Weight loss program?

I just got back from one of the most stressful weekend of my life. Yet, I was still able to laugh and have a GREAT time with my team tonight while out to dinner.

Stress? What’s that? Could it be cause by not passing inspection until 30 minutes before our first match due to no Battery Voltage? Maybe by not moving our first match, or even our second. Possibly our chain breaking during our 3rd match and the tread flying off? Maybe not moving again during our fourth match? Maybe two chains breaking right before our 6th match? Maybe BARELY getting them on? Maybe the left gear box shifting into neutral before the 10th match?

I walked onto the field knowing that there was no way in the world that my alliance would be chosen; not being the 44th seed. Yes, we fielded a robot on the field every match. But no, it didn’t always move. Our entire weekend was plagued with problems. Yet… I still heard the words “Would like to invite team 2395 to our alliance” penetrate my thoughts. I was in awe. I had gone through all that stress. And it paid off! :smiley:

Now of course, we then had a chain break our first match, and our second match the shifter went into neutral again. We lost again. A complete copy of last year.

In the end, I discovered that we can sell this!!! :smiley: I lost 15 pounds this season! FIRST does more than inspire! It makes you lose weight! (And not just on the robot. :wink: )

All joking aside, I am curios. Did anyone else have this many problems? Or do we just need to step up our game?

Big thanks to teams 1750 and 476 for picking us! :smiley:

2008, we walk in, spend all Thursday night providing a weight and size loss program for our robot. Such a mess that night. Friday came along and our work paid off, I should say, we paid for our work. All metal we cut Thursday night fell into our control board and slowly fried it all day Friday. our robot nailed into the center post, bent in our ball handlers, it took all of our pit team to unbend them. Our robot wouldn’t drive at all half the time, and we put so much of the stress on our programmer while the mechanics were trying to keep up with the repairs. Finally got it to work Saturday after we realized it was our control board, not our program.

Things happen like this all the time. Like you said, there’s always a plus side. Just got to look for it. Our robot that year had an amazing autonomous. We took it out of the crate and it ran and knocked 2 of the balls off of the overpass first time through.

This year we built our second coaxial swerve drive. Not only were we 4 pounds over, but since we experimented with making the wheelboxes out of PVC instead of Aluminum or Steel we were never able to move more than like 5 feet in a match at Midwest Regional. We learned a lot about what not to do though.

And we have a plan for 10,000 Lakes that includes a moving robot.

My freshman year we weighed our robot 8pm the night before ship and we were 10 lbs overweight. that was a stressful night. Luckily ee were able to cut the weight and meet spec for competition.

Last year (2009), if I remember correctly, we were still being inspected when we were due for our first qualification match. We ended up missing it and sending a lone human player.

The robot weighed in at around 150 pounds the weekend before ship. We had to take off a lot of supports and other things and I believe it was still overweight when we shipped it. We ended up barely passing the weight requirement, by a couple of ounces. We also had to file down the frame quite a bit in some places, because we had (stupidly) built it to exact dimensions and it rested on a tilt, so it wouldn’t fit into the box.

Our swerve drive, the product of seemingly half of our entire build, turned out to be ineffective; the bot could barely turn in our second qualification match. So we fixed the wheels in position and used standard tank drive for the rest of competition, throwing our efforts out the window.

In over half our matches, we didn’t move. We found that a jaguar was reversed and the wheels were working against each other. So the jag was rewired, and the code was inverted, and the two canceled each other out and we still weren’t moving in the right direction. It took us awhile to get it straight. Then one side seemed to be driving faster than the other, so the code was adjusted to fix it. Later we realized the culprit: only three wheels were touching the ground at a time. We also had no autonomous on Thursday, so we hastily put in 5 or 10 seconds of driving full forward. This resulted in us slamming hard into the opposite side of the field every match.

2010 went much more smoothly for us in terms of number of catastrophes, even if we still didn’t do remarkably well.

Three years ago, our original arm was ~20lbs heavier than we had weight for. We ended completely up changing out the entire arm the day of ship. Long night.
Two years ago, I think we managed to break a chain (we’ll never do 2-wheel drive again) and run into the wall almost every match at our first regional. We lost drivetrain function completely in 4 matches. We had some serious breaks from running into walls, and more than once had to replace the cylinders and supports on our catapult arm. We ended up on our backs more than once with CG and steering problems, and our left rear wheel wasn’t in the plane created by the other 3, meaning we often couldn’t turn left (serious problem in Overdrive). We also wore through our treads like no one’s business, which took at least half an hour to replace (we’re plaction wheel people now). We just barely made weight (0.3lbs) and had several other perennial repair issues. It took at least an hour to get our bumpers off, much less on. 2008 was by far our most painful pit crew year. Certainly learned a lot, though: for the past two years we’ve won awards for our drivetrains! The biggest things we’ve changed in the pit are bumpers (now take 20 seconds), batteries, wire-ties, and consumables (e.g. elastics), plus occasionally wheel alignment and optional upgrades.

I remember assuming that you were supposed to spend every second from the time the robot comes off the field until the time it goes back on frantically fixing it. The truth is, you really can improve durability and serviceability by leaps and bounds if you concentrate on improving on your weaknesses, reaching out to resources/teams, and planning for repairs from the start (don’t just make sure the bolt fits, the wrench has to as well). Good luck and congrats on being chosen for the eliminations!

We could actually make this a package deal: weight loss and a cure for insomnia. Go through a 6 week build season and you’ll lose 15 pounds and sleep like a rock the next chance you get (not to mention through all of “off season”)!

In St. Louis this year, we ran into some horrible luck. First, we spent the entire day Thursday rebuilding the robot (having a 65 lb withholding allowance is just evil…). We finally got on the field first thing Friday, and made (and performed in!) all the rest of the matches. Not too bad… except we were competing a man down almost every match. Someone wouldn’t show up (i know in one case, one of our alliance members had a chain break two matches previous and couldn’t get it repaired in time), or would show up but sit dead on the field (another match, an alliance member’s drive team walked off the field right after it started - their driver station battery was dead). In the end, we were ranked 34/35… but that makes getting picked so much sweeter :slight_smile:

Heh… our team is very guilty of this. It took us nearly 30 minutes to remove our bumpers for inspection due to everything else in the way of the holes and our line of sight.