We are good for now thanks for all of the support.
We are good for now thanks for all of the support.
talk with another team in your area. That is your best shot. Do not just ask for tips and stuff. tell them to come in and help you out.
Where do I go to post that we need help?
I would search on firstinspires or the blue alliance for teams close to you, then go to each team’s page and look for direct contact info. (TBA shows 34 teams within 100 miles of St. Louis, with more than half of those being within 20 miles.)
Another possibility is to try to get contact info through your local regional’s hosting group. If they blast e-mails to the lead mentors, you may be able to find some addresses in the to and cc fields.
I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around the amount of hours I have spent trying to find someone to even point us in the right direction. FIRST is great, however, I have been looking for mechanical hep for almost 5 months now. I am going to lose my team. We have about 5 hours left on the chassis. We don’t even know how to make a prototype. We also don’t have anyone for electrical. I can’t believe how difficult it is for a mentor to have someone from FIRST reach out. I’m max frustrated at this point. I don’t want to give up on these kids. I’m afraid that I’m just going to have to tell them that there is nothing else we can do. Super sad.
Consider building an Everybot. Plans are available, or will be shortly. A rookie team in our area (7094 Alpha Omega), did pretty well with one last year, and TBH, 3946 (my team last year, in its seventh year), would have done better doing that than what we did.
I took a look at the page of contacts that is most likely to be able to help: TheFIRST Senior Mentor (FSM) page.
Unfortunately, there is NO FSM listed for Missouri or Illinois. Iowa, Kansas, and Arkansas all have FSMs but for them it might be a bit of a haul. (@Meredith_Novak, can you please pass the word on to your resident FSM? Sorry for asking, but you’re the closest that I know is on this site.) Helping teams find mentors and vice versa happens to be part of their job description as I recall.
Here is a great place. Post a new thread asking if there is anyone available to come by and help you out. I am also listing some teams that are around your area and competes in your regional, try contacting them. Also talk with a local college to see if they are willing to help you out.
Team 931 - Perpetual Chaos
Team 1178 - DURT
Team 1329 - ROBOREBELS
Team 1444 - Lightning 1444
Team 1658 - Tech Heads
Most of these team has a website with the on TBA . Try to contact them. They are all in the city of ST. Louis. There are other teams from the city so you might wanna check the TBA for them. Also talk with the parents of the students in your team. They can usually help in some way.
Do not give up hope. When my team started we knew nothing. It took us 2-3 weeks on the chassis alone. We also thought that it was game over. But its not. . Have one or two kid on your team focus on electric. a few focused on programming. Also, i am not saying don’t prototype, but do not put to much of a focus on it either. My rookie year, we drew out the robot and what it could do and just rolled with it. There are a lot of great resource out there. Try The Compass Alliance(link below). They have a lot of great resource. Also there are youtube videos online for everything. Have a go on that. I am also providing the link for Wpilib. This is great for programming. Have a look.
What is your location? I would try to lean on the teams willing to help you out. That is what FIRST is. Search ri3d and 118 every not for some design inspiration
If you are concered about the wiring aspects, you can also recruit a few students to parse the screensteps live and set up the benchtop and then the bot as shown there. That could get you most of the way.
You would just want to verify everything before powering it up.
As for programming, the built in samples in Vscode are almost complete for basic driving so you could have students take the lead on that as well.
While TCA has already been linked, I’d like to toss a few more resource groups your way!
1678’s Strategic Design Workshop - A must-watch for everyone who says “hey, I want to go build a robot on a robotics team”. Fantastic information for how to think about the problem.
Spectrum 3847’s Recommended Reading - A collection of resources from all sorts of places, stitched together into one helpful location!
FullCircle Rookie Resources - A collection of articles specifically designed to help with fresh teams. (I’ll admit I’m shilling here a little, as I’m the one coordinating FC).
The FRC Anthology - A book that gives a short overview on almost every aspect of FIRST
The FRC Survival Guide - A good collection of FRC materials, especially for fabrication side of things.
There are plenty of other guides kicking around with just a quick google search, but here are a few you should definitely check out!
The other thing I’ll push is The FRC Discord server. It has an interesting reputation around here, but I’ve personally found it an incredible tool and community. At the very least, you can ask questions and engage in dialogue with students and mentors. As someone who isn’t particularly mechanically savvy myself, I am constantly going there to ask questions about how one would go about designing a mechanism to complete such and such goal, and I can get an answer back sometimes in a matter of minutes. Definitely worth taking a peek at.
This is awful.
@Ryan_Dognaux can you please point this team in the direction of anyone you are familiar with in STL? Please help a team who FIRST is too busy to help.
Janel - I’ll send you a PM and will get you in touch with some folks who can help.
Team 4500 would be happy to help and we are just up the road from you guys. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can touch base
Team 4500 would be happy to help and we are just up the road. Email me at email@example.com and we can touch base
Please reach out to Steve asap and get your team to work with theirs. It is imperative that you and your students prepare with specific topics you need help with. If you need step by step guidance while building the kitbot, ask for it!
Steve, I highly recommend getting them a kitbot with a basic cargo intake OR a hatch mechanism together similar to the 118 Everybot.
Lots of good info. I’ll just add a few more things.
Boeing is a major sponsor of First and has a large population of engineers in St. Louis. I don’t have a way to contact them, but you can try calling the main switch board and see if you can get routed to a First representative, HR or Marketing that could send out a local email or mention your team in the company newspaper.
Always wear safety glasses and hearing protection when working around powered machinery. Ensure the work is done on well lit tables. Clamp parts before drilling. Carefully mark parts to be cut or drilled. When making multiple parts, use a template. When attaching parts, drill the first hole and insert a bolt or rivet before drilling the 2nd hole to insure the holes line up.
Before connecting the battery, double check the wiring and ask others to help. Putting current the wrong way into a motor controller will burn it out, right away. There was a great comment about putting the robot up on blocks. This means attach 2) 2"x4" or 2"x6" board in the shape of an upside down “T”. Put one in each corner of the robot, such that the wheels can turn without the robot moving. Now you can try powering the bot, without having the robot flying off the table.
Always wrap the frame with pool noodles and tape. Its too easy to hurt someone’s foot or cut up a wall.
Visit Home Depot, Lowes or a store that sells tools. Ask for a donation of tools or materials. Thin plywood and pvc tubing are easier to cut and cheaper to test ideas, than using aluminum.
Check out Vex Robotics for parts, materials and ideas.
Robot Design Tradeoffs
If you are planning to pick up the cargo game piece, check out past designs from top teams in 2012 and 2014.
In 2012 it was easy to design a narrow robot with that kit of parts. The gotcha was the width of the game piece and the required bumpers left minimal space to pick up the ball inside the frame. Having more gap makes driving to the game piece easier, especially when moving across the field.
Since there is a limit to home much frame perimeter a robot can have, building a wide robot limits its length. One disadvantage to a shorter frame is tipping backward while accelerating. To over come this limitation the center of gravity of the robot must be low.
Another option is to build a narrow robot and attach an arm to pick up the game piece in front of the bumper. Just remember this arm must be retracted inside the frame perimeter at the start and is open to being hit during game play.
I apologize I am just seeing this post now. I am a mentor for Lightning 1444 in Affton. We should be able help you with whatever you need. We’ve had our share of rough seasons over the years, but we’ve made it through and we’ll make sure you get through too! 1706 in Wentzville and our “sister” team, 4329, in St. Charles are also very helpful.
We can get you going with the kitbot, basic electronics, and some basic programming. We can certainly spare some time in our machine shop to help you build some mechanisms. I like the idea of going with something like the 118 Everybot or some other simple design. We have built several field elements and have a decent practice space you are welcome to use when the time comes as well.
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.