What is your greatest “jerry rigging” story ever

What problems did you solve using zip ties, duct tape, hot glue etc.? Was it a win or fail?

So once upon a time we used last years robot to test our ramp bot we built. The old robot needed an electrical system fast (we took it out) so we put all the electronics on a polycarbonate sheet and zip tied it to the elevator (ties came from dollar store). So the first time up the ramp was a success. Second time zip ties broke electrical panel fell upside down on the ground and the bot rolled over it. We lost the Ethernet port on the rio, the radio was cracked and the pdp was making some scary noises.

Moral of story : don’t buy cheap zip ties.


This might be the first story I’ve ever heard of a robot running over its own electronics.


It says that I need permission

Several years ago we needed a specific resistor (the value escapes me at the moment) to replace a component on a custom circuit we were using. We couldn’t find one, so I scrounged up a random scrap board with a slide potentiometer, used a multimeter to set it to the proper value, then hot-glued it in place. We soldered some wires onto the scrap board and zip-tied it to our robot, and it worked for the remainder of the season.

Another time, our LED ring for our camera gave out and we didn’t have a spare. There was a team giving out little blinkers designed to be worn on your index finger, so I asked them for all the red ones they had. We then broke them open with a hammer and took out their LEDs in an attempt to rig up a replacement light ring. That one didn’t work out so well :stuck_out_tongue:


Sorry about that I’ll fix it


At the North Star Regional this year. Walking the pits pre-open on Saturday, and we spy an illegal motor that the inspector missed. To be fair to the inspector, it was a Bosch seat motor, only it had a different gearbox on it - since the gearbox is integral to the motor, that made it illegal. Myself and another LRI spent the next 2 hours putting together a solution.

On the left is the illegal motor. On the right is a legal seat motor, broached to 3/8"hex. We didn’t have any 3/8" pulleys though, only 1/2". So, we needed an adapter. We ended up using a 3/8" female output from a VersaPlanetary, along with a carrier plate. Popped the pins out of the plate, got it drilled out for some bolts. Bolted that to an andymark 1/2" hex hub by drilling and tapping into the hub. Did the same to put a bolt through the hub into the shaft to hold the hex shaft on there, and used the set screw on the female adapter to hold the other end onto the 3/8" shaft. The whole thing was as improvised as possible, and it worked just fine for their remaining matches that morning. NOT something I would ever do if I had a chance to plan ahead!


We have Jerry rigged a few things to save us in the past. We had an issue in 2017 where our ropes while climbing would get wedged in the spool and bind. We taped some playing cards in that general area to keep the ropes out.

That same year, during Tesla SF-1, we had a gear fall in our hopper, forcing us to play defense. Our alliance partners had a sign from a mattress sale made out of like corrugated plastic that we zip tied on top to prevent the gear from fall in. Worked perfect, still have that sign sitting around.

Last year we didnt Jerry rig anything if I remember right.

This year we had some mild cases. Right before a match we realized the wire broke around our ring terminal for our pressure switch, so we quickly stripped it back, wrapped it around the ring terminal and just taped it since we didnt have a chance to solder it.

After breaking our intake during QF, our bearing would just fall out of the bottom. To make it through the event, we had to use zip ties to keep the shaft in the general location so we could intake cargo (which was a large part of our strategy).

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This year, until we got constant force springs, our at-competition solution to the hab climber taking too much power to hold itself up throughout the match was to zip tie it to the robot, then duct tape down the zip ties to the frame so we didn’t throw zip tie shrapnel all over the field when we broke the zip tie to climb.

Worked pretty well, actually


I only regret that the picture is blurry, but there is a lot going on, here. This was from the first season I was at the team, and all the kids (and me) were all FRC rookies. So we totally had no clue what we were doing. It was a terrible robot. There is a big blue vice attached to the back of the robot to counterbalance the 4-bar lift that was used to (attempt to) pick up the recycle can to place on top of a stack of tote. There is a vice that is holding the back part of the robot together, as well as a ton of zip ties and duct tape. This was at an offseason so I guess we got away with it because there wasn’t really any inspection. Boy, were we bad. :grinning:

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Basically all of elims (quarters 2-all of Einstein) one of the pairs of cylinders for our hatch extension placement was mounted with guerrilla tape cause the bracket broke. Not the greatest jerry rigging but more that it was during the most intense elims i have taken part in.


When I was in college, the nearest grocery store was a short walk from my morning class…but a much longer walk back to where I stayed. They had a sale on 12-packs of Fresca (and no, it’s not a euphemism it really was Fresca), but you had to buy four. At first I thought carrying two and two under each arm would suffice…yeah, no.

Go back to the aisle with markers and pencils and such, and pick up some shipping tape. Wrap it around each pair of boxes, then fashion more of it into shoulder straps that could go over my backpack’s shoulder straps (which had way more padding).

Sure enough, I was set for a few months on Fresca!


Was at a demo driving our 2012 robot around when one of the chain links on the drive train broke. We didn’t have any of the tools to fix the chain on hand. Luckily, the demo was at a large fundraising event with balloons everywhere, so I cut some of the string off one of the balloons and used it to hold the ends of the broken chain together.

Robot drove fine for another good 20 minutes after that.


2014 Inland Empire I watched a robot have its Crio fall out. Then it got run over by another robot.


2014 Aerial Assist, our shooter wasn’t always releasing and just got stuck at the first event, so we need edto shim it up a little so the cylinder force could actually move past the fulcrum. Our at-event fix was a little sheet of metal, some duct tape, and a fat sharpie as a spacer (since this was on the top side of angle aluminum oriented like an L, so no flat part on top). Worked well, and for our second event all we did was replace the sharpie with a block of wood (and went on to be No.1 seed).

Our elevator broke during finals match 2 at the muskegon event this year so in the tiebreaker we zip-tied our intake to the top of our robot, grabbed balls from the feeder station, and put them in the cargo-ship. We won the match by one point.


My personal favourite for 865 was in 2019 at the Georgian College event. During our first playoff match, the chain tensioner on our climber snapped but the bolt on the tensioner actually got stuck in the chain in such a way that it worked. For the remainder of the playoffs, the two ends of our chain were zipties together which lasted for (I believe) 3 matches and worked every time.

At Livonia this year, we burned out our two 775 motors powering our elevator. We had two spare motors but no spare pinions. None of the other teams had a gear puller, so I made one with a drill, hacksaw, and a hammer to persuade the motor into place. It worked great!


In 2012, we built a very simple wedge on the pivot to help us get on the bridges. The arm would pivot down and fall into a latch to hold it down, then we’d drive up to the bridge and as we drove forward the wedge would slide over the top of the bridge and pull it down, and we’d keep driving forward onto the bridge.

The wedge-arm was balanced sort of precariously in a vertical position in our starting configuration, and originally we expected it would naturally fall down as the robot started driving around during the match. This didn’t work reliably at competition, and eventually we hit on the idea to tie a piece of string to the wedge-arm and tape the other end to the front wheel of the drive train. As the robot drove, the wheel would rotate, pulling the string and thus pulling down the arm.

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We had a rope that kept falling off of last year’s robot, so we 3D printed a part to hold it on. When the print broke, we snapped a plastic knife in half and taped it to the top of pulley. I think it’s still there. Our frisbee robot currently has frisbees being directed into the feeder with a plastic spoon (smooth profile, spring loaded. It’s the perfect part.)

In 2008 we entered semi(?)finals with our gearboxes ziptied to the frame.

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