Interesting Parts Requests

Teams need a lot of things to make a robot function. What is the craziest/most interesting parts request you have ever heard?

In 2016, a team came by and asked if we could help them fix their shooter, which we gladly did. Turns out, they really just wanted us to design and build them a new shooter for use in about an hour.

I’m sure the pit announcers have all had their fair share of sonic screwdrivers, left handed crescent wrenches, and the like.

At Northeastern in 2015, there was a parts request for 20+ limit switches. I assume a team probably used multiple switches in place of a potentiometer or encoder.

We give out pencils with our team logo in our pit. Three years ago a team asked for a bunch of them “for their robot”. They ended up taping them at even intervals around a barrel to increase grip on the ball.

This happened in 2013, and it’s still a running joke today.

“Team 2079 needs dead weight.”

At sbpli a rookie team asked for a “gearbox.” When I came over trying to figure out what kind of gearbox they needed, I realized they meant a passive mechanism to catch and place gears. Luckily we had our spare in our pit.

So when I LRI’d this year at Lone Star North I brought three Heart Gears and left them on the inspection table for amusement while people waited in line for weighing or ropes. By Saturday, they had all wandered off, almost certainly from someone fiddling with them, and accidentally walking off with them when their team left. So I had Pit Admin put out a call that morning:

“Attention in the Pits, the Robot Inspectors are missing their hearts. If you have accidentally taken one of their hearts, please return it. You do not want heartless inspectors looking at your robots.”

Didn’t work, but Pit Admin and the inspectors got a laugh out of it.

OT, but I think Nerd Sniping is a workable strategy for winning in elims. I still had a Cube Gear left and was fiddling with it while checking robots pre-match in the Semis:

Kevin:(fiddle fiddle, stare at robot)
**Robot’s driver:**Oh wow, can I play with that?
Kevin:(stare) You have a match in, like, a minute. No!

I think a spool’s worth of appropriate toys, distributed to all your opponents as gifts could provide a significant advantage.

At the SF regional, we had to ask for the owner of the jigsaw case accidentally left in our pit, not so we could return it but so that we could borrow the jigsaw again.

While not a parts request, I did see a team using a leaf blower in 2013. They launched frisbees straight up in the air and then used the leaf blower to push the frisbees into the goal. I still don’t know why they didn’t just rotate the mechanism that shot the frisbees straight up.

Once upon a time we had asked for a serial mouse driver for our Crio

Someone at Iowa asked for the use of a robot cart for 30 minutes. Interestingly, when I tried to give them something that might work, they didn’t actually need it.

Upon reading that webcomic I decided to try nerd sniping my geometry teacher. To my honest surprise he is currently 45 minutes in to trying to calculate the approximate weight of the school given the weight of a cinder block, the surface area of a cinder block, and the square footage of the school :stuck_out_tongue:

My team has legitimately asked for an oscilloscope before. Back in 2011, we used a potentiometer + preset controls box, but somehow the presets got uncalibrated, so we preferred an oscope to redetermine the values.

Didn’t end up getting one though.

What’s the story here? Did the cRio have a graphical interface? Were you using it as a sensor?

I don’t know if it went out as a request, but I saw a Recycle Rush robot with a bunch of rubber wrist bands being given out by various teams used as a spring. I believe it was on a device to keep their stack together while they carried/pushed it around.

Had the same call at Bayou this year, and I made the same trip. Turned out it was for the other end of the robot - the team’s climber was a CIM direct mounted to a 1/2" velcroed shaft with no gearing. I offered our spare climber, but they wound up using a VP because it fit the space they had better.

My guess is they were using it as a distance encoder, to measure distance traveled over the carpet.

At CIR last year, our team put in a request for a boy scout. :smiley: The knots in our climber rope kept coming undone, and no one on our team was any good with knots.

Not a parts request, but a pretty entertaining announcement from the pit announcer.

Context: At Championships 2016 there were full-sized cardboard cutouts of FIRST founders and directors in the lobby of the arena.

After alliance selection, we were packing up our pit and sort of milling around, when suddenly we hear the pit announcer’s voice over the intercom “Attention. Could the team with the cardboard cutout of Dean Kamen please return it to the pit admin”. As we looked around, wondering who was lucky enough to snag Dean, we see a group of 2-3 students sneaking around the side of the pit area, walking quickly with their eyes straight forward and carrying a life-sized cardboard … Woodie Flowers. A few minutes later and the pit announcer’s voice returns “Attention. Woodie has gone missing as well. Could the team with the cardboard cutout of Woodie Flowers please return it to the pit admin”.

So … to whomever has the cardboard Dean and Woodie from last year … congrats on the greatest Championship souvenir. :stuck_out_tongue:

2011 Archimedes Division we asked for a “swiffer sweeper picker upper”… There was some stupid semi-resonable point to the request, I cant recall exactly though. Awe memories.

We actually normally keep one (mine) in our tool cart. It normally results from needing one during the season for I2C or SPI troubleshooting, so I bring it, but I just leave it at the shop during the season and it ends up in our tool cart at competition. We didn’t need it this year, so we don’t have it with us. Perhaps for champs I’ll bring it.