Bumper Inforcement at Regionals?

This weekend I noticed a lot of teams that didn’t have regulation bumpers. Some teams didn’t have the required 6" minimum hard bumper segments, other’s didn’t have any kind of structure to support behind them, and some just didn’t look right.

Did anyone else notice this? I’m not complaining as our bumpers meet all regulations and standards but I’d just like to know if the inspectors are well versed in bumper rules. Also at the same time I’d hate to see a team get to their next Regional or the Championship and have their bumpers rules as illegal when they were legal elsewhere.

No, we didn’t have this problem… But we should definatly make a point to whoever measures up the robot to check all questionalble pieces. We were foroced to change the front of our robot a little bit to make sure we fit the rule, and the person doing measurements never even checked! [LOL but they were 6 1/4"]

The inspector had us measure the perimeter of the bot and then the total length of the bumpers. Then he did the math. The ratio is part of his/her inspection sheet. I’m sure like everything else, some inspectors are more picky (or well versed) on specific things they’re looking for. This inspector discussed different things (and seemed more picky) about things we’ve never been asked before. Best to just follow the manual to the “t.”

It’s really a matter of experience. Sometimes you get inspected by someone who’s been around FRC for many years and is probably involved with building an FRC robot on his/her own team. You should expect that this inspector will find things that violate the rules if they exist on your robot. On the other hand, you may get that inspector that hasn’t been inspecting so long and is not on an FRC team. You would expect to get by (perhapse only temporary) with some rules violations. If you see an issue on a robot that has passed inspection, it’s up to you to bring it to the attention of the lead inspector. If you don’t, the inspection team will never know there was a mistake until they read all the complaints on CD the next week…

When we went through inspections, we had answers ready ahead of time. We were also ready to point out redundant safety features where necessary on our bot, and also had force calculations necessary to prove that 3/16" thick honeycombed fiberglass that’s 5" wide is indeed structurally sound for a bumper support with our frame setup.

Then we got a particularly friendly inspector who’s been in FIRST for 10+ years, who went through a myriad of questions with us like a blur. Some questions he posed directly to the students, some he didn’t care who answered. Then he saw a $3.8333333 price per unit on our BoM and was like whoa! :eek: so that took some explaining since it was for one of the fiberglass panels, price per sq ft. 4 of our bumpers were exactly 6" of plywood, and he questioned the students about it but didn’t force us to measure. We were ready to measure if he did though.

In a previous year, we had a different experience … there was a single item missing from the BoM due to an oversight on a repair between Philly & Atlanta. We weren’t passed in inspection until the inspector went over the entire BoM and robot, looking to make sure everything was there.

So the reality, I think it boils down to how rushed the inspector feels, how detailed they are, and how they pose each question vs how teams answer it. Experience helps with the latter two.