Question for accomplished student robot designers

What did it take for you to become accomplished (how much team training, self-study, practice designing mechanisms & then robots, and whatever else over how much time)? Please share a bit about your learning journey.

I’ll define “accomplished” as able to confidently lead or co-lead your team’s robot design effort, including integration & interfacing with manufacturing, in season. Comfortable with the lead student design role on your team… what did it take to get there?


When I was in high school I spent 2 summers picking the brains of people in the F4 slack channel. Gosh I miss those guys. Funny enough I met one of them randomly when I was on vacation. But anyways they helped me through much of the basics and taught me how to design most components of a FRC robot. I have like 20 different FRC gearboxes that I made before I felt comfortable designing and weight reducing the plates. But maybe the biggest thing I learned was that typically you don’t have to invent the whole robot. There’s enough out there that you can pull from. So now as a mentor I recommend that students look at what we can purchase but modified to meet what we want. Like in 2018 when I was a senior we used the old Andymark single stage linear kit


And was able to figure out in CAD that if we shaved down the heads of the bolts just enough it would easily be a double stage kit.


I joined my team as a freshman knowing absolutely nothing about robotics or CAD. Now I’m a senior, and I’m very well-versed in FRC robot design, both in Solidworks the program and robotics design itself. In order to be an accomplished robot designer, you need to focus on learning to conceptualize mechanisms and how they achieve goals.

Robot design training should begin with a heavy focus on robotics design, not a bunch of CAD program video tutorials. Students should learn to conceptualize designs and their goals before they create those designs in CAD. I am mentioning this because I began learning with the video-tutorial style of training, and it delayed my robotics design learning a bit. Getting design students involved hands-on with robots and mechanisms early on will greatly boost their learning. Get students to understand the flow from CAD to CNC/Mechanical to electrical to software earlier rather than later. It would have helped me immensely to learn this way.

I have put in around 2000 hours into robotics. I love designing robots, and I fell in love with it super quickly. If you want to be accomplished, you have to want to get better. If you have that determination and put in the time, you will be successful. Most problems in FRC have already been solved at least once. Browse Chief Delphi, and learn to apply other teams’ solutions to your problems. Luckily, I have a great mentor who is always there to roast my designs. If you want more support, join the FRC Discord and don’t be afraid to ask people to roast your designs. You’re not alone in FRC. Failing is the best way to learn. I fail pretty much every time I am designing something. Failure builds character!

As you grow, the team will grow with you.

Here’s my CAD journey year by year:

  • Freshman Year (2019-2020): I quickly learned Solidworks pre-season. I learned a bit about robot design during build season when I designed a powered funnel between the intake and conveyor, but it was honestly the most simple mechanism on the robot. We also learned to design things together. The intake, conveyor, and funnel initially did not interface together very well because we designed each subsystem in a vacuum. I wasn’t very confident in my design skills yet, but I wanted to get good at it. When the season was cut short by COVID, many team members went inactive. I used some of my free-time to enhance my skills in CAD. By redesigning various elements of our 2020 robot, I finally was getting better at robotics design itself. I still didn’t know gear ratios, design calculators, or how to design for pneumatics by the beginning of summer.

That all changed when I competed in the 2020 F4 summer CADathon with my mentor, and we placed decently. I designed a three-stage cascade elevator with a crazy-looking gear-shifting gearbox. I learned to relax on the arc tool after this… I had finally designed something that I was proud of.

My personal favorite design in 2020 was this 3D-printed jig for drilling holes into our customized wheels and tread. I dubbed it the Ultimate Mega Jig 6000. For the first time, I designed something with no external help/advice. This design really shows when I started getting good at solving problems and conceptualizing things. I started to become confident in my design skills.

  • Sophomore Year (2020-2021): I became CAD lead in 2020. During the 2021 Game Design Challenge, I led about 13 students to come up with our nifty game Time Trouble. My leadership and social skills dramatically improved during this time. It was a lot of work, but I felt extremely proud to see all the students engaged and excited in something that I was leading. My mentor and I also started learning the master sketch method of design in Solidworks. It has proven to be super effective. Being able to reference every sketch of your robot in one Master Sketch makes designing robots SOOO much easier.
    Time Trouble Video
    (Here’s our 2022 shooter master sketch, with inserted intake+conveyor master sketch for reference. Notice how we build mechanisms off of each other)

Here’s the robot I designed solo for the 2021 F4 Spring CADathon. I earned 9th place. I used the master sketch method, and it was very intuitive for me.

  • Junior Year (2021-2022): I earned the role of team captain. After leading an off-season summer swerve project, I learned how to effectively bridge the gap between CAD and the other robot subteams. This was my hands-on year. I assisted with designing multiple subsystems, and I designed our shooter, which had 3 iterations. The biggest lesson I learned was how to borrow designs/concepts from other teams and apply them to your own design. Our shooter kind of sucked, so I made it much more competitive by simply looking at pictures of other team’s robots.
    In this picture, I’m holding the two-position hooded shooter that I designed. I borrowed the main concepts from a picture of 4414’s shooter. I pumped that design out and had it built in like a week and a half. We ultimately made it a fixed-angle shooter, which ended up being as effective as we needed. Regardless, I was super proud of myself for figuring out how to set up the pneumatics.

    Spartatroniks 3512 - 2022 CAD Release

  • Senior Year (2022-2023): I feel comfortable in designing pretty much every FRC mechanism in Solidworks. I know how to leverage COTS parts, borrow ideas from other teams, and brainstorm crazy ideas that sometimes work. In the summer of 2022, I earned second place in the InspireNC CADathon. I spent about 84 hours that week designing the robot, with some help from my sister who is CAD lead this year. We’ll see what’s to come this season…

    The tech binder I made for this robot really shows how I’ve learned to go from strategizing to realization.
    Technical Binder for Samur A.I.

In addition to all of this, my mentor and I have created various configurable part templates. Whenever we want a printed pulley, belt, hex shaft, spacer, etc, we plug in a few numbers and it generates a part for us. This makes CAD so much less tedious, and allows us to focus on robot design itself. Our workflow is so much more optimized than when I started.

Apologies for the essay. If you have any questions feel free to ask!


Sincerely, I love these stories - so inspiring. Hoping for a few more.


I was design lead on my team Junior year and co-design lead Senior year.
I took a CAD class in school freshman year and another Junior year of HS so I was fairly well acquainted with CAD by this time (we used inventor both these years and have since witched to OnShape)
There’s a few things specifically imo aside from the hopefully obvious strong CAD and communication skills that make an “accomplished” designer.
Have a plan. Look at the game, watch that video over and over, read every part of that manual pertaining to scoring and robot/game rules. If you don’t have an idea of exactly what you want your robot to be able to accomplish then it becomes a lot harder to agree on designs/mechanisms.
Listen to your mentors. While this isn’t always true as there are definitely some mentors who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing design wise. If they know how to design or even have CAD knowledge they’re going to be your biggest resource here especially if your team is lucky enough to have any alumni mentors.
To piggyback off that last part, look at past games. Try and figure out what previous game piece the current years is most similar to or what climb endgame the current one is most similar to. (Very rarely the answer is none) Look at the best designs from that year (I recommend the simple ones that worked well rather than complex) and try to base your designs off of a combination of this, the ideas of your teammates, and your prototypes.
Note that in order to design a successful robot you need to keep in mind the machining and software capabilities your team has. Don’t design something you can’t make (3D printing is great but it doesn’t work for everything) and definitely don’t design something you can’t program.
The reason I said communication is so important is that it’s unlikely you have knowledge in all the crucial areas of constraints in terms of designing an FRC robot.
PUT YOUR ELECTRONICS IN CAD I cannot stress this enough that trying to figure out where to put your electronics after the bot is already built is a nightmare. This includes all your sensors you’ll probably need to make your mechanisms work properly. Don’t be afraid to plan extra room for an extra motor controller or 2 you never know what you may want to add.

I wasn’t the best at CAD going into my Junior year build season when I was named Design Lead but I accepted it with open arms. I’m gonna be honest me and 3 of my friends that year spent 30 or more hours a week in the lab working on design in order to get something we were happy with. We were lucky enough to be accompanied by a parent mentor of one of the other design students who is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at his company so he had lot’s of design and CAD experience to share with us. He molded us from a few kids who knew a little Inventor into robot designers by the end of 4 weeks time.
Luckily there are a lot more resources for teaching CAD out there now specifically in FRC and there are programs like OnShape so you don’t have to pass around flash drives doing manual revision control of a robot who’s constraints are so unhappy that it’s 1 wrong click away from blowing up.
In terms of practice? CAD some robots. Design some robots for past games using current control systems and COTS parts, it’s a great way to get experience and build your skills. Or even better think simply of just mechanisms (elevators, shooters, drive trains) that maybe your team has struggled with in the past and try to figure those concepts out.
Most importantly get everyone involved. (this can be hard if they don’t know CAD which is why i’d recommend offseason training) If there are students who want to help with Design/CAD let them. This is going to make your life easier and build their skills which is what FRC is for. Don’t fall onto the excuses of “oh sorry everything’s already covered” because there’s always something to do. How’s your radio mount does it come apart and attach to your robot easily? how are your bumpers mounted? how’s the robot get moved on and off the field. There’s always something that can be done design wise even on a finished robot.


I’m currently a senior, and I can say that there is no one way to get good at design, and the process that worked for me won’t work for everyone else. Every design for me starts with pictures or drawings of a mechanism I want. I’m currently working on a 148-style round tube elevator, so my desktop second monitor is a mish-mash of pictures from robot reveals (seen below)

Using photos and drawings I figure out all of the moving parts, as an example on a shooter and ball path system for the 2022 game the first thing I do is figure out how many rollers I need and where they are located. once I have the moving parts in my head I can start to make a rough layout in cad. As I go through the design process the layouts get more and more detailed.
show below is the critical layouts for a monkey style climber from 2022 and the main layout for the hard stop plate

The 80/20 rule definitely applies, for those of you who might not know the 80/20 rule is that 80% of the work is done in the first 20% of the time and the other 20% of the work takes up 80% of the time. Most of the time I can spend a day in CAD and come out the other side with a mostly complete mechanism.
I started doing a little CAD work in 8th grade, using fusion 360. Where I would try my hardest to cad our FTC robots (they weren’t very good and I no longer have the cad). But in my freshmen year of high school, I didn’t really touch cad in favor of machining.
Once covid hit that kind of changed everything because it was the easiest way to interact with FRC so similar to nic I competed in the 2020 summer F4 challenge with about 7(?) other people from my team. Needless to say that robot was a cluster and I’m not super proud of it but it was just the beginning.
Behold the iso-gridded mess that’s still somehow overweight.

Almost all of my robot cad challenge designs are not meant to be viable. kiwi drives and lead screw elevators galore. consequently, I’m really good at designing kiwi drives and lead screws but what this really taught me was the process of going from idea to cad. For example one of my favorite robots I did was for Chezy CAD 20. Sometimes I’ll look at it and giggle a little bit because of just the sheer ridiculousness of it. But the idea was to build what was essentially an FRC hub motor. Would it work? no. Did I know that going into the challenge? Yes, so while to some see making a non-working mechanism as a failure but what I see is a “complete” mechanism in CAD in under 36 hours, we also won the most creative award so something good came out of it. I also found some super niche feature scripts which let you make a plane tangent to a cylinder and helped me learn the onshape sheet metal tools.
this design is where I got my nick name as the “worm kid”

In 2020 and 2021 there was an explosion of CAD challenges which has largely since died down. This is really where I hone my design skills because now I have the skill set to be able to design without being limited by my CAD ability. some times I even hit the limits of what onshape can do and have to make parts in solid works and bring them into onshape.
Now, I’m in my senior year and I’ve cadded a lot, designed a lot, and thought about designing even more. Because of my design abilities I’ve made a lot of friends on Chief Delphi and the FRC discord, I am even on the admin team for the INC cad challenge (I made the game @niczip spent 84 hours on and I didn’t even spend 84 hours making the game :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)
If you are looking for advice to get good at design fast, I can’t help you (I don’t know if anyone can help you). because the way I learned was by spending close to 2,000 hours in CAD over 5 years and across 6 CAD programs. most of that time was spent metaphorically smashing my head into the wall until there was a robot-shaped indent in my skull. Now I can plan out and execute a design pretty well and if it’s something weird like an FRC hub motor I can take a shotgun approach and just CAD designs until something works.


I was a design lead during my Junior and Senior year. But started working with CAD in Freshman year using Autodesk Inventor at a shop class available at the school I attended. Continuing into Sophomore learning Inventor (and not enjoying it too much lol) and becoming a main machinist on my team. By the 2020 season I was already being pushed to take a position as a lead designer after the Seniors at the time left. But as the pandemic began and the season was cut short, all of the Seniors on the team kinda just disappeared, so me and the other to be designers had a lot less resources to learn from. In 2021, the team made the decision to transfer to Onshape for its superior file system in comparison to Inventor with GrabCAD (which has sadly now ended services since). During the 2021 season the team was able to partake in the at home challenges, this is when I took charge of my first module (I was unavailable for part of it though).

Iterating upon the team’s 2020 robot Artemis, we challenged ourselves to design an adjustable hood that did not require a motor port, so instead we utilized smart servos from Rev Robotics. This was the biggest learning curve of all, the first big project really opens your eyes to everything that you as a lead designer (at least on some teams) take on in that position.

Moving through 2021, I began to learn how to develop custom featurescripts (a custom operation tool in Onshape). By now I have published 8 featurescripts, which more can be seen about those at my featurescript thread.

Going into my Senior year on the team I had become a go-to guy for any CAD problems, I completed almost all of the coursework freely available at the time for the Onshape learning center. As well as I even taught a course via Zoom in order help students on the team as well as for a local team that had a lot of new designer students. In the course I led a group of about 5-10 students (and some mentors) through the CAD process of a West Coast Drive.

At this time there was also the first Bunny Bots Competition since the pandemic (thank you 1540). Where I was in charge of designing and managing the Drive Train, which for this game we did a West Coast Drive, but due to covid regulations, the game was outside, so the drivetrain had to be waterproof. This was a huge learning experience as I’ve never dealt with the drive train before, which nothing prepares you for the amount of integration troubles and work that comes with.

From this I learned a lot about integration, and how important it is to use as many nice numbers as possible (numbers like intervals of 1" or 1.5" kinda thing). But afterwards, it was time for the 2022 season, and it was really exciting, me and the other lead designers went absolutely insane. We created a part tracking system, a completely new design for the design handbook, I even rendered assemblies of the robot in Blender with custom made textures. Which the part tracking system and all the snazzy renders can be seen in our published design handbook. With my module being the shooter module, I had a lot of work to do, especially after a full week of prototyping (I spent an entire week staying up until horrible hours in the morning to complete CAD on time, would not recommend). But after all the work, we created so much cool stuff, such as exploded views of assemblies, and we even managed to operate the robot without any pneumatics. The public release of the CAD for Vulcan can be found here.

After all that, we managed to make it to Einstein’s for the first time! Which was super exciting and I really hope that new teams get that chance every year!

By the end of the season the team had switched into full gear for training mode and making sure that new designers would know enough to get going in the coming year. Which I was able to lead teaching a group of 3-4 students on designing a turret module, which was a lot of fun and a really really interesting challenge. From my experience in FIRST robotics, it was best to learn how a robot is made first, it’s a lot easier to design manufacturable parts if you have worked with the tools your team has available. Then you can start learning how to design the robot, I did this by just searching the far reaches of Chief Delphi as well as looking at previous robots from other teams as well as my own (sometimes finding rpm by counting the rotations in a second from a reveal video). After understanding how a robot works and how it comes together, then have at it with learning whatever CAD software your team is using.

If anyone has any questions then feel free to reach out to me (sorry for the documentary lol).


I’d also like to mention the amount of hours someone watches robot reveals or reads robot documentation. I think I’m at a solid few hundred hours.


I definitely second that. Behind the bumpers, team white papers, and robot technical binders are all your best friend.


I am a technical mentor now and mainly oversee things as a whole for the team but I’ll go back to my senior year as a student.

This was 2018

Before this year our team struggled with Robotics designs/ performance etc.

Between 2016/17 we didn’t score a single ball and in 2016 we probably lost connection over 50% of matches.

Normally our team has co captains but our team went through some internal shifts and so I was asked if I was wanted to be the only captain or if I wanted another person to help and be co captain.

Ultimately because this was a big transition year for our team and the main technical mentor and I were on the same page we decided me to be solo and lead the team together. I mention this backstory because I think it was the foundation of our team progressing the next years.

Anyway so we went along in the season and it involved me picking up a lot of the slack on the team. Heavy oversight over some of our weak areas. For example I mentioned abobe our robot electrical was very bad in previous years and we disconnected often in matches. So I took on the electrical and started from the ground up. Learning it myself, strategies from CD for reliability, reading Al’s posts etc. From there I trained our first other student, and we kept the electrical team small for a year (only 2 or 3 students max). This helped create a more manageable foundation that allowed us to teach great concepts to a small group who would in then train more with that knowledge the next year. While I primarily focused on electrical I also did a ton of research into motors. Our team had been primarily using things like the snowblower motors, rs550’s etc and I had heard about the 775 pros and wanted to make the transition. I used the vex data, showed the amazing flexibility versaplanetary boxes provided, and how adaptable they are. We then started buying all these components which were completely new to the team. I learned how to assemble them first and then taught others. Etc.

The lead mechanical mentor took on teaching CAD concepts because our team had never done anything in CAD before that. He also did the same thing as I did in the mechanical side of things. Restructuring, teaching new concepts and working from the ground up.

We both kept oversight over alot of the core areas and even had to voice some tough news to the team together.

One particular example of the tough news we had to bring was we planned to pick up our 2 alliance partners on the climb (see 2590 in 2018). We had a sub team who worked on that mechanism and it was looking pretty good. Unfortunately we found it to push us over the weight limit significantly and also presented new challenges to other sub systems. We had to talk to the team about knicking this project which is always tough because people had worked and put time into this and everyone wants the component they built on the robot.

This is not a situation we would have today because we now Full robot CAD and so we avoid situations like that but that was our first year transitioning so CAD was at a very basic level.

So to put it simple, being in sync with the mentors, having the same goal, and learning things in depth myself before teaching others.

You can learn via CD, data sheets, behind the bumpers, FUN, Watching matches of those elite teams, etc.

Since that big transition our team now does full robot CAD, has a dedicated CAD team, has put our budget towards more manufacturing machines, and have minimal electrical issues. This year I don’t believe we had a single electronics issue the entire season.


I understand exactly what you are saying but I’ll take a step back and say that all of you posting up here share a common, but actually uncommon, characteristic.

What is that?

It’s that you’re actually doing it. You’re all motivated enough to take your ideas and push them into actual CAD and many into implementation.

To this day, I have better ideas than my design or fabrication skills can make happen but by continuously finding new challenges and driving them to completion, I add skills and expertise which gives me more to draw on for the next challenge.

The stories here are great - super inspiring - all showing what you can do when you choose to do something and do it seriously. All of these are great learning opportunities and are great stories.

I do a lot of college recruiting and I emphasize to students that these sorts of activities and interests are giant differentiators. Everyone takes the same classes - what makes YOU special?
You want to, you need to, stand out from the crowd - well, you’re doing a great job so far!

All of these efforts make great stories - even things that went wrong. Sometimes you learn even more from things that went sideways because the challenge was bigger and resulted in even more learning to take away.

Keep doing this - keep creating these great stories.

THEN, find people that want to hear these stories and can appreciate them. They will be happy to hear your stories and you’ll have a great way to build engagement.

THAT is how you open doors and get yourself positioned for cool opportunities.

Luck happens - it happens every day. It’s when something lucky happens and you’re ready for it that really interesting things happen. That’s how you catch the fly ball at the ball park and that’s how you position yourself to take advantage of an opportunity that seems to just come up.

Again, these stories are great and I’m really impressed. As a mentor, one or two students with this level of engagement can change a team and leave a lasting mark on the team culture. Going beyond FRC, this sort of drive and attitude gets you places and pushes you to even better places.

The cool thing about FRC is that there are so many problems, so many opportunities to solve them, the chance to learn and expand your skills.

It’s been said that a brain that has been expanded rarely returns to it’s original size and that seems to be true in my experience.

The things posted up here are great - I’m VERY impressed. Keep doing, keep going, further and further.

There’s no telling where you’ll end up but it’s going to be cool.

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Pinging @marcusbernstein / @MichaelBick (prob differing answers, but both former accomplished student robot designers in their own right)

At least for me, a strong desire to improve and a willingness to self-learn has allowed be to become an accomplished designer despite many unusual circumstances.

During my first year (2019), I didn’t get to do much in both the FTC and FRC season due to a horrible team culture. Freshman (including myself) were unfairly discriminated against and only given grunt work such as deburring parts while never being taught anything design-related from anybody on the team. Despite having a strong desire to do design-work, any ideas I had or attempts to design anything were dismissed due to the bad team culture. I was told that even trying to do every basic game task was considered “”""“too complicated”"""" and that I shouldn’t even think about trying to do so. By the end of the season, the only things I had any input over was fixing other people’s design mistakes. With this bad culture where was also a general lack of design knowledge and experience on the team. The mechanisms that were designed for our 2019 bot were inefficient and unreliable. But they weren’t because of my failure, I wasn’t even given a chance to fail or succeed.

Despite having a horrible first season, I had a stronger desire to do better. Part of me knew that if I put in a bit of effort, I could design a much better robot for the next season. Another part of me wanted to prove all the people who said I couldn’t do anything wrong. I also knew I was fairly decent at CAD because I did very well in the CAD class that was offered at my school. But I also knew that nobody on my team was going to teach me how to design robots. Because of these circumstances, I went he route of self-learning and spent countless hours watching match videos and robot reveals, viewing robot CADs, and reading CD threads. I specifically was trying to learn why in terms of design. Why things were done the way they were, why certain designs or design ideas were effective. I would be researching on my own time

My second year (2020) was when I really got my first shot at designing anything. During the FTC season, while the robot I ended up designing wasn’t really all that good, I had the opportunity to make mistakes and gain experience about design execution. I did make numerous design mistakes including spending too much design effort on things that aren’t the primary scoring mechanisms instead of it, not designing rigidly or robustly enough, and numerous smaller mistakes.

When the FRC season came around later, I used the experience from the previous offseason and FTC season to significantly contribute to the design of our intake, indexer, and shooter. When the game was revealed, I had a general idea of what designs would be effective. While there was still team culture issues, I was too dedicated to be shut out like I was last season. I applied the concepts I learned to contribute to the design and assembly of the intake, transfer, and shooter. The design ideas I had were pretty good, but there were a few issues in the execution of the mechanism. While the mechanisms were designed to interface with each other, but they were still mostly designed as separate mechanisms which resulted in some suboptimal interfaces that were prone to jamming. There were a several smaller execution issues, however the mechanisms did mostly function and were able to score in the high goal. For the first time, I saw my efforts result in on-field success which further motivated me to do better.

COVID hit my third year (2021), however, it did not slow my learning all. I was on a team of only 3 students this year and the other two were primarily software focused so I primarily did everything design-related. The 2021 FTC season was remote and drawn out which gave me several months to refine a single robot. Due to both an extended seasons not being able meet in person for the first few months and unable to physically prototype, I learned rapidly to iterate and evaluate designs in CAD. I designed the robot as one robot rather than a bunch of mechanism thrown together. If an intake is feeding into an indexer which feeds a shooter, they should be designed together rather than separately. But more importantly, I learned to optimize and microoptimize the details that contribute to scoring as much as possible. This could take many forms, including reducing weight, space, friction, part count, and complexity on some mechanisms, even if only in minor amounts. Small optimizations add up fast and at some realistic point, they become not so small anymore. Some of this was learned using existing resources, but experimentation was also crucial to the learning process. I tried out new ways of designing parts and mechanisms. While many people did not like the remote season, I personally liked it. Due to nature of it, I was able to see my own effort and determination turn directly into results. My team’s success was only possible because I was determined to improve.

In my fourth (2022) FTC season, I designed this robot which was unreliable for the first two league meets and then rebuild it to this to win the league tournament and an invitational event. Because I took the time to learn how to design well last season, I for the most part knew what I was able to quickly design and iterate the robot.

The 2022 FRC season was much different from all the previous seasons I’ve experienced. As a result of the timings of students graduating and joining, I was the only student with significant design experience (not good), however, the team culture issues also went away with the student cycling (good). I was able to lead team into designing and fabricating this robot which ended up winning two events which was something unthinkable when I first joined.

The specifics were very messy, but after four years, I left the team in a much better state than when I first joined it and managed to take a lot out of the experience. However, I really hope people don’t have to follow a similar path, most notably having to take so many things into my own hands to when it shouldn’t be that way also comes with numerous downsides. The only reason why I did things the way I did is that there wasn’t really another option apart from quitting or practically quitting FRC and taking nothing good out of it.

These were the biggest take-aways from my experiences that really can apply to anyone:

  • Determination is what allowed me to learn and succeed despite heavily unfavorable circumstances
  • Holding students back and shutting them out creates negative experiences and significantly hinders learning and growth
  • True understanding of an idea is not just knowing what, but why. Why was this decision made? Why was this part designed like this?
  • Don’t re-invent the wheel if you can’t make it better, however…
  • If you can reasonably do so, than absolutely do so
  • Blurring the lines can be beneficial. It helps when design and fabrication students are the same people. It helps when mechanism are designed together by the same people rather than separatly

Hey @howlongismyname, I have enjoyed following your progress the past couple seasons. Wondering if you would be willing to add your story here? (After DCMPS and hopefully CMPS) Was glad to finally see your team’s robot in person today. Thanks!

I started in 7th grade (2019) I have done pretty much all our CAD since then. I started just kinda getting thrown into it with a bit of help from a mentor who did CAD but not robotics stuff just defense stuff. after an underwhelming 2019 season for my team I was determined to make 2020 better. that summer I spent all my free time researching other teams, reading all the tech binders i could find watching any reveal video i could find. this is how i learned much of the FRC design process. in 2020 we also got a cnc router giving us a new tool for rapid prototyping and final machining. the best way to learn design IMO is to act as if all you can do is 2d or simple parts that you could make with limited resources then build up from there. this years robot is arguably our best because we gained a bunch of resources and knowledge on the manufacturing side of things meaning that I could expand my designs to include things we never could do before. The biggest part of design is making things that YOU can make.

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