K.I.S.S. in action

We have all heard it, K.I.S.S, Keep It Simple Stupid. We may say we try to apply it, but do we?

I just got back from the Chesapeake Regional, our first one this year. I would be sleeping, but I’m amped up on energy drink because I couldn’t fall asleep on the bus, or face great personal risk :rolleyes: . We managed to rank 15th out of 55 or so. An improvement over last years 25th out of around 55, and the year before that (our rookie year) we placed 50 or so out of around 55. I’m happy with that.

Now back to KISS. This year out bot was a 3"x2" rectangular aluminum tubing frame, 1/4" wall. We used the kit drivetrain converted to 4wd, the trannies mounted on top of the frame. In the front we had 2 vertical 2x2 1/8"wall aluminum tubing members, and a 1.5x2 1/8" wall aluminum arm. We drove the arm with a sprocket bolted to it, and the bottom sprocket had a 5:1 gear down to a van door motor with spur gears. we had our electronics board in the middle of the frame, and lexan covers on the top and sides. For a hook I welded up a hook that reminds me of a jailai (sp? pronounced “hi lie”) racket/scoop thing. We put it on a spring loaded hinge so that when we pushed down on the stack of tetras, it folded out of the way. That is pretty much it for our robot. Very simple, no telescoping or cascading lifts, no pneumatics, no cable systems.
We found it to be a very robust machine. We even nicknamed the the front of out machine “The Ramminator” since it was so solid. We never got called for ramming, because we didn’t, we would slow down and then shove… just a fun name for it.

I find it very interesting that with a machine that simple we managed to rank 15th. We had a bad first 2 seeding matches, but then we were on fire for the other 3 on Friday, it was awesome. Today, our teammates wanted us to be defense, but our opponents weren’t that aggressive, so most of the time it looked like we were just driving around looking like idiots. In our last match, we finally were offensive, but we lost the match. Our one ally got stuck for a little bit, and our other one was a box-bot (don’t even get me started on those…) So between us looking stupid today, and us being a quiet team, no fancy outfits or mascots, we didn’t get picked for an alliance. But we were the first backup team.

We could get 3 tetras on the center goals, and 6 on the side goals, about as much as some of the teams with fancy arms. But we were extremely stable too. The only way we would rock is forward, and then unless we got the front all the way down, we would self rite without driver/arm operator intervention. Handy? I think so.

Now KISS, doesn’t have to mean no pneumatics, no cascading lifts…etc. You just have to use them well. Another excellent example of KISS would be team 1027. (I hope I’m remembering that right… I think I am) They had a low sitting bot with a telescoping arm, and pneumatics to raise and lower it. But they had a fixed end on their arm. Very effective, very fast, and very clean caps. Many kudos to them.

Now in Philly, since we know the game, and that defense doesn’t work for us, its time to kick some tail.

Any other teams have a simple design that performed well?

Preform well? Try winning two regionals, so far…

Our team (245) is extremely simple. Kit base and trannies (only 1 chip each, for weight), a high-low in the front, and a “self-centering” poker on the end. Self centering means a piece of PVC pipe with a spring on each side. The only mildly complex thing are a pair of “feet” in the front of the robot, but still very basic, pneumatics drive a nylon pad to the ground in front of our robot.

Our simple design has won two regionals so far, Sacramento where we were seeded 5th and became the 3rd place alliance captains, thanks to teams 766 and 1072 there. We also won Detroit a few hours ago where we were seeded, thereby we were the 1st place alliance captains again. Thanks here to teams 217 and 301.

The real reason simple wins is this, our base moved by about halfway through week 2, we were capping tetras by the end of week 4 (not to say we didn’t work on after this, but…). I saw this especially when I visited Great Lakes for finals, there were a large number of amazing robots mechanically, but their drivers needed a lot of practice. Last year’s game really tested human player ability, this year, it tests driver skill.

In two weeks we’re going to Grand Rapids, we’ll see you all there, and the next stop is Atlanta. Good Luck everyone and remember, K.I.S.S.

team 56 has a simple design but is very effective we used 80/20 for a chain driven sliding elevator that has a fixed angle. the tetra holder is pretty much a bent piece of electrical conduit but the way it braces itself makes it very effective. we have won 2 design awards so far and got finalist in the nj regional , first seed in nj, and 4th seed in sacramento, looking foward to see how our simple design works out at the philadelphia regional.

Also we used a 4 wheel drive system with a shortened wheel base, using the stock gearboxes that we were provided with. This bot is very manuverable and functional, yet simple at the same time.

I’ll look forward to seeing you there. Maybe we can make an alliance of simple design robots, and show the teams with the over-engineered bots how to do it :smiley: :wink:

Let’s take a look at team 33 for a second…

Great Lakes:
-Active tetra manipulator that gripped at the apex of the tetra and stored up to 4 in the robot.
-Crab drive that didn’t have the kinks worked out

Seeded in the mid 20s, were not picked.

-Replaced the active tetra grabber with a “pitchfork”. They can no longer store tetras in the robot (because the new design can’t get them out) and they now score one at a time
-Crab modules were swapped for standard single speed skid steer modules

Seeded 8th, were picked second, and were regional finalists.

From what I’ve seen, simple is MUCH better this year, and whatever design enables sheer stacking speed is the best (fancy grippers that take a long time to get lined up aren’t worth the extra time).


yes i agree… simple best…

look at our bot. .www.instigators1596.com… its pretty simple and straightforward. … (we have cables inside the arm thats a little tricky … but still simple.)… standard transmissions no pneumatics, 4 wheel drive, basic telescoping boom… . during the test day and for the first 3 rounds of GLR we had almost nothing to do in pits, just tighten bolts. . touch ups. . etc… then our wire broke due to a wreckless driver move (we had two sets and now we only use set 1…)… other then that .

we are regional (rookie of the year) so we are also going to Atlanta… we seeded 12th, and were the 8th (picker) for alliances :). .we made it to semi finals…

Well I agree that ‘KISS’ seems like it works the best when it comes down to winning the competitions, but what is better than seeing a robot that stands out because of some incredible design. When your robot becomes more complicated, there are more things that can go wrong, but usually the more complicated design has a purpose. My team won a design award this year at VCU because we had a 192-tooth, 24 inch diameter, sprocket that acted like a turret so that our arm could rotate 360 degrees. We made this sprocket ourself with a sheet of aluminum, a hammer and a punch, and a couple ours over the drill press. No it wasn’t a simple design, but we never had one problem out of it. My favorite part about attending FIRST competitions is seeing the crazy unique designs that teams come up with, not seeing who wins.

And our ‘not so simple design’ helped us win the regional, so we must’ve done something right…

well our simple yet very effective design came through we won the Philadelphia Regional with our simple bot and the help of our partners 365 and 316. hopefully you will all be able to see it at nationals now. our students are taking on a not soo simple task we are going to try to fundraise all the money for nationals now. wish us luck and if you can help us out please send me a private message.

Our design was incredibly simple. Two bars for height, the arm(a 2’ 8’’ stick of the same kind of metal as the rest covered in padding) mounted on the front one on a hinge so it would fold up for the dimension restrictions, the back bar is stationary, and the front bar moves up, operated by a winch system. Our base had a pretty thick shell, which made it bottom-heavy and not at all tippy.

We couldn’t stack on the center, but we could stack two high on the smaller ones with no trouble, and we could push other bots around, though we only got to try that once.

We were at Chesapeake too, and we were picked by team 614 along with 339(thanks guys!!!) for the finals. We wound up 29th out of 55. We’re also a rookie team.

We’re changing our motto next year to be “servo es simplex”, which is Latin for “keep it simple.” We would have had “servo es simplex bardus”(keep it simple stupid), but our head mentor cut it short…

We won FLR with a very simple design. It’s the best policy to keep everything in front of you. The more complicated you make it. The more things on the robot that can break.

Team 40’s robot seems pretty simple to me. It is simply an aluminum ball on the end of an arm that telescopes and rotates on a shoulder. Its very simple, yet very effective, just drive up to the auto loader and get the ball somewhere inside the tetra, the lift the arm and you have one tetra perfectly placed and ready for delivery. Oddly enough, we got the Driving Tommorow’s Technology Award for putting a ball on the end of an arm :rolleyes:

From what I’ve seen, it seems that the simpler the design, it more effective a robot is, at least this year.

Our manipulator is a doorknob…

Simple enough?

The most effective robot I’ve seen with my own eyes is Titan Robotics’ “Tyr.” It was also one of the simplest in a mechanical sense. I’ve spoken with their mentors, though, and their programming is sophisticated.

I couldn’t be much simpler:

I believe the only difference between this pic and how it looked at the PNW tournament is that the team added aluminum blocks between the wheels to keep tetras from getting jammed in there. I think they got to bolt on 15-20 pounds of extra ballast because they were so far underweight. That’s a 6-wheel drive system enclosed within the frame rails, by the way. With their arm lowered they can drive through the center goal. They were undefeated in the PNW regional.

I’m like the chairman of their fan club.

Hey… #1 seed in philly, I guess KISS did really pay off for us. More than we ever expected when we shipped it. Good luck to all the simple design bots going to nationals.

good point… i love the team 67 bot… tis complicated as hell . .and their was a couple problems they had in pits… . but. . the HOT bot. . damm! its awsome! and it prooved itself as they won the GLR

eveyrone on my team just LOVEs the STRAFE !!! we are going to try that next year . . . cuz its soo cool!!! i didnlt beleive my eyes the first time i saw it . . i was like 'that robot did not just strafe did it??."

they won the engineering award or similiar for that and congrats to them cuz its a lot of work!

As mentioned in the top post…

Team 1027 is definaly a KISS Robot.

We had a simple design with a telescoping arm that was raised and lowerd my pnuematics, it worked, we won at Chesapeake (thanks to team 53 and team RAGE)

Our bot has won 2 regionals and placed second in a third. as pat said earler we are SIMPLE…if u can find a pic of us you will see how simple we are. i dont have any on this comp so i cant post any. (245)