What is your greatest “jerry rigging” story ever

We used a leather belt.

Here is a picture of an offseason robot from summer of 2016 that was a tennis ball catapult. Yes, the “bucket” is a cheese-shaker lid. This is what happens when your build space is an old cafeteria.


In 2017 for Steamworks, while prototyping a climber, we use a wrench as part of the prototype. It ended up working so well that we left it on our competition robot, but we chopped off most of the handle. I’m trying to find a picture but can’t. If I end up finding one, I will drop it here.


When we were testing our first ever robot (2007) we decided we needed to strap some weight to it. We used ethernet cable to strap one of those old multi-color iMacs to it.



This reminds me of something I saw at North Bay…

In the rookie year of 2012, 3946 built a wheeled launcher on a turret rotating on a lazy susan and the ball was lifted vertically through the lazy susan to the wheels by a pneumatic trigger. One of the prototype carriers for the trigger was a cap from an aerosol can of Bengal roach spray. The label clearly proclaimed that it was “Guaranteed to Work”. The team eventually settled on a PVC end cap.

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In both 2017 and 2018 1507 used 1/2” ratcheting wrenches on 1/2” hex shaft on our climber to Keep the motors from backdriving. Worked like a charm.

Edit: thought I should add that in 2017 we went a little crazy cheesecaking partners in quals to the point where we were zip-tying the open ends of ratchets to robot frames to secure them. In the end we had worked on roughly half of the climbers at FLR and Buckeye. #3AndD

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Every year, we bring a bot built by our rookie members to an offseason event to give younger members the competition experience. We didn’t account for our intake’s range of motion, and as it turns out, our intake ended up smashing into our electronics board several times during matches. To combat this, we zip tied a mentor’s backpack to the robot. When another team pointed it out in queue, we had to say, “Don’t worry, that’s supposed to be there.”


We changed our hatch mechanism for the Israel DCMP, and turns out there was too much load transferred through the VersaPlanetary output shaft and it broke in the middle of a match. In order to fix it, we took a block of aluminium, drilled and broached it to 1/2" hex, and a mentor of another team welded it to one of the extrusions for us outside. It broke after a match or two because of defense so we just ended up taping it together.
We also had two wheels in the cargo floor pickup side of the robot that helped moving the cargo into the shooter that’s on the elevator, which was held with 8 rivets to the chassis. In ISDE #2, defense broke it mid-match. We taped it to the chassis and it worked flawlessly throughout the season (ISDE #4 and ISDCMP). Also some chain and belt tensioners that were made during ISDE #2 using spare bolts, bearings and tape

I think the greatest jerry-rigging I’ve ever seen / heard of from 610 was from 2002. That robot kept on popping chains and killing #35 master links because of the amount of torque it produced… so by the finals our master links on one side of the drive were kept on with chewing gum. Somehow they ended up winning the first ever Canadian Regional like that.

From this year, at Durham 2200 helped us pin a shaft / sprocket to try and keep our wrist alive during playoffs by breaking off a small drill-bit to pin the two. And at champs one of the main supports of our claw was broken clean through…

The Velcro we added to hold our battery was way too long so we just put a roll of red duct tape on top of the battery and called it our shock absorber. The inspector loved it lmao

I was able to do it from my work computer #applegang

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HEIC files are proprietary to Apple devices. You need to find a way to export to .jpg/.png for web browsers or Windows to view it.

Speaking of duct tape rolls, we had a team hit our breaker in 2018 and turn the robot off. We grabbed the cardboard part of the duct tape roll and stuck it around the breaker which kept rouge intakes from disabling us. Inspectors at Houston loved that, too.

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My favorite one from this season is after alliance selections at GPR. We picked up 5842 in the second round and i went to talk to them about match strategy with our partners. We asked if they could start on HAB 2, which they said they could, but were worried of things breaking. A lot of duct taping things down and in later they were able to start on HAB 2. We also were worried about things hitting their electronics , so we duct taped a hatch panel on the back of their elevator supports as an electronic shield. One of their members even hot glued the ethernet cable onto the rio to make sure it doesn’t come out. (hot glue on the outside to hold it in)


Yes, done that! A similar hack in function though not execution: Mini Koopa (3946’s 2018 offseason robot) had it’s main breaker mounted with a U-bolt (for 1-1/2" pipe, 1/4" thread) over the top, using nuts both above the breaker and below the mounting, which was a couple of the holes in the AM14U3 chassis drilled out to 1/4". IIRC, we had to spread the U slightly, but it worked great at keeping power cubes and manipulators out. I would not have trusted it against falling hatch panels this year!

Another hack that came to me looking at an image above is the elevator chain mounts/tensioners 3946 used in 2015 and 2018 (in-season). In 2018, we bought some 1/4"-20 shank bolts, cut off the heads, then hammered the shanks in one direction until they would fit between the outer plates of #25HD chain. We’d then use the drill press to make a 3/32" hole centered on the flat surface and centered about 3/16" from the end of the bolt, and use a Dark Soul chain tool to pin that to the end of a #25HD chain; repeat other end. The elevator had brackets with 1/4" clearance holes at both top and bottom, which were secured either end of the chain with 1/4"-20 nuts. (If you think that sounds janky, the 2015 solution was similar but involved drilling holes in the thumb plates of thumb screws!)

i was able to just paste it in on my pc at work. Thanks for the help

Our 2017 offseason robot’s climber used a ratcheting 1/2" wrench to keep the climber drum from backdriving. It seemed really janky at first, but worked in almost every match (except for when the single zip tie holding the wrench down broke).


my last 3 years of high school.


Wait that doesn’t count as having a game piece on your robot?

Not the best, but it confused a lot of people.

During Stronghold, we used pneumatic wheels (yes, I know…big mistake - we only had 4 wheels). Anyway, to reduce friction we installed large zip ties at regular intervals around each tire. From a distance, it looked as if we had omni wheels. The MC commented several times how he was amazed that the obstacles didn’t destroy our wheels.

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Um, what? I would bet that 75% of teams used pneumatic wheels in 2016. So much so that the North American supply for 8" tires dried up. The defenses were practically designed with them in mind - hardly a mistake!

I’ll agree that they made robots hard to steer. We covered our corner wheels in duct tape to mitigate the problem, which is another good jerry rigging story.