Forgive me for the hyperbolic title… but it got you here didn’t it
With Ri3D wrapped up, and most teams determining a set of priorities by this point in the season, it’s starting to become clear that climbing will be a critical part of Infinite Recharge. If you didn’t already figure that out, take this as a hint.
In full disclosure, this Public Service Announcement is being done purely out of my own self interest. I WANT CLIMB RANKING POINTS! I want alliance partners that I can balance climbs with.
Most Ri3D teams have converged around a similar climbing style that has been very common in recent games. Non-loadbearing extendable mechanism reaches up to “drop a hook” which is then winched up to lift the robot off the ground. Ri3D teams have proven it works, it’s been done hundreds of times in recent years, why wouldn’t we all do it this year?
I’ve seen some static load diagrams that show the wide range in which two similar weight robots can climb and still be balanced… but you know what? Real life isn’t static! When you drop a hook and winch it up, your robot has the potential to swing back and forth! I’m willing to bet we see more than a few matches this year in which a climb would’ve been balanced if it weren’t for a swinging robot.
There are a few ways to improve all of our chances of getting the climb ranking point. First, if your packaging dictates that you need to “drop a hook”, make sure it’s in your center of gravity… if it’s not, you’re more likely to sway back and forth, as well as you might tip in a way that makes you illegal. Hopefully your component packaging isn’t so restrictive one week into the build season that you’re already constraining yourself to an inferior climbing method.
A rigid climbing mechanism will be superior to any sort of cable and winch this season. A rigid climbing mechanism will help to ensure you don’t sway back and forth and ruin your alliance partner’s dreams of getting the climb RP. If you have the ability to design a rigid climbing mechanism, spend the time to do it, it will make you more valuable in quals and in the playoffs. Packaging this type of mechanism is also a great justification for many teams to build tall robots.
Another solution for maximizing your potential for earning the climb RP include coordinating with your alliance partners and climbing at the same time such that the bar remains level while you both go up. Coordinating these types of things in quals is challenging but not impossible, and certainly worth trying.
We’ll see some other more outlandish and brilliant solutions to climb balancing… but do yourself a favor and start making these considerations now.