The fate of old FRC robots

I’ve always wondered what some teams do with their robots after their competition days have come to a conclusion. Some teams keep them in immaculate condition, preserved for years to come. 330 is the best example of this I can think of. We at 1197 have at robot from them that’s older than the person writing this. Others, like my team, move on rather quickly and strip them of parts for next season. We have only ever preserved our 2011 robot, and are trying to keep 2020 intact as best we can. How does your team deal with old robots?

Especially interesting is fate of famous robots. What happened to the Beatty Beast after its competition days? How is Lockdown doing these days? etc.

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They get scavenged for parts

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for us it depends on how the robot performed in competition. If it did well (like our 2019 robot) We generally try and keep it around for demos and other things. Otherwise, it’ll get stripped for parts as we need.

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We can’t afford to not strip them for parts and even if we did we don’t have the space to store them.
Edit: we used to have more space but the school is being renovated so we lost our room for the next few years and our in some random classroom. Even then we only kept 1 or 2.

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As far as lockdown goes, assuming this website is still being updated, it’s fully functional.

Personally for my team we put them in a shed and say “We’ll never take that apart… right…?” Then mid build season realize we need a few wheels… and a few motor controllers… and maybe a rio… and within a few years they get fully disassembled. (Also partly due to storage availability).

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Not necessarily kept in running condition but are used for static display (open houses) and to refer to as “how did we do that in the past”.

Some see this as pretty cool or inspiring. As an old Air Force guy, I view it the same as when I see the Tucson aircraft boneyard or as a Navy person might view a Naval ship yard. Memories of yesteryear.

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1712 tries to keep prior robots in as intact of shape as possible, but runs into space and parts limitations.

High value, easily removable, re-usable items such as Limelights and NavXs are often scavenged ASAP. Occasionally we will also harvest specific motors, gearboxes, wheels, or sub-assemblies as necessary (although much less frequently in recent years).

Beyond that, we try to keep our robots intact for as long as possible (until we run out of reasonable storage space). Once we run out of space, we then decide which old robots to take apart, based on a combination of the following factors:
*Historical/sentimental value to the team
*Usefulness of parts we can scavenge
*Educational value of disassembly as a training exercise for new members
*Current functionality of robot
*Usefulness of robot as an outreach or demonstration tool

When we deconstruct old robots, we try to save a couple various momentos or sub-assemblies from the robots for posterity’s sake. We are currently trying to find a better way to display these.

We still have the following robots put together - 2007 (minus ramp), 2012, 2016, 2018-2020

When we disassembled our 2014 and 2017 robots this pre-season, we took the time to film Video Tours of the robots prior to taking them apart, as part of preserving their history to our team. We plan on doing this for more robots, including ones we haven’t taken apart, in the future. We still need to get around to finish editting our 2014 video, but our 2017 robot tribute is up on our YouTube.

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download (10)~2

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We started with the 2006 season. I think all of ours were still together, if not functional, until about 2013. The following year or two, they all got taken apart. We have a couple totes full of old drive motors and gearboxes, but the rest is mostly gone.

Our first robot survived, though, a student on the team made a significant monetary donation, and got some living room art in exchange for it. It’s also possible that the shooters from the 2009 and 2012 robots are still around somewhere…they disappeared from the robots, before the robots were salvaged.

We still haven’t taken apart 2020, it’s being a prototype base for now. But when we have time…I expect it’ll come apart.

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So far of the 3 we have built we have completely disassembled 2 of them. We are planning to keep the 2020 robot mostly intact for demonstrations, since it is a pretty cool one to show with vision tracking and long range launching.

This is also easier since we are moving on to newer generations of motors (Falcon) and control system electronics (REV/RIO 2.0), so we don’t feel the need to scavenge the 2020/21 robot for the expensive electronics.

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We have all of our past robots since I think 2005. We used to keep them all in one of our mentor’s basement, but we are currently in the process of moving them to a temperature-controlled storage unit.

No matter how we did that year, a team of students put a lot of work into every single one of those robots … they all have memories that I can’t bear to see taken apart (:

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9 are on a steel rack above our build area.
6 are shown here.
2 are in our team storage.
2 are active for practice/demos.
1 was stolen.
1 we gave away.
1 we converted to a t-shirt cannon.
1 is at a mall art gallery.

We’ve borrowed more modern control system components from the bots that would be boring demo robots (2015, 2018) but otherwise in theory, all but 1998-99 should power up, and we retain enough older operator controls to attempt to run them if that ever became a thing.

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My high school team had almost all the robots saved (sans electronics) all the way back to the first FRC game. I believe once they lost their space, the old robots were moved to AndyMark.

My current team had most of them disassembled when we moved out of our school. Most years get scrapped for parts/space.

I love the videos from 118 and 254 with all the robots on shelves and a wall of accompaning blue banners.

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We always keep one robot in operational condition to use for demos, etc. Currently that is our 2016 bot but we may switch to using our 2020 bot for demos as keeping the 2016 bot operational is beginning to pose some challenges…

At the beginning of the 2020 build season, we still had our comp robots from 2014-2019 intact. But it was decided that we needed to finally disassemble the 2014 and 2015 robots (sorry Duncan). We kept the 2016-2019 bots intact as each one has a special place in the hearts of the mentors. Our 2016 bot is our famous swank drive, our 2017 bot played in the highest scoring playoff match that year (on the losing side, unfortunately), our 2018 bot made it to Einstein and our 2019 bot was basically our most recent bot at that time. At our old build space, we had some steel shelving and we built a display case for the robots.

We no longer have that build space, so those robots have been moved to an undisclosed location. But I am assured that they are still intact wherever they are…

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We have never had the space to save more than one robot from previous seasons as a demo bot. Every other robot has been a combination of scavenged and scrapped, with usable parts kept and the rest thrown out or recycled if possible (i.e., all the aluminum and steel parts.) We do sometimes keep specific mechanisms intact because of their sentimental value or value as example units, but that’s about it. Pictures are about the best we can do to preserve the memories of our old robots.

Our school has an area under a stairwell that has a window where anyone dropping off their kids can see the old bots. Administration wants to keep it all there as a showpiece for “look we have robotics!” Our team calls it The Graveyard. They are little more than skeletons at this point, having been scavenged for parts over the years, with literal cobwebs all over them. As a parent who chose this school in large part because of the FRC program, I see it as a sad display and wish they’d get rid of it.

We’ve managed to keep our 2021 bot intact for exhibition purposes, though. We don’t have a lot of space to keep more than a couple.

Our past 4 robots all get a corner of the shop to sit in. They’re all in basically completely functional condition and and they’ve been taken out for practice and testing after their respective seasons were over. Every single one of them earned their place there so the intention is to keep them for a while. As for the ones before that? I’m pretty sure the last surviving chunk of our 2017 Bot is a bunch of pretty beat up compliant wheels used for prototyping.

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If we had a bigger build area where we could keep old robots we might, but since we don’t have room, we strip off everything that we can use anymore and leave what can be until we no longer need it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3BN0AGuHI0

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Frankly we don’t have room for the 26 competition robots we would have if we kept them all intact let alone the evil twins that usually get scavenged after the season. As it is we have a bunch of robots sitting in a cargo container outside the school because we ran out of room.

All of our division winners/championship winners/championship finalists are stored in a couple of locations, although several are old enough that we can’t get them running anymore because they use the old IFI control systems.

We try to keep several recent robots in running order and pull the controller if possible, that way we can get them up and running for driver practice or testing if we need to.

The main reason that we try to keep anything useful around is because we like to review past good designs and and we have some historic robots that are worth keeping because they were the first to use now common mechanisms.

If I remember next time I’m at the shop I’ll try to grab a photo to give you an Idea of how many robots we’re dealing with.

We still have all of our robots since the beginning. Waiting for our renovations to get done so we can do something like what 118 and 148 does with their old robots the last time I visited. Put them on tall shelves out of the way for display.

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