What hath we wrought? 2016 Horror Stories

After & During the 2016 season I’ve come across a number of horror stories of all sorts from the fields.

Teams learned how good their wiring was and how tough a field could be on robots.
FIRST learned a bit about the monsters they’ve brought forth by the damage to the fields.

I’ve heard of batteries winding up feet away from robots after a crossing. I’ve been at an event where a robot left the field (and the e-stop button failed).

What have you seen this past season?

I know that all the competitions I went to in North Carolina they put all the small parts from the robots that came apart in a table off the field. Also, I witnessed a robot smoking after the match ended and the robot tried to stay up for the scale.

For our team, we didn’t protect our mini-cims and the end where the wires come out of popped off. I believe this happened because of the step to keep the robots on for the capture. We ended up putting tape on it to keep it together, and it still worked.

Many a time I saw the zipties pop off and lexan decorations forcefully removed from the sally port by too-wide robots.



Yeah I think you witnessed us smoking after the match. Asheville was not kind to us. Our climber gearbox decided it was done after about 60 climbs so we used our backup from then until Champs. Still managed not to hit the carpet and foil the capture!

We learned that the proliferation of 3D printed parts in 2015 should not have been copied in 2016.

We broke some custom intake rollers (in all fairness, after 2 regionals and some heavy contact)

We also bent/destroyed our intake roller shaft (0.5’’ steel bent at about a 10deg angle at the midpoint) during a collision with Team 179 at Champs… I think they broke too.

Oh, and the chains… so many broken chains…

It didn’t happen till the off season, but we completely destroyed a ball shifter gear. Other damage includes innumerable broken chains, 3 destroyed intake plates, and a bent frame rail.

The gear on the other side hasn’t lost any teeth yet but is showing a pretty bad wear pattern so we’re replacing both.

Is that 1/2" hex to 3/8" hex on the same shaft? Based on the shear it looks like the step up to a larger size may have helped make the near perfect shear point.

Looks like the 5/8" step down to the 1/2" hex on the WCP Dog Shifter output shaft.

Regardless, this Step down is the exact spot to expect a failure on the part.

Gotcha - didn’t see the slot at first.

Among all the carnage this years game produced, there were a couple things that made me smile, and a couple that made me cringe!
Who will ever forget the “Pole Wars”?

I witnessed a Defence attack a volunteer. I saw it roll up and smash her fingers right in front of me before I even had time to react. (Sorry, no pictures for that one. This is not the place for that.)

Auto was fascinating this year! While some teams were “grinding” out two ball Auto, others took a slightly more aggressive approach! More power, all the time! I saw more Driver’s Stations on the ground this year than ever before!
I even saw one team that missed the memo that “Robots are NOT Points!”

This is where they ended up during Auto, and this is where they stayed all match.

This year’s game was brutal for both Robots and the field it’s self.
If you had a design flaw, this game would find it and show it to you, RIGHT IN YOUR FACE!!

Anyone who ran or helped run a competition understands the struggle of dealing with the defenses. Stronghold was cool, but it was a big logistical challenge.

As for failures, we’ve broken four 17t gears from the AndyMark Sonic Shifters (2 during the regular season). We have one more competition this year and hopefully we don’t need any more because they appear to have been discontinued.

We also sheared a 1/2" steel drive shaft very early on in the season.

I hope we can go back to 4" or 6" wheels (aka a wheel size that were used to determine gear ratios for COTS transmissions) so that we don’t keep breaking parts with unsuspected loads.


9330 during their second semifinals match at BeachBlitz.

We almost scored a low goal like this, but the right side of the intake hit the main breaker. We were able to aim reasonably well with the turret bolted back on for the finals, but that robot won’t be scoring any time soon.

To add to this, we also cracked our beaver tail intake. It was so sad watching the robot drive as the intake flopped around.

One of my favorite ironies occurred at IRI this year when TechFire’s motor started smoking on the field.

It probably was you guys, it seemed like your robot successfully scaled almost every single match. Your robot was an amazing one to watch and compete against. I remember that at Asheville we were playing defense against you, and your robot hit the ground very hard, at the point where most robots would break. Then, you guys fixed the robot and won the next match.

Don’t use a 14t gear in a 3 cim gearbox.

'Nuff said.

IIRC 2640(HOTBOTZ) had a drivetrain motor burn out during a match. Their robot was pretty good, and they fixed it quickly, but one whole side stopped working properly at DCMP. Still an amazing performance with a broken drivetrain.

I learned that if the battery cables can be rocked back and forth at the battery or at breaker, they are too loose and will cause high current draws that shutdown the robot.
Same for the wires between the breaker and the power distribution board.

Add the bouncing over defenses, robot on robot contact, and loose power connectors to the radio either at the barrel plug or at the pdp and you get a dead robot.

If you can pull wires out of the pdp wago connector they are too loose.

Our active got drove upon during a match at champs, more or less had to rebuild it. Same thing happened at Minnesota State.
I chose to rebuild it for IRI, and it was a very good call because 233 more or less made a giant dent in it.

Oh and lots of chain was harmed in this season.

Not to mention 3 stripped gears in the WCP Double Reduction gearbox (we broke 3/4 that we had(got put out of commission for 10K lakes regional))

Not to mention the match at champs where we had our rear bumper ripped off our robot https://youtu.be/6FG63S24z1g?t=85

Not to mention two matches where our bottom plate ripped out and dropped our battery.

And lots of melted pneumatic tubing as we were running the 98C which gets really hot.

Honorable Mention: https://youtu.be/DDm56AZgHf8?t=73
The time we drove on the top of 2052 at MRI :smiley:

I think we’ve broken almost every 3D printed part on our robot at least once