Robot Quick Build - Veteran Teams

Have any veteran teams ever participated in the Robot Quick Build after kickoff? I know many rookie teams that are now veterans have, but have any existing teams gone through the process, as a team participating in the build?

With the new control system coming and the growing awesomeness of the AM14U, it sounds like it might be a good experience, especially for teams with less resources and mentors with expertise in other systems.

Referencing this presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv-yfaq7DzY having more teams (Veterans and Rookies alike) participate in the Robot Quick Build would expedite the training process of build season and get to the education part of build season.

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We haven’t used the kit chassis for a long while – we typically prefer to do our own frame that better suits our design. Before you could opt-out of the chassis for AM credits, we would have some younger, more inexperienced students do the quick build to give them hands-on experience.

Referencing this presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv-yfaq7DzY having more teams (Veterans and Rookies alike) participate in the Robot Quick Build would expedite the training process of build season and get to the education part of build season.

It’s always been my opinion that the bulk of training and education should be held before Kickoff, not during the build season. I see the build season as a time to apply all the skills, knowledge, and intelligence, not as a time to learn. I view it more as an exam, or a project. I feel most of the learning should have already happened.

I don’t know how your team operates, or what happy medium your team has found, but I feel that it’s a common misconception that the robotics season starts in January and ends in April. It’s true that some teams operate this way, but my impression is that lots of the high caliber teams work throughout the year.

My team has never participated in a Quick Build. They’re great for rookie teams or teams that need that push to get a base up and running, but generally we need to take chassis design (width/length) into account with our other mechanisms, and the electrical system, while usually on the bottom, is always more complex than a quick build (a quick build may only have speed controllers for the drive motors… we usually end up with 8-10!) and it’s usually designed as a separate, removable subsystem on the robot.

I would agree with this. Our year officially starts with our summer camp at the end of July, and ends with our Banquet in May, which gives us about 2 months a year “off”. We separate that into three seasons, though - summer camp, the fall off-season, and the winter build/competition season. Of course, that time “off” is spent with team leadership (mentors and captains) having planning meetings and getting things ready for the new season. And this year we have a separate sub-group working on the continuation of the Alpha Testing for the new control system (although pretty soon we’ll have to rename the group to the Beta Test group!). In fact, even though the season “ended” a week ago, we have 3+ other teams coming over tomorrow for an Alpha Testing session. Busy Busy Busy!

For several years our team helped to do a Rookie Robot Quick Build on the day of Kick Off. For a couple of years we did this at the kickoff venue.

For the last few years we have invited Rookie or less experienced teams over to our shop to put together their kitbots. Usually we have had 2-3 takers and the teams end up the day with an assembled kit and sometimes with a running robot.

I would encourage all teams to look into doing this.
We have started inviting teams over on Sunday after kickoff to do this.

It is fun and everyone learns quite a great deal!!

Just like the last guy, our team does a quick build on kick-off day for rookies and any other nearby teams who want to participate. We also let rookie team members build our kitbot, even though we only used it for testing prototypes. This year we showed the NASA kick-off broadcast in the auditorium of a nearby university. Then we split off into build groups and workshops on FRC related things (like programming and strategy). In the end we got every one of the 8 or so teams to leave with a working kitbot.

Though our team isn’t really a veteran yet, I consider myself one. For us the Quick Build was a bit of a waste. Instead of getting into brainstorming and rule review while excitement was still high, we were doing grunt work assembling our chassis. We also ended up putting in all this work for a chassis shape that we may have wanted to change later anyway.

The one benefit was that there was a RI onhand to guide us through the software setup. Where on the FIRST site to go when installers failed and the proper order to install things in. As far as we could tell there is no “guide” for the installation of software packages or for initializing everything, and that slowed us down a bit.

Conor,
I believe FRC 2618 (now FTC 6640) participated in the Pittsburgh kickoff quick build in 2012. IIRC they had graduated most of their experienced students the previous year.

I am glad our team didn’t do a “quick build” this year. The decision to go with an asymmetric square chassis required a few days of thought about gameplay and general robot design. That thought would have been biased to preclude the design that we ultimately chose, if we had “quickly” selected either of the options for which detailed build instructions are provided in the AM14U kit.

Lesson for next year: start building your robot as soon as possible, but not sooner.

Did you not know about the http://wpilib.screenstepslive.com/ collection of documentation? The “getting started” guides in particular are linked from the http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/softwareresources page.

We do our Boot Camp Build days every year and we have both rookie teams and some veteran teams there each year. Often the veteran teams are teams that need a little more help because they are transitioning mentors or just need some time with other teams to learn.

I’m planning to ramp up our support this coming season and have a control system only day some time early in build season.

610 hosts a Quick Build for the Greater Toronto Area on Kick-Off day. Almost all of the participating teams are rookies, but veteran teams are allowed to participate as well. Rookies will always be given priority, but if there is space, I don’t think any veteran team will be turned away. There are usually a handful of veterans every year. In fact, since we’ve started hosting the Quick Build, 610 has been able to send their grade 9 students to the Quick Build to build the kit drivetrain.