What did you learn from this past build season?

Hey CD,
I was just wondering what was the most important thing you guys learned this past build season. What I learned was that it takes a team to achieve greatness. I thought that I would be able to finish designing the robot all by myself, but shortly after I learned how much this will stress you out. My team did not have enough dedication or experience, and had no idea how to even do the simple stuff.

Now from this I could say that I tried my best, and if I did not help out this season, my team would not have a robot. For next season I will be focusing on training other members to the best of my ability, and working together as a team. If anyone else had this issue, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get others to help out in any way. You cannot do it all by yourself and if you do, you will feel as stressed out as I am now.

Anyways that’s what I learned this season! I would love to hear what you guys learned, and how to apply these things to next season.

Paulius Pace
Team 3161 Captain

Last year, we learned what success felt like. (Ranked 42 of 60 at Bayou, got picked by #2 alliance, went to CMP.)

This year, we learned what it takes to earn success - by almost getting there. This year, we ranked #18 of 56, and were the top ranked team not selected for an alliance. It took a bit of cajoling at first, but by the end, we had nearly the whole team down at/near the pit (which happened to be located across a walkway from the pit televisions) waiting on a team breakdown that almost happened about a dozen times.

We also learned a few internal things about mentors staying engaged after students nominally “take over” a function, and a lot of details about how to build and not build a robot. I started a “Lessons-Learned-2016” channel on our slack last night, and it got 60 posts in the first dozen hours.

I think we learned (hopefully)…

Not to get overly complex and IF they listen to me (from a strategy perspective) go after low hanging fruit with the ability to go after high hanging later especially in weeks 1 and 2 competitions.

Have the bot built by WEEK 4…allowing two weeks to drive it and see what breaks and learn what it does best. Iterate 30 lbs at a time thereafter. (At least we were underweight finally)

Do not underestimate STRESSES in a game like this and overbuild strength into every component

If we follow these lessons it should help next year. Another successful year and a very good learning year…we have more work to do. Back to the drawing board…next year

We have one more year with the Freshman becoming Seniors before they are leaving the team…we plan to make it and will do our best. As I say to the team… “Another effective bot” that’s our goal every year. First year I can say we delivered on it without reservation. We learn.

Learned how to program, set up, and run a CNC lathe and how to use Autodesk Inventor HSM software. Also, after nearly 15 years, I’ve learned how to let go, and watch what the students are able to come up with and what they are able to do without me. I’ve also learned that building a quality pit area takes WAY longer and costs way more than you would ever imagine.

I learned that when planning things always take longer than you think they will.

I also saw the value in prototyping along with how it is better to have a shooter that is fixed in one place as opposed to variable.

Finally I also learned the importance of team communication and orginization

Pneumatics are wicked.

Also, the New England usage of the word wicked.

Things I didn’t learn - How to pronounce the names of anything in New England.

I’ve learned that a hammer will fix nearly every problem with mechanical.

Yeah one other thing I learned was when you do something, make sure you do it right the first time. Now this may seem like common sense but some members on my team started a job, and did not finish it properly or left it for someone else to take on. This lead us to having to take apart or robot like 5 times because one thing was not mounted properly.

Paulius Pace
Team 3161 Captain

We learned to order parts as quickly as possible, with the quickest delivery time. We also learned to stay updated on the progress of parts being made and shipped, and to plan on them coming in several days late.

Restarting 6 days from the end of build season is not easy. Robot in 6 days is not a fun process.

Andrew, drop by our pit tomorrow. We’ll be happy to coach you in New Englandese: Worcester (WOO-STAH), Gloucester (GLAW-STAH), etc. :slight_smile:

It worked in CAD.

Sigh I’ll bring my notebook…

Maybe there’s a reason we’re the only robot with tank treads.

Also, you have to build things to be robust in this game.

We learned - or at least set a new team record for - how little time the programming team can have with the robot for it to be functional for competition. Apparently it’s about 6 hours.