It’s three days into the 2008 season, and it’s very likely that most teams are still deciding what to build. That means that it’s a very good time to remind everyone about the fact that each robot will be placed inside of a sizing box, as part of the inspection at every event. (See <R11> and <R108>.)
Your robot must fit in the box.
Your robot may not cross the boundaries of the box, even by 1/16 of an inch. Even zip-ties, bolt heads and decorations count toward this restriction!
Your robot may not push on the panels of the box, or use it for support (except, obviously, the floor). Many robots violate this rule every year, and many inspections are failed because of it.
It’s a fact of the competition that robot frames sometimes bend, or parallelogram. This can cause the bounding box of your robot to grow, potentially in excess of the size limit. Design your frame so this doesn’t happen, perhaps by gusseting the corners, and using the bumpers as structural elements.
Remember, the sizing boxes measure every dimension at once, while a tape measure only measures lengths, not angles (which aren’t always 90°). Plan ahead now. If there’s no functional difference between 37 in and 38 in, why not leave yourself the extra space? The same goes for the other dimensions.
Don’t be the team that ties up an inspector and a sizing box for 30 minutes, trying bravely to slide their robot in “just right”. Even worse, don’t be the team that whips out the hacksaw at the competition, because they didn’t plan ahead.
P.S. Remember to weigh your robot well before the ship date. A regular bathroom scale usually works for this purpose. You don’t want to be 30 lbs overweight on Thursday evening, 15 minutes before the pits close. (This really happened, but I conveniently forget which team was responsible.)