Starting an Ri3D team

Some students at the university I’m attending in the fall have expressed interest in starting an Ri3D team. The FIRST Alum student org on campus has expressed interest in the past as well but hasn’t quite implemented it yet. So, me being the optimist that I am, I would like to try to push for them to get it started.

Yes, I’ve read So You Want to Start a Ri3D Team…, but I still have a few questions. The biggest question is, how do teams get funding for Ri3D?

Edit: since I made this post we decided we would rather do an everybot than Ri3D.

Finding a corporation to sponsor is hard to do, but will solve a lot of the problems if you can pull it off. I don’t have much experience in getting this to work, but the general answer is it’s a matter of getting connected to the right person at the right time.

If you’re associated with the univeristy, there are sometimes student-organization funds that can reimburse some of the purchases, especially if they’re parts that can be reused for multiple years.

Finally, and this is a bit sad, but if you happen across a FRC team that is shutting down or otherwise clearing out, you may be able to put their parts stock to good usage. Lots of Ri3D teams aren’t much except a barrel of usable parts that get slapped together in rapid iteration. As long as you can find a place to store them the other 11 months of the year…

Working out of a current FRC shop with decommissioned FRC robots helps cover the core electrical components and tooling. Both Ri3D robots we have made were basically made from sponsored components, modified subsystems from prior robots, used COTS, and scrap metal. This will cover most of what you need to hold the build.

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Funding is definitely hard, but I would definitely recommend initially pitching to departments internal to your university. Learn your university’s purchasing system, as most universities have deals worked out with suppliers such as McMaster-Carr or Grainger that could definitely make things cheaper on your end. Work on creating a pitch presentation that clearly defines your team’s goals. Let your local teams know about the project, and even invite coaches and mentors from local teams to participate in the build.

Additionally, AndyMark has supported Ri3D teams in the past through sponsorship opportunities. See the related 2020 sponsorship application thread here.

Good luck!

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Let’s all be a little more realistic regarding sponsorships moving into 2021.

Don’t go for it.

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Please consider designing an Everybot, instead of an Ri3D. The difference would be:

  • focus on a robot that can be successful even with low resources (also helps your fundraising)
  • write a full report. Publish CAD, code, and a BOM. (None of which requires much funding)
  • take your time. 7 days with a full report it’s infinitely better that 3 days and a half baked reveal video.

Ultimately It’s harder work, but that’s kind of the point. Most Ri3D teams provide no value to the program. You can do better!

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Most colleges have some sort of organization funding source that you can apply for. In my experience it is a lot easier to get money from these sources than from departments. At my school it is called the ‘Student Funding Board’, so find out what your equivalent would be.

I would also try and work with a local FRC team to help out. If they could temporarily lend you all the core electronics, that would save you all a ton of money, making it easier to get approval for funding. You can then focus on buying whatever stock material you can afford.

Working with a local FRC team would also be beneficial to that FRC team, since they would get direct access to a “game ready” robot very early on, something for them to base prototypes and designs on (or not).

Personally, I would love to do Ri3d at my school, if I were already so busy mentoring for my teams…

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Building off of this, i would greatly appreciate having more everybots. The wait is longer but with the bag out of the season, it certainly is worth the wait. The times we tried with Ri3D styles, we encountered more problems than the everybot design did.
Imo, Waiting an extra 4 days for an everybot is better than having 4 extra days of build to fix problems teams may encounter.

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What is the purpose of starting a Ri3D team?

If it’s just to have fun, think long and hard about if it’s a good use of a sponsors money. Companies don’t just give out money for fun. I’d say the market for Ri3D teams is all but saturated at the moment, so I might look elsewhere if you aren’t ready to make a meaningful contribution to the FRC community.

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Yep! This is 100% the plan right now. Probably rapid prototyping, then an everybot with KoP level stuff. I am a huge believer in open builds, so hopefully we can get the design process published as it’s happening

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IMO it’s got to involve a unique contribution that isn’t already there. Ri3D should (generally) output documentation on what things do and don’t work with manipulating game pieces for that particular year… but a lot of teams already do this.

When going around to sponsors, especially ones already donating, the key to any success (assuming there is some to be had in 2021) is showing how your contribution will be new and unique, and therefor worthy of expanded funding.

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This^^^ since making this post, we actually decided on having it be an everybot. I would like to keep the build “open” as it’s going on unlike 118’s everybot. It’s also a good opportunity to bring in other FIRST alum and convince them to volunteer. (We get a LOT of alum, but most of them don’t know the student org exists). Also, as an added bonus, it’s fun.

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