New at this and need some helpful tips

hey, im new at the whole robotics thing and i’m going to be building the robot and i was wondering if u vets could give me some helpful tips? well thanks.

Go team 1084

Go to sleep right now and wake up and watch the kickoff Saturday morning. :yikes:

But on a serious note, before the kickoff, you can read last year’s game manual avaliable at FIRST’s website
It gives lots of advice and direction on the major systems.


I would recommend making sure your team has a strategy session scheduled very close to kickoff. The day of, or after. This way you have an idea of what you are constructing a robot for. You wouldn’t want to make yourself a nice chunky arm if it would prove useless.

Next, when it arrives, make sure you have a very clear understanding of your kit of parts, and what should be in it. FIRST has impotant rules about what can be used for what. A lot of that information can hopefully be found in the US First website as well as in the Technical section of the Chief Delphi Forums. Most likely will be there after kickoff.

Get working! To take your original post literally, with you being about to build a robot, I would hope you have a good deal of help. Programming, Electrics, and Mechanics can’t all be done by one lonely person in 6 weeks. Be ready to communicate with the other people to make sure your plans are put together and well-organized. For example, in the 2003 season the 461 electric stuff had to be reinstalled a bit dangerously close to the send date because of the location of a gear or two that may have been a problem during the rounds.

I wish you luck! There are many experienced people on CD who can help you start organizing and give you tips on your robot.

While this website and many others are a good resource, there are many others as well.

Robot building made today. Read the thread reviewing the book of Robot Building for Beginners

Another great book is one sent to me by its author for a review “Kickin’ Bot An Illustrated Guide to Building Combat Robots” by Grant Imahara]( I never got back to the author (sorry, Grant), but the book is pretty good. It covers a lot of stuff that only a battlebot person would care about, but it has a lot of great practical robot building techniques, especially good is the section on how to use shop tools and how to build with lowtech tools.

There are a lot of other good books and whitepapers out there. One thing that a good book has that this website and many other online resources lack is a well thought out and organized flow of the data stream. Hyperlinks are great some times, but at other times, they are just invitations to get lost in another forest.

For what it is worth…

Joe J.

Standard P.S. for the 2005 Season:
P.S. I promised myself that I’d put in a shameless plug for the “NBD: Nothing But Dewalts”]( whitepaper whenever I posted in the 2005 Season, so here it is: I believe this instant classic will take its place as one of the most important How To’s FIRSTers have access to. JJ

A crazy design helps. Have an innovative strategy to do the goal of the game, and you will not only win, but you will also get a lot of recognition and (gasp) fame. Think like 12 to 18 hours on the design alone, being what your robot is going to do, how it is going to do that, and what it is going to look like. Also, be very weight-conscious. Know the dimensions of everything, especially the electronics. Also, know how to do (or have somebody who knows how to do) C++, the new programming language of FIRST. You should know basic math and basic concepts (such as torque, power, and gear ratio). Be able to do everything in the game with the battery you have. A battery can hold approximately 775,000 Joules of electric energy, and motors are not 100 percent efficient. As for materials, if you have access to an aluminum welder (and a technician who knows how to use it), weld box aluminum frames, tube-Al arms, and make several spares. If not, buy 1" Aluminum Extrusion in bulk (you will need at least 25 feet for the entire robot, bad parts, etc…). CAD definitely helps, and if you don’t have it, drawings will still work (but weight is still a big issue).
You will be working pretty hard throught the six weeks, so keep some food in the shop and devote your life to FIRST. It will pay off.
A cool Idea: Develop a neat navigation system, with a program that can tell the user (via dashboard computer) where the robot is at any time during the game.
So work hard, have fun, and let the games begin.

One thing that we always suggest to the rookie teams we start/deal with is to just make sure to have something drivable out on the field. The matches are expensive so you at least want to be on the field for each one and not back in the pit trying to repair. Having a drivable robot is a feasible task for even the newest of robot builders and in the situation of past year’s games has allowed you to still throw your weight around in a match.