What do you do with your old robots?

I assumed some things could be recycled. Like melt the metal down or something.

I think they’d rather just give them away and not have to deal with shipping them around after the offseason instead of going to all that effort to scrap them. And besides, it’s better if someone can still get some use out of it, right?

We sort of do, as definitely some of the pieces we had from 2016 post-season (last time we’ve taken a real big haul) have been used on other robots.

Im still good to take it right? haha

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At the end of 2017, when all all Michigan fields were done being used at invitationals, Ken Platteshorre (rest his soul) called us up and said “We are about to recycle the field elements, since you had a good year, do you want them?” We couldn’t say no. The boiler has since been recycled but the airship is now a trophy case. Off subject, 3 weeks after that picture, our build site looked liked this:

After 6 wonderful years, Midlink Business Park who gracelessly let us use their warehouse, finally found a renter for our space. Never fear, we have located a possible new home but we will still miss our old one.

Back on subject, it is amazing how fast a robot can go from the most important thing to something that just sits around or becomes cannibalized. 'Tis the life cycle of an FRC robot.


Know the feeling. It was bought, we moved out by May 1, 2018, and is a law office now. After 9 years in the space.

But our newer space makes up for it and school district owned. Still working though 18 months later to get organized better. Need to just force everyone to take a couple weekends to re-sort items, pitch unneeded stuff, and build some more suitable organization/tables/benches/etc.

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It’s now enjoying retirement in Boca.

Besides, it’s a mecanum bot. Nobody here likes those. :wink:


We used to keep all our old robots as a kind of “museum” where we could walk new members through a kind of team history but when we moved build space last year we decided to tear several of them down for 2 reasons. First, we just don’t have the space to store them any more. Second, we started to cannibalize several of them to the point where they were no longer “restorable” so we didn’t really have much of an excuse for why we were keeping these piles of metal around.

We do keep 2-3 running robots at all times for demos/recruiting/driver practice and these are usually the most recent robots. The notable exceptions to this rule are our t-shirt shooter and our 2014 and 2012 bots because, the t-shirt shooter is special and the other 2 have been fairly reliable and they throw stuff so they entertain kids. Not sure how much longer the 2014 robot will be around though because it has been becoming progressively less reliable recently.

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We currently have 4 complete bots at our school robot storage, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2019. And we also have 2018 stored but it’s partially disassembled. All the other robots currently sit at our sponsors’s HQ or have been disassembled, I am not sure.

Photographs and videos will have to suffice for any nostalgic trips my team takes; we barely have space to do our work, since our only separate area from daily-use classrooms is a small old loft that we’ve converted to our clubhouse. We have last year’s robot intact, the practice bot is now a rewired drive base, and that’s it. All our controls get reused, and the metal is recycled.

We put our bad robots out of their misery. Currently, 2014, 2017 and 2019 robots are mostly or fully functional and will eventually be used as practice robots and put on display with a set of bumpers.

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Every robot 2015 and after is still partially intact, just lacking a control systems for the most part, and sometimes motors. Since we weld frames, and have a lot of custom parts, taking electronics off is about the most we can do.

Most years we restore our 2015 robot since it’s a simple robot to drive, and work on (only having 5 motors).

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We have most of our old robotics fully in tact. We started in 2016, with a 2015 offseason bot that competed in battle of the bay. 2016 is still fully operational and mostly used for demos. 2017 has all the electronics, but needs a bit of reprogramming to restore it to its former glory. 2018 as far as I know still works, and we just finished our last competition with 2019 yesterday. 2015 is somewhat in disrepair. The frame is still there but it’s been stripped of half it’s electronic. That sits downstairs in the shop, while all the others save 2019 are sitting upstairs. Since we’re such a young team and we work out of the founders garage, all the history behind the bots is still there and it can be a very valuable learning experience assuming we can afford to keep them. My guess is 2016 isn’t going anywhere, and but we’ll see what happens to some of the other bots as they age.

I would like to add in our methods of dealing with old robots because it’s unique as far as I know, we have either removed all motors and electronics from robots to make non functioning showpieces(We even went through the effort of 3d printing show motors for our 2017 robot) or we use a raspberry pi and maestro controller to replace the Rio and keep them as functioning demo bots. As a team we only have 3 rios, but have 5 functioning demo bots that doesn’t include our comp bot, testbed, or summer robot.

After 22 years in our build space at Northeastern University, we ended up having to move. Our new location at our high school has more space to work, but less storage. It was decided that robots would have to be scrapped to make some space. I wanted to save some of the cooler and more historical ones, so my bedroom now belongs to 3 robots. The robots still in the shop right now are 2019 and its practice robot, and two robots for demos.