Historically, FRC teams get 6 weeks to build a robot, write awards and learn how to drive their creation. A majority of the team’s struggle to write awards and put a robot worthy of their expectations into the bag at the end of the season. There are however, many teams who not only build one robot in the 6 week build season, but in fact build many robots and turn in all of the awards. These teams are able to accomplish these varied challenges because they prepare in the off season and stick to a plan for their build season. Here are some example schedules that most team’s could follow this season to help them meet most or all of their expectations.
- Learn as much as possible
- Pick your drive base: we picked west coast drive
- Pick your structural system: we picked versa frame and rivets
- Pick your trade study method: defined here
- Pick your CAD and PLM tools: We picked autodesk and grab cad
- Pick your electrical components by category: we picked Anderson connectors and victor sp motor controllers
- Pick your leadership team
- Decide on how tie’s will be broken: we picked rock, paper, scissors if their is a technical tie
- Turn in Safety award
- Update team history
Build season is broken down into six, one week chunks with deliverables defined at the end of each week. Breaking the build season up like this allows teams to work a week at a time and know if they are on schedule at nearly every step of the season.
- Week 1
- Final strategy documented
- Primary, Secondary and Tertiary goals locked in
- Design review complete
- Week 2
- 100% of primary detail CAD complete
- 100% of parts ordered
- Drive train assembled
- Drive team selected
- Week 3
- 30% of primary objective parts fabricated
- Electrical system complete
- Field elements assembled
- 50% of competition code complete
- Week 4
- 100% of primary objective parts fabricated
- Flight robot assembled
- All systems installed and tested
- Submit Chairman’s Award and Woodie Flowers Award
- 100% of competition code complete
- Week 5
- Competition code optimized
- All primary mechanisms completely operational
- Submit Entrepreneurship Award and Dean’s List Award
- Scouting system developed
- 100% of secondary detail CAD complete
- Week 6
- Auton code running consistently
- Full game simulations completed
- 50% secondary parts fabricated
- Bag the robot
Click on the image below to get access to the google doc with the detailed calendar.
Competition season is broken down into ten weeks with a competition every weekend.
The off season combines the end of the school year and most of the summer. They keys to a successful off season are learning and outreach. Here are some ideas for both;
- Reflect on the previous season
- Pick a mechanism to improve on your previous year robot
- Design and fabricate a complete drievtrain
- Attend off season events
- Schedule demo’s with current sponsors
- Try and find new mentors
- Try and find new sponsors
- Reach out to local community leaders
- Reach out to local state leaders
- Reach out to local leaders
If you get behind schedule you have two options; put more time in each week or reduce the scope of the project. If you do not recognize and respond to schedule delays in a quick and efficient manor the team will be taking a big risk of not completing major systems and or skipping testing. Doing one or both of those things will create a significant hurdle that most team’s can not come back from.
- Within the first two week if you find your self greater than 2 days behind you will need to put a recover plan in place. Failing to do so will put your entire season in jeopardy
- Within weeks 3 and 4 if you find your self greater than 4 days behind you will need to put a recover plan in place. Failing to do so will put your entire season in jeopardy
- Within weeks 5 and 6 if you find your self greater than 4 days behind you will need to put a recover plan in place. Failing to do so will put your entire season in jeopardy
Be realistic with your status and capacity to recover. Taking risks here could work out, but more often than not, being over optimistic will result in a robot that does not meet expectations.
2 Robot Season
Some teams will build 2 robots in a 6 week season. For these teams they usually complete robot 1 by the end of week 4 and robot 2 by mid point of week 6. The second robot is usually modified to include lessons learned from testing robot 1 and is considered the flight robot that is used for competition. Robot 1 remains un-bagged and can be used to practice driving, test code and install / test addition modifications on. Most of the top tier teams use a 2 robot season schedule and robot 1 is extremely similar to robot 2.
3+ Robot Season
Some teams will build 3 or more robots in a 6 week season. One key for a 3+ robot season is to have a lot of inventory purchased prior to the start of the season so that sub teams have all of the parts available at the end of week one. Here are a few examples;
- Sequential robot season
- For a sequential 3 robot season you would need to complete robot 1 by the end of week two, robot 2 by the end of week 4 and robot 3 by the mid point in week 6
- In a sequential 3 robot season robot 3 will improve on robot 2 and robot 2 will improve on robot 3
- Down select robot season
- Teams can also do a down select multi robot season where they build 3-4 robots by the end of week 1. Then the team picks 2-3 of the robots to continue improving till the end of week 2 and drops one or more of the initial design. They repeat this down select at the end of week 3 and week 4 till they have down selected to one robot.
- The final robot can continue to be improved upon or replaced with a new robot in the last 2 weeks of the season.
Powder Coating or Anodizing
Teams who choose to powder coat or anodize their robot should assume a 1 week delay in receiving parts. It is recommended that team’s who are going to do this plan to execute a 2 robot season.