Lessons Learned

2014 Season

  • Always triple check documents submitted to FIRST for errors caused by pasting into the browser.
  • Make sure you are printing the right version of a graphic image. Mistakes can be expensive.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask “stupid” questions. If you aren’t sure about what’s going on, then ask somebody. You aren’t helping anybody, least of all yourself, by going about with no idea what to do. And hey, chances are that you aren’t the only one thinking that “stupid” question.
  • Don’t worry excessively about small things, always take them seriously, but don’t worry. Be happy. (-Bob Marley)
  • Don’t underestimate the robot’s weight, try to keep it a couple pounds under the weight limit. You don’t want to be drilling holes to lighten the robot when you could be practicing.

2013 Season

  • When working with sharp tools, always use hand protection, and carefully plan your cuts so that only thing you want to cut is cut. Otherwise, you could wind up with slices on your hand or cut wires on the robot.
  • Always use a stronger motor than you think you need. Example: the AndyMark lead screw PG27 gear motor for Sherman,  on paper, was adequate for the job, but in reality under tournament conditions could not take the stress and beating that a stronger bag motor would have provided.
  • When working with others,  make sure that everyone is on the same page and that conflicts are dealt with openly and swiftly. This isn’t just something for mentors to deal with either. As students, we need to let others know how we are feeling, what we are doing and our ideas on how to do something. This goes both ways. Not only do we need to be willing to tell others these things but we need to be open to hearing them and be able to consider new ideas.
  • Never use untested (or not very solid) autonomous code in a real match. This could result in a jam or loss of a match.
  • There is no ‘I’ in ‘Team.” No matter how important the robot seems or the PR seems or the Chairmans seems, without each of these aspects of the team we would have never have made it to Championship. Without the Chairmans we wouldn’t have made it. Without the PR the Chairmans wouldn’t have been even considered. Without the robot the PR team would have had nothing to talk about, and the Chairmans team would have had no reason to present.
  • In the heat of competition, it is always a good idea to remain calm and work as a team. Teamwork and communication always help accomplish goals efficiently.

2012 Season

  • Always maintain control of the materials being used when working on machines without letting eagerness of a quick finish get in the way.
  • Peck before drilling holes.
  • Drill small holes (at a fast speed) and gradually get bigger when drilling holes in plexiglass.
  • Be aware of the fact that no one has successfully mounted mecanum wheels at 45 degree angles before.
  • Always have the ‘stop button’ near when driving the robot and be prepared to use it if necessary.
  • Be extra careful when handling or working with expensive equipment such as cRIOS, power distribution boards, and cameras…
  • Always check the voltage and polarity of a power source before plugging into it.
  • Measure twice, cut once, throw fit 3x, remeasure once, mess up twice, go back to home depot 4x.