Now that the season is over, I am wondering what people on CD wish their team had done differently this year (build or strategy wise).
For my team, I wish we had an over the bumper cargo intake similar to 148’s or 5460’s. We looked at some but there really was no way to package it on our robot. We still did really well this season and I don’t think it would have changed much, but in some matches it would have been nice to have.
I wish we would’ve focused on making small incremental improvements to our robot rather than trying to redesign major subsystems, only to see them not pan out for one reason or another. Many small changes would’ve added up to a significantly more competitive robot than what our major overhauls would’ve done, even if they worked.
Used lighter material for our elevator – we used 0.125" thick 2x1 and it weighed a lot. Unfortunately money was tight and it wasn’t really possible to get 0.1" or 0.063"
Spent more time prototyping intakes. It took us a long time (basically until champs) before we got an intake that could properly handle both game pieces. I wish we had put more of that legwork in before bag day. Unfortunately with minimal CNC capabilities this is a bit difficult. However this year was our best as far as iterating – we went through 6 or 7 intakes throughout the season (3 in build season and 3-4 after bag day) so it was good to see our gradual improvements throughout.
Designed simpler. Our design (2 stage elevator with 4 bar) was cool and gave us some neat features. For example we could intake cargo inside the frame perimeter, and also reach all the way over a cargo to pick up a hatch panel from the feeder station. But I don’t think that the added complexity (and weight) was worth those benefits. Perhaps a 3 stage elevator would have been a smarter call.
Taken a more “control your own destiny” route. We knew that with our capabilities we would not be able to tackle both the rocket and the HAB ranking points. We chose the rocket due to our experience with an elevator lsat year. We knew that we’d probably only be able to do 8 game pieces max (relying on a partner to fill level 1). This resulted in us never really contributing to a rocket ranking point other than counterdefense for a solo rocket. Focusing our efforts on a reliable L3 climb would have more or less guaranteed that ranking point every single match.
Overall we learned a lot from our robot this year as it was the most complex one we ever built. I wouldn’t say I regret it but we certainly could have taken some different paths.
This can be classified as strategy, but I wish I’d talked to more people from other teams at our competitions. I tend to get tunnel vision, and that would’ve given me more of an open mind and introduced me to a wide variety of strategies and stuff (Plus the added bonus of making friends)
We entered the season building an intake that could do both cargo and hatches, but had to redesign it after the first competition to focus solely on cargo. We tried several times to reintroduce hatch functionality into it, but were not successful.
I wish that we had either gone for cargo specialization from the beginning or been able to get hatch functionality back.
Of course, there’s quite a lot of my team members on CD whom have their own opinions, and I didn’t even work on intake during build season, so take my word with liberal usage of salt.
Sorry to change thread topic but
What is your reasoning for the 6 minicims vs. the 4 NEOs? I feel like I’ve heard a lot of praise of the NEOs this season and am surprised to hear the preference of minicims.
I wish that we decided to focus on more than just one thing, instead of doing one thing really really well. It didn’t work out well at NAU for our team, but adding a climbing mechanism at GCU really helped us, and gave us a ticket to Houston. It would have been better to start at the very beginning knowing that we would attempt to do more than 1 thing well.
Having a complex and not always working drive system gave me ultimate tunnel vision. Afterwards I felt pretty bummed about not seeing much what other teams were doing. Luckily I was able to volunteer at another regional and scratch that itch.
My biggest regret is that I lacked inspiration for too much of the season. I burned myself out a little before the season getting our shop and team ready, and went into design meetings feeling a bit like a spectator. I wish I would been a better champion at making others ideas better when I was struggling to feel my own sense of what direction and ideas we should go for. I think part of my feeling was that all the ideas had similar merit so I was okay letting everyone else select which ideas went to prototyping and farther. But I would feel better if I’d just picked an idea to help and put max effort at making it the best version of itself, even if it didn’t eventually get picked.
edit: More to the point. More cargo ship protections, we wrecked some cylinders and it ended our attempts to climb. Putting climbing more front and center, we ended up with a completely untested idea and finding it would never work on the practice field. Scratching the bosch seat motor wrist, it was kind of a pain and stripped to easily.