Engineer's Block: Can't decide where to start

I bet everyone’s been there. Where it’s the beginning of the season, and you have no idea what to do. I’m in that spot. I also bet that a lot of people on this forum has a really good idea of what to do. Can I get some help on starting out?

Just build a basic base and start building a lift on it. You can then try to build an intake on it or separately and then connect them. Don’t worry about size constraints too much as long as your design could be adapted to fit within.

If you were looking for design ideas, the general consensus around here seems to be a DR4B (or Chain Bar) or an elevator lift as a lift. There are plenty of videos/pictures of these lifts scattered around here and youtube.

Don’t try to figure out the ultimate robot in one sitting. Divide and conquer. Pick one aspect of the game and try building a test rig to experiment with an idea. For example, if you think you need to pick up the mobile goals, design a device that can do that and see what it takes. Or if you think you will need to pick up a yellow cone, then test different ways of gripping them, etc.

Post what you’re doing on the forum and interact with others who are trying to solve the same kinds of problems.

The age old first step in the Engineering Design Process, Define the Problem. Last year it was fairly easy to see that you had to throw objects over the wall. This year is pretty different as there are many different ways to score each having unique design constraints. Our team started by doing strategy analysis of all the different scoring options etc… After that we said we first had to figure out how to score the mobile goal in the 20 point zone while also being able to drag it around, now that that has been accomplished we moved on to grabbing the yellows and having a lift put the bottom of the yellows up to 65", once we get that to our liking we will iterate the two designs on a workable drivetrain.

I would recommend figuring out what you are going to do in terms of scoring. Such as moving mobile goals or going for only cones. Once you have decided on a main objective you can start designing, my team prefers splitting up the robot into three things; chassis, lift, intake. Once you have figured out the design you prefer you can start prototyping a chassis, lift, and an intake for your objective.

Read the rules and watch this Karthik & 1114: Effective FIRST Strategies 2016 - Championship Conference - YouTube .

What you should do is divide and conquer. Pick an aspect of the game, like moving mobile goals, and design a solution for that. Put that on a drive and see how you do. Then move on the next problem, say picking up cones. Can you do it with the same mechanism? Great! Do it, and optimize both. Can’t? That’s fine, design another solution to do that problem. Once you do this, you should have to separate ‘robots’ (in the loosest sense of the word) and figure out the best ways to combine and optimize them. Keep doing this until you have an efficient machine that does everything well