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Basics for FIRST Robotics Build Season Presented by the 2010 Kansas City Regional Planning Committee Agenda Build Schedule Best Practices Mentors Resources Q&A Build Schedule Day 0 – Kickoff Download the rules and study them Day 1-3 – Brainstorm

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basics for first robotics build season

Basics for FIRST Robotics Build Season

Presented by the 2010 Kansas City Regional Planning Committee

  • Build Schedule
  • Best Practices
  • Mentors
  • Resources
  • Q&A
build schedule
Build Schedule
  • Day 0 – Kickoff

Download the rules and study them

  • Day 1-3 – Brainstorm

Divide into design teams (everyone participate)

No idea is a bad one!

  • Day 4 – Presentation

All the teams present their ideas

Sleep on it!

  • Day 5 – Decision Time

Perform some type of Decision Matrix

(See Designing-a-FIRST-robot.ppt for more detail)


Build Schedule

  • Week Two: Design / Integrate Systems and Components

Order Parts

Sub teams - Design systems and components

Complete system designs, component drawings, and parts list

  • Week Three: Fabricate / Procure Components

Fabricate components

Complete component fabrication and procurement

  • Week Four: Assemble Robot and Shipping Crate

Sub teams assemble robot

Complete robot

Build / check robot crate for sturdiness

build schedule6
Build Schedule
  • Week Five: Develop and Test Robot

Test, refine, and develop robot

Complete testing and development

Start the Drive Team practice process

  • Week Six: Game Practice and Revisions

Drive team practices and team makes final robot/play strategy revisions

Prepare robot for shipment

Kansas City is Bag & Tag

build schedule7
Build Schedule
  • Week Seven:

Ship Robot by Deadline

Team meeting for review of:

Robot design

Competition sub teams’ rules knowledge

Competition needs

Collect completed Consent & Release Forms for registration at initial competition

Safety – Ensure enough ANSI Z87-approved safety glasses for team at competition Consider Travel safety,

venue safety, buddy system, etc. Collect contact information

regional competition
  • 1st Day

Registration, pit station setup, practice rounds, robot inspection, shipping documents

  • 2nd Day

Opening Ceremony, Qualifying rounds, Awards Ceremony, Team Social if applicable.

  • 3rd Day

Opening Ceremony, Qualifying and final rounds. Ship robot from event home or to next event,

Awards Ceremony, pick up participation medallions.

best practices
Best Practices
  • Pre-Season
  • Build Season
    • Basic’s
    • Mechanical
    • Electrical
    • Programming
    • CAD
  • Competition
  • Off Season
pre season
  • Develop Roles Within the Team
  • Shop Safety Class
  • Shop Layout
  • Tools
  • Read Last Year’s Manual
  • Team Pre Season Workshops
  • Get to Know your local Machine Shops
  • Find Team Mentors
build season
Build Season
  • Know your limitations
    • Split Robot into Phases
  • Layout a schedule
  • Get a base and drive train done soon
  • Keep track of weight
  • Watch the overall size
  • Think about maintenance during design
  • Keep the center of gravity low
  • Prototype ideas
  • Keep track of rule changes/clarifications
  • Standardize hardware
  • Make spares
  • Don’t forget about pneumatics
  • Avoid set screws
  • Too much traction can be bad
  • Be aware of robot systems when drilling or machining parts on the robot
  • Avoid cantilevered shafts
  • Avoid stalling your motors
  • Include electrical components in overall design
  • Have a test board and basic program ready early
  • Make sure batteries are easy to replace but secure
  • Keep ports on robot controller clear
  • Protect components from debris
  • Use a good crimper
  • Mount electronics so cables don’t fall out
  • Organize wiring
  • Make sure all connections are insulated
  • Reduce wiring
  • Keep several copies of your program
  • Start work on autonomous early
  • Have a multimeter
  • Use appropriate gauge wire


  • Get mentors
  • Learn/Know the programming language
  • Understand the autonomous code
  • Experiment with autonomous code
  • Keep track of file modifications
  • Use It as a design tool not as an ‘as-built’ tool
  • Use 3D model CAD files for machine shop
  • Set up naming configuration
  • Back up your data
  • Know Your Opponents
    • Pre-Competition Research
    • Have a Scouting System
    • Review Game Tapes
  • Prepare Handouts
  • Educate Students About Robot
    • Judging
    • Inspections
  • Prepare Pre-Match Check List
  • Routine Maintenance Schedule after each match
  • Get Parents and Student Involved show your

Team Sprit

off season
Off Season
  • Keep Connection With Sponsors
  • Off Season Fund Raising
  • Plan for Next Year


what is a first mentor
What is a FIRST Mentor
  • A mentor to a team is:
  • An extension of the team sponsor/head coach
    • Extra eyes, ears, hands, feet
    • Technical support/augmentation
    • Network entrance point
  • An implementer of the team vision
    • Works toward the same goals
    • Helps to deliver a consistent message

Be on the same page!

  • Mentor - a trusted and respected friend, counselor or teacher
  • Mentors:
    • Another Team
    • Individuals
      • Parents
      • Family Friends
      • Anyone you can entice
mentors responsibilities
Mentors Responsibilities
  • Inspire Students
  • Motivate and Engage Students
  • Create Open Communications
  • Maintain Process Focus
  • Have Students Do as Much Work As Possible
  • Honest Communication
  • Show Trust
  • Encourage Accountability
mentors roles
Mentors Roles
  • Confidant
  • Supporter
  • Coach
  • Teacher
  • Motivator
  • Facilitator
  • Sustainer
how mentors transfer ownership
How Mentors Transfer Ownership
  • I Do / You Watch
  • I Do / You Help
  • You Do / I Help
  • You Do / I Watch
broncobots mentor quote
Broncobots MentorQuote
  • The six weeks of the 2007 FIRST build showed me some of the best qualities of today's youth. Initially they were a bit timid as they realized the scale of the task they faced. But they proposed several designs, created prototypes, and soon were assembling their first robot. As the build progressed and the kids saw they were actually succeeding, their confidence levels grew. Certainly there were occasional setbacks, frustrations, and personality conflicts, but at the end I think everybody was proud of the work they had done as a team.

Informational Resources


Parts Resources

  • (Easy to use with ALOT of different items)
  • (Mechanical parts, and I've found it's esp. good for sprockets; also very easy to use)
  • (Like mcmaster & sdp-si)
  • (Motors, transmissions)
  • (Sensors)