Today I wasted two hours duct taping polycarb to our frame rails to expand our frame perimeter (which looks like garbage) and then using the “fine adjustment tool” on our bumpers because, although we had already competed twice, apparently our robot’s frame perimeter was not within the rules.
Update 6 States:
FRAME PERIMETER – the polygon defined by the outer-most set of exterior vertices on the ROBOT (without the BUMPERS attached) that are within the BUMPER ZONE. To determine the FRAME PERIMETER, wrap a piece of string around the ROBOT at the level of the BUMPER ZONE - the string describes this polygon. Note: to permit a simplified definition of the FRAME PERIMETER and encourage a tight, robust connection between the BUMPERS and the FRAME PERIMETER, minor protrusions such as bolt heads, fastener ends, rivets, etc are excluded from the determination of the FRAME PERIMETER.
To me the intent of this rule is to encourage bumpers to be tight to the frame rails and robust so the teams can take the abuse necessary to play Breakaway. We had 1/4" bolt heads for our axles sticking out the bottom rail of our robot. We assumed after reading this update we were fine. We passed inspection on two separate occasions with our robot in this condition.
When I asked to see the rule book and stated this update as my defense the inspector read the rule aloud. “minor protrusions such as bolt heads, fastener ends, rivets, etc are excluded from the determination of the FRAME PERIMETER within the bumper perimeter.” That is not how the rule reads and the way that paragraph is worded leads one to believe that we were actually legal. The only statement of defense the inspector had was precedence from other districts and a supposed statement from Bill’s Blog that I cannot find. I was told this was Bill Miller’s ruling in the past and if we did not change our frame perimeter we would not be competing. PLEASE be my guest go to Bill’s Blog and search every posting this year for the word “Bumper” you will find only one instance and it is regarding changing your bumper colors. If I did miss something please point it out to me.
I completely understand that if that’s the way the inspector was told to call it that’s how he has to call it, and I have no problem with that, it’s out of his hands. He was very friendly and my complaints are not with him.
This rules intent was to keep bumpers attached rigidly to the frame. Our bumpers WERE. They are now held on rubbing up on a polycarb spacer that is held on by duct tape and are basically tie strapped down. The rule, in our case certainly did not “encourage a tight, robust connection between the BUMPERS and the FRAME PERIMETER.”
We gain no competitive advantage from our 1/4" axle bolt heads. We competed with them before. Why do we have to change? To fit some ridiculous ambiguity of an odd unclear interpretation of the rules that is stated nowhere in text for me to read?
I’m sorry to complain so much about this, but if FIRST is this knit-picky about a very unclear update and cannot even clarify the rule enough to the inspectors so that we “slipped by” two different inspectors at two different district events then how are we supposed to interpret the rules perfectly?
The rules contain 3 or 4 pages of bumper this bumper that…Are we building bumpers or robots here? How would our students have felt if we missed a match because of this? I encourage you to find one team to complain about a 1/4" bolt head sticking out. I can’t imagine that this didn’t happen to more teams.
It’s the little things like this that make me so frustrated with all of the minor technicalities within the rules and the time I waste trying to correct them. Penalties such as the line crossing in '08 the G14’s last year that decide matches, and some of the horrible and unjustified calls that were made during first week events this year are starting to really get to me. I sight the example of yellow card going on our partner in the quarter finals who drove over the ball and E-stopped once they realized they couldn’t get the ball out. We argued that they did not continue playing with the ball and were told they did not E-stop quick enough.
It makes me really consider if this is something I want to continue with as I grow older or if I should move on to other programs. FIRST is great but lately there have been so many things I’ve seen that I really haven’t liked.