How long does it take for your team to make a robot?

Hey guys,

I was building the robot yesterday on my spare, and it took 75 minutes just to build one side of the drivetrain. This included 2 5X35 C channels, 3 omni, 2 393s, and a gear system to power two of the wheels. In the end, when I checked the screw holes for a cross bar on top, it ended up being too wide. So I now have to spend another 30 minutes adjusting the spacing.

The question here is, am I working too slow, or does it take you guys this long to assemble things too? How long does it take you to build a part or the whole robot?

Our team took thirteen hours of two people working to build the robot that we brought to worlds. What cuts our time down is CADs and pictures of things to build off of. We don’t usually run into your problem of readjusting because of the pictures and drawing we make before hand. We have a limited time to be at our building actually making our robot so we spend lots of hours at home designing and drawing things out in as much detail as possible so to save time while building because we basically make it like building from a Lego instruction manual the most time taken is finding the parts.

It took Owen and I over 100 hours of work for our first robot in sack attack. That said our worlds robot was built in a week and was working perfectly in almost 2 weeks.

As team captain, im in charge of making sure everything’s running smoothly but with an entire team (literally every student except me) being brand new to vex, and me being a driver and a very slow builder, my team takes ages to build. We started the day after toss up was announced designing and began drive-building 3 days later and we havnt even finished a drive yet. last season, we just finished the shoulder before the summer and this year looks even worse with exams in 2 weeks :frowning: we also have no summer program :confused: well see how it goes…

At first in sack attack it took me ages to build. Overall I probably spent well over 500 hours on VEX related things. By the time I did a complete disassemble and reassemble for worlds my build speed and quality got pretty insane to say the least. Now I can whip up a decent toss up robot in about 2 days of work.

We built the first draft of our robot for Worlds last year in under four hours from unpacking of parts to final assembly. We had three robots at that competition, so really it was just 2 or 3 people. That’s after we spent a month talking, sketching and figuring out exactly what we wanted it to even look like, though. And with a deadline, because the competition was the next morning. When we took it apart to paint, the reassembly (not counting the wiring) took under two hours. It’s just a matter of experience with the design.

If we’re going really simple, we can have a standard 4-wheel drive Base up in 45-60 minutes. That’s two people each building a side, and then connecting them to an Angle. A four-bar arm is maybe half-an-hour, and after that it’s fine-tuning your intake. For the initial design to get off the ground, with three or four people all working together on different parts to connect later, you’re looking at two to three hours. This is with slipshod wiring, and no autonomous mode. Make those REALLY nice, and we’re talking 5-6 hours tops. Making your intake work correctly can be more time consuming, but that shouldn’t be too long.

These times we with our veterans of 2-3 years of VEX building. If we have the new members of the team do everything, you’re looking at minimally doubling the time. Everything has a learning curve, and building robots is a very steep one.

But really, who cares about time? The people you do Robotics with should make the experience fun enough that you don’t mind spending eight hours working with them. I understand when there’s a deadline coming up, but it’s summer right now. There aren’t any competitions to do. AP exams are through, finals are done and it’s time to relax. Take a week or two off, then get back into this. You’d be amazed how much a break helps you think.

Initial construction time is such a small percentage of time spent on VRC that I hardly consider it. Design, testing, and iteration is everything, whether you’re new to the system and take ages to assemble, or a real hands on person who can put things together incredibly fast.

We spend hundreds of hours in CAD, so the robot goes together fairly quickly once all the parts are in our possession it takes maximum of about 10 hours to assemble the bot. Working out kinks and software is something else entirely though.

  • Andrew

I would say that it is probably up to you whether you are building your robot fast enough. The question is whether your robot will done by your deadline, what ever it may be. If so, then you’re building fast enough (not that you shouldn’t always try to improve!). If you worry to much about whether your build speed is “up to par” with other teams, you will most likely be dissapointed. There are always teams that will build faster for various reasons whether it be team size, organization methods, or just amazing building skill. For example, My team and I would like to think we have become efficient builders, but we almost always get beat out, in terms of build speed, by the Super Sonic Sparks team that we compete with regularly. But the important thing is that we build a robot by our deadline, not building a robot faster then sparks.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t worry at all about other teams speeds, but it is more helpful to ask people how you can get your building done more quickly, through the means of careful design and the like. As long as your robot is done and ready to compete by the time it needs to be, I would say you’re doing fine!:smiley: Good luck with the robot and have fun!

Our toss up robot has about 80 hours of design and documentation and about 20hrs of build time plus it will take another 25-30 hours of programming. So no your not slow unless your building a clawbot.

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I do rigorous testing as I build so most of the time my robots take quite a bit of time to get fully built. This helps with modifications because it is alot easier to change the chasis when you only have a chasis and not an entire robot on top of it.

My toss up robot so far probably has 50 hours into it so far and I haven’t even started the intake. Design is hard to measure as I am always talking in BnS about designs as well as playing video games with my team while we discuss ideas. Programming is about and hour right now.

This is an interesting question given our current situation.

610X has been offered the opportunity to compete at our school’s Tech Design class annual tournament exam (I know, best exam ever). Essentially over a period of 2 months students design and build a robot to play sack attack using non-VEX parts (just controllers and motors). It culminates in the course’s final exam, which is a sack attack tournament. Because there are not enough teams to make nice numbers, we were asked to field a robot.

However, there are many limitations set on the teams, such as a 150$ budget, and limited machine access.

The teachers feel that it would be unfair if the members of 610X were to compete with our sack attack robot, as many hundreds of hours and even more money was invested into it, so we have our own set of limitations.

  1. We have to build a robot using only 269 motors.
  2. It can only be 15x15x15"
  3. We are given only 2 hours to build + program, at which point it must be competition ready

We’ve had quite a bit of discussion about this as a team, and what we are capable of, but let me pose this question: If you were given the limitations above, with 6 competent VEX people, what would you build?

A 10 motor defensive pushbot.

The team paces out construction depending on our next competition. Our usual goal is to spend 1 week on autonomous and 1 week on driver control. The remaining time is used for construction/prototyping and most importantly teaching our members about stem.

It took 8 hours to build a robot with a vertical conveyor belt, multi stage linear lift, and tank drive with 2 other sophomores. it took me 5 hours to finish a functional double reverse four bar my junior year. Before my time, my team made a robot at an elevation competition overnight and i’m not sure if they were alliance captains or members of the champion alliance. It took me 1 hour to develop side rollers for toss up. Simple code only took about 30 minutes assuming there were not firmware problems (which takes hours for us to solve). But whenever possible, we try to take things slow

A robot which hangs and manipulates large balls. Since most teams have higher level equipment and they’re very strategic, they want to focus on buckies. As a result, you need to balance out that team with support with large balls, shooting buckies maybe, and hanging. Add extra emphasis to autonomous and driver control practice as well. My immediate thought is a boom lift used for hanging/controlling large balls, a forklift used for large balls, and mecanum/tank drive (even if you can’t get the program to work there, program it for tank and ask for help at a competition and it’ll get done fast)

we could build an entire robot in 2 days including drive programming if we had designs, probs 2 weeks if we didn’t have designs … then add 2 days for autonomous / programming skills

It seems that many teams spend a lot of time designing compared to building. Our robot right now is half built and has 20 pre-design (we found an old base and decided to clean it/ tweak it) man hours on it, and about 5 designed man hours on it. I found that designing actually takes the least amount of time. It took me about 10 hours or so to create a fully detailed CAD model of the robot in Inventor with renderings and exports to AutoCad and 3DS, and a few hours to figure/sketch out the general design of the robot along with the strategy. Research is key. I think that if you quickly build a robot with a design, and then test it and go from there, it is the best, since time is the biggest limitation. The most important information other than your design is test data. Through extensive testing and observations, you can turn nothing into something. You don’t have to be an Adrian Newey to create a good robot.

Its good to see though that we aren’t very slow at building then. Its not easy to manage your peers and assign tasks while also trying to not seem like a boss.

It’s a cumbersome process, at least in the beginning of the season. We often end up completely scrapping one mechanic of the robot halfway through. But, we always end up with a great robot by the mid-to-end season.

We usually build and design simultaneously unlike other teams which seem to prefer to CAD the whole process out for weeks or months before actually ordering parts and beginning the building process. We find that there isn’t much point debating between designs and tweaking them virtually when you’re working with VEX.

The VEX Robotics Design System was designed so that making changes to a design partway through the process was relatively easy. Our robots go through radical changes in weeks and sometimes even days. Don’t get me wrong, CAD programs are wonderful tools especially if you’re short on parts at the moment or aren’t in much of a rush. But there’s nothing like actually building the mechanism out and testing it physically to really decide what works and what doesn’t.

My team has built an entirely new robot the night before the competition (roughly 8 hours).


CADing is very useful, but our team is so sporadic in finding the most effective design and tweaking our design that CADing isn’t really worth it until the robot is finished, funnily enough.