How did that get in there? - so up comes the gracious professionalism ideal of FIRST, which we need to uphold. So, I voted yes for your modest proposal, Joe. However, eating poor children to feed the rest of the population is no good.

What is fair?

If you have a team with little money and resources he will make a robot that is off the shelf. were if he breaks something he goes down and buys that part.

This team will go to one regional and maybe to the national.

If you have a team with unlimited resources that can build everything they need. They just need to build extra parts.

This team will go to many regional and then to national.

every time they go to a regional they can play with there robot and fix it and tweak it. This give that team a great advantage

so the team that is just getting by will have only 3 days before the national, were as the other could have up to 9 or more days.

I think this rule gives the underdogs a better chance of doing good.

make a robot simple and it should be easy to repair.

We are only going to one regional so this rule does not effect us too much

I agree with Bill Beatty.

I think that the “solution” here is to keep things as simple as possible.

The robot is should be shipped directly from competition to competition.
“The robot” consists of those things that FIRST requires for any robot on the field: Light, controller, battery, etc.

Spare parts - that is, direct “functionally equivalent” replacements may be manufactured and brought to later competitions.

Gracious Professionalism and the cooperative spirit of FIRST discourage complete “re-design”.

This would allow a team that just managed to get their machine running at one regional to make minor adjustments (say to prevent blowing fuses by adjusting a gear ratio) and effectively compete in a second while discouraging a complete “3 (or 6 or 9) day rebuild”.

By the way, our robot literally split in half (broken weld) during the finals at the Southern California Regional last year. Due to financial restrictions, (FedEx was paying for NASA teams to ship to Nationals) we had to ship the robot directly to Florida from So. CA… Yes, the robot chassis was cracked in half when we shipped it to Florida! We included a plate of steel in the crate and a second plate was brought with us to the competition. We had the machine shop there cut it to shape, dismantled the entire robot, attached the brace, and had everything up and running in time for our first practice session at 11 AM. Had we not been allowed to bring the brace, we would never have been able to compete in the Nationals.

*Originally posted by Mr. Van *
**

By the way, our robot literally split in half (broken weld) during the finals at the Southern California Regional last year. Due to financial restrictions, (FedEx was paying for NASA teams to ship to Nationals) we had to ship the robot directly to Florida from So. CA… Yes, the robot chassis was cracked in half when we shipped it to Florida! We included a plate of steel in the crate and a second plate was brought with us to the competition. We had the machine shop there cut it to shape, dismantled the entire robot, attached the brace, and had everything up and running in time for our first practice session at 11 AM. Had we not been allowed to bring the brace, we would never have been able to compete in the Nationals. **

Did you just bring a sheet of metal with you? Arn’t you allowed to bring any raw materials with you/procure at any of the compitions?

I said unsure simply because you make it a judgement call.

And while judgment calls can work they are so easily protested.

“Thats the second time that team broke their gripper, its a poorly designed part” even though it might be for actual extenuating circumstancees.

I have been very supportive of the FRCtech staff, and dont have a problem with what their doing. But it hasnt been unheard of for a ruling to be changed a little latter. Say a team breaks something, their excuse is considered not valid, say a week later another team does almost the same thing but their excuse is considered ok. Indescrepencies could be HORIBLY unfair with something like this.

I say first picks something and sticks by it. I dont like the no repair rule but at least its equaly fair to all teams and leaves little room for interpretation.

Sorry, just my opinion.

-Jordan “wet blanket” Armstrong

*Originally posted by Wetzel *
**

Did you just bring a sheet of metal with you? Arn’t you allowed to bring any raw materials with you/procure at any of the compitions? **

The plate we brought with us was cut to fit the robot. A second plate (installed prior to competing at Southern CA) was removed and large holes were cut into both plates at the Nationals to compensate for the added weight.

The whole point of the story is that considerable repairs can be made at the competitions, but sometimes work needs to be done beforehand in order for teams to compete. If we were forced last year to adhere to the rules as they stand now, I don’t think that we would have had a working robot at Nationals.

I am certain that this will happen this year to more than one team unless some sort of repair parts are allowed.

I wonder if FIRST will have enough resource and man power at regional to implement this petition process…

I can see a lot of robots being damaged by the nature of the game, so FIRST will need someone at the regional to handle a lot of petitions. That person will need to look at the damaged parts, listen to teams about how the damages happened. A lot of this will happen during or after finals because that’s when most damages happen. There will be a long line of people applying for petition before they ship the robot to the next competition.

Also, FIRST will need to inspect the robot before and after to make sure the teams don’t make changes for: “my robot needs mechanism X so that it can win the Grand Championship.” Not sure how the logistic will work if those teams are going to a different part of the country.

Not trying to be picky about a good suggestion, because it IS a good suggestion. Just that we should come up with something easiest for FIRST and reasonable for them to implement it, to have the best chances for FIRST to actually accept the suggestion and make it happen.

I agree with Ken. It is a good idea, but it will take lots of manpower to implement, IMO.