Should teams be pushed to make higher quality robots?

I’d say the rule about actually touching the loading zone triangle was pointless. It made so many nice robots look very cheap with zip ties and junk hanging off the front. If a robot is clearly over it, then it would be touching it if something was hanging down, regardless of that something existing or not. Plus, what is easier for a referee to look at? A whole frame rail or bumper of a robot being over it? Or the tip of a minuscule thread or zip tie touching it?

And also I would never design a game where a single penalty due to an action committed by one robot can easily change the outcome of what would have been a very strong win for the alliance.


Hrrm, this post shouldn’t have been included in the split from that other thread. It belongs there.

EDIT2: A better thread title would be “Should teams push themselves to make higher quality robots?”

No Dave, see without threaded fasteners you’d have to allow tape again :ahh:

Anyway, I think a rule that somehow stepped up quality in robots would be a nice thing (the no tape rule is a great start). I am aware that not every team has a 4 axis CNC mill (or any mill) or a Miller TIG welder (or any welder) or a whole tool chest full of nothing but the finest, however I’ve seen a lot of robots that are just kind of “barely hanging on” in the way of quality. I know almost every team is proud of their robot no matter what it looks like and they have every right to be. But I think outsiders tend to be more impressed with the CNCed, TIGed, water jetted, anodized, and powder coated machines that have been fully designed in CAD first. I’m not saying every robot should be as elaborate as that, but I think some sort of motivation needs to be given to teams to step into the world of professional grade quality fabrication.

There is a slight problem with some how making a rule to make it manditory for the robots to look nice. This is because there are alot of team who can’t get the funding they need. I remember last year my team spent 200 man hours looking for sponsors, and 400 man hours doing fund raisers and geting $2500 canadian, and no were to build the robot, we eventualy decided to bring it into someone’s basment and build it with hand tools and a drill press. Believe me if I had the time to worry about making it look CnC quality I would have, but when your only saw is a hack saw and your only drill is a $20 special, making a competitive robot that looks pretty is kind of hard. For a rule like you are sugesting fesible FIRST would have to provide fabrication equipment to teams without it. Which would be nice, I could go for a CnC mill in my basement.

Everytime you bring up this topic, I don’t see where you’re heading.

The point of FIRST is not to create pretty robots. It’s to teach kids about science, technology, and engineering.

In the sequence of events leading up to a FIRST competition, whether or not I was able to anodize or powdercoat my robot is entirely irrelevant to me. Making the robot look nice and professional does absolutely nothing towards inspiring kids and teaching them about the aforementioned topics.

You’re focusing entirely on the robot. The robot is a means to an end. That end is not to make the most killer robot ever, or to make it look like it just came off the Ferarri showroom’s floor.

FIRST doesn’t exist for the benefit of outsiders who happen to attend competitions. These are machines being created by high school kids in six weeks. I wouldn’t expect them to look professional.

If you’re one of the teams that has time to make your bot look all spiffy, great, more power to you, but it should most definitely not be a priority when there’s hundreds of teams that struggle just to field a reasonably competitive robot.

I’d much rather see an incentive to make people take the path less traveled, in order to create more inspiration.

Where I was going with that is that I feel that some teams are satisfied with what they have when I know they can strive for more. I know there are teams that try their absolute hardest to get sponsors and they don’t and try their absolute hardest to build a functioning robot and can’t and try their absolute hardest to win and come in last place. That is perfectly okay. But I also know some teams that don’t care worth a darn if their robot even gets finished much less what it looks like and I think they are cheating themselves. If you could use a milling machine instead of a cordless drill would you? If you could write a program to make the robot easier to drive rather than having the driver struggle with the joysticks would you? If you could measure with calipers instead of a tape measure would you? If you could have custom aluminum wheels instead of the same ones that come in every kit would you? If you could have engineers help you would you let them? If you could go to two regionals instead of one would you? Sadly (imho) many teams answer “no” to some or several of the above questions. And it is not a matter of being able to do it; it is a matter of wanting to do it. I think too many teams say “eh, one regional is okay” or “eh, the cordless drill works fine” instead of saying “we CAN fundraise to go to two regionals” and “we CAN find a sponsor with a milling machine” etc etc.

Plain and simple, I think some teams don’t try hard enough.

Basically, I guess I just have a “good enough isn’t” philosophy and I believe too many teams are too content with their situations and not striving for more as they should be.

Sorry for the detour, now back to the thread…

I hate to go offtopic, but if you are telling me that it’s a “fact,” I beg to differ. There is no way in heck teams don’t try hard enough. I am good friends with almost every single team in Florida as well as some teams in different states. Do you know how many times I get messages asking me, “What can I do to keep the team going?” You simply don’t say that a team doesn’t try hard enough. There are many students on the team. I can understand if you tell me that every single student don’t try hard enough. But there are atleast 10 who dies for the team. They try their best. I don’t think any team in FIRST will say, “No, we don’t want a mill, we can just use a cordless drill.” There are teams out there who are in need of money, they are trying their best out there.

Let me give you a good example which you will see happening this coming season. Two teams that I know and work closely with has about 500 bucks on their account. 6,000 bucks is due on December 9th. Watch them raise the money and go out there to compete.

Now back to the topic. I am personally happy with the rules. No matter what, you are going to be unhappy about certain things and think what if it was the other way. That’s life. Keep in mind, FIRST works their butt off to come up with every single rule and tries to satisfy all teams.

Then you should approach the teams and let them know on a personal basis, giving them suggestions to help them achieve what you believe they are capable of.

Really? Could you elaborate on which teams actually think this, and also give some reasons why they do that? I’d like to ask them myself to see what they have to say on it.

Yes to all of those, though many teams don’t have the resources that you seem to think they do.

Many? I’ve never come across a single team in my time in FIRST that has ever declined things like that. Also, shouldn’t the team’s answers be based upon their factual statements, not your “honest” opinion?

And this is their choice. It is not our position to judge others and what they believe to be best for their own team. You can not make a blanket statement that teams don’t try hard enough without having a grasp on the situation of over 1,000 teams.

Again, this is THEIR CHOICE. You can’t force them to go out every week and search for sponsors. You can’t force them to fundraise more. People from some teams that I’ve talked to can’t fundraise directly because of school rules, while others don’t have the resources in their towns to fundraise. What do you think should happen to these teams if they don’t “try hard enough” by your standards? Do you believe that they should be removed from the program, just because they aren’t supporting an elitist, best-of-the-best attitude that you believe FIRST should have?

Who are you to define whether a team is “trying hard enough” (which btw, is perhaps the most subjective thing ever)?

If it doesn’t bother the other team, then why does it bother you?

I suggest you spend less time worrying about how other people run their teams, and instead improve your own to the best of your abilities

And who are you to advise how I spend my time? Gotcha!, lol

Anywhoo, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I have mine, you have yours, and our differences are what keeps this world spinning. :slight_smile:

Now, I urge everyone to address the topic “If you could change one rule”

EDIT: nevermind the above line, the discussion has been split. Carry on if you wish…

Sanddrag - If you’re saying Cory doesn’t have the right to “advise you how to spend your time,” then you don’t have the right to advise others. Since you obviously didn’t appreciate him giving you suggestions, what makes you think anyone else wants to hear yours? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical of you? Why is Cory offering you a suggestion any different than you offering some to anyone else? You apparently felt it was appropriate to do so, so what makes it any different when Cory does it? Only difference that I can see is that Cory’s got a year of experience on you, which argues more for him than you.

OK now that were done banging on Sanddrag and while yes I don’t exactly agree lets consider some aspects that were fair. I think one problem (ill speak for my team to be fair but Ive heard the same complaint from others) is that a bunch of FIRSTers don’t care. I don’t think its necessarily on the team as a whole level but from our team (and again I speak of mine only) I know that a majority of students tend to slack and you end up with a few students who shoulder allot of the work. This tends to decrees our robots professionalism level by a couple notches. I know our team plans on asking slackers to leave but I wonder if this deprives them of the chance to mend their ways and learn. Ideas, comments, personal experiences anyone?

If they don’t care, they either a) shouldn’t be in the program, or b) mentors should go to further lengths to try and show them the light. B. should be your focus much more than making a pretty robot should be.

I suppose not. I only offer my opinions. Take them however you please. I am not a licensed practitioner.

Did I ever say anyone else wanted to hear (read) my ideas? I don’t post because people want me to, I post because I want to. And maybe once in a blue moon someone will like to catch a ride on my one man caravan.

See above.

umm, nothing? no difference. did I say there was one? suggestions flying all around. Some liked, some diskliked, some useless, some on the contrary, some in accordance. Did I miss something?

Experience? So by your logic my four years of experience would invalidate anything a 2006 rookie has to say, right?

Wow… congratulations dude… you know how to use the quote feature…


I think “teams should be pushed to make higher quality robots” in the name of safety, not in the name of vanity.

Deburr all metal parts, sand all wood parts, properly shield all moving parts from hands, watch the pinch points, use safe wiring methods.

I think that would in turn kick it up on the quality factor when making a robot, and also make the robot safer.

I think that is more important than “making a robot look pretty so some outsider can say… ooooh… perdy”.

Who cares about them in those terms? Sure if ya build a pretty robot and you are at a competition you may catch the eye of a news crew and find some fame on the news, but that’s not why we are inolved in this program are we?

I think a lifetime of learning properly and then teaching others and inspiring the youth is more important to myself at least than being on the news for a couple seconds during a voice over*…

*Don’t ask… bad experience. lol

Maybe the title of this should be
“should we push CD users to make higher quality posts…”

(from a guy with a LOT of experience)

WC :cool:

(PS- every team makes the best robot they can based on their abilities. It doesn’t really matter about the robot. It is the team that they build that is the important accompliishment…)

I used to approach robot building with the “just cut it here” or “drill it oversize so it’ll fit right” attitude but no more.

I have been enlightened by the teams who create these professional grade masterpieces and now I’m on a quest to do the same, and hopefully have a few others join me.

I don’t look down upon the “popular” teams with all their fancy anodizing and whatnot. Heck no. I look up to them and think “hey, that can be MY robot. I CAN DO THIS!” All it takes is a little determination. :slight_smile:

I hope all further comments are on topic. There’s at least one conversation in here that DEFINITELY should be in PM, not here.

>>There’s been a couple posts between the last one I read and me writing this…>>

Anyway - I think every team should strive to better themselves every year, regardless how big or small those steps are. You can’t change them, nor can you assume what they do or don’t care about, but you can help them if they accept it. Inspiration comes in many forms (this debate has been done before), that’s something I’m sure about.

Sanddrag -

If you feel it’s your prerogative to offer advice to others, then I’d love to hear your explanation on why you also feel justified in telling Cory he does not have the right to do the same. We are all equal, are we not?

If you think people aren’t going to want to hear or read your ideas, wouldn’t you refrain from posting them out of respect for others? I mean, this is man of the best-of-the-best theory here… so why post something that isn’t the ‘best’? And of course, it must not be, if you feel others wouldn’t be interested in its content.

Apparently, you missed the fact that you criticized someone for doing the exact thing that you had just done. Most people consider hypocrisy an undesirable trait.

I never said anything about experience meaning anything, in this situation or another. I merely stated that that was the only difference I saw - meaning your justification for criticizing him could not have been that you have far more experience or anything of the sort. If I felt that one year of experience was that big of a deal, I would not consider myself worthy of stating my opinions in this thread, as I’m still a highschool student in my third year with a lot to learn.

plz someone move this to moderated discussion b4 it spirals outta control…

It’s not going ‘out of control.’ No worries. People have made polite suggestions to me about using GP and such, and I’ve taken into consideration that I did not express my points very diplomatically, though I still believe them valid. I have no intention of turning this into a flame war. There has been no offense taken by me and hopefully none by anyone else despite my rather aggressive previous posts. I apologize if there has been.