Right now our robot is a monolith of riveted aluminum. Our practice bot is already started too. I was hoping we could paint the braces and brackets at least but it’s too cold to paint outside and we don’t have good enough ventilation inside. After we’ve got the brackets riveted down we don’t want to take them off again just to be painted. Any suggestions? And how do you add color to your robot in such a short build season?
This late in the season, the best way to make your robot look good is to get it done and practice driving as much as you can. Do that right and it will look great on the field. (Also spray paint doesn’t look great since it can flake off and scratch easily)
What reasons would lead you to spend time now to make significant changes to one of your major robot subsystems? What cost-benefit analysis have you done? What priorities did your team choose when strategizing after Kickoff?
The teams I have worked with that put effort into the cosmetic aspects of the robot had planned to do so up front and incorporated time for doing that into their build schedule.
We again do not have a working robot with 9 days to go to do five things well…typical for us. One day we will learn to finish it in 4 weeks and have a week to powdercoat it…until then having a working robot in first competition is the goal.
We wanted to powder coat this year. I doubt it’ll happen now as we have had a lot of cancelled meetings due to the weather and are behind schedule. We spent our $50 Digikey voucher on LEDs and some of the $100 Inventables voucher on diffuser sheet.
You can do magical things with a wrap job.
Yep, that’s gaffer tape and “racing tape”. Ran out of time to paint, so we ordered a few rolls around ship day (yes, still “ship day”) and wrapped it in the pits at Peachtree that year. Take your time a bit, keep the wrinkles down, and you really can’t tell from several feet away. Vinyl sheeting would also work, and maybe work better.
Also, if you have someone with a Cricut or Cameo machine you can get your sponsor graphics on point quickly. (It really helps to have Liz Smith working right beside you, else I would’ve had a long struggle getting the two-color stuff just right, but that’s not required.)
The Lady Cans, 2881, are well known locally for their great spirit and for their colour, often done using muticoured duct tape.
We powder coat in house. This season we received a giant oven that could probably fit 3 to 4 people (or a fully assembled robot) if you packed them in tightly enough, not that we plan to . With that available to us, we can powder coat basically the whole robot in a day. Last season we purchased a hobby powder coating gun. I’m not sure on the exact model but it was well under $100 and worked like a dream. Powder is also super cheap. The limiting factor for this is really just an oven that can reach ~450 degrees F and can fit large robot parts. The baking stage is the most time consuming and baking multiple parts at once really speeds things up. A conventional kitchen oven will usually work for this, but after you use an oven for powder coating it is no longer food safe. Powder coating worked out really well for us last year and we plan on it again for this season. Because we have such an awesome setup, it isn’t going to eat a significant portion of build time up either.
we used spray paint all over our last years robot. Just put a few layers of clear coat and it stays just fine.