It sounds like you’re the opposite of what I want to be, except I’m also lazy, so it ends up being expensive and lazy.
This year my team went all out in terms of concept… I missed the first week of build season where they decided to build a 3 degree of freedom robotic arm. Think Fanuc, ABB, Kuka… I knew it was a terrible decision, but got on board anyways because it sounded fun.
Nevertheless, we forged ahead bravely (what is the quip about bravery vs not fully knowing the situation?), confident that the flexibility of the arm would allow us to play powerfully, as long as the hardware and software were both there. We went full send complete 971 approach, and actually ended up looking very similar to their 2018 robot, just with less carbon. In CAD, we could intake both pieces from the rear of the robot, then drive forward and score, or turn around and score. By only developing software, we would be able to score in any position, from the front or back.
After countless sunday night CAD sessions, long nights in the machine shop, longer nights assembling it, the hardware was there. The software, not so much. Each competition we took more and more of the arm off, because we had no code to drive it. I am truly proud of what I accomplished with my team, and how much these students learned. The arm is scary powerful, and very well built. But after failing to manipulate a single game piece, I can’t call it a successful season.
I personally still like the 971 approach, but we, clearly, are not 971.