need advice - wish to build demo robot

My team had taken apart our 2008 robot as a learning experience for the new members this season. It was basically half of a robot anyways, since our Track Ball manipulator was heavily damaged on day 1 of the 2008 Pittsburgh Regional, and was subsequently removed. But I digress…

We have all the IFI electronics, motors, chassis, etc from 2008. I want the team to build a sort of ‘demo’ robot when school starts in the fall. Something low to the ground, so we can easily transport it to fundraising presentations and demonstrations.

What I’d ask of everyone here at CD is some advice on what to try to build. Ultimately, it’ll probably just be ‘tank drive’, and the chassis will be facing whichever way fits the design best. I need ideas on what the robot could “do”. Such as what manipulators we could build. Perhaps something to shoot a football or maybe grab a can of soda from a loader and set it on a table. Just something fun to show what sorts of possibilities exist for a FIRST robot. And something more than a giant remote controlled car.

I’m open for just about any ideas that won’t break our budget. Can’t wait to hear what ya’ll may come up with. Thank you all in advance.

A T-shirt launcher will give you plenty of wow and you could build it modular to fit easily into a car. Search, there are plenty of threads about how to build one.

Another idea is to make it drive around autonomously and avoid obstacles with sonar. This is easier to display inside or in small areas. Maybe combine both ideas.

You could try a ‘low rider’ robot with pneumatics to make it ‘bounce’ around. You could even have it bounce to the music if you ran an Ipod through a crossover and into the analog inputs.

Not sure if this is what you mean, but from a visual standpoint it would be a good idea to have the gears, chains, etc. exposed or at least easily observable. It is always cool for the recipient of the demo to be able to see not only that the bot works but also how it works.

Just an idea: If you were to make a t-shirt cannon and you were preforming the demo in some sort of school gym see if you can figure out how to shoot the T-shirt through a basketball hoop. Don’t know it was a thought.

One protip: Build a wedge robot. From the aesthetic standpoint it is more appealing. We built a demo bot this year from our 05 base that a person can sit in and drive around. Seat belts are a must along with other safety precautions though.

What I have always wanted to do was to build a HALO WARTHOG. No joke. Picture a FRC Bot that allows someone to stand up on it, while manually turret and shoot Poof Balls. I wish we still had a supply of poof ballls…


This would actually be a new one…sorta. IFI created the BottleBot as one of the Vex house robots. I imagine you could have some fun with an FRC-sized robot doing a similar task.

Want a real challenge, make him tie your shoes.

You also need to determine your use for the demo bot. Will you use it for young kids, high school students, and/or adults? T-shirt launchers are good for certain events, but if you are at a library it wouldn’t be useful. Adults like seeing the workings of the robot, and young kids want something fun - shooting balls, shaking hands with the robot, etc.

We had this year’s robot at a community event last night. The younger set liked catching moonrocks, the older students wanted to see a match, and a lot of the adults (at least engineering types) wanted to look at the motors and sensors.

Don’t forget portability as well - we still our 2001 robot (which can shake hands - adapted from the ramp handle) because it is small and fits in a lot of regular cars.

Wow, great replies so far. Thanks everyone!

I do intend to keep this robot on the smaller side. The audience would probably be mostly prospective team members in high school and adults working for companies we’re trying to add on as sponsors.

Keep the great ideas coming.

Our little holonomic robot was a post-season build project, and will continue to be a programming base for the summer and next fall. We took it to the Team 1153’s Relay for Life cancer research fundraiser at a local grocery store, mostly as an eye-catcher, plus it’s much more portable than the FRC robots.

We just had to move it around a little for kids and adults to stop and watch, then if they looked interested we would drive it some more. Questions ranged from “does it do windows?” to “where are the flame-throwers?”, but never “it’s boring”. People who are in the field want to know more; people who aren’t but interested just like watching it drive. (People that are not interested are, to be blunt, are not worth bothering.] You have to bring the questions around to what you can answer.

Portablility is a big issue: this robot can be put on a two-wheel cart, and with the controllers and a box for batteries/wires/etc can all be in the back of my car. Kids like to drive robots, even if it doesn’t “do” anything but drive. Whatever you add is extra: A ball shooter, tennis or playground ball sized, would be neat, from hitting a target or for the kids to catch pop flies.

I always like to include candy in demo bots. Candy is cheap and delievery mechanisms are easy to build. People are impressed by the mechanics and candy is much cheaper than T-shirts. Also works for most ages. There are not many people who turn down jolly ranchers. You could even put your team name/number on them if you wanted.

I got to say t-shirt is cool, but go with the candy cause who does not like candy.

but i like the idea with music, so maybe something with music and candy.

just saying music can be changed for all ages, and candy can be adjusted to many things.

yes:yikes: :yikes:

We do a lot of demos, many are in front of younger kids (elementary & middle school). We wanted one that showed well but would not injure a little robotier should we have an unplanned incident. Also, we thought T-shirt shooters could get expensive pretty quickly (at least for our budget).
What we decided on was a giant nerf shooter. It is on a wood coast chassis, the turret rotates and makes a great noise when it fires that draws kids like flys to honey. It will shoot a 12" section of swim noodle about 40 -50 feet, is easy on light fixtures and if you want to, kids can trade the pieces in for t- shirts.

What about some sort of bridge layer? That would SO cool. Useless, perhaps, but cool.