The main issue and question are in bold if you want a short read.
So we have the same issue every year. From the looks of things, a lot of other teams have the same issue. (no judgment here, looking for ways to improve)
Students are typically not exactly the neatest when it comes to drilling holes, cutting straight lines, layout wire paths, etc.
There are several factors that play into this:
Improper tools (I’m looking at you “cordless drill for everything”)
Not understanding why “close enough” isn’t always good enough
I had a student drill a hole in four plates that needed to line up. After he got done, I said it wouldn’t work. His response was “it’s good enough right?”. To which I replied by holding the plates together and holes would only half aligned, and he went back and tried again.
Electrically, we have 10+ control wires (red/black/white ribbons) wound and bundled together. Given the deadline fast approaching I just told them good luck with troubleshooting.
There are a thousand other examples out there I’m sure.
So to my main question:
What are some ways we can impress upon and help students and particularly new members with applying precision and neatness?
Students mentoring students isn’t a great option for us yet as we are teaching upperclassmen as well.
Don’t include CNC as it does not address the underlying issue (yes it cleans things up a lot, but giving someone a $1000 camera doesn’t make them a great photographer)
At comps, I would give a little leeway since it is a different environment altogether.
For starters, I do plan on taking pictures of clean robots at the competition to use as examples of what can be done.
With respect to precision and neatness:
How do you handle things mechanically or electrically?
How do you set the right expectations?
How do you set the right environment?
What tools are a “must” for your team?
What training have you tried?