Mistakes of 2013

  1. Our ground speed (10 fps with a non-shifting gearbox) was too slow. We had more control than we needed for alignment, and not enough speed to get around defense. Pushing wasn’t as important as we expected.

  2. Cable drive (climber) without “keepers” to prevent cables from coming off the pulleys when tension was lost.

On the other hand, we violated one of our normal rules and it proved NOT to be a mistake: We relied on gravity rather than active control to move, stack, and index the game pieces in the robot.

Don’t assume that the challenge is harder than it is, and skip over “it can’t be that straightforward, can it?” solutions.

Don’t do things that you don’t have the money to do.

Don’t assume that when you get the manufacturing resources of “powerhouses” that you will then have an easy build season, if anything it was more demanding than ever.

When a little voice in your head tells you “there’s too much stuff in this robot” around week 2, listen to it.

And a personal one, don’t say “yes” to as many things as I did when you’re going to be busier during build than you’ve ever been in your life.

Recruit and train early. New members are much more likely to be functional during build season if they already have experience with team activities.

We have words like that on 2614, including “Mecanuum” and “scissor lift.”

One mistake of our team was us mentors getting burned out trying to figure out a floor pickup system instead of investing those hours improving our loading and shooter on a perfectly capable cycling machine. If we had spent those hours we burned away on a floor pickup on improving our loader and shooter, we likely would have walked away with a blue banner or two this season.

Deciding to do all the aspects of the game. We underestimated the importance of an extremely accurate shooter and instead spent lots of time on a 30 point climber that sometimes, at its best, went to 10. Here’s a link to our robot’s info page : http://www.team708.org/current-robot.html By the way, at our most recent off season, Monty Madness, we took off the climber (after the event was over.) We hope to build a ten point climber by our next off season event MidKnight Mayhem.

Trouble shooting inconsistancies in our shooting. Our floor pick up was awesome but we failed to correctly diagnose problems with our disc delivery “bucket” that lifted them into the shooter mechanism. The inconsistent lift of this device lead to inconsistent shooting and jamming in the later season. We thought we had it several times but it would return after a match or two of minimal problems.

The unlikely source, an intermitant pneumatic cylinder. We have used cylinders on all our robots since 2010 and never had problems but these were long stroke with a “dainty” rod diameter.

The good leason, aquire game pieces and shoot quickly. Shooting 70% of 16 discs is better than shooting 95% of 8 discs.

Funny, I think that if we’d have spent the hours developing a floor pickup system instead of a 30-point climber, we’d have walked away with one or two blue banners this year. :slight_smile:

Not having a solution for upside down Frisbees in your hopper before you get to Champs. Of course we lose our first match by 2 points with an upside Frisbee in our hopper. Then at the end of the weekend you realize you missed out on a 8-0 record and #1 seed because of the dreaded upside down Frisbee in your first match. But you can’t change the past so just keep moving forward.

Turns out 1 self-tapping screw was the solution.

Our entire design process. “Let’s split into groups and the best idea of the group wins! You have 5 minutes. Go!”

That and deciding on day 1 not to do a climber because we didn’t have any ideas right off the bat.

Um…not making a CAD model of the robot before building it…again. :o

Not designing the robot in CAD (we’re working on making that better for next year)

Spending 3.5 weeks prototyping and sketching designs. - I was very busy with FTC for the first part of the build season, so I wasn’t able to be around for a lot of those meetings, but I attended kickoff, and our post-kickoff brainstorm, and that went very well, but I came back over halfway through the build season, and we barely had a drivetrain! D:

Building a key piece (our hopper) out of acrylic*, which has a tendency to shatter and break.
Yes the bright orange polycarb looked very, very pretty (especially when we cut ‘FIRST Team 1912 Combustion’ to it) but we took a hammer throw to the wrong place and crack a part, got into some defensive pushes and broke off a piece, etc. Between our three competitions (Bayou, Razorback, CMP) we had four hoppers. Wedneday night of Razorback we were using hotel dollys to bring tool boxes up to one of the rooms to do maintenance. One of the favorite sayings of the pit crew and drive team / one of the most hated sayings by the pit crew and drive team was “Guys, lets change the hopper!” This did however, have a silver lining that JVN would appreciate: it forced us to iterate and therefore, with each event, our hopper improved. On our team, we had never really been able to do that; to test a piece in competition, notice that there could be improvements (like making the feeder slot larger so the human player can feed faster) and making those changes. I think that process helped our students learn to analyze machine features.

Do you have a link to a picture of said hopper? Sounds like acrylic to me…

It is acrylic, my bad. (oy vey, I mix it up every time. To quote Annie Hall “Always the wrong answer”).

Picture (with v1) - http://team1912.com/photos/slideshow/hammerhead.png

What it looked like at CMP - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=517009735024029&set=a.517009238357412.1073741828.171023236289349&type=3&theater

Us working on it in the hotel room - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=508601835864819&set=a.508601162531553.1073741827.171023236289349&type=3&theater

Step 1: Don’t use acrylic for that application
Step 2: See Step 1


I think I posted this in the things you only do once thread, but, it more classifies as a mistake.

We spent our whole season making a scoop (like 1986’s scoop, but way worse), that didn’t even work at Waterford, our first competition.

This is what it looked like (it would just fall down during the match, unable to come back up): http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielernst/8545915268/in/set-72157632965760216

Needless to say, we stripped the robot of it afterwards, improved our feeder intake, and we were pretty successful.

I think deciding to go with Mechnum’s cost us getting picked @ champs.
We had the 15th highest OPR in our division and nobody wanted us.

Or it might have more to do with the fact that OPR is not an accurate measure of individual robot performance. How much did you actually score per match and how did it compare to the rest of your division?

What did your hopper look like? Our team found a creative way to solve that problem, although we never had to deal with it at comps…

Not true Ed, there were too many pure cyclers on our field. Our second pick had mecanum but could cycle, full court shoot and block up to 80". Versatility was why they were picked.