[FTC]: First-year FTC teams looking for advice

This season my FRC team has started our first 3 FTC teams. We have never competed in FTC before, and have rarely seen FTC competition. Our teams will consist of 10-12 students, and we are using the TETRIX kits. I know this is a lesser-browsed section of CD, but I’m hoping somebody around here may have some FTC wisdom they’d be willing to offer to us. Any advice is greatly appreciated, but here’s a few things I’m particularly curious about:

  • There are many ways to contribute points in this new game, and FRC logic would dictate that a single robot won’t do every aspect of the game perfectly. Is it better to focus on one or two game elements, or to be a jack of all trades?
  • Are there any materials or parts that don’t come in the kit that are considered essential to a good robot? (i.e. a certain type of wheels, tubing, etc.)
  • Similar to the above question, just how far can the bare-bones TETRIX kit get you? Is it enough to succeed at a high level?
  • Is it safe to assume most FTC teams CAD their robots? If so, how much detail do they put into the design?
  • Is scouting popular in FTC? If so, what is the most popular method?

Thanks for the help!

Now this is from my 3 years experience in FTC. I’m sure one of the past world champions can chime in and give a better opinion. We are a team from the Central Texas region, so do a little research to find out about what your region is like for competitiveness.

I believe that Karthik has laid down the golden standards for all robotics competitions. Do a couple things and be really good at them. If you feel that you can improve your robot over the season after going to a competition. Do it! Otherwise I would pick 2 tasks (maybe even 1 this year) and I would perfect that.

Andymark seems to be the the land where more advance teams go. I see a lot of teams now trying to use Andymark parts (stealth wheels for example) but at our qualifier most teams are using tetrix but when you get to your regional and super-regional some teams will be outsourcing parts form websites like openbuild, mcmastercarr, grainger, and home-depot. (I believe Techno Warriors Advance used 1 tetrix part on their robot 2 years ago)

I know in the past we have used a full on tetrix bot and have made it to Super-Regional but we had to buy additional tetrix parts. But bare bones depends on your strategy. Last year our lift kit didn’t come in till the night before the competition but we managed to build most of it, but never got it working; however we made it to the semi-finals for the qualifiers using only our drive train and a good strategy.

At our Qualifier, I never saw a team CAD their robot besides ours. Personally I CAD similar to how I hear 148 CAD’s, Everything is present. This allows me to know precisely how many of everything we need for our robot. But I’m sure you could CAD the entire robot and just not add the screws and bolts.

Now at our qualifier, hardly anyone scouts because our qualifier isn’t the strongest generally if 1st and 2nd seed join together they can win the qualifier with 90% of the time; However a good strategy can always win. However once you get to the regional you will see 45% of teams start scouting and at Super regional it almost critical that you scout.

Over all I find that a lot of the same key concepts from FRC transfer over to FTC. Good luck if you need any help feel free to message me and I’ll do what I can.

This will be our 8th year competing in FTC. Below are some ideas of what you might see.

[li]There are many ways to contribute points in this new game, and FRC logic would dictate that a single robot won’t do every aspect of the game perfectly. Is it better to focus on one or two game elements, or to be a jack of all trades?[/li] Most teams will focus on a part of the game. Once you get into the higher levels, you will start to see bot, like ours, that can complete every task, but may or may not to one or two tasks better than the others. The nice thing about the season, is the fact that you can continue to improve your robot, from competition to competition.

[li]Are there any materials or parts that don’t come in the kit that are considered essential to a good robot? (i.e. a certain type of wheels, tubing, etc.)[/li]
Our teams use to use the tetrix platform, before the rules started to relax a bit. You can definatly build a compeititon worthy robot out of the Kit of Parts, but if you have the money, invest in Andymark NeveRest Motors, and any of the Andymark/Vex Wheels. You will see most of advance teams with wheels from Andymark or Vex. (Keep in mind AM-2256 (HiGrip) is illegal in FTC)

[li]Similar to the above question, just how far can the bare-bones TETRIX kit get you? Is it enough to succeed at a high level?[/li]
We have been to Worlds 5 times, and as the years go on, we are starting to see more and more “custom” built robots. You can definitely succeed with a Tetrix bot, but if you FTC budget has the money, invest in some good parts. Andymark, for us, ends up being cheaper for motors and wheels, compared to the Tetrix version, as well as them lasting longer. (We only blew one motor last year, out of two FTC teams)

[li]Is it safe to assume most FTC teams CAD their robots? If so, how much detail do they put into the design?[/li]
We CAD ours. Most teams in our state don’t. It depends on what we are working on for detail (i.e. screws, nuts, etc)

[li]Is scouting popular in FTC? If so, what is the most popular method?[/li]
In the qualifiers, at least in AZ in the early season, we don’t really scout. As the season progresses, we definitely scout. For some teams, its hard to scout, as many have a lack of members compared to a FRC team. At least for us, we have 10-12 kids a team as well. We just have a system, where we have 1 paper sheet per team. Each match is then entered onto the sheet, and we have a basis for what they are able to do. There is a little bit of pre-scouting in there, but we have found that FTC teams are horrible in stretching the truth on what they can really do. An Electronic system, like you would see in FRC, is just a bit much in an FTC setting.

Sure thing!.. But better opinion, well I dont know about that. :stuck_out_tongue:

Opinions vary. For our team (FTC 4137 Islandbots), the following are most important:

Motors - use AndyMark motors rather than tetrix
Servos - occasionally we use stronger servos (1/4 scale). Also, servo mount blocks from ServoCity are much better than Tetrix brackets
Structural - we use t-slot aluminum (20 mm series) for our robot rather than tetrix channels

For this year game (as it was 2 years ago), I think wormgear (from Tetrix, but not part of the kit) will also be very useful - for hanging on the bar.

And, of course, raw materials: aluminum angles and perforated aluminum sheets from home depot, ABS plastic and Lexan

Got Robot isn’t too far away from you and they would be a great team for you to connect with. You can find their contact information on their website, http://www.gotrobot.us/.

evanperryg,

Contact us at [email protected]. We’ll help you out anyway we can.

Cheers!