What can Ri3D teams do to help FRC teams?

Hi all,

As we are preparing for a new game for the first time in a while, I am sure we will see significantly more Ri3D videos this season. As a member of the ZouKeepers, I wanted to open up a discussion for current FRC students (maybe a few mentors) to give input into what they feel Ri3D teams can do to have a bigger impact through their videos this year. There’s always discussion among Ri3D participants about what we should and shouldn’t do, but I wanted to receive direct input from current students and teams.

This could be things like should we break down our videos into individual mechanisms or keep the standard day 1, 2, and 3 format? Do you prefer videos to be released the day of filming and have slightly less content or release it the next day and have everything from that previous day? What kind of content/discussion do you want us to provide in this year’s game? What’s the best method for us to engage with you all? If you have any other thoughts, please also leave them below


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I love this, thank you for asking for input.

I know you want primarily student input but not all of my students will search out all of this stuff on their own, but I will share the good findings with them.

  • Don’t spend time on drive train assembly unless it is key to the game (2016 defenses). There are enough resources out there on how to build the kit bot as well as some more custom options. For your ease you might be able to build the chassis before kickoff, I don’t think anyone will care if you don’t technically build this within the 3 days after kickoff.

  • Don’t spend too much time on making the robot look good. I totally understand that you might want a more polished and presentable robot for sponsors, school functions, or other purposes, if this can wait until later that would allow most of your time to be focused on functionality.

  • Individual mechanism videos would be great. Full daily recap videos are maybe easier on your end to share but can be hard to dig through for good bits of information. I think teams would benefit far greater from daily recap videos on specific mechanisms. If you can show the process too and not just what the mechanism looks like at the end of each day tht would be even better. Not all teams will be able to go through the iterations to get the final version you present. But we can learn just as much from your process.

  • The earlier you can post the better, some Ri3D teams are really good at presenting content within the actual first 3-4 days. Some end up sharing after 2 weeks, which while still grateful for their efforts, the former is far more beneficial to teams.



Show more than just the mechanics!

Do a live coding session demonstrating usage of new WPILib features! Explain how some of the provided classes can be adapted to control mechanisms. Software is every bit as important as hardware.


To tag onto this. We would love to see both the basics of how you prototype and advanced.

How do you characterize your drivetrain woth Sysid.

Edit by prototype, I mean, as far as programming/electrical hoes. Are you using a drill to move a mechanism, USB motor controller. Or wpilib?


Forget needing to have a “competition ready” robot. What teams really want is learning about how basic mechanism can work and interact with the game pieces. Spend extra time trying find additional complications that teams might run into! If you find a great easy solution to them fine but exposing the existence of a bunch of future problems is much better than partially working “non-ideal” solutions to a few problems.

Taking 2020 for example I think teams would have been much better served in RI3D teams had just focused on intaking balls really well and exposing a bunch of the ball handling and transfer ideas. A ton of teams got hung up on this.


Jason and wesbass23 kind of sniped my post. I strongly second what they had to say.

I think it’s best to film everything and post (almost) everything, especially failure (steal from the best, invent the rest :wink:). Uncut video of prototypes and mechanisms on the Ri3D robots having trouble with game and field interaction, in my opinion, really help to expedite the prototyping process, especially for smaller teams. The more flaws you can expose in your initial prototyping phase means the more time we have to innovate existing prototypes, work on better game-piece interaction, and improve overall robot functionality/integration. I hope to see in-depth videos of mechanism iteration and the different phases those mechanisms underwent and the reasons for those changes.

I also liked the in-depth videos from the 2019 and 2020 seasons (and hope there are more in 2022). I remember prototyping the Snow problem climber in 2019 (although we didn’t end up using it), and the overview videos helped guide my prototyping skills and gave me initial thoughts as to how to start my climber prototype.


Ya…we’re a little short on programmers this year. So I’m not quite sure what the feasibility will be for us to do that this season but I’ll definitely see if we can do anything relevant to that. I’m hoping some of the other Ri3D teams will read through these as well and produce content in areas that they’re stronger in :crossed_fingers:

thanks for the insight. my team will definitely try our best to focus more on mechanism prototyping and showing the process. And I think the individual mechanism videos is definitely doable and will force us to show the process and roadblocks in greater detail

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If you are going to take the time to do Ri3D, please consider some alternatives to building a complete robot as I believe the community would learn more from:

  • A well documented game analysis
  • Game piece analysis (interaction with carpet, potential intake materials etc)
  • A well documented approach to on what to prototype and how to review each prototype
  • Videos of prototypes working… and failing
  • Detailed drawings of prototypes, or at least the key dimensions and components
  • For videos, spend more time showing, less time talking
  • For written documentation, dive into the details

Bumpers. Include scrappy bumpers at minimum, or take bumper dimensions into account with the frame and mechanisms. Ignoring bumpers will almost guarantee an illegal robot.


Simple-ish addition to this: a supercut of each attempt and what happened. It’s the kind of thing that needs no flashiness, but is immensely useful.

Also, if you’re using Onshape (or I presume Fusion 360), the live ability to spin the model and compare versions would be nicer than a live stream.


Showing a mechanism that works well that required a lot of iterations to make work well without showing all (or most) of the iterations will (mis)lead a lot of the viewers of your content to conclude it was easy to get it to work well when it wasn’t. Also, it would be good to show testing of the mechanism under many non-ideal test conditions including some where it cannot work well i.e. show the envelope over which the mechanism does and does not work well. Lastly, show some quantitative measurements (with statistically significant number of samples) of the performance of the mechanism i.e. 9/10 shots successful from location X, 2/10 shots successful from location Y.


This is a great point. There’s always an emphasis (on teams and Ri3Ds) on game piece acquisition and scoring, but far less on the transition/transfer of game piece(s) through the robot. Especially for games with multiple object possession, this is a huge tripping point for teams. It would be great if some of the Ri3D teams really dove into that, even if it’s just a bunch of videos showing things fail and how hard of a problem it can be. That information alone can dramatically alter a season for teams. For example, in 2020 spindexers seemed like this cool and easy solution, until you had to get the balls out of the spindexer into the shooter. Just knowing how hard that problem would be to solve could have impacted a lot of teams’ design choices.


Yes. Building within a team’s capabilities isn’t possible if what they are trying to build is actually much harder than they think.


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