How to improve building

I am in my second year of doing VRC at my school and I only have one year left. I have noticed many teams have amazing robots that have a very clean look. I was wondering how people improve their building to this point. I do spend a long time making things look better so it is not only the amount of time spent on building. Is this just something that comes with experience or is there a certain way to build better?

I’ve seen second-year teams with amazing build quality before. IMO, it depends on how much time you put into it and repetition. Don’t be afraid to rebuild. Also, here’s a thread that would help you. What makes something good build quality?

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I would definitely spend sometime making the chassis parallel, low friction and symmetrical. Then follow common physics principles like triangle reinforcements, box bracing, adding tensioners. Watch a ton of videos for reference and don’t be afraid to copy ideas to make your mechanisms better. Don’t be afraid to cut, drill and make custom parts if necessary. Use tools to make sure things are parallel, 90 deg,…Also it depends on the resources available to your team, some teams have tons of materials at their disposal and it makes building easier.

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I’ve been building for like 5 years now and everything I make is mad jank. I was the main builder for the longest time ever, and just recently I got involved in the notebook and found a co-builder to relieve the building pressure. The best way to build a clean and functional is to plan everything out before you do it. Even a basic sketch in the notebook is two birds with one stone. Contributing in the notebook and having a basic idea of the end goal.

One very important tip is to always go for the more practical route. If you use too short of a c-channel on lets say your intake, it may seem easier to make-shift your way around the problem, but that will ALWAYS come back to bite you. The more functional solution is most of the time the harder one, but is the beneficial in the long run. What I’m trying to say is if you plan out what you want to do, the good looks will come along with it. We just started rebuilding and our new robot is MUCH better planned out and is looking a whole lot better than the first one did.

Go read the thread in post #2.

In general, try to brace/connect back to the chassis with each component. Don’t brace one component to another to another to another. It makes the robot cluttered, less strong, and a NIGHTMARE to work on as each section is sandwiched (and connected) between two other ones.

In industry (the real world), things are designed so that different teams can build different components at the same time then bolt them in independently of one another. Example would be building a car: seats, center console, dash, etc. These are all built separately then bolted directly to the chassis.

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CADing the robot before you build it irl makes it way easier to make the bot seem “clean.” In CAD software, it is much easier to experiment and come up with the best design before building. Being able to simply edit a joint is much faster and more convenient than taking off 2-3 screws and re-screwing them in a different spot.

Thanks, whats the best software to use?

There are many topics on this, if you search you will quickly find several other discussions on this topic. Here is a post about this.

A good question to use the “search bar”…here’s my opinion: Should I 3d model my Vex robot in Fusion 360 or Inovator Pro? - #4 by kmmohn