rookie team (PLEASE HELP!)

What is the best way to prepare a team before kickoff?

Establish communication with other teams in your area. They can help you with just about anything.

Go all out attempting to secure funding and resources, like machining services and mentors. They’ll give you a leg up.

Get as much done as you can before kickoff. Get T-shirts ordered, a shipping crate built, and anything else that does not absolutely have to be done during the 6 week build period.

Learn as much as you can about how the season, and the robots, work.

Study other great teams and robots from the past.

Perform “mock kickoffs,” to fine tune the early stages of your team’s design process.

Read these forums daily.

Thank you soo much! I am restarting a team and i am just a junior in high school, i was on a team before but starting one isnt as easy.

What is the best way to start the robot build? I mean should you design the robot first or build the chasis? (I think thats how you spell it)

In that case, I’ll emphasize one of my points. It is critical that you find committed adult leadership, whether they be teachers, parents, or engineering mentors, as soon as possible. Contact your school, students’ parents, local businesses, local teams, and local colleges. They are vital to the success of a FIRST program. I’ve seen too many student driven teams fail, not because they were student driven, but because the students had a “we can do it on our own” attitude.

Work hard, and accept every little shred of help you can get. You’ll go far.

Become intimately familiar with the engineering design process. To summarize:

-Know the rules
-Select a design, using quantitative evaluation.
-More prototyping
-Detailed design
-More prototyping
-Build the thing.
-And did I mention prototyping?

Many teams will build the kitbot right out of the box, to become familiar with the control system and basic mechanical elements of an FRC robot. This is fine, as a form of prototype. But your final drive configuration should be driven by your game strategy.

Also, if you haven’t already, learn a Computer Aided Design program, like Autodesk Inventor or solidworks. Both are free for FRC teams. They’re vital to robot design.

Yes, thats why i left my other team, it was too adult controlled and we had no way of choosing what we wanted. I have help from both teachers (engineers) and parents. :slight_smile:

lol okayy, my last team did like 3 weeks of design and all our time was wasted. so i guess we just have to find a better balance. I think your going to be my new bff. haha

If you’re in Pontiac, Michigan, look for team 51, Wings of Fire. They’re an excellent team whom I’m sure would be delighted to help you start your year off right! As for pre-season things, I highly suggest off-season projects if you have the means. Make test robots and drive trains to teach students how to build and use the parts on a robot, or maybe make a tshirt cannon. If parts are unavailable, try some useful math and science courses that would relate to robotics.

Have the whole team look at past years robot, what worked, what didn’t, unique features. Get on and pull the game manuals for a couple different years and think of deigns for the games. But make sure to get everyone familiarized with the tools you will be using so that when the time comes your aren’t trying to teach and build at the same time.

Are there any off season events in your area between now and then? I would try to drag as many people as you can to one to show them what to expect and talk to as many teams as possible.

thanks guys! i love wings of fire! lol ive been keeping in contact with some of the alumni so we are close, so i may ask. Our team will be participating in the OCCRA competitions so i guess that will help. :slight_smile:

Robot design 101.

  1. Know the capabilities of your team and what is reasonable for you to build, not admirable. Being a rookie team a 4 stage lift on a crab drive isn’t something I’d recommend unless you built something similar now to get the experience.

  2. A typical game has two parts (tubes and minibot, goals and hanging, tubes and ramps, balls and hanging) from there you need to decide what you want to play in the game (not how). This past season as a rookie team our robot had a major in minibot with a minor in tube scoring by completing 1 logo every match on the bottom row. I had feelings that we could do so much more and do the top row easily, but keep it simple and follow rule 1 and you can produce a robot that is in the top 6 scorers at your regional (our robot averaged 31 points a match ranging from 38 at our highest to 26 being our lowest due to our minibot only coming in second place once during the entire weekend). You should decide what you want to make by mid week 1.

  3. Prototype and decide the how. Should it grab tubes from the inside or outside, when we score what should the angle of the tube be, how many wheels do we want on our drivebase, etc. Some of these items are easy if the field is flat then do a kitbot on steroids for a simple but effective drivebase, if the field has speed bumps then that takes a bit longer to build drivebase prototypes but you get the idea. Usually by the mid/end of week 2 you should be building even if it is just the drivebase.

  4. As week 6 approaches keep in mind the time you have left and whether or not you need to change or eliminate a mechanism in order to have a working/competitive robot by your event. Sometimes this means scaling down from top row to mid. Only eliminate an item if by doing it means you will be weak. Making a weak/unreliable arm/lift just so you can make a weak/unreliable minibot is a poor choice compared to making a good, reliable arm with no minibot.

Some wise man once said, “better to do 50% of the task 100% of the time and to do 100% of the task 50% of the time”.

If you need any help/advice pre-season or during the season email:

Watch this!

Thanks!!! Whats the best way to approach sponsors?

Through Parents! The best sponsors have been were parents work. My dads company started sponsoring our team in i think 2005 when my brother started… they are know our biggest sponsor, and donated our pits, Robot parts, vehichles for compeitions, gas money for competitions, and LOTS of money :slight_smile: . try to find which parents are extremely deicated to helping out and see if their company will sponsor the team.

We are also trying to start another FRC team in Windsor, Onatrio so its not to far if u are in michigan. my team is from windsor and we are the only team for another two hours, besides crossing the border.

Good luck :slight_smile:

Parents is a great idea! :slight_smile: Wow I have so many teams around me lol i could name like 6 in driving distance. I hope to see you at competition. haha

Try and find some mentors from this list ( addition to parents. I think if you establish your expectations up front with your mentors than you should be fine.

I highly recommend a structures and an electronics engineer as a minimum since they will be able to teach you the things you will need to do the work on your own.

Im from Pontiac Michigan, but the team will be out of Royal Oak

Parents are a great start! Check out for local grants in your area and NASA offers grants for rookie teams starting up. Visiting the sponsors themselves are a great way to fund raise as a face to face conversation can many times be more productive than a letter or email.

In some situations face to face isn’t an option or you need to leave something behind with a potential sponsor.

Thanks, I will definitely go thru this very carefully and definitely take notes. :slight_smile: