Hatches on the floor? Was it worth the ability to pick them up off the floor?

Our design is constructed to pick up hatches off the floor and deliver them to the ship or to the rocket, plus help us move up to Hab2. I watched more than several games via Gameday (THANKS BLUE ALLIANCE!!!) over the weekend. This ability didn’t seem to be something of value nor did many teams do this. What say y’all? Did we make a big error in design? Our comps are in week 3 and 4. I won’t coach my team to change the design, that’s behind us now and too late. Just trying to gauge some opinon before hearing the great gnashing of teeth during competition about a waste of design and build time. lolz. Yeah I know everything comes out in competition but I can already hear the b’n and moanin’ in the background noise.


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I mean as long as you can get from human player station effectively, I don’t think it really matters. It’s just becomes a bonus if needed so I would leave it on

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Do you also have the ability to get them from the deployment bay, or are you limited to only the ground?

From your post I get the idea that it is designed to only get them from the ground, and I would suggest you add an metal extrusion or hook to your intake to “yank” the panels out of the feeder station onto to ground so you can then pick them up. It isn’t perfect, but at least you can get them from the station.

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We also have built a intake that can pickup off the ground in addition to the feeder station. Our original thought was that as in steam works, hatches on the ground will be common and save us time if we can avoid going back to the feeder station.

However, after watching week one I am sceptical that our system will be as useful as originally expected. Not that I think it will be a draw back, but I noticed that picking up off the ground was offten just as slow as driving over to the very close feeder station. We haven’t had an opportunity to test this I’m detail but it’s definitely something I’m watching.

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We never saw a need to pick up hatch panels from the floor. But our original robot design picked up Cargo from the floor. We ended up losing that capability in the interest of getting the robot built, so we have to human load Cargo now…which is not a very good thing to have to do. We’ll see how it works out.

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We (4201) have a hatch ground intake and only ever felt the need to use it once at Orange County. When robots send the cargo in the depot every which way, it is viable for many of them to end up in front of the loading station. With all cargo possibilities full and our alliance partners unable to pick up cargo from the ground, it was either pick up a dropped hatch panel or grab a cargo, throw it behind us and repeat until we and our alliance partners could get to the loading station.
Despite this, I do not think that you need a hatch ground intake, but you really want a cargo ground intake.


From the competitions I saw this weekend, hatches on the floor do impede other robots who drive over them. Since the hatches are plastic (which is pretty slick), they become difficult to drive over without losing traction. Plus, having a lot of hatches dropped near the loading station can make it harder to pick up hatches from there in the first place.

If your ground pickup is as fast as your loading station pickup, then in my opinion it is definitely worth it, especially if the loading station is obstructed by cargo/other dropped hatch panels. I wouldn’t change the design you already have.

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We competed in a late add week 1 (Del Mar), where there were a lot of newer teams. If there was an event that a floor pickup would be good at, this would be it, and it wasn’t. As the regional weeks roll on, it’s only going to be better and better robots, and even less dropping. There were a few teams with well implemented floor pickups, and all they used them for was grabbing hatches that they themselves just dropped. I think time is better spent on just making a good hatch retriever/placer and not drop them in the first place.

Honestly, what we mainly saw as an issue was grabbing hatches in the first place. Almost every team that tried hatches struggled at that.


Dropped hatch panels are likely less common this year than dropped gears for STEAMworks because they are more consistently delivered at the loading station in the same orientation as they are scored, a bit lighter than gears, and because they are radially symmetric with a usably large hole in the center. These differences mean that teams are often able to hold them more securely. Most of the dropped panels I saw this year occurred at the loading or scoring positions, whereas STEAMworks had nearly as many gears dropped en route.

If this trend continues, then a floor HP pickup will be useful, but not as useful as a gear pickup for STEAMworks.

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Once the defense picks up during quals there is likely to be more dropped hatches around the field. And with the likely clutter of cargo around the loading station, having a ground pick up will prove necessary.

Too bad the GDC hasn’t implemented my entering hatch panels over the wall during the final 30 s idea… yet.


In my (recently modified) opinion, I now think ground hatch pickups will become less necessary as the competitions progress for two reasons:

  1. Captains will not pick partners based upon their ability to drop hatches and/or get in the way
  2. The faster the placement, the less susceptible it is to defense

Once a team passes a threshold of cycle times (i.e. lightning-fast placement), hatch ground pickup becomes a ‘nice to have’.

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No, we definitely can get them from the deployment bay and/or off the floor. We’ve got a super cargo floor intake system tied to our cargo deployment system as well. I’m thinking the team wants to use the hatch intake to assist in Hab2 climbs as well.
We’ll see. It’s probably just me getting antsy and hoping to see a decent ROI on our time and ducats.

We’ve got cargo ground pick up and deployment covered ala Cheezy Poofs type of design. :slight_smile:

I highly disagree with this. I wish I had time to go count to prove it, but watching mostly PNW Mount Vernon and Orange county I offten saw more dropped hatches than the actual number of placed hatches. In Steam works, if I remember correctly, I there was about one or two dropped gears per match, witch teams offten took advantage of. This year, it seems as though many low level teams drop hatches at every stage of the process after being hit (with the high level of defence this year) and with poor placement and grabbing from the feader station. Again, I could be wrong (infact it’s very possible I’m just bad at perception) but I had a very strong notion that hatchs were dropped all the time, while I didn’t feel that way in steamworks.

Keep in mind both times my team did ground pickup and only in steamworks did I personally feel it was a huge advantage, but we have yet to compete this year so we will see.

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Thanks for your response. I don’t have any quantifiable numbers either. Just impressions from watching via Blue Alliance Gameday. I don’t think we’ll miss it if we don’t use it a lot. I do think the ground pick up may be able to help speed up the Hab2 climb as previously posted. We’ve got 16 days to stew about it. Its sorta’ like my days of rugby and football. The first 5 minutes of each game is a feeling out point. FIRST is no different to me. I just hope my game plan for my teams works. :thinking:

Test driving for an open house last night (with practice robot of course) some of our clever kids figured out that we actually can do a floor pick up, although we did not design for this. Slow, perhaps only useful if it is the last darn hatch panel you need to complete a rocket or some such unlikely scenario.

In the more likely universe “leaners” that have dropped off but are not totally flat down are pretty easy.


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I was at Kettering #1 this past weekend and watched team 245, the Adambots pick up a couple hatches. While this action was time consuming, there were many options of which hatch to grab because of the multiple drops that happened at that event. I say that if you can do it well it will end up saving you a lot of time of having to drive all the way back to your human player station to collect another hatch. Also, if you are not competing until week 3 and 4, then you may see more teams having the ability to get hatches off the floor.

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The majority of hatches I saw picked up off of the floor at FIM Gibraltar were hatches teams dropped themselves, and in the case where it was not dropped by the team picking it up, often picking hatches up off the floor was only marginally faster than grabbing a new hatch from the loading station.


6366 can pickup hatches off the floor very quickly (by design). Their only problem is the it may take a little time to align. I think it can be pretty quick if the hatch was dropped by a wall or a player station. I’m not sure it really came in handy at Palmetto.

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The hatch system is just part of what we do. We want to ensure we can move hatches and cargo to both the ship and rocket quickly, Also, we kept size and weight to reasonable levels and can play defense if needed. I would have rather had the ability to hit the top rocket cargo as well but it just didn’t work out (design experience and time constraints. Here’s a bag night picture. We may not be “purdy” but we’re ready to see if all this works or not. See all at the Greenville, Texas and Dallas Texas district comps soon!

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