What Will a Rookie Team Will Need to Acomplish in the Build Season

Hi i am from a rookie team and wanted to know what kind of things besides the robot our team will need to prepare before the Reginol Tournament.

In no particular order:

Build a crate. You have to ship the robot somehow. When Section 4 of the Manual comes out, it will have the specs for that. You’ll want to add methods for securing your robot.

If you’re going for any award that needs separate work (Woodie Flowers, Visualization Award, and Inventor Award), you’ll need to do that before the regional.

If you’re a NASA grant team, get the thank-you out before build if at all possible.


Prepare a Chairman’s Award submission. You might even submit it. (Note: as a rookie team, you aren’t eligible for the CA. The rookie’s CA, the Rookie All-Star, doesn’t require a submission, but one is encouraged (bring to the event).)

Make giveaways. Not just a few, but a few hundred. These get your team name and number out at the event. This can be a decided advantage come picking time.

Welcome to FIRST!

Things you will definitely want to do in addition to a robot:
-make buttons! These are passed out at all competitions and can be made for you (you have to provide the design), or you can make them. We use Badge-A-Minit and we normally bring between 250 and 300 buttons to each competition (depending on how many we end up messing up when we make them
-if you want to qualify for the Entrepreneurship Award, you will need to bring a business plan as outlined in the manual found on FIRST’s website under the awards section. From the sound of it (it’s new this year), you will have to show that to the judges when they pass by
-make sure your team is decked out in team t-shirts and team pride! Facepaint is good, and spirited parents/grandparents/siblings/random friends cheering in the crowd helps to create a great team image!
-make a website so that your team can be contacted and get out information on who you are and what you’re about. A great website can not only win an award (see awards section of manual linked above), but it can help other teams get in contact with you and get your name on everyone’s tongues
-if you’re ambitious, making an animation is another great way to participate in FIRST. Use the software that comes in your kit of parts and try to make a 30 second animation based on the information given at kickoff!
-make a pseudo-Chairmans submission to help tell the judges why you would be an excellent Rookie All Star team! Not only is it great practice for next year, but the judges will be impressed at how great your team is and how well you can “elevator speech” your team’s story!

And finally, keep up with the threads on Chiefdelphi.com. Knowing what’s going on with both teams in your area and around the world will help your team learn everything you will need during your first season!

Good luck, and feel free to message me if you have any questions!

After you ship your robot. Organize your pit area. I believe last year the pit area was about 10x10’(this may change for what regional your going to attend), mark off that area with some tape or something and get all your stuff in it and see how things fit.

10x10’ is alot smaller when you start putting your robot, tools, a table, things of that nature in it. Just knowing what you have to bring and where to put it before hand is a huge time saver. On that same note, assign people to pit duty, people that stay in the pit and answer scouting questions from other teams, keep tools organized; things of that nature. Having these people pre-assigned with time slots, also will save a lot of time on the day of competition.

Make a robot cart. Get a couple of team members together after shipment and have them design and build a robot cart. A couple of tips;

  • make sure that the robot wheels can move freely, this way you can run it without having safety problems

  • Have it so that you can have tools, batteries, and your control board underneath the cart, just having a stocked and organized tool box under there is a 100% useful.

  • Use caster wheels for it, to maintain maximum movability.

#1 Read the Rules! (find a team lawyer…) and build your robot to comply with the rules, I’ve seen too many rookie teams rebuild their robot on Thursdays at competitions.

#2 Decide on a drive team before your first competition. If you finish your robot before the end of the 6 weeks have your drivers drive it till they break it, then fix the robot, and then drive it again till they break it… I like to say its better to break it during build season then the first time you get on the field.

ohh… and don’t forget scouting, because if you follow 1 and 2 you may get a chance to be a picking team.

To that end, go ahead and try to cram everything into an 8x8 space. That’s the absolute minimum you’ll see at an FRC event.

Also, I highly recommend that you incorporate pneumatic (air-filled) tires on your robot cart. I can’t remember a single event I’ve been to where the drive team path didn’t have at least two trips over a cable protector; big air-filled tires handle them much more smoothly than smaller wheels from, say, a furniture dolly. (1618 has used a furniture dolly for two seasons without ill effects, mind you; I just remember my days on 1293 with their smoother garden cart.) You can get a garden cart from your nearest Lowe’s or Home Depot for under $100 (1293’s was functionally the same as this); if you’re itching to do it all yourself, Harbor Freight sells suitable casters for about $15 each. Obviously, no matter what you use, you’ll want to make sure your robot doesn’t just slide off if you take a bump or two. (Try the curb on your driveway for a reasonable approximation.)

Other suggestions:

-To play off Jonathan’s suggestion, make that team lawyer interpret the rules conservatively. Looser interpretations tend to result in headache or heartbreak. Have them read the Q&A forum–yes, every question; most result in the GDC replying “Reread <R47>” or similar–and seek clarification from the GDC when you’re not sure whether a rule or ruling will impact your strategy.

-Aim for a tools-down date around the first week of February. If you can’t give yourself at least one good week of practice, debugging, and occasional blinging-out, you’re going to have a lot of surprises. (Trust me, *(http://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/photos/31018)plenty about that.)

-Read MOEmentum. Don’t let the first-year label fool you–this will be my sixth season of FRC (fifth as a mentor), and I still read MOEmentum for insights.

-Take any opportunity you can to learn from other teams. What they do might not work perfectly for your team for whatever reason (different resources, different philosophy, different people), but it might give you the spark to do something else equally amazing.*

Team RUSH has spent a year or so developing a “Tool Kit for Success” it is our team’s methods and suggestions for how to start and have a sustainable team. It is by no means “the way” but it is “the RUSH way” and has kept our team organized and running for 12 years so there are many suggestions based on years of experience. The tool kit has a competition section which includes everything from food to shirts and spirit to awards. It also has fundraising ideas, team activities/team builders, sponsorship ideas and many other useful bits of information. Last weekend we held a mentor workshop to give teams suggestions and ideas of what to expect, we also passed out our tool kit which is going to be distributed to all new teams in Michigan. But it is also available on our website if you are interested.

Create a team structure that will allow for efficient and effective design of the robot. Once your team is organized, you really will see significant improvements in work efficiency.

Do this before build starts and use a mock project to test your team structure. Have a group of students or mentors create a task for the team to accomplish and within a certain time constraint (similar to those of FIRST). This will allow you to see if the team structure is right for you or if it needs to be modified.

Good luck everyone! So can’t wait. :smiley:

EDIT: If people can add more onto this please do, I’m not too great at explaining team organization. Thanks.

Pretty much everything already said is perfect advice…with this added:

Use all your time wisely…plan everything you need to do and hit the ground running on day one.

See “Moe University”. They have pictures of their latest trick, the Rube Goldberg machine, in CD-Media. I believe that there are also pictures of older projects.

You could also use an old FRC game and get concepts flowing.

There’s also MORT University (yes we had it before them :wink: ) PM me if you want a full report on it as it is kind of too long to explain in a post.

EDIT: Woot! 1251 TechTigers post. :slight_smile:

If you can do it, I highly recommend getting together and watching the kickoff live feed AND later getting together and watching a live feed or online match video from regionals that are scheduled before your first event(Week 1 or 2). Did anyone use your design and your strategy? to what effect? what other designs and strategies will your bot complement? defend against? etc.
Have fun! You are in for a great ride!

May I just say, that planning as if your going to the Championships in Atlanta is very good idea. Your a rookie team, and winning rookie-all-star at your regional can jump on you, when this happens your team is invited to the Championships. Putting together all the arrangements between your regional and Championships isn’t fun, so spare you some pain and go ahead start raising the 5grand and stuff for the hotel before hand.

Our team won rookie-all-star last year, and raising the money within 2weeks was not fun by any means, so please take the advise and run with it. If you don’t end up going, then just push the money into next years budget or something of that nature.

Good luck!!

Have you looked at the FIRST page “How to Start a Team” http://usfirst.org/what/frc/content.aspx?id=5504

This is really good advice. The BeachBots make a practice of finishing the year with at least enough money in the bank to play next year. It takes a tremendous amount of stress off the team to do this. This is a goal to shoot for, it actually took us several years to get to this point. But there is no harm in starting now. AND if you shoud have a pleasant suprise like the opportunity to go to Atlanta, you have a head start.

Find the person on your team who can best stay calm and collected while managing to remain in control of the situation. This will hopefully help keep down quibbling, aimless arguing, and worst of all, shenanigans. Make sure the person is there almost every day and can stay focused in any situation. Maybe the lesser-interested members will learn from this person.

The last thing you need at the end of the six weeks is a bunch of funny stories about how you potato sacked peoples’ bookbags, and a pile of parts instead of a robot.

How long should we plan on using the quickbulid robot before we start on the real one?

How long should you wait before you stop using your quick bulild and start working/building on the real deal?