For many of you that one word is probably the bane of your existence. How is it that every season we can design and build these incredible 120 pound robots, yet we struggle to put together some plywood, pool noodles, and fabric? Well luckily for you bumpers don’t need to be bagged and tagged, so you have between now and you next competition to perfect yours! Gather the materials and dedicate some time to make your bumpers and make them right!
If you are new to bumper making, or have not been happy with your bumper game in the past, take a look at the FRC Bumper Handbook, a bumper resource made by Kelsey Draus from FRC team 2451. She goes through all of the different bumper considerations and well as their pros and cons, and walks you through how to construct your own bumpers! Here’s the link – https://www.chiefdelphi.com/media/papers/3437s=f051883be38d753287f112a6eb625145
For quick and easy bumper attachment, two of my personal favorite methods include slide-snap draw latches (buy them here from McMaster) and quick release pins ( buy them here from McMaster). Having bumpers that you can easily put on and take off in a quickly and easily is going to be especially important for inspection, where you will have to show that you can attach/ detach them in a reasonable amount of time, as well as for eliminations where you could be playing back to back matches.
Speaking of inspection…… please please please make sure to set aside some time before your first event to sit down with your robot and go through the inspection checklist! Even just setting aside 30 minutes of your 6 hours out of bag will be worth it if you can identify any potential issues BEFORE showing up to your first event. Best case, you find nothing wrong with your robot and you can breeze through the inspection process at events. Worst case, you find some things wrong with your robot and you can use your 6 hours out of bag to address them so that you can breeze through the inspection process at your events. It really is a win-win situation!
Bumpers are important so spend the time to make them right and go through the inspection checklist before your first event!