What do you do with your old robots?

After our 2019’s robot last competition on saturday we decided to keep the robot together as a museum piece and test bed so I was wondering what other teams do. What do you take off the robot and what do you leave on? Do you keep the robot running? What events do you do with your robot? Do you keep any part of your robot?
Thanks from your friendly neighborhood 107 duck.


In previous years, they were cannibalized for prototyping. However, we’ve been able to keep the past two years’ robots to assist in several actions:

  1. Drive practice
  2. Limited prototyping
  3. Programming practice (although we’ve provided programming with a drive-able chassis, sometimes they need a full scale robot to troubleshoot problems.
  4. Outreach and community education.

Like most teams, we are limited in the space that we have. I don’t believe that we have the room to store any more than 3 to 5 robots before we begin to eat into our workspace.

  1. “Drive Practice”
  2. Show and Tell
  3. Reduced to atoms for reuse
  4. Taking up mass in limited storage room

Since 2017, we have not disassembled or changed our competition robots in any way. They are just used for display and outreach events. The practice bots from these years, however, are disassembled completely for off-season projects and future practice bots.


1293 has usually skewed towards having storage space over keeping robots around. That’s been aided by historically unimpressive robots; probably more than half of them barely transcended BLT status.

After this past season though? I’ll fight a dude if we do more than take the Talon SRXs off.


We have 19 years of robots. Every one of them, and a few very complete almost identical practice bots as well. Approximately two of them have been pretty well stripped for electronics, but most of the rest are pretty well together, in a condition similar to how they played their last competition. Some have not run in probably a decade, but I bet they would if I put a battery in. I haven’t had the time or space, but when I do, my dream is to get them all running again, and have a 20 years of robots parade and expo.


We keep last year’s robot together for drive practice but we usually end up stealing parts or electronics from the robot from 2 years ago. That means during the 2020 build season we will probably be taking stuff from our 2018 robot.

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Actually I don’t know how I forgot this. I might as well share our plan for our robot.
What we plan to do is use it as a test bed for our new limelight and maybe a little bit of drive practice and maybe a show robot.

since we already have a robot that we use specifically for demos and outreach, and we don’t have the storage space, all of our competition robots are disassembled after our last off-season event.

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Our previous year’s robot serves as a programming, practice, and test bench until we need the space for the new robot and practice robot, at which time it’s cannibalized for COTS parts and the rest scrapped. [We simply do not have the space to keep old robots.]

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That’s a very good question we’ve been asking ourselves recently…

2017 is currently planned to be turned into a coffee table, so there’s that.


As with just about everything FRC, it’s entirely dependent on your resources and priorities. Resources in this case includes your annual robot budget, and whether it’s enough that you won’t need to cannibalize previous robot(s), and storage. Keeping multiple years of robots is impractical for most teams, but if you can afford to have enough electronics for two or three robots, you should certainly consider keeping at least one former competition robot (or near-competition practice robot) working for demos - and generic drive practice, and as a defensive sparring partner.


What we do is we harvest basically all the electronics and then if we we want to use the robot as a show robot we just put a bunch of old parts in. Like right now our steamworks bot has a bunch of old parts just so we can drive it

That’s because you all have that gorgeous shop space with the room to store all those robots (and display them to the public.) The rest of us are a bit envious. :wink:

We tend to disassemble past robots once they’re no longer good for outreach or as driver practice. That means we hang onto last season’s bot and keep it running through the following season but tend to replace them with the newer bot once they’re more than about two years old. We do keep the drive chassis around for prototyping, but mostly they’re salvaged for parts. Like many teams we don’t have much room (even less right now while our school is under construction), so we just can’t keep too many old robots no matter how much we may have loved them.



2017 is drivetrain is used as a test bed and 2016 is still fully assembled. Everything else has been disassembled.

Our 2019 robot will more than likely put 2017 into retirement in about a month or so.


We keep our contest robot around for demonstrations and for learning. We try to keep contest robot in working order including one set of bumpers. New team members can look at the robot to how it was built, how it drives and reacts, etc. It also proves to be a good device for new programmers to practice coding.

The practice robot is usually taken apart at to the drivebase and many times completely. We will reuse items from the recovery process for future projects including off season activities. If we keep practice robot drivebase in tact, we use it for putting prototypes on, drive practice in terms of new drivers and for programmers to learn to code.

In the past, we have loaned out our practice robot to pre-rookie teams for practice, discovery and learning. They take the robot for several months during offseason tournaments allowing them to use the robot in tournaments. They can also use it to practice and develop code, investigate wiring and electronics, etc. We get the robot back from them during December so we will have time to dismantle as we see fit for that year. This year, we are strarting a new team on campus composed of 9th and 10th graders only (this is our Junior Varsity FRC team). They are going to use the robot at 2019 Remix (this coming weekend) to learn what an FRC tournament is.

We also let them get used by Hollywood in movies. :slight_smile: We were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time several years ago when a set designer for Transformers 4 was looking for items to be on a local set for the movie.


We harvest it’s organs!

We salvage just about everything we can from our previous years robots. We’re a medium to lower resource team in that regard and so reusing as many cots components as we can helps a bunch. We usually start the disassembly process after our last event. (Be it off-season or outreach.)

We do keep a few old robots together for doing demos. 2013 & 2017 currently. Although they both could use some love at this point. Perhaps next summer we’ll spend more than just upkeep time on them.

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We used to keep them all together, then we ran out of room, so took them all apart. Lately, we keep the previous robot in some form to use for demos or prototyping, and eventually it turns into a practice robot. So we don’t have much to show for our past. Although our first robot (2006) ended up going to an alumnus who made a substantial donation to the team. It’s still mostly complete, but not operational. It’s what we like to call “art” now.

But underwater robots, which are not FRC, but are also fun, are another story. The NERDS dont’ have any left, but the Typewriter Repairmen (our family team) has 5 of them, 3 of which were in the movie Spare Parts. those sit in a little shrine in my living room.


We’d like to keep them together, but we don’t have the space to keep them or the funds to keep buying new electronics and some other reusable parts every year. We do try to keep around a memorable part of each robot, though they’re put away for now due to a recent move.

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