Official Practice Fields? Safety of multi-climbs on team version field elements

Does FIRST publish what type of practice elements are shipping with the fields each season? As far as I know they don’t, I looked around the field drawings no avail and I didn’t see anything in the Q and A.

This year specifically, an accurate and well built climb bar setup seems like something a lot of teams would enjoy having access to on the practice field at their events. Looking at our team version of the field, I doubt that it is strong enough to safely lift two robots on, much less three. I don’t doubt teams might try to climb two or three on it, but foresee some accidents or (rightfully) angry safety inspectors if it gets out of hand.

If anyone has any insight into whether or not FIRST ships practice elements or if they release those before week 1 that would be great, thanks.

I haven’t seen it published, but we’re almost to the point of the year where FIRST starts packing trucks so surely they know what will be going out. Perhaps email [email protected] and see if they’ll cough up the details?

In 2016, I know each event was supplied with a climbing bar put together by AndyMark made solely for climbing. I assume this game will have something similar, given that the climbing challenge is almost identical to 2016’s.

Members of our District Event Planning Committee were told on a conference call that our field would come with an additional set of competition-spec (metal) field elements for the practice field (specifically, 1x Switch, 1x Scale, 1x Platform), not sure about the feeder stations though, if they’re included they might be wood. Note that this may be specific to Michigan Districts so I can’t speak for what other regions might see.

At first I thought this seems like a lot, but in some regards this makes sense because in the past practice field elements have been used as “spare parts” for the competition field in extenuating circumstances.

It’s worth noting that it may be difficult to get the appropriate spacing on practice fields with these field elements (for testing auton and such) because the field elements are so large they may not fit in the space allotted for the practice field at your specific venue (practice fields are typically 1/4 field, but these game elements really require 1/2 field of space).

Was told that FIRST is sending CIR (would assume everyone else too) an actual switch and scale for the practice field. I could be completely wrong tho…

Spare field elements are shipped with the field. These can be used to fill in for damaged field elements. A less than full size carpet is also shipped. These will be set up in a location convienient for the organizing committee. Depending on the venue, the practice field may or may not have elements arrainged the same way as the playing field. It all depends what space is available at the venue.

You should be able to practice scaling by yourself. If you get really lucky you might be able to do this when one of your partners is also on the practice field. If a miracle occurs you could get all three alliance robots on the practice field at once.

I would not plan on doing any complex automode tuning on the practice field. If you need to do this use your on field practice rounds.

The organizers and key volunteers will do the best they can with the space available, but there is only so much they can do.

That’s great news, I know that 2016 especially had a spare of each defense available on the practice field and it’s good to hear that something similar will be happening with the field elements this year. Space wise, events will probably figure it out like they always do.

The availability of spare field elements will probably vary from event to event, and is most likely at the discretion of the FTA and event director. My team is under the regional model. In 2016 the regionals we went to did not make the spare field elements available for practice. They were reserved for replacements on the field. Over the years, none of the regionals I have been to have had official FIRST field elements on the practice field.

If you need to know the availability of field elements at your events this year, I recommend contacting your regional / district director. I wouldn’t assume they’ll be available for practice.

Tangentially related since it’s not official, but the practice field we built for our event definitely can not support even one robot. It starts to crack very easily, so we’re strongly recommending teams don’t try climbing. This is definitely an issue that’s important.

Hope you are not wrong, as I’d like to practice 3 robot climbs

The fields are shipping with a real Scale and Switch, with wooden versions of the portal and Exchange.
They are also spares for the playing field though, so access isn’t 100% guaranteed since they may be needed on the playing field if damage occurs and parts are broken.

With the new rule that robots can only be tested in the pit area or on the practice field, and practice fields that have limited hours and are woefully inadequate for the number of teams, I really wish FIRST would just have an extra carpet, even blank or empty, just for auto mode testing. So many venues have the space to do it, even if it’s outdoors. Heck, let the teams bring a carpet. The current access is just not sufficient. This program, is too expensive for me to sit and watch our robot sit still in the pit area, and then not perform on the field, because there was nowhere to test it.

I’ve thought of even doing some kind of practice co-op with the adjacent teams’ pit areas. If I could get our three neighbor teams onboard, we could have 10x10 full of tools for everyone and 10x30 empty with carpet for the three of us. I suppose this would be easier if they published the pit map in advance, which they also don’t do.

This is outrageous…

If First is shipping an extra Official Scale, Platform and Switch and no team version of those elements they are intended to be used on the practice field and be used as a back up for the field elements while they are being repaired.

For Stronghold the PNW district was informed that we were being shipped 3 sets of defenses for each field like every other event and that they were to be used for the practice field and if necessary as back ups in case something failed on the field so that matches didn’t need to be delayed while it was repaired.

Yes it is.

I suggest if anyone gets to any event and the official version of the Scale, Platform and Switch are not available on the practice field you should go directly to the RD or District personnel and request they be provided as FIRST intended. Note if you are at a late week event it could be possible that it was damaged beyond repair but highly unlikely in my opinion