No bag day... Thank You FIRST!

Today would be bag day.

For my team, that would have been devastating. We had been absolutely stumped by this game. We have a solid prototype bot, but the end effector has put us in a near catatonic state. At one point we had over eight different prototypes. Heading into Week Zero, the team (last Thursday) decided on two of these to continue to prototypes.

Problem was, programming started all of their tuning on the robot with a completely different end effector. There was a spirited discussion on what manipulator should be on the robot for our first Week Zero event. Programming won out. And so we went to Willmar, MN for Warpspeed’s event. It was a great opportunity for the team and our programmers. One lead stayed with our robot, the other spent the day helping out a lot of other teams. We also learned a lot about our prospective drive team.

Here is the best part; after identifying our deficiences, we decided to forego the Week Zero at FRC 2220 on Sunday, so we had the last two days to reengineer the aspects of our prototype robot that was deficient. And at the same time build up our competition robot. Hopefully, with a little luck, and poor forecasting by our weather services, we will be able to practice with our comp bot at KnightKrawler Week Zero this Saturday.

Yes, we will have had the opportunity to attend three Week Zeros before our first event. During bag and tag era, you could find one local Week Zero and hope for enough time to go through the iterative process. Essentially it was just make the adjustments you can - and make sure you bag up the right parts.

I don’t miss the days when we had to bag up a robot that still needed optimization. I don’t miss the anxiety felt as the competition day grew closer knowing that there are things on the robot that need attention. Some will say deadlines are important. I don’t disagree. We still have deadlines. The events are just more tangible and agreeable deadlines for our members. These are still deadlines that the teams have to meet.

I am grateful that FIRST heard the community and rid us of bag and tag.


I was totally feeling this, our first comp is in exactly 2 weeks and we are running out of time to build our arm. We were super bummed and anxiety and stress levels were rising when we realized how far we were and how little he had done. I spent a long weekend brainstorming and the next robotics day we bought all the supplies that we needed they arrived today so we start building tomorrow and hopefully be entirely done by our first comp at the midwest regionals.


Always a W when you don’t have to take an unfinished robot to comp.


Memories of 1717 (RIP) bringing a bag full of fabricated parts and assembling the entire robot during the practice day.


Really? I was kind of hoping they would bring the bag back to give us a shot at redemption

No. Bad Ryan.

I’ve been told I’m full of bad ideas :rofl: thankfully my students have learned to filter those out.


I’m sure KnightKrawler has a bag and a tag lying around somewhere that you could use at the end of week zero if you want some nostalgia.


The year before we were told that Bag & Tag was going a way, IndySam from FRC Team829 bought 100 Tags.
At World’s he found a creative way to get rid of them. He decorated FRC Team1024’s pit with them. They were everywhere.
*was I not supposed to tell this story :laughing: *


Hopefully 100 tags wasn’t too expensive, because the timing of that is… palpable.

Although, I do appreciate being prepared for the next 20+ years

You guys do know that the bag was abandoned a few years back? The reasons were many but you’re welcome just the same. I for one, felt that having a strict end of build period (bag day or ship day) was a good selling point for getting the attention of potential sponsors. It is a shocker to be told that the robot they are looking at was designed and built in six weeks and three days. Besides that, many burnt out mentors were looking forward to the end of build just to get some relaxation. Granted this year’s game is a challenge we did not see during covid. I can’t wait for week one.


Yup you can thank me for ending bag day.
Wasn’t expensive and with us splitting of bag time they wouldn’t have lasted 20 years.

This wasn’t really true for most competitive teams, though. The bag was a formality; everyone kept working anyway.


Which is one of the things that was a problem for teams with (for example) less funding, who couldn’t afford to have a full “hot spare” of everything to use for ongoing development, debugging, and driver practice while the competition robot was in the bag, awaiting significant updates after unbagging at the event.

I loved being able to tell folks about the hard deadlines, and impress them with what the kids got done in that timeframe. But I’ve seen the resource differences between “high-end” and “middle-to-lower” teams, and what it meant to my current team. While this doesn’t completely address economic inequalities (and the removal of the BoP, etc. made that worse again), this helped us out. A lot.

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8-12 weeks vs 6 weeks is still pretty impressive.


One would hope, if there was a bag day, that you would have used a different process. But you made choices that aligned with what we have now, and hopefully they’ll work out for you.

Well lucky you OP and others.
On Friday we packed and sent our crate to Delta Air Cargo. They didnt want to take the batteries, even though we’ve done it many times before. :grin: We had to open it twice so the dogs could sniff inside.
We spent 26 hours getting to the HNL airport, delays at SFO due to bad weather, arrived in Seattle, picked up our crate, wrapped it with stretch wrap and tarp, drove 8 hours to Port Angeles with a meal along the way. All in windy weather and rain.
Finally checked into hotel at 10pm, up at 5am with team to eat, check out, and catch a ferry to Victoria. Today Tuesday is check in day and pit setup.

FRC has taught us many valuable lessons. Failure (not being prepared) is Not an Option.


Today was “bag day” (or rather “two luggage-compliant crate day”) for us. We got our robot disassembled (about 2 hours) and the various parts fit into our two crates, with acceptable weight distribution for checked (oversize) baggage. It did not go exactly as planned, but close. Tomorrow we’ll carefully pack and pad everything and secure the two crates, two battery coolers and various bags and tool chests, and prep to go to the airport on Wednesday morning for our flight to LA. On Thursday we’ll be putting it all back together in prep for load in Thursday evening.

But hey, this really beats the old bag day (and the even older “stop build day”). At least we had the option to select our competitions to fit a reasonable schedule for our team.


You know I was reminded of a speech Dave Lavery gave at kickoff several years ago. He told the story of going from department to department within NASA and asking team leads how long it would take to accomplish a specific task. Each one responded “six weeks”. He thought it was odd the first time and then got even more suspicious the second time and so it went a few more times, then he looked back and saw team after team led or comprised of FRC alum. Then it all made sense and Dave knew they could do the work. I wish I had a copy of that speech and the one where Dave talked about the advantages of having engineering mentors on your team. Students can get the immersive exposure to engineering and the process of design. When Dave spoke we (I) all listened. They were inspirational. BTW for those that haven’t heard the name before Dave is Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA, Langley, VA.


If you find the speech anywhere, please post a copy of it! I’d love to hear this.

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