Can we completely rebuild our robot at competition if we have everything we want there or are there rules against us doing that? What are the rules on working on your robot at competition?

Besides what is shipped in the robot crate, you may bring only 25 pounds of fabricated robot components and/or mechanisms to a competition. You may not use flames (no welding torches) or create sparks (no grinding wheels) in the pit. You may not work on the robot before the pits open or after they close. You may not remove the robot from the venue. That’s about it for restrictions.

Bring as much raw material as you want. Bring all the portable tools you want. Bring blueprints, assembly drawings, jigs, templates, etc. You can rebuild your robot completely if you have enough time.

I don’t know of any rules against it, although there is some explanation offered:

“<R31> At the competitions: Teams are allowed to repair, modify or upgrade their competition ROBOT while participating in a competition event. To support this, teams may bring SPARE, REPLACEMENT and UPGRADE PARTS and COTS items to the competitions (within the limits specified in Rules <R40> and <R41>). Work can only be done on-site in the Pits or at any facility made available to all teams at the event (e.g., in a team’s repair trailer or a local team’s shop offered to all teams to use). Fabrication may be done when the Pit area is open for normal operations during the period starting with the opening of the Pit area on Thursday and ending at 4:00PM on Saturday. All work must be completed when the Pit area closes each evening. Parts shall not be removed from the competition site and retained overnight after the Pit area closes.”

And those rules about what you can bring:

"<R40> Teams may acquire and bring an unlimited amount of COTS items to the competitions to be used to repair and/or upgrade their ROBOT at the competition site.

<R41> Teams may bring a maximum of 25 pounds of custom FABRICATED ITEMS (SPARE PARTS, REPLACEMENT PARTS, and/or UPGRADE PARTS) to each competition event to be used to repair and/or upgrade their ROBOT at the competition site. All other FABRICATED ITEMS to be used on the ROBOT during the competition shall arrive at the competition venue packed in the shipping crate with the ROBOT."

Good response Alan,
I’d like to add one additional comment though.
Have a PLAN developed and in hand, also.
Whatever you decide to do, the inspections are done on Thursday.
In order to pull off what you are trying to do, make sure you consider that, as well as, what you will do on early seeding matches where you may not be able to participate because your robot has not been re-inspected.
Yes, you will need to have your robot re-inspected if there are changes where you will need to validate that the new configuration can meet the requirements (weight, size, and the many build requirements associated with mechanical, electrical, pnuematic, etc.)
Starting over is a big project to take on, redesigning and making improvements in some of your sub-systems is not as difficult to pull off.
If you can live with your drive system and basic chassis design, you will have a better chance of it and you may even still be able to play the game (driving around counter clockwise to complete laps, does add points to the alliance score).

Good Luck,

You might be able to pull it off depending on what you are changing and whether or not you are reusing the parts your taking off.

i assume you would maintain your gear boxes, motors and stuff like that that would be the basics of you robot. if you had a well worked out plan you could rebuild your entire robot on qualification day by working with extruded aluminum or item as some would call it. Also working with what ever frame work parts or other pieces that could be salvaged. to increase your time you are allowed some time to work on components at you home shop so if you have a plan and start pre fabricating stuff then the rebuild would go together faster but remember their is only 25 pounds to work with here.

so in conclusion it could be done. whether or not you pull it off is another story. if you have the plans and really dedicate to it you could do it. However i will say you have to be sure that you know you could do it and not just want to.

I have rebuilt robots in the past. At the 2005 West Michigan Regional, my team (830) stripped our entire robot down to the bare frame, and rebuilt the arm and drivetrain in a day. As was said above, though… the key is to have a plan! If you know exactly what every team member needs to do, you can get a lot of work done in the 11.5 hours you have available. If you don’t have a good plan, you’ll just be wasting time. Get your plan together, make sure everyone’s on the same page, and stay focused, and you can get it done!

does anyone remember that robot that was shipped home and how that team built a robot out of spare parts?

Why do you want to rebuild your entire robot? What will you build it to do?

There is an important fine point here. You can take a mechanism
home for repair/upgrade, but you may only bring parts (subject to
the 25 pound limit for all of your fabricated parts) back to the event.
The mechanism that you might have repaired/upgraded must be
brought to your next event as parts, and then assembled in the pit
at the event.


It wouldn’t be a Midwest Regional without a certain un-named team, rebuilding their robot on Thursday after a post ship, planning session that changes their strategy.


That was the case in years past, but I think the definitions in the rules this year make it pretty clear that you can bring in pre-assembled mechanisms as spare, replacement, or upgrade parts.

We did this a couple of years ago at the Championships. A near fatal design flaw revealed itself at Buckeye and we had a robot that could do four things poorly and nothing well after a bad impact. So we decided that doing three things well was better. As several people have said, the key is having a good plan. We went over the plan a couple of times to make sure that we had thought of (almost) everything. We made sure we had all the parts we needed. And we had someone in charge of each part of the process. One of the important things was to manage how we would all interact with the robot. When you are all trying to work in the robot at once, you get in each others’ way all the time. Good luck.



I stand corrected…

Sure… we did this at BMR in 2006. We shipped a loosely connected bunch of parts that was built into a robot in the first half of thursday.


nor would it be a midwest regional if that certain team didn’t face 111 sometime in the elims.

As for rebuilding, it’s been done before, by lots of teams. Just keep it within rules.

I was a part of the Team 4 One-day Wonder experience in the 2006 GTR where our competition robot did not arrive until Friday from the Los Angeles Regional the prior week. We got a tremendous amount of help from many teams there (45, 188, 217, 1310, 1398, and others) to build an entire robot on Thursday and competed with it on Friday. A team that chooses to rebuild their own robot shouldn’t expect that kind of support at a regional.

In Atlanta that same year, the Team 4 students decided to rebuild the competition robot and barely managed to get it done. But the robot didn’t move at all in the first match and performed poorly until about the fourth match. By that time, the damage was done and Team 4 did not get selected for the elimination round.

So, there’s nothing in the rules against rebuilding a robot, but it might be less than a wonderful experience. I’d stick to minor upgrades and giving the drive team more practice opportunities on Thursday. There’s an addage in FIRST: “A good driver will beat a better robot”.