Practice bot morality

What are your thoughts on the morality of a practice bot? Sure, you are not directly breaking the rules by working on your bot past the 6 weeks, but aren’t you gaining an unfair advantage over other teams? Problems you find with your practice bot will be much quicker to find and fix once you get to competition.
Plus, you are spending more than the allotted $3500. Another advantage to teams with more sponsors/ resources.

What are your opinions?

Illegal? No. Immoral? Not really.

I could tell FIRST that this so called “practice bot” is just an extra non-FIRST-related project that just happens to look like my competition robot.

As for money, like I said, non-FIRST-related project.

As for the immorality of it, there is nothing stopping other teams from doing it. If you say money is an issue, then go out and work on your business end of the team and get more sponsors. Every team is capable of getting a practice bot, though it may be harder for some than others.

You just need to work hard sometimes to get what you want, and in the end it’s totally worth it.

Or you can do the “poor man’s practice bot”, which would basically just be your drive train and maybe 1 or 2 other components (Like this year it could be your drive train and ball sucker/magnet thing.)

I will grant that it is an advantage. I won’t debate whether or not it is unfair, but I will say that fairness is not always an appropriate goal.

Our intent was to make our 2011 robot into a semi-practice bot if we had the resources, but not build a complete replica of the bag’n’tagged bot. With money being tighter than we had anticipated we’re not going to see that happen.

It does “feel” unfair that other teams might have their sponsors manufacture two of everything for them, and get two or three weeks practicing/modifying a perfect copy of the competition bot. But thats just the world we live in.

I firmly believe that if a team has a truly good idea, and makes it a reality, they don’t need a practice bot.

If you work hard enough to make the money to build it, then you deserve to be able to build it without anyone getting on your case. It’s just another tool to teach kids.

There’s nothing immoral about building a practice bot.

In terms of fairness? It’s fair because everyone can do it, given the resources - if you don’t have the resources then go out and get them.

  1. We’re doing the same thing you’re doing.

  2. That last sentence… Are you saying your idea isn’t good, because you’re building a practice bot? :wink:

I will agree that its fair/ legal. But I think it still goes against the spirit of the 6 week build. Being able to build a replica of your competition bot that you can work on after you bag your bot gives you an advantage.

That being said, our team is planning on building a second practice bot after our first is completed. I’m not against them. I am just putting the question out there to see what other people thought on the subject.

I think the practice bot may even be encouraged by FIRST. They do allow you to bring in 30 lbs of replacement parts to competition. Do they really expect you to bring in 30 lbs for spares? I think that building a second robot is an important part of FIRST, and it is fair because every team at a competition has the same amount of time to practice between bag day and the competition.

I know some teams may not have the resources, but all it takes is hard work. Ask your sponsors if you need to, explain the situation, and explain how beneficial it is to have a second robot, even if it’s made of scrap metal.

Also, building and working with a practice robot makes build season seem longer, which is good because build season is fun:D

Actually, we’re NOT going to build one due to finances. If we’re lucky we’ll still have enough COTS leftover for the 2011 bot to be used for basic drive practice for our almost all rookie team.

Oh. Nevermind.

There is no other answer to this than “you are wrong”.

The unfortunate reality is that the average team plays for somewhere between 18 and 60 minutes in a given year.

We spend more than 60 minutes practicing each day.

You simply cannot peak at your maximum potential without a practice bot, no matter how good the design is. Unless you compete in Michigan and can play in 90 matches in a given year.

I see nothing immoral about it. Part of the reason people do FIRST is to get experience in the practices of engineering. One key principle of engineering is iteration. A practice robot allows a team to greatly increase the amount of iterations they can go through. They can practice, find a flaw, find a fix, and implement it at their competition. If you think about it as a tool for learning there can be no thought of it being immoral.

As for the thought of it being unfair to teams without the resources there are many inequalities in FIRST. Would you consider expedited shipping to only the continental US an unfair advantage? No probably not. You would say its part of the challenge and move on. Disparity in resources is very similar. There are many different ways to raise funds on your own and if your team feels a practice bot is a way to increase your teams ability to meet its goals then find a way to make it happen and call it even.

“Going against the spirit of 6 week build [by adding to the robot after 6 weeks]”

Wouldn’t most teams first Day at a regional be doing this :rolleyes:

I won’t argue morality, legality or any other point about practice bots which has been thoroughly debated and discussed in numerous threads several times per year.

However, I will say there that any team can pull themselves up by their bootstraps to the very top tier with nothing but hard work.

When I joined 973 (no offense to the existing team at the time), they were mediocre at their best, and often below average.

Each year we set a few goals, and we achieved them; Each year we got substantially better.

Four years down the road from that day, we have a larger far more optimized shop, more machines in house (including a CNC), 5 times the team’s 2007 budget, substantially more members, practice bots, offseason projects, powdercoated robots and a fair amount of on-field success.

I am not trying to brag, merely making the point that with hard work any team can massively improve their circumstances.

There is no unfair, just a personal lack of desire to improve one’s own circumstances.

In the spirit of FIRST fairness is one of the main goals hence limitations on robot size, weight, and price; so that competition is not only challenging but fun at the same time.

And, ahem, a World Championship? I guess you succeeded at avoiding bragging…

Building a practice robot is hardly not in the spirit of FIRST. FIRST says nothing about making yourself less competitive because you know there are those out there who can’t/don’t do the same things to help themselves out. FRC is about keeping a high level of competition while helping other teams do the same. The competition is the tool to inspire students in STEM.

If you think practice bots are immoral you must think FiM is Gomorrah.

FIRST is a pretty decent microcosm of real life,

those who work hard, accomplish more

decent lesson to learn, and FIRST is allowing us to learn it.

If teams bothered to come out of the pits. Thursday is often Extra Eight Hours of Desperate Build Time Day to finish their still incomplete robot.