Is spring integrity improving?

As we are now about halfway through the competition season, I am wondering if there has been any appreciable improvement in the springs since week 1. Between an alternate spring source, more durable tips, and improved mounting methods I am hoping faulty springs are getting rarer. Can anyone who participated or volunteered at a week 1 and a week 3 event vouch for this improvement?

Improving perhaps, but the springs and carriages are still subject to a lot of vigorous interaction with robots, and are suffering accordingly.

Taken at the Boston area district event this weekend:

I was on the field as a referee, Week 2 and Week 3. FTAs are getting better at repairing the carriages, including spring replacement when necessary.

Some springs still deform past their elastic limit (i.e., permanently deform) more easily than others.

There seem to be two types of springs in use. One is the “original” McMaster 9664K68, 0.14" wire diameter, 0.87" coil o.d., 0.60" coil i.d. shown on p.43 of the 2017 Field Components. The other has a slightly larger i.d.

I found one of each on the scoring table, where the FTA was working on carriage repairs, at my last event. See attached pictures. One compares the two springs, and the other is a piece of threaded rod (5/8 - 11?) drilled through to accept a 1/4-20 bolt. This piece is being used to replace the Spring Post (p.42 on the Field Components), making the spring attachment more secure. FTAs tape the threads before installing the larger i.d. spring.

I expect more improvements as the season progresses. Springs get beat up, a lot. The FTA must have replaced at least a dozen at my last event.

Exactly what do you mean?

Pittsburgh was our first event, but I can say that there weren’t nearly as many spring problems as I expected there to be. There was just one match (Quals 53) where we had a bad center spring, and the other two lifts were non operational… That was frustrating. Here is a video of this from behind the glass. You’ll need to skip to around 3:30 in that video to see the match.

Other than that, the field crew was very good about replacing bad springs and I believe they replaced that spring after our match.

No improvements that we saw at SF Regional. Word was there was experimentation week 2 with conduit being stuffed inside the spring, but that was not in place at our event.

FIRST shipped a miserly number of spares with the field…we thought that would be a problem and brought 40 spares for the event to use. They went through whatever spares FIRST provided, plus 15 of ours on Saturday. Unsure how many Sunday.

It is concerning to me if FIRST is using two different springs, as reported by Richard. I hope that is not the case moving forward and this was an isolated instance. In general the lack of transparency with how the field is constructed (touchpad construction and spring to lift mounting) has been very frustrating this year.

It’s systematic - there are now two springs and three points in use:

Those two springs share identical specs. Richard should not have been able to observe any visual difference between the two.

How much of the difference between the two springs could be attributed to the fact that one is showing a factory edge (left of Richard’s picture) and one is showing an edge that has been thru a saw?

Not sure how it was at Other regionals but the test at FLR this past weekend would be to place a gear on spring and lift it up. If it fell off the spring was replaced if it stayed on the spring the spring stayed. I know personally I would ask almost every match for a spring to be tested resulting in some being replaced and other being left.

Not quite; their initial/min loads are reportedly different. It’s unclear what if anything this represents*, and they’re close enough that it normally wouldn’t be a red flag–expect that it’s been an observed issue since before competition season.

*Edit: In terms of if it’s a difference in manufacturing or just reporting, but in this case a different min load might explain a lot.

From my experience, and only having attended 1 event so far: the springs are now similar to the ones in the field manual, but they do get worn faster. My brother was a field supervisor, and said that replacing the springs was a pain since they needed to be threaded onto the carriage assembly. This was only an issue since the springs were left-hand threads.

After the competition, the FTA told me if I was going to take one of the bad springs, I might as well take them all. I think there were 10 or so, some worse than others. They were all still usable for practice, though some were too short (after being kinked permantly).

It’s almost as if the whole spring design is flaky…on purpose!

I get that, and I’d be pretty okay with it if both alliances were scoring on the same set of pegs. But having coached two events now, the Red and Blue pegs were often radically different from one another. I watched it turn matches, and not just against me.

Yes, bad pegs are part of the design challenge we’ve built for (just like slow boilers–but not ones that actually count wrong). But playing against an alliance that has an easier or harder challenge just isn’t right. It’s bad game design.