Time Commitment Question

This was our first year and we had a good time. I am looking at ways to improve next year. I am interested in hearing from people from other teams about how much time your team members invest in Vex robotics.

How often do you meet each week?

How long are the meetings?

Does that change as the season progresses or on weeks that you compete?

Do you have certain days where only certain people are there (like build days, programming days, etc)?

Bonus question:

How is your team funded?

Please let me know if your team is affiliated with a school and if it meets during the school day.

Thanks in advance for your help.

100th post!!!

Our team puts in a ton of time each week. Every week, we meet 4 times a week at school for a total of 8-9 hours. Before we qualified for states, we brought the robot home and met on Sunday for almost 10 hours. Now, after we qualified we don’t meet on the weekends anymore, but we still spend all of our free time at school on improving our robot. An official club meeting at school lasts about 2.5 to 3 hours, while an unofficial team meeting at school lasts either 1.2 hours or .5 hours, depending on the day of the week (the school has a modified block schedule).
Now that our robot is done we mostly have programming and driving practices inside of build sessions. Our club is funded by sponsorships and donations. We used to have a car wash fundraiser but due to the drought in California we can’t have it anymore :frowning:

Thanks for the reply, Victor. I checked out your website. It is very cool.

It looks like you have a great team. Thanks for the info.

We have two meeting opportunities each week during the school year but most teams come one night per week for regular meetings. Meetings are from 6:30-8:30pm

We have optional Saturday build days and try for two of those a month for four hours each time. Every day is any kind of build so no specialization of days.

Funded by parents fees and donations. We formed our own 501c3 non-profit. We are not affiliated directly with the school but meet in the facility. We are a designated status that gets cheaper usage fees (but not cheap on the weekends as we pay the full freight of the staff on hand). The school has generously give us use of part of a large closet to keep our stuff so teams bring their robots and toolboxes each week and typically a big plastic storage bin for half built contraptions. We keep tools, parts boxes, a field, and elements in the closet. Two rolling shelf units hold Tyga boxes full of parts which are wheeled into the cafeteria each night. You can kind of see them on the other end of the room in the picture below. This is our less filled night of 11 teams.


Vexmen 2014 2015

Thanks for the reply, Vexmen. It looks like you all have quite the operation. How often do you set up your field?

Hey there! So we usually meet at least once a week (mostly on weekends) for a good few hours (at least 5). When we have a competition we are getting ready for, we will probably meet more frequently in the week, but our mentor availability is also a variable.

When we meet, we try to get all three of us together unless there’s a schedule conflict and one of us can’t attend. We’re much better as a cohesive unit than alone, since we can keep each other in check if we happen to get overzealous in our endeavors, acquire an acute case of tunnel vision, or are getting frustrated in general.

We’re not affiliated with any school, but we do often meet after school at our mentor’s place to work on robots.

Thanks, Space.

As an independent team, how are you funded? How long has your team existed?

I get 15 hours of class time every 2 weeks(A-B schedule, 3 hours every other day) and usually 10-18 hours after school weekly. I’m one of the most committed members and how much time we put in varies, but that’s my schedule when things are normal. We also get 5-7 hours the day before competitions.

We are funded primarily through sponsors/donations, fees for larger tournament attendance, and travel costs through the school(small bus) for trips we don’t have to fly for.

Dart48, thanks. You have an impressive bot. I just watched some of your videos.

How many are on your team?

Just 1 outside of tournaments. At tournaments, I get whoever to do skyrise for me. I correlate a lot with our A team though.

Thanks, you should be impressed after I upload some videos of state this next weekend then.

I’ve been pretty much a one-man team all year. I don’t usually leave until both of my instructors are gone. I’ll get about 3 hours of class/lunch time every other day and 3-4 hours after school every day. On days that I don’t have homework or right before a competition I’ll stay until 9:00 to 10:00. Occasionally, my school will meet for 5-8 hours on holidays and free Saturdays. I have to do all the log-book work, programming, practicing, testing, and driving. Competitions get pretty stressful. This doesn’t include all the time that I do researching and brainstorming at home. I imagine that independent teams that do Vex at home have a major advantage in access to materials and having enough time while having the disadvantage of having to provide funds.

In the past I’ve had permanent teammates, and the hardest part is finding something for them to do. I mean long-term jobs that are a basic necessity for teams. I often bring a sibling or friend to competitions just to help out, but I do most of it and can manage pretty well by myself at a competition. I think a good setup for schools with multiple teams is this: one driver per team, one programmer per team, 1-2 builders per team (these could be the driver and programmer, they both need to be familiar with the mechanics of the robot), one documenter per team (log-book and videoing matches), and one battery “master” per school. In matches, the programmer and driver set up the robot, programmer places skyrises/preloads (past years).

I think I was looking a different thread before this, and then I just kind of meshed the two topics in my head. But I’ll leave it anyways.

I never realized how simalairly our teams run… I guess it makes sense. Lots of time is key and small # of members seems to help

If I had it my way, I would have everything at home. Sooo much time is wasted just having to work around others, having things move around the lab all the time, and sharing a field.

I’m not sure if it’s a small amount team members that does it. I’m thinking that it’s every member knowing what they need to do and putting in the time for it. When more than two people want the same position, it’s time to settle or make a new team. We have teams at our school that could be good, but they don’t realize how much time is required. It’s not a “hour after school” thing every couple of days. To be significantly successful in Vex, it’s got to be every day with as much time as can be spared. For High School anyways, from what I can tell, it’s different for VEXU.

Another thing, you’ve got to set standards high and always be thinking about your end-goal. I always compare what I’ve got to the best that I’ve seen–in Utah and the rest of the world. Mentally matching myself against the best teams in the world gives a sense of how much farther I need to get.

So pretty much, the key to success is become a vex addict and youre good to go.

Seriously though, Ikenite is right if you want success. Time, dedication, commitment and high standards

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Our mentors provide our primary source of part/resource funding, though we will have to do some fundraising in order to go to the World Championship.

This is the first year MCRC has been in existence, although many of us are already experienced VRC competitors. The three of us on 8899 are seniors, two of us were around for Toss Up, and one of us (me) was around as far back as Round Up.

  1. We “officially” meet Wednesday’s from 12:15PM-3:15PM. We unofficially meet Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri/Sat from 4PM-9PM. So, appx. ~25hrs a week.

  2. Our official meetings and 3hrs long and our unofficial are anywhere between 5hr and 8hr.

  3. Yes, we started out only meeting on Wednesday’s, but by January we were working every day.

  4. Once we have a completed robot, we only have the drivers over to practice. Same for programming.

We seek out family owned business and friends that would be interested in partnering with our team(s). We do have a few corporate sponsors, but those are very hard to come by. We also go door-to-door selling our custom frisbees and coffee.

  1. We are homeschooled :slight_smile:

Unfortunately we have to set up and tear down each meeting so that takes some time.

We’ve gotten it down to about 10-15 minutes set up and 5-10 minutes break down.

The key is we have thumb screws on the corners so the field comes apart easy and we label each tile in a row/column configuration. When the kids actually follow the instructions it goes smoothly.

We usually start out with Tuesday and Thursday meetings from 2:30 - 4:00 with middle school teams.

As we get closer to competitions, we start meeting a lot and longer (6:00 or later). We always get together on snow days unless it’s like a terrible emergency. Our teacher lets my team stay after she leaves, so competition week, we’re there until 11:00 PM or so every day. We always enjoy the snow days since there’s no school to worry about.

Our teams is funded by the school. Honda and the education department have bought the field and parts for us. Our parents do buy us parts too.

We’re going to try better at our notebook before worlds since the judges at the competitions we went to told us it needed work (it was a C rating at states, and a NASA person offered to assist us via email).

I look forward to seeing it. How fast can you build the skyrise 7 high? It looks like well under 1 minute.

How many points do you get with your autonomous?

My fastest 7 tall from the ISU tournament was about 50 sec.
Now doing 7 tall in roughly 40-45 sec w/room for improvement. Goal of under 30 sec.

Currently 8 pt auton tuning for possible 12(2 skyrise 1 cube).