Recently, our team came across field damage during our testing. Specifically, we have a high dumper which, to stay stable, inserts plates in between the fence pipes and then initiates the lift. Very common, I’m sure. But, one time while lifting, the middle pipe anchor had completely detached off the field while raising the arm. This is a consistent problem and I was wondering how it would be handled at worlds. Would refs quickly attach it back like they did with highrise when a cube was pushed off the cradle? Or would they give a penalty to teams for damaging the field? Personally I don’t think teams should be punished for (I think) initially unexpected use of game elements.
Karthik did make a new rule about leaning on the fence, it says that robots are not allowed to lean on the fence to keep themselves upright. And this rule was enforced at our vex IQ regionals in North Texas. just for a heads up to all high goal dumpers out there that must lean on the fence to score.
No, the rule didn’t say “robots are not allowed to lean on the fence”, it was the actual sizing rule clarified that when a robot expands over an upright 13x20" box by leaning against the fence, it is violating R4. If you use the fence to keep the robot upright and you actually succeed at that, your robot is legal.
As for the original question, I would say that If your team’s robot frequently, or at least sometimes break the field the same way, the team should reconsider it. Perhaps it is pulling too much for given game design. But maybe it was just improperly set up field and when it is build properly, would it support your robot well?
The teams, especially this high, should know the field design well and if they see something wrong (disconnected support, beams on the center anchor off-by-one hole, you name it - we have seen it all on actual competition fields), they should protest the field legality and ask for a fix before the match.
Looks like the high dumpers are using a block in fence gap (between 2 pipes) to keep upright and causing the elements to come out those black connector supports. The original game rule did say that field elements should not be damaged. This seems intentional damage (strategy) vs accidental as if when robot falls. Leaning is allowed (dimensions) but not fence holding (in a certain way)… The rules on damage apply to all field elements (ramp, balls, fence, goal). Other questions on leaning into plane have been answered in the official question subforum. Have seen several of these cases over several tournaments.
I don’t think my original post described what was happening very well. Here’s a couple pictures to show whats exactly going on.
In this diagram the robot initiates the lift exposing the weight of everything connected to the arm on the pipes. In our case, the force was so great that this happened:
I believe this will happen many times at worlds due to the rigorous and contentious use of the fields there. I was just wondering how this problem may be handled at worlds, as we found that this occurs randomly after wear to the field. It generally is not caused by one specific design so that is why I think teams themselves should not be punished for this type of field damage. I ask this because this would determine if we have to redesign robots to cope with this problem so that they don’t damage the field. But anyways, this would be the desired solution: The judge holds down the anchor’s while the robot is dumping, just like they held down the cubes in Highrise when they got knocked out of place.
Our teams took two high-dumpers to several competitions, and didn’t have this problem. If the students did have this problem on more than one occasion, I would strongly encourage them to adjust the design so it wasn’t a problem.
I’m 100% sure you cannot count on the judge/ref to hold the field together while the robots are running. They may be willing to do it in some cases, but if they forget or are otherwise distracted, the team won’t have any grounds to argue for a rematch, and may be disqualified.
I would suggest having the team think about how to solve the problem on their own.
With robots bumping everytime against the fence, others leaning… fence tends to get a bit loose, so train the kids to check the fence before each match. If it is a dumpster… (1) with some weight in the front of the robot (motors, brain or a shaft collection) will make the robot lean less and less likely to break the fence; (2) Decrease the momentum, lift your arms slower and the robot will lean with less strength and less likely to break the fence; (3) Try close the gap between the block you use to hold the robot in the fence gap, they tighter, less leaning, but you will still need to work on points 1 and 2 to make sure you don’t break the fence.