To all the fellow teams that may no have finished, this is to you! Even as a rookie, our team understands that this competition is truly a time crunch and always will does and can leave any team needing code, materials, fabricated parts, sleep. But that’s no reason to feel down! With the weight rules as they are and the COTS items being unlimited coupled with a month of time to develop what is needed, any team, given the same work ethic they have given during the build season can and should create a robot capable of being a top seeder!
Get back into your CAD, into your language, into your ideas and create!
There is no shame in showing up at your first competition with only most of a robot. There was once a team that showed up with no robot - just a kit of parts. They thought you weren’t supposed to build it until you showed up!
If you find yourself in a situation where your robot isn’t completed, when you get to competition ASK FOR HELP. Virtually EVERY team will fall over themselves to help you get your robot working and inspected. Don’t be shy.
We, an 11 year veteran team bagged a non-working shooter. Backstory: It broke last minute and we didn’t have time to fix it before putting it in the bag. The entire robot is connected to it, so we can’t take it out in withholding. We pulled off the offending gearboxes, and are making the necessary arrangements to have it fixed within 10 minutes of entering competition. You have between 8 and 11 hours on Thursday, use them well.
As organized, and well prepared as some team look, it’s perfectly normal to be working on robot parts after the build season is done. I’ve never been on a team that went to rest in the weeks leading up to the competition. There is absolutely no shame in continuous improvement (whether it be finishing an incomplete subsystem, or perfecting an already functioning one). It’s an iterative process, and there’s almost always something that can be improved.
A robot is NEVER done. I know and along with others on my team, that as soon as our robot was bagged there are thing we want to change and fix. But we are lucky enough to have a practice bot and we have a some what small team (13 FRC kids on a good night) this year.
My first year, the team next to us in the pits either built their robot from scratch cause they did the same thing or their bot broke in transit. Heard of both happening before. Practice day might as well be the Wednesday after Bag and Tag. Even those veteran, super team types are tweaking and modifying.
And even if you don’t have anything you can do for your robot, there’s still plenty you can do for your team!
We only have 1 thing on our “to-do” list when we get to Duluth - change out a plastic sprocket for a new steel one on our bridge manipulator. We had two of the plastic ones in our “sprocket bin”, and they gave us the gear reduction we were looking for… then one split in half on us Sunday. We put the other one on for additional testing, and have a good steel one on order.
So, for the next two weeks until Duluth, we get to focus on some other items. We just got a new trailer, and we’re working on having it wrapped with our team and sponsor info. We also have to figure out exactly how everything is going to fit in it without rolling around too much. We’ve finally gotten rid of our old pit banner holder (two cement buckets and some PVC pipe), and are working on an entirely new system - a 4-foot tall rolling cart that splits in half to provide storage in the corners (including mounts for wire spools, drawers for electrical equipment, vertical storage for long stock, and mounts for our bolt drawer set) and a place to mount the banner framework (old tent poles cut to a proper length). Hopefully we’ll have it completely finished and painted before Duluth… then we can post pictures!
Our students are also working on setting up our scouting database and preparing for the Chairman’s presentation. Drivers are coming in and practicing with last year’s robot (at least they can chase balls around and balance).
And if nothing else… remember, this is the time of year where you can get excited and pumped up for competition!
PS. And if you were wondering… this might be the shortest “to-do” list we’ve ever gone to competition with! It helps that we set an internal target date of finishing construction of two weeks ago… even though we were a week late delivering it to Programming, we still had plenty of time to fix everything that wasn’t working right over the weekend!
I can tell you that FRC 422, for the first time in years, has a short list of fixes and attachments that need to be addressed before we take our robot to the inspection line in the early Thursday morning (not at night when they are trying to kick us out!). I’m excited to hand off the robot for the programmers to go over in practice rounds and go scout for teams that need any help. A few members of ours had the opportunity to do this last year at VCU–I remember helping with a team’s deployment system that could run our 2-3 second minibots to ensure their matches could be won… even the quarterfinals where they beat us.
Rookies, DON’T FREAK OUT when you get there on Thursday. Teams of every color will be in your pit to help you. It’s cool seeing three or four teams in a pit working on one robot together. It is so important every robot makes it to every match possible. Not only may your team be matched with a rookie that can only help you, but wouldn’t you want other teams to help you when needed?