February 25, 2018

Are you ready for Gainesville?

Less than a week remains before we start the Peachtree District Competition Season in Gainesville. I’m sure that most teams who are competing completed their robot weeks ago, tested it fully, finished all bumpers, practiced with it for a week or two, and have a rock solid game strategy and autonomous modes and they’re probably just going to skip any team meetings until Friday, but figured I’d write this up, just in case.  😉

Bagging up the robot and your Robot Lock-up Forms

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Example 2018 Robot Lock-up Form

This is pretty easy, and shouldn’t be on your list of things to stress about.  By now, every team should have a Robot Lock-Up Form printed out with at least one line on it for when you bagged up your robot. Hopefully you did that some time before 11:59pm Eastern Time on February 20th (that’s 4:59am UTC, February 21st). Every time you un-bag the robot (either for demonstration or your Robot Access Period), you need to log another line on your Lock-up Form.  It’s also a good idea to have somebody take a photo of the form every time you lock it back up, just in case the paper gets lost or someone forgets to bring it to the competition.  It does happen and without the form, we can’t allow you to un-bag your robot and get to work on it.

What goes inside the bag? Inside your bag should be your robot and any systems or fabricated parts you may use at a competition.  Did you build an amazing intake but just didn’t get it onto the robot and you plan on attaching it at the event?  Put it in the bag.  Got a backup arm in case your main one fails? Also in the bag.

What doesn’t go in the bag? Batteries, COTS parts (motors, gearboxes, wires, etc.), any Withholding Allowance, your driver station laptop and controls, and your bumpers can stay out of the bag. You’ll bring those with you during load-in.

Withholding Allowance

Your Withholding Allowance parts don’t need to be in the bag with the robot, but they do need to follow the rules about weight. Maybe that amazing intake you put in the bag is great, but you’ve improved the design and are building a new version for the competition – assuming it’s under the 30lb limit, it doesn’t have to go into the bag.  When you arrive at load-in, however, please have your allowance part(s) available for a quick inspection and weigh-in by the inspectors.

Cost Accounting Worksheet (CAW)

As part of the inspection process, each team must present a Cost Accounting Worksheet, or CAW, documenting the components used on your robot and the total cost of the build.  A Excel template for the CAW can be downloaded from FIRST.

Preparing for your inspection

During your Robot Access Period, you should have somebody print out and walk through the Inspection Checklist and make sure you’re on target to pass inspections. If it’s not clear what the checklist is asking for, you should look it up in the Complete Game Manual or just in Section 8, the Robot Rules and make sure you’re legal.  There are lots of little details that change from year-to-year and you don’t want to overlook something important.  Also, be sure to read the Team Updates for any last-minute changes.

In short, understand the rules, bring the robot, bring the team, bring everything for your pit, bring your Gracious Professionalism, invite parents, sponsors, teachers, friends to come and be ready to have a ton on fun and Power Up!