No time to 'play' between regionals!!

Posted by Frank.

Coach on team #97, Psychedelics, from CRLS and MIT.

Posted on 11/3/99 6:22 PM MST

For those of you that don’t know, teams competing in more than one regional this year will not get the usual 3 days to fix up their robots. This drastically changes the usual strategy for many teams. I know many of us see the Regionals as beta tests…times to try new things and experiment as well as get some practice in before Nationals. It will be a lot harder this year to experiment if we don’t have our robots for the few days after the event. What does everyone think about this??

Frank Bentley
Team 97 MIT/CRLS

Posted by Susanne Krussell.

Coach on team #349, RoBahamas, from International Academy and Ford Motor Co…

Posted on 11/3/99 7:28 PM MST

In Reply to: No time to ‘play’ between regionals!! posted by Frank on 11/3/99 6:22 PM MST:

Well Frank, When I read your posting, I felt a giant wave of disappointment. For the very first time, I have enough money and engineers, and for the first time in 3 years, I registered my team for two regionals, believing that we could actually fine tune and/or debug the 'bot. Geez. This is not a change I like at all. Additionally, I don’t recall being notified by FIRST about this change. But I guess it’s not a huge deal…I mean, I still would have registered for two regionals whether or not I knew about this earlier. I was really looking forward to the process between regionals though.

Posted by Andy Grady.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]

Coach on team #42, P.A.R.T.S, from Alvirne High School and Daniel Webster College.

Posted on 11/3/99 7:46 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: No time to ‘play’ between regionals!! posted by Susanne Krussell on 11/3/99 7:28 PM MST:

All i gotta say is, pray that your robot doesn’t break severely at a competition or something. This is gonna test our persavierence, if i spelled that right :slight_smile:
Good Luck,
Andy Grady, DWC/Alvirne

Posted by Joe Johnson.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 11/3/99 8:26 PM MST

In Reply to: Re: No time to ‘play’ between regionals!! posted by Susanne Krussell on 11/3/99 7:28 PM MST:

I believe that the wording was ‘more than one event’ not ‘more than one REGIONAL’

Wait a minute, what are computers good for if I can’t cut and paste the relevant text?

> …ANY team that is participating in more than one
> event this year, will NOT have the additional 3 days to work on their robot
> as you have had in the past. This year, all teams participating in more
> than one event, will ship their robot on Saturday right from the event to
> the next drayage facility….

I think this means that basically all robots will be shipped from directly from the Regional to the next event, whether this is the Nationals or another regional.

I have some serious questions about this.

Do you have to use ‘official’ shippers provided or can you ship via whatever means you like?

What about tools? Do they have to ship with the robot?

What about spare parts?

What if your robot breaks (very seriously breaks) in the finals of the regional? You have NO time to fix it? This is fair? I think that it happens quite often that a robot breaks badly in the finals (especially if the game is a king of the hill competition).

Can you bring spare parts to the next event to ‘repair’ your robot? Some robots simply don’t work until they get ‘repaired’ after a regional and then shipped on the following Tuesday.

Doesn’t this give teams with the courage and money to build two robots a HUGE advantage? I know we drove until our wheels fell off or all our batteries were dead on the Monday and Tuesday after a regional.

If Spare Parts are allowed to be made and swapped out at the next event, then this rule really favors teams that have good prints of all their designs. Modular designs with interchangeable parts are going to win the war in the trenches.

I’ll say this much, It sure changes things.

Joe J.

Posted by Dodd Stacy.

Engineer on team #95, Lebanon Robotics Team, from Lebanon High School and CRREL/CREARE.

Posted on 11/4/99 9:50 AM MST

In Reply to: Read carefully posted by Joe Johnson on 11/3/99 8:26 PM MST:


Let me guess some answers to your questions, assuming FIRST runs true to historical form:

  1. 'Do you have to use ‘official’ shippers …? Maybe from the last two Regionals (CA and NE), to make sure all affected robots make it to the Nationals. Otherwise, I bet that teams can make their own arrangements, like PCHS’s patented lock-n-load system, as long as they observe the spirit of the new rule, ie: no access after Saturday. Teams who have figured out less outrageously costly ways to ship than CF will hopefully be able to do so.

  2. ‘What about tools?’ Who’s to say you can’t bring your tools with you? I certainly don’t agree to be without my tools between Regional and Nationals.

  3. ‘What about spare parts?’ We have always been able to make spares between events and bring them to the next one. We’ve debated in this forum whether ‘improvements’ are consistent with the spirit of sequestering the machines, but I think there has been general agreement that ‘replacement’ spares are ok.

  4. ‘What if your robot breaks (very seriously …?’ This is a tougher issue, but well-surveyed breakage ought to be repairable at the next event with spares. Weldments are problematic. Hopefully, the pit machine shop will have welding equipment (and skilled welders) available.

I certainly agree with you - this sure changes things. BUT, it does level the field re access to the 'bots, which we’ve chewed over here a lot in the past. AND, it adds a new dimension to this as an engineering problem. We should see some real bullet-proof designs and very robust mechanisms this year. The emphasis on good drawings of the parts is also a very reasonable incentive to do the job professionally. I really have to hand it to the few teams who build two (nominally) identical robots, and yes they will enjoy a (well deserved) advantage under the new rule. Perhaps they should be required (honor system) to build and ship (or sequester) the duplicate machine within the 6 week period? (I don’t buy the argument that a duplicate robot is simply a very complete set of spare parts, which I argue in 3) is ok.)

I can’t wait to see the other surprises in store this year!


Posted by Greg Mills.

Engineer on team #16, Baxter Bomb Squad, from Mountain Home and Baxter Healthcare.

Posted on 11/4/99 7:39 AM MST

In Reply to: Re: No time to ‘play’ between regionals!! posted by Susanne Krussell on 11/3/99 7:28 PM MST:

I know that I am in the minority but I like this rule. I have always felt that the intent was to have a six week project and play with what you could do in that time period. I am a little scared about ‘no repair time’ but I do agree with ‘no redesign time’. We have been one of the teams that goes to two regionals but now we will be in the same situation as the teams that don’t. The tradeoff is playing time vs the risk of damage. And we get to make that choice.

Posted by Joe Johnson.   [PICTURE: SAME | NEW | HELP]

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

Posted on 11/4/99 9:51 AM MST

In Reply to: Re: No time to ‘play’ between regionals!! posted by Greg Mills on 11/4/99 7:39 AM MST:

I am not complaining, I am just thinking about all the details as well as changes in philosophy that have to be worked out.

In the past, FIRST has been very clear that any changes made from the end of the regional until the ship time at 5pm on Tues. was absolutely within the rules. (FIRST was less clear on what changes teams could make while the machine was in the box – For example, ‘spare parts’ that were essentially total re-designs built during the ‘wait time’ but not installed until Thursday at the Nationals were in a grey area that many teams had to decide for themselves what was over the line).

Anyway, the new rules are okay with me, I just want to be clear on what is allowed and what is not. We will stay this side of the line. Scouts honor.

Joe J.

Posted by Frank.

Coach on team #97, Psychedelics, from CRLS and MIT.

Posted on 11/7/99 10:43 AM MST

In Reply to: I’m not complaining… posted by Joe Johnson on 11/4/99 9:51 AM MST:

I think the most serious problem will be with robots that break. If your team does not have the resources to make detailed drawings of every part of the robot, it will be VERY hard to make replacement parts without the robot there those few days after the regional. Will the pits stay open all Saturday night for teams to do repairs? Could there be any way to access robots earlier in Florida so that necessary changes can be made?

I’m just picturing WildStang from Rumble at the Rock in 98, when the entire life came crashing to the ground in the finals. If that would happen at a regional now(in the finals), there would surely not be enough time to fix it until it had to be shipped off to Florida. And I mean a complete fix with remaking some of the parts, not just Raul’s miracle reassembly (those that were there know all about it - Joe!) It’s possible, that some finals quality robots wil not be able to fully compete since they might not be in best working order come the first of the seeding rounds.

This change in rules can cause a lot of new issues when something goes wrong at a regional. The pits will also be more hectic than ever on Thursday in FL probably causing a lot of problems for new teams that have to get acclimated to how everything works AND do major repairs/rebuilding.