Are you actually using bumpers?

I know that my team kind of brushed aside the notion of spending extra time, money and energy to add bumpers that will make our robot look less cool and less maneuverable. We also kind of figured that most teams will have them anyway, so it would be unnecessary (kind of the “If everyone else is a good driver I don’t have to be” approach). We also don’t feel like the 15 pounds will be anything close to a deal-breaker when push comes to shove.

Anyway, I was wondering how many teams actually are going to add bumpers, and whether or not it will affect the competition at all. Your thoughts?

(A search turned up only a 2002 thread about bumpers, not really applicable anymore)

YES! 15 free lbs is great - especially since they can help replace lexan for protection and team numbers in some areas.

Also - FIRST is all about parity these days. 70% of the teams use either the kit, AndyMark, or Dewalt transmissions with about the same gear ratios, IFI or AndyMark or similar style traction wheels, use the same motors, and weigh the same. Having some extra weight can’t hurt in a pushing match.

They also look pretty swell in my opinion!

Well I’m sorry I just sort of assumed they wouldn’t look good, but i think pool noodles and fabric just wouldn’t fit well with our theme of shiny objects (the T3 mantra: “If it’s not shiny, what’s the point?”)

Bumpers have been in the back of my mind, but we havn’t really given that much serious thought to them. It will probably be one of those ship weekend afterthought add-ons.

We’re using bumpers mostly because we don’t want overzealous zebras throwing flags about illegal contact if we didn’t have them. The front and side bumpers do take some planning for going up the ramp. I personally don’t think the added weight will make that much difference in traction and it will be that much more weight to have to accelerate.

Team 1501 will not be using bumpers.
With our design we could not get up the ramp without dragging them on the carpet.
IMHO, I think FIRST should have been a little more lenient. Why couldn’t they say use the pool noodle(s) and keep them in the 2.5" to 8" range. We could have put one noodle all the way around or bot without any problem.
*puts flame suit on :slight_smile: *

You could use shiny silver fabric.

Yeah, but then we would look like one of those shoddily-built props from an 80’s science fiction movie.

Our frame is built to be sturdy enough to take lots of hits, the bumbers would probably help but we don’t feel that we need them…

We don’t have a frame, just bumpers.

Arghh… After dealing with the COTS rule for the most however many years in FIRST and for the most part not having any problem with it, I am extremely disappointed in the non-COTS that FIRST have given us for supplies this year.

First it was a lack of finding the game balls, albeit one main supplier, a few rate hikers, or a chance encounter at a local store…

Now it is the fact that the bumper material material can only be bought on a few places on-line, and has a lead time of 4 weeks, oh… and did I mention that the FIRST forums say that by the rules the bumpers have to be shipped with the robot? :mad: :mad:

So, pretty much what we have here is that if you didn’t decide to have bumpers part of your robot from week 1 or 2, you are not getting them on your robot legally unless you use a less reliable fabric (also per the forums) vinyl, on your bumpers.

I rarely get this frustrated with FIRST, but this non-COTS for items mandatory (if you decide to use them) has got to stop!!!
I hope this is discussed in a rules update soon, or someone from FIRST explains what a true same strength (“or similar material”) is.

Andy-Mark, if you guys are listening, please, please… if bumpers are an option next year, order the material ahead of time and I will order it right from you.

Team 68 always comes up with a good robot, they caught my eyes back in 2002 at the championship.

… this is what I think, if your robot is really shiny and it isn’t consistant, there is no point to it. I would much rather have an ugly robot that does what it suppose to do constantly.

I’m pretty sure our team got our bumper fabric from a local crafts store. Have you tried buying it at a store instead of online?

No bumpers for our robot, how about 1/16" aluminum plate all around?
And what is this, anodized black??? Oh the horror.

Who says you have to choose?

No bumpers for our robot, how about 1/16" aluminum plate all around?
And what is this, anodized black??? Oh the horror.

Ah yes, armor plating. We bolted some 1/8" aluminum on the front of our bot last year after judges were ignoring a lot of ramming at the BoilerMaker regional. (Anodized black would look sweet. I don’t know of anywhere around here that anodizes though, maybe I have to look harder)

Yes, I have looked at a bunch of fabric stores, and we have a person checking an upholstery place today for the “correct fabric” (Cordura).

Greg, please PM me with the details of your post. I would like to make this happen before ship, and am losing hope of having the “correct” material (Cordura).


1023 is using bumpers and they are finished. They were relatively inexpensive and didn’t take long to make. All in all, I think that they are worth the time and expense.

Also, we ordered out Cordura on line and were able to get a discount and it came in pretty quickly.

Did you try ? That’s where we got our material, it was shipped and received in a few days. (Top of Google ad list.)

I wouldn’t castigate FIRST too much over this issue. You knew from Jan 7 what was required for bumpers. I am reminded of the saying that pops up on cubicles from time to time: “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

YESSSSS!!! Finally… some successful hunting in the elusive bumper outer material woes.

So, apparently this material is more suited to buy at an automotive upholstery shop than a fabric/craft store.

If anyone is going to make bumpers this last week of build in time to ship them with your robot (which apparently is required) go to an automotive upholstery shop.

We got ours finally, and in a team color. Sweet!

I heard (from another CD poster) that folks had a large lead time to buy them as well, and some other issues, so I didn’t want to go with them and run into the same problems.

If they were mandatory to be on your robot I would agree with you, but requiring an optional item to be shipped within a deadline of 6 weeks when some teams don’t think they want to use them until week 5 or 6, just is not right by my thoughts.

If it is optional, I don’t see why it can’t be made after week 6, and brought to the competition when you arrive on Thursday.

To me, that boggles my mind.

What about teams who come to their first regional expecting to not use bumpers, and then want to use them between their first regional and second, or regional and Championship event.

Are they not allowed to make bumpers, cause they had to be made (and shipped with the bot) within the 6-week time?

Almost everything else is optional; why do we have to ship our (optional) CIMs with our (optional) kitbot frame? I think that it’s pretty clear that the rules specify that bumpers must be produced within the limits of the robot construction rules. As such, the team that decides at their first regional that they want to use a bumper may construct it there, or they can use a post-competition fix-it window (but **not **the post-ship-date fix-it window) to make their upgrade. If they make it between the ship date and the first regional competition, they’re cheating.