AndyMark G04 / R03 Communication Contest

We at AndyMark want to encourage the communication of rules G04 and R03, as we are worried that a few teams will show up to their FIRST event with their bumpers outside of Volume A or Volume B. This would be a HUGE problem, as they would realize their robot is 6-7" too big in X and Y dimensions.

This would be a terrible blow to any team who didn’t understand this rule until the robot inspectors told them. It’s a bigger issue than “rewire your robot, you are using too small gauge wire” or “replace your bumper wood, as it’s only 1/2 inch thick” or “no, you can’t use Globe motors”.

So, we created a contest, with details on our website. We’re gonna award $250 in AndyMark credit to the entry who makes the best method of communicating this rule.

Being the creative folks we are, we have titled this contest the "G04 / R03 AWARENESS CONTEST"

  • Deadline: February 1, 11:59:59 PM Eastern
  • Make the most creative and effective way of getting other FIRST Robotics Competition teams aware that G04 / R03 sizing rules DO INCLUDE THE BUMPERS so they will design their robots legally.
  • Entry format is open: photos, videos, music, GIFs, graphics, you name it.
  • Keep it rated G.
  • Entries will be judged on creativity and effective communication.
  • The winner will receive one $250 AndyMark gift certificate.

Enter our contest by tweeting at us (@andymarkinc) or by sending an email to “contest - at -”.

Andy B.

I expect the community can do much better than my pitiful little tweet from the day after kickoff! I wasn’t even a little bit creative :slight_smile:

That’s a great idea Andy, thanks! Every year a few teams struggle with the bumper rules, and this year it’s even more complex. I’m also concerned.

Great idea, Andy! Props to AM for doing this.

On a related note: I will be interested to find out (maybe from those who attend LRI training this year) how procedures at the inspection station will change due to this year’s size and weight rules.

Because bumpers remain excluded from the robot’s maximum weight limit, while they are included in its maximum size limit, robots might have to be presented at the inspection station both with and without bumpers. R025 allows a maximum of five minutes for two people to install or remove bumpers. I wonder if this will increase the length of time that each team remains at the inspection station?

I was at LRI training, and I can tell you… we’re just as interested as you are in finding out what the process will be :yikes: There have been discussions on several different approaches, but no final decision yet. Regardless, I doubt we’ll have teams sit at the inspection table while they put their bumpers on - there generally isn’t enough room to have multiple teams doing that! Instead, I would expect to be putting your bumpers on in your pit, and visiting the inspection station twice as part of the inspection process.


Do you know if they are going to use a sizing box this year (like they did years ago) or are they just going to measure.

It makes a difference if the robot frame is diamond at all from “vigorous interaction” with other robots.

I am not Jon. :] And I don’t know your answer to your question. But. the rules don’t allow for any variance from vigorous robot interaction. So if you got noticeably “diamonded” and violated volume constraints, you would be expected to fix it.

I agree with that. Regardless of the method used, it must ensure that robots fit within the volume specified. You cannot do that with a simple tape measure, as a tape measure cannot ensure a frame is properly squared. A parallelogram may measure appropriately from edge to edge, yet stick outside of the prescribed volume!

… and this is my concern.

Newer teams have not had to fit their 'bot into a sizing box.
Old school teams will (should) know better but the younger teams may not understand why their robot meets the measurements (with a tape measure) but doesn’t fit in the area allowed.

Might be a good year to implement a 2 tiered Inspection:

  1. Violates R03: Ok to compete, but not ok to advance (alliance selection)
  2. Fully compliant: Ok to compete and advance.

The problem we had with the old school sizing boxes (which half the teams in FIRST have probably never seen, and no current student has!) rarely had to do with robots being square. The problem there were the “minor protrusions” that would prevent them from physically sliding into the box. The language around “minor protrusions” is still present in R02 for determining the frame perimeter, and with bumpers on won’t be a concern for measurement purposes.

On a historical note, you will find that the “minor protrusion” language has been in the frame perimeter rules for a long time (Since 2011’s R14, I believe), but wasn’t included in the robot size itself until 2013 (R02/R03). 2013 was also the first year we didn’t have a physical sizing box the robot had to be jammed into.

If FIRST decides to use a sizing box, at least it won’t need to be very tall this year. It could actually be a three-faced orthogonal gauge, with a choice of two three-legged attachments to define the missing box edges, and a wand to check violation of the open faces. Much less hassle to transport and set up than the old sizing box.

I read this and went “Waaa?” and then I though about it and you are right, could be pretty simple to build and take.

It just took your “out of the box” thinking to make it work.

I would be pretty upset if I lost 2 ranking points by losing to a team that was larger than the rules allowed.

To be fair, I would also be upset at competing 2v3 because my alliance partner didn’t pass inspection.

In theory, it roughly balances out in the end.

To be fair, I would also be upset at competing 2v3 because my alliance partner didn’t pass inspection.

It is less about you, and more about the non-compliant team. Teams spend a lot of effort and money to get to a competition. DQ’ing them and not allowing them to compete at all would totally ruin their season. RI’s jump through a lot of hoops to help get non-compliant teams onto the field. Most solutions require disabling the non-compliant system. Unfortunately, non-compliant chassis is not an easy fix.

Letting non-compliant teams compete, but not advance, at least lets the team get on the field for their 6-8 matches. That’s about as far as 2/3rds of the teams make it anyway.

Letting them on the field is Gracious Professionalism. Complaining that they may have a marginal affect on your rankings is not.

Getting them onto the field in a legal configuration is Gracious Professionalism. Back in 2013, there were two teams at each of the events I volunteered at that built their robots to the previous year’s dimensions. Inspectors and other teams jumped in to help them cut 10" off the front of their robots and rework all of their mechanisms. All 4 of those teams made it to their first match. They may not of performed as well as their robot did before surgery, but they still got to play the game, they still got to work towards improvements and they were still eligible for alliance selection (I couldn’t tell you how any of those teams ranked or if they made it to Saturday afternoon, unfortunately). And, I would hazard to say, everyone on those teams learned an important lesson in reading through all of the requirements for a project. That, right there, is the challenge for the inspectors and every team - working towards getting everyone at your event compliant with the rules so they can make their first match with a legal robot.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to worry about how a team with an illegal robot will affect rankings. It doesn’t all balance out in the end, as the qualifying rounds aren’t nearly complete enough for such a thing to have no affect. As we’ve seen, a lucky schedule can propel a team to being an alliance captain, while an unlucky schedule can drop you way down in the rankings. Looking at the big picture, which is more gracious, allowing 1 team to compete with an illegal robot, or allowing the other 59 teams (at a 60 team regional) to compete on a level playing field?

Only if the non-compliant team has a 40% win%. They have 3 opponents they negatively influence every time they win, and only 2 partners they positively influence. As such, it requires 3 losses to every 2 wins in order for them to have a neutral impact on the standings. And even then, specific teams are going to have boons with others have negative influence.

Not to mention that winning and losing matches is a big deal in the district format, as your ranking is a crucial component of determining if you advance to the district championship and then the FRC Championship.

I fully understand the angle you’re coming from. However, I have also experienced multiple incidents where teams showed up with robots built to the wrong dimensions in the past, and with the help of various teams at the event, they were able to compete. Nobody is getting “DQ’d” in this scenario, they’re getting told to make their robot compliant before they are allowed on the field.

Gracious professionalism is an ideal that teams and individuals strive for, not a measuring stick to evaluate the actions of others.

I would say it is gracious, but it is not professional. Obviously it is a nice thing to do. But not enforcing the rules punishes the teams who follow them, and reduces their legitimacy overall.

This isn’t the first, second, third time a rule change will result in some teams having to modify their frames at events. In FTC, I had to do this at my very first robotics event ever. It’s part of the experience, and I don’t think that experience should be taken away from teams. The rules should matter.

A single win or loss is not a “marginal” effect on your rankings. It’s the difference between the #1 seed and the number #3 seed, or the difference between #4 seed and #10 seed. It’s not “un-GP” to want to play the same game under the same rules as your opponents despite differing personal goals.

One small comment - FTC uses sizing boxes so any current student in FRC that has been involved with FTC is familiar with them. Hopefully that will carry over into easier inspections for the LRIs.

At the risk of turning this into an “inspectors war stories” thread, we had a robot ant an event once that was >160 pounds and made entirely of steel and angle iron. RIs will do what it takes to get that team legal and playing, hopefully before their first match. This particular case was a saws-all and a good judge of how short to make the robot to get 40+ pounds off.

Seriously, we need an inspection war stories thread, so (