Weirdest parts on a robot (And the stories behind their use)

It’s all fun and games till @RobotNerd1 gets to play defense with swerve chair.


ohno… very scary


I’m surprised that nobody’s posted this one yet.

Some years back, a team decided to put a lamp on their robot as a kicker for a very large ball. An appropriately-shaped lamp for kicking, I might add… I know I’ve seen a picture on CD, but I found the video (via CD) first.

For anybody who’s seen the movie “A Christmas Story”, yes, yes, it is.


And do I see wire strippers or tin snips on the field?

Fell off of 2374 pretty sure.

The fully story behind 687’s chair in 2014 LA Regional…

During the 2014 season, I was primarily mentoring 294, but was also helping out 687. 687 had a rough build season as numerous part orders never arrived before stop build day. Most of these parts were for the ball mechanism…

Fast forward to the competition season, 294 participated in the inland empire where 1678 also competed. (This is also where 399 caught two passes in a row from 1678). During that event 1678 had a toilet seat cheese cake (no joke) to help robots make assists. I definitely gave @Michael_Corsetto a hard time about that one. Unsurprisingly, no team took up their offer, but the idea was sound so I started thinking and soon found a team with a collapsible lawn chair in their pit…

After the Inland Empire event, 294 purchased three lawn chairs and modified one of them by bending the arm rest to hold the ball and fit in the frame perimeter. We brought these to the LA regional where 687 was also competing.

In the meantime, the parts for 687’s ball mechanism had arrived, but there just wasn’t enough time to assemble everything at the competition so I offered the chair. Once the team realized that they would run out of time for the ball mechanism, they embraced the chair. Installation was simple as the stake holes on the feet worked perfectly as mounting holes and the collapsible nature of the chair meant it could fit any drive train.

So 687 entered their first match with the chair and became a crowd favorite. They were also super effective and, at one point, they were even ranked 1! At the end of the event, they returned the chair and there’s a photo somewhere of me sitting on it surrounded by the team.

As far as pics and videos, the blue alliance has a great picture of the robot and match footage: The Nerd Herd - Team 687 (2014) - The Blue Alliance

687 also made a some buttons celebrating the chair and gave one to me!

But my favorite video is certainly this one:

Sadly - I do not have the chair. :frowning:


In 2019 we used a basketball next to securely hold cargo in our intake.

Since I was “at-ed” (is that how the kids say it?).

Hard to see, but 4140 is definitely rocking the cheesecake in this match, played it pretty well too! Our alliance got at least one full assist cycle that match.

Here’s a picture of that marvelous cheesecake at our shop.

Good times.



At St. Louis, in 2014, I was a Robot Inspector and I was inspecting a robot that had frisbees to hold the ball.
I told the team that previous year game pieces could not be used on a robot. You should have seen the looks I got. Priceless :smile:

That may have been my team, 4269. We were prototyping the catapult, but nothing was really working - we were having issues with the balls easily rolling out while being shot. The team also didn’t want to spend the time to design a complex arm, and realized we had some frisbees left over from the previous year. Honestly, they worked out great. While we chose to be mecanum in a year we absolutely should not have been mecanum, we also didnt miss many shots

Are those 80/20 bars

Where’s the toilet seat?


Yeah essentially the entire framework of the robot was 80/20 extrusion, supplemented with sheet metal that we had around and made by a sponsor. Through the time I graduated in 2017 the team did not have any advanced manufacturing ability, only a bandsaw and drill press. The turn around from the sponsor’ waterjet meant it was difficult to prototype using any it, and what was prototyped got on the robot.

FRC has gotten more competitive than 2014 and 2015, but I miss the times where my team relied on simple ideas that we could prototype ourselves. I know that 80/20 is not the most efficient material to build with, but it was sturdy and got the job done. Nowadays so many teams have so many resources at their fingertips that its easy to forget about keeping it simple.


You don’t see it?

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What you’re missing here is that the toilets at Mike’s place are all made from pool noodles and PVC.

(I don’t see it either?)


Hey, don’t forget about the wire rack!

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Last year my team (4091) had trouble with the ball escaping out of our claw mechanism, and decided to cut cloth strips from a shirt to close of spaces between the “fingers.” Later on, we had trouble with the ball getting stuck inside the drivetrain (where it once even turned off the robot) so we zip-tied the rest of the shirt to create a tent-like structure.

Both surpassed our expectations.


2013 Ultimate Ascent; We were trying to figure out a repair to stabilize the shooter. My father walked into the pit and pushed a bottle cap under the module, and miraculously everything worked. We ended up glueing that bottle cap there.


In 2019 we used a door latch keep our climber arm down when we climbed. One of the few things on that robot that worked very well.
In 2017 and 2020 we used an off the shelf ratchet in our climbers, worked really well.
Finally, way back in 2006, a piece of watching machine vent tubing formed the hood our shooter.

We have a plastic spoon feeding frisbees into the shooter on our frisbee bot, a plastic knife retaining an elevator rope on our Power Up robot, and I think a kid worked a plastic fork into the CAD on the Deep Space robot, but I can’t remember where. The logical next step was to get a spork into our 2020 robot, but we never got a chance to break it in a sporkable way.