Last Minute Changes

Anybody else have any last minute changes? Our robot ended up being 10 pounds overweight (we never weighed it with the electronics board) so we had to ditch our only way of getting over the beam, leaving us only with the harder option of the balance bridges. Did anyone else have any last minute changes to their bot that resulted in a major change of strategy?

We make gametime decisions all season long. From yanking out our bridge tipper to adding a second shooter motor to adding some barbells to the front of our robot to make it less likely to tip, iteration is a part of life. Teams that do well in Week 1 have to keep their eyes open, as it could make all the difference at later regionals or Championship.

A few days before the end of build season our build/design crew decided to add an arm to bring down the bridge with. It was a simple design that helped us balance well. We had to change our placement of electronics, but it all worked out well and was an excellent decision.

Our design/build crew decided to replace the mecanum wheels we had with plaction (like traction) wheels during our first build window before our Detroit competition after watching the Week 1 competitions. This made a huge difference in our ability to balance and it was totally worth sacrificing some maneuverability (we also lost five pounds of weight).

During our build window before Livonia we decided to add a pneumatic arm to help us triple balance since we had five pounds of weight to play with. We tested it out and it works decently, but not as well as we expected.

Overall, the changes we made greatly helped us balance. I wouldn’t change anything else or disagree with what our design team did (except maybe add a flamethrower… if only it were legal :rolleyes: ).

When I was on Team 67, we often had incomplete robots at the end of build season.

In 2008, we completely redesigned our arm and added it to the robot on Thursday at Finger Lakes.

In 2009, we changed our robot from a turreted shooter to a spitter during the 6 hour robot access period by doubling the width of our ball elevator so that two balls could fit in it side by side.

In 2010, we went to our first competition weighing 90 pounds and worked hard on adding a hanging mechanism during that competition and the next. We finally got it working during the eliminations at our second competition. And it was sweet too, because it could lift our robot after the buzzer.

In 2011, the robot was done, but several controls issues resulted in the HOT Team underperforming at their first competition.

That’s why I was surprised when I heard several days before Stop Build Day that 67 had completely finished their robot as well as a practice bot, and had pulled of a very impressive demonstration for the parents.

I had told my new team this joke: “They procrastinate so much, no wonder they’re the Heroes of Tomorrow!”, but I guess the joke doesn’t have any truth in it anymore. They were really on their game this year!

I know that 1425 added their pneumatic triple-balance-helper-thing (a technical term if I ever saw one) for Seattle, and won the regional because of it.

We removed our (non-functioning) shooter and rewired our electronics board at Waterford this year… We were an overpowered transmission and we kept tipping with all of the weight from the shooter. The next week at Detroit, we were able to balance on the bridge with ease and ended up being selected by the #1 alliance. Together we triple balanced 4 times and double balanced twice during the elimination rounds. The changes were well worth the stress at Waterford.

I always thought that was cool.

At our First competition(San Diego), on the first day, we added our hopper and shooter onto the robot(we have a practice robot, so we new everything worked)

Then, in our first match, we completely destroyed our electronics board, by ramming into the bridge. This caused us to have to spend our whole first day of competition, not only rebuilding our electronics board, but also having to go through a redesign. In the end, we came up with the idea of an upside down electronics board, that used the back of the board to protect our electronics. Overall, we think it actually helped, as we cut a lot of weight off our previous, heavy electronics board, cleaned up the wiring, and made it worry free. The weight specifically helped because we were 10 lbs over. Furthermore we took our active bridge mechanism off. The funny part was that we used the front of our robot, which was accidentally designed with a wedge in the front, to push up the bridge for other teams, which ended up being helpful at speeding up getting on the bridge, in elims at LA.

Continous improvement.

In 2008, we didn’t figure out a good full-speed ball-knock down method until the day before our first competition.

In 2009, we kept our turret out of the bag because we weren’t nearly done with it.

In 2010, our ball grabber didn’t work until the day of bag, and our lift-mechanism was working at half speed until our second competition when we put a new gearbox and a second motor on it.

In 2011, our minibot deployment system was finished on our practice bot then mounted on our comp bot during a 2 hour open bag window. We had 4 major iterations of minibot that year, where we completely scrapped the old in favor of something drastically better.

In 2012, we changed from a wedge style bridge lowerer to an arm in our first bag window. Just today, we changed our camera positioning, changed our ball-presence sensors, and are rewriting our vision code to be more robust.

It never ends.

At Lake Superior, we had a separate control of our intake roller and our poly cord ball elevator to our shooter. When we rammed the gear box to the ball elevator into the bridge during elims, one of our students very quickly decided to use surgical tubing to drive the poly cord roller from the still working intake roller as a makeshift workaround.

Turns out the drivers liked the new configuration better! We continued without a change (other than removing the now useless motor, controller & wiring) at 10K Lakes, and were Finalists-- getting the regional high score at our final winning match.

senior year, lead mech, im thinking that i’ll stay out of the pits and let the youngins do the heavy lifting we git to comp and the first inspector comes by and says that due to bumper regs we have to drop the entire frame of the bot 2in so they will be “firmly attached” (although arguably you could have hung the bot by its bumpers at the time.:rolleyes: ) second inspector comes by and says they’re fine, sadly head inspector agreed with inspector A.

so in all six hours of hacking the bot to bits, moving the entire superstructure up 2in so that we could drop the frame and ripping the entire drivetrain off and reinstaling it above the frame. but it was fun:D

We went to the new hampshire regional and are going to the championship and we are making many changes from our bridge manipulator, to our game strategy, to our attempt at 3 balance, to our shooting speeds even autonomous mostly because there are so many ways to play this game we did well in new Hampshire being ranked third but we could always be better good luck to all the teams going to st Louis

Every year I have been on the team the robot changed over the course of competition season. This year we had more time compared to the last 2 years to debug issues, though we need to finish things even faster next year.

2010: Our hanging mechanism did not work so we redesigned a new one. The ball intake roller was changed so balls actually stuck properly.

2011: All jaguars were changed for victors after issues at Traverse City. Minibot and deployment probably was on most team’s list of changes. We ended up using an alignment hook and a deployment arm released by a pneumatic cylinder and powered by stretched surgical tubing.

2012: We arrived at Gull Lake and our bridge arm back drove against the bridge so that was remedied in time for eliminations. Duct tape was added to the polycarbonate shooter hood to add back spin.

We still have some more changes to do to the robot when its unbagged at State Championship such as attempting a wedge and changing type of drive shaft to steel from aluminum because a major one broke at West Michigan (during a qualification match trying to get on the coopertition bridge & after quarter-finals.)

Particularly this year, though I dunno if this counts as last minute, but anyone who saw us at Greater Kansas City and then at Oklahoma this year would noticed the top half of our robot drastically changed from a 4 wheel pitching machine to a 2 wheel custom fab hood shooter. That we designed in about a week and a half (our spring break) and it worked beautifully. Now we’re tackling changing our entire bridge manipulator to something completely different. Hope it all works out well for St. Louis.

A thing we’re considering is changing up (read: removing the entire top half of the robot) and changing to a hood shooter/pitching machine shooter, because as of now we are the ONLY team at the NC regional that is using an air cylinder firing mechanism. It works like a charm, and scared the hell out of a veteran team with its speed and power (without the block on the end to punch the ball the piston will go THROUGH the ball without it moving at all), but its just not as reliable or fast reloading as a pitcher.

Wasn’t too involved before 2010, so can’t comment past “of course”.

2010: Kicker did not work when robot went into crate. Partial redesign of it before week 1 SD regional. Intake still didn’t work. Complete intake redesign before LA regional. Changed kicking element (angle + reinforcement) and increased kicker power between SD and LA, and then again between LA and Champs.

2011: Intake & minibot did not work at SD. Redesign minibot, adjust intake for LA. Intake still sketchy in LA. Redesign for Champs. Minibot too slow during elims at Champs. Remove and replace with 1114’s prototype deployer between matches.

When we arrived at Bayou and ran a practice match we discovered we had made a calculation error in our drivetrain, and the thing wouldn’t turn on carpet.

The only way we could fix what we had done, was a spontaneous co-axial drive system.

Using entirely borrowed and scrounged up parts from other teams we were able to assemble in just 2 hours, a whole new drive setup, geared completely different taking up no more room on the robot, and having a pretty cool engineering aspect displayed.

In each of these last two years we have put a lot of time into significant upgrades mid-season, and that has been really fun and rewarding. Like some people have said, the build season basically lasts until the end of your last competition if you want it to.

2011: Complete redesign of minibot and deployment for second competition. Minibot went 9 for 9 in qualifiers! Redesigned minibot again for champs and also brought a plastic piece to clamp onto our elevator spool to increase its diameter and speed it up.

2012: Switched a set of wheels before our first competition to improve turning. At the second competition, installed a new shooter and a new bridge manipulator.

This reminded me of something similar that Dave posted long ago about building the technology of tomorrow, sometime late tonight.

It probably should be an FRC build-season mantra: never put off until tomorrow what you can do tonight.

Changes are inevitable, reading the rules etc… doesn’t always give you a good idea of how the strategy and game will effect your thoughts on design.

2011 We had a great deployment mechanism and a decent minibot (4 seconds using the gearboxes on the motors) ready after the build season. After scouting Kettering and seeing the 2 second direct drive units we went that direction and had the new ones ready for our first competition (W. MI district) and it worked for us well on to MSC and St Louis.

2012 Our original idea for balancing 3 robots was to be a robot “car hauler” and have a robot on top of ours. After the West Michigan District where we did not see many robots suitable to ride on us, We built a “stinger” to replace our ramp appendage for Niles district. If we had not had the ramp idea we would not have had the room or weight to have the stinger. We still have the ramp and could rapidly change it in the pit but I think the stinger is much more useful as we can rapidly co-op balance in the seeding matches and the ramp was only an end game piece.