Note to all those who this may concern whether it is this year or next year. Make sure that you do not spend too much time prototyping a new design that you are unsure about. Multiple testings to only ‘fix’ the prototype so it works is a waste of time, ‘especially’ if the problem is observed and you may know what would fix it, and ‘double especially’ if you have only a couple weeks before your next competition. Just a heads up if anyone is starting a new design and doesn’t have one they are sticking with already.

prototyping is a good thing, especially if what you have has questionable chances of success. the whole reason for prototyping is to test new things (which you would be unsure about). obviously time can be a factor, but if you have a few weeks it is not impossible to put together a quality bot.

So if you don’t prototype a new design, and flush out all the bugs, how do you get it to be better? Or even good?

I vaguely remember some fella who hangs around these parts saying iterations are a good thing, prototyping is a good thing, and no robot is ever done. I also remember thinking this guy is pretty clever and experienced, and he knows what he’s talking about.

Now, if there’s a competition tomorrow, I wouldn’t start prototyping a new design today; I’d go with what I know. But with an extended build season as we have in VEX, teams have a lot of freedom to experiment with new ideas.

Well, I don’t get this…I don’t understand how a person is supposed to think out an ENTIRE bot without testing…If you can do that, quit highschool and get a job at NASA. I know at least for my team, testing, and planning, and talking stuff out is at least a quarter of our design time…To me, its through prototyping that you become comfortable with a design…I could be wrong, and I think this is more of a personal problem than anything, but not wanting to test a prototype seems like it could cause you to miss out on some great ideas that you didnt think through…just my two cents

Yes I definitely agree that prototyping is necessary. But time is a huge factor, because with our experience we spent twice as much more time building the prototype rather than building the real thing. So yea I do agree that it was good to prototype our design, but we made too many fixes just to make the prototype work rather than the real design.

Prototypes can sometimes turn into the real thing…It doesn’t always have to be a complete rebuild, at least not for us. And you have to make the decision if you would like a really good prototype to build the real thing off of, or to just take a shot at it and come up with a design as you go along. Which to me is basically what a prototype is, so either way, it seems necissary to me

Yes prototyping is a very good thing. But the time consumed among it to make it perfect (especially since ours was only to scale for the real one), was pointless because the basic idea worked very well.

With VEX, prototyping becomes very easy to do - which can be both good and bad. The ideal prototype is one that is built quickly, yet still proves that a concept is successful or unsuccessful.

The issue we run into a lot is that we spend too much time on our prototypes and the prototypes end up becoming refined enough that they turn into the final mechanisms. This has happened multiple times in VEX - mainly because building things can happen very quickly.

An ideal process may look something like brainstorming & strategy > quick prototype of concept > refined prototype of concept > implementation of concept on your robot. That process has worked pretty well for us over the past few years. As always, the issue is time.

Another tool you can learn and use to your advantage is CAD. All of the VEX parts are already modeled for you. You can actually prototype ideas in CAD without ever having to build a thing. I’ve seen many students sketch or CAD ideas up at home in between meetings, and then actually build the concept at the next team meeting. Usually this allows for the build process to occur much faster because you already know where everything will go ahead of time.

Great explanation, and I do agree that many prototypes turn into the real thing. But in our teams case the prototype was 2/3 the size of what we were going to have it be on the final design.

SORRY GUYS, i had a typo on the first post, I don’t know if you noticed the change but I meant to say don’t spend ‘too’ much time on prototyping. Sorry guys.

build things well to begin with and you will usually be able to turn your prototype into your final design.

I think prototyping is key for robotics. I know last year for RoundUp we (My team) did not do as much prototyping as we did this year.

And from what I have seen, this year has gone SO much more smoothly.
We had multiple things that we did not foresee last year, and not as many things this year.

So, I would have to say that thinking through your design, while paying attention to the game, and also prototyping with legos, xnex, or whatever helps out a TON :smiley:

Most successful designs were once prototypes, both in VEX and in real world engineering applications other than VEX. In industry, where the goal is to mass produce the best possible product, engineers always manufacture a small number of prototypes before mass production starts.

In VEX, the goal is education. Prototypes that did not end up being used were not wastes of time because you learned from them.

And since its usually a good idea to end with a Churchill quote:
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Seems to apply here.