Weird repairs

What’s the weirdest solution for a repair on the robot you have made during a competition?

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For 2022, we lost a spacer on our intake for some reason, and we just replaced it with a zip tie. Still on the robot today!


In 2017 we bent the shaft we used to climb up the rope. It didn’t want to come off since it was bent, so we put the robot on the ground and stomped on it really hard and it bent back straight-ish. Worked every match after that. Not the right way to fix it, but it worked somehow.


In 2016 we broke a custom 1/2" hex shaft on our intake gearbox during playoffs matches. In-between matches we were able to find a piece of 3/8 hex shaft and shimmed our 1/2" gear with 1/16th lexan. Worked well enough to get through the next match!

In 2012 we had a passive wedge to help us drive up the see-saw; it would start the match folded up and very slightly back, and when we started driving it would fall down into a little latch mechanism that would hold it horizontal. But it wasn’t falling consistently, causing us to waste time on wacky driving maneuvers to “encourage” it to fall. Our solution was to tie a string to the wedge, and tape the string to one of the front wheels, so that when the wheel turned it would pull the string which in turn pulled down the wedge. Our own little Rube Goldberg machine :laughing:


Not my team but this year 8604 had a small hex broach piece of aluminum in their arm that sheared rendering their arm obsolete. The machine shop came up with the idea to cut up a pair of 1/2" wrenches and slot the arms to insert them. After this repair they ended up being the 2nd pick of the first alliance and went on to win the event. I wish I had a picture because it was a great repair job!

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Broke a lazy susan in elims (ball bearings all over the field…). Zip tied it together, used the drivetrain to target instead.

Broke a bunch of welds on a rigid deployed intake. Used some sheet metal strips and match drilled and riveted across the joints.


Raise your hand if you’ve had to hammer a pnuematic cylinder straight again.


Yep, been there and done that. Had to bend back the shaft of a 1 1/16" cylinder in the queue during the semi-finals at UNC Pembroke last year. My head mechanic was yanking up on the cylinder with all his strength (and he’s a really muscular guy) and I was whacking away at it with a 5lb. sledge. We got it re-bent and ended up winning the event.


Screw for the pinion on our falcon fell out during a match on one of our swerve modules. Put a ziptie around it to hold the pinion on and it held for a match until we could repair it right.

In 2019 used nylon string tape to wrap around a loose VP gearbox/CIM motor on our elevator. Held up for a few matches until we had time to fix it right.

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2017 I don’t think we were the only ones to do the following

  • Use Velcro as a last minute addition to the rope grabbing mechanism. You could get nylon rope that clung like crazy from any local store. After seeing some teams at competition who had success, many teams swapped their zip tie/bolt bars for this.
  • Our gearbox wasn’t strong enough to sustain the weight of the robot when only using the motor controllers brake it would very slowly come back down before the time was out. To make a very quick ratchet system in the pits we drilled holes on both sides of the .5 inch hex shaft and added bolts that would act as stops. We then took out ratcheting box wrench and place it over the shaft so the winch motor could only now turn one way or need 350+ lbs of force to break the wrench ratchet. It worked actually really really well.
  • Also in 2017 we had issues with grabbing the gears from the floor especially after matches all day long. The gears were beat up and slippery from everyone else’s wheels/grabbers. We used double sided tape on our intake wheels and replaced it after every single matchto get better grip and a larger diameter wheel if we wrapped it three times. Two wasn’t enough but four times was too much and it would jam up. 3 is the magic number.
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After some rather poor design decisions that were not reviewed for an off-season climber we built for 2021 Beach Blitz, we realized upon testing at comp that some 3D printed pieces were taking the full weight of our robot (like I said, it was a poor decision). We solved it first with some steel hose clamps, but they were a bit bulky and restricted the climber’s movement, so stainless steel zip ties came to the rescue. One of our mentors keeps them (and probably some other tricks) up his sleeve for emergencies, and this one definitely came in handy.

We had two gear racks on our adjustable hood last year. In our second district event, defense became a lot more prevalent which ended up knocking our hood out of horizontal alignment regularly. Solution? Spool half a roll of electrical tape on either side to prevent it from sliding off in either direction. Never replaced it and it worked well.

One time last year at roboticon, Team 179 pretty much hotglued every single connection there was. We gave it the nickname “The Joker” cuz their hotglue was green, and our bot was purple and black.

Forgot to bring polycarbonate to an off season, needed some as a guard… To the safety glasses bin! (done that twice actually :sweat_smile:)

Our drive camera kept auto balancing to the stadium lights so we put an actual sunglass lense over it…worked great!

Once went to a match with the entire upper structure of the robot attached with C-clamps because multiple welds broke.

My favorite might be when hinge pins in our cheap little hinges kept shearing so we replaced them with 1/8" drill bits from the tool box.

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