- By the end of this week at the latest, a decision should be made on what your design concept is. This incorporates the functions you want your robot to perform during each match. The concept of "do one thing and do it very, very well" is a nice mantra to live by. However, if you want to do more and believe you have the capability, go for it. Challenge your team, but be realistic
- If you have enough team members, you should be divided into sub-teams to "divide and conquer." Having a leader who is accountable for the progress of each team is critical. It is also important to have planned interactions between the sub-teams (or sub-team leaders) to ensure that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.
- If possible, develop a project plan whatever way you can (hand write, spreadsheet, Microsoft Project) and assign someone to monitor progress versus your plan goals.
- Here is an example of a detailed project plan we referenced during a prior build season. (NOTE: the plan was helpful in determining a general direction; we did not meet all the due dates ;))
- ATTACHMENT - PROJECT PLAN in:
*DOWNLOAD* Robot Build Excel Sheet
- You should have crude prototypes of the key mechanisms on your robot built by now and should be testing them for basic functionality. A wooden frame with casters can serve as your chassis and any arms etc can be mocked up with PVC or wood. Make sure your ideas work before you spend hours designing and fabricating final parts.
ROBOT DESIGN / BUILD
TESTING OF ROBOT FUNCTIONS
By now you should have demonstrated your basic functionality with simple prototypes. If this is not completed, then you need to do your best to complete it by the end of the week..
Once a component is fully built, the team needs to test how it works in conjunction with the rest of the robot and if it is effective doing what it was designed to do.
Based on past experience, very few parts / designs were perfect the first time. After almost every test, changes need to be made. We have found connections that were loose, pieces that fit too tightly or too loose, and parts that were placed too close together or too far apart from each other. Get used to testing, re-engineering, and re-testing, until you are satisfied. It is much better to test your functions now, then when you are out on the playing field for a real match.
By the end of Week 3, you should have completed the design of the major components and start fabricating the final parts.
ROBOT DESIGN / BUILD
POST-SHIP FIX-IT WINDOW
Understand what the rules are regarding what you can work on after the robot ship and when you can work. Consult the FIRST competition manual for details.
While very difficult to do, some teams construct a second robot, similar to the one you just shipped, in order to (1) train drivers, (2) try out some design changes, and (3) hone autonomous programs. This is legal in FIRST. However, you must not use any parts / code developed after the Fix-It Window.
For most first-year teams, this is probably not in your plans. However, it is something to consider for future seasons.
HANDOUTS – ROBOT SPECIFICATIONS SHEET
Many teams, to describe their robot, put together a one- or two-page sheet, which is distributed to other teams at the competition. Not only can this sheet explain the capabilities of your robot, it can start to cement name/team number recognition with other teams.
Anywhere from 35-60 teams will be competing in a given regional. To help share the capabilities of their team's robot, many teams develop a one page Spec Sheet, which includes a photo of their robot and important information about the capabilities of the robot and the team. These are helpful to get your team's name, number, and robot details to others. Prior to the competitions, you may have carefully guarded against the leakage of key information about your robot to help increase your competitive advantage. However, once at the actual competition, you WANT other teams to know what your robot can do, especially if you are a rookie team. They not only are going to be your competitors, they also will at times be your alliance partners. Make it easy for them to figure out how best to interface their robot’s capabilities with your. Also remember that there is nothing like some good marketing to get others to recognize both your team and your robot.
Here is an example of Team #365’s Robot Spec Sheet from 2004.
*DOWNLOAD* PHILADELPHIA Data Sheet 3.22.2004