Make sure you find some great teams in your area to help answer any questions that may come up (about the robot, game, CAD, code, etc.) But make sure that your team designs their own bot, and not just get a clone or twin from another team. I think that the kids learn a lot more by doing things themselves even if they don’t do well in competition. The feeling that this is YOUR bot that the team spent 6 weeks on, is a great feeling and that’s what FIRST is all about.
There is a big difference between looking at other bots as inspiration, and using the same exact parts. Use the time now to build connections and get kids playing with some kind of CAD software. I meant you should design, manufacture, and build your own bot, and just not go to another team and have them build their bot for you. There is nothing wrong with having a bot that can only do one thing, but do it very well. KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) is probably the most important rule for a rookie team.
Taking the ideas of others from past years, and figuring out how to best combine and apply them to the current game, is a key part of the challenge.
Also, note that duplicating another team’s design is harder than it looks. When you see a picture or video, you see the end result, not the hundreds of hours of experimentation and engineering that went into that result. You get to do that part yourself. But that’s the fun part.
Search “collaboration chiefdelphi” on google, there should be some threads discussing it. They stay civil for the first few pages and start to fall apart after that. If it peaks your interest you can look up the triplets, as they are the most often cited example.
I’m 99.9999% certain that you’re reading something into the original post that wasn’t there.
I’ll save you the trouble of searching: back around 2006, 3 good teams in Canada built 4 identical robots (1 per team and 1 shared practice robot). Legality was not an issue (having been decided in 2004 on a different collaboration). However, some people got all upset about 3 teams building identical robots (and made the normal “mentors built the robots” and the less-normal “they bought their robot kits from some outside source and just had to assemble them” claims).
There was never a claim that one team built the robot for the others. I can’t think of a single case where that’s been claimed through the 3 major collaborations that I can think of, in fact. It’s been claimed that the mentors did all the work (untrue, BTW).
I am sorry to get people upset, collaboration is not the same as what I was saying. Having two teams (or three) to come together and design something, is not the same as one team giving the design to another.
Jamie I would highly recommend poking around on youtube and thebluealliance.net to watch match videos and more specifically youtube for robot unveiling videos. Great way to get a visual library of designs and see them in action. Watching 2007 videos really helped to get the creative juices flowing for me this past year.