Well, our robot is done… …at least my part of it…
As many of you know already, this is my year off from FIRST.
But… …being a FIRST-o-holic-for-Life (a charter member in fact), my years off are somewhat of a misnomer.
This year, I am leading the design phase, period.
And, as of today, the design phase is over and the building has begun.
As hard as it is even for me to believe, this year, the Chief Delphi team has built NOTHING for our robot until today, 3 weeks into the 6 week design and build time.
For all that, I am sure that this year we will be farther ahead of the game in the end.
We have designed a robot that [list=1]
[li]Has a high chance of doing what it is designed to do,
[/li][li]Will make weight (as of last night our spread sheet had us about 20lbs under),
[/li][li]Will be able to be built by us in time to get our drivers & programmers time to learn and program,
[/li][li]Will make the $3,500 cost from rule K3,
[/li][li]Will be a BLAST to see in action, and
[/li][li]Last but not least, We are very proud of.[/list=1]
From my personal perspective, I have had more fun this year than in any other (this is my 8th year). Part of it has to do with my belief that this year’s game is going to be a real treat to watch but part of it is that I have only been on the hook for the design this year, not the day to day running of the team (Special and personal thanks to Mike A. and Mike M. for that support).
Designing it all before we built anything was difficult but fun too. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.
One of the best things about doing it that way is that it allowed us to find our packaging and functional errors without having to realize in horror that we had already built too much of the problem to fix it properly. For example, last year, none of our internal structural decks hit the goal decks as intended due to a simple calculation error we caught after we had built too much to make it right – ah well…
Back to the topic I intended with this message, the K3 rule has really invigorated our team.
To be honest, the Chief Delphi team has never bothered much with “How are WE going to make this?” problems – We knew we could design what we needed and then pretty much assume that our shops could make whatever sub-assemblies we needed. If we were late (which was almost always) so that our internal shops could not finish our stuff in time, No worries. We always felt we could break the job up into enough smaller jobs so that we could find enough shops around town to get us our stuff in time.
In short, DESIGN and INTEGRATION were our focus, MANUFACTURING was a problem we could farm out as needed.
But… K3 has changed all that. We have had to really think about what we can make in a shop with not much more than a band saw and a drill press.
Once we got over the shock, it was as fun of a challenge as ever.
In the end, I am very happy with the K3 rule. I believe that even though it may have disadvantaged our team somewhat (vs. our historical design and build methods), on balance, it will be good for our team and good for FIRST as well.
For all my worry about K3, in the end, I believe CD8 may be one of the best looking, best performing, most dominating FIRST robots we have ever set on the carpet.
Time will tell…
P.S. While I am dying to post some CAD views of CD8, it will have to wait. Taking a year off, does not mean I am not as competitive as ever. I see no reason to give all you clever sheep out there a sneak peak while there is still time to design in countermeasures Closer to ship date you may see a JPEG or two.