When to start planning for NBN?

I was wondering when do people around the world start to design and build their robots? I can see the forum is awash with activity of people already ideas testing. In the UK because of our exams most teams will only start doing anything at the beginning of autumn/fall/september (depending on where you’re from)
This has always felt to me that we haven’t had enough time as our first tournament (regional) is usually only four weeks after. This leads to a rushing of the design process and means that design notebook people are left in the dumps. An example of this is my robot for nationals 2 months ago. We did not have time to do much designing so we looked around and picked a dr4b and as a result had a lot of problems.
Obviously we would like to start asap but exams call so it isn’t possible. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this and how long after worlds until you start doing anything for the next season.

We weren’t at Worlds, and are doing VEXU. So, this may be slightly different than your high school team.

We pulled the manual from VEX’s website approximately 5 minutes after the video introduction to the game finished. We had read the entire thing in half an hour, and started planning. I think we went through a half-dozen ideas that evening, came up with a couple Q&A questions we needed answered before we could make a final decision on the 24" robot, and then put together a plan for the 15".

We had the 15" design basically finished on Sunday. By which I mean we have a solid idea for the base, intake, cannon, and what we need it to do during Auto. I ordered new sensors offline and the parts we need to 3D print are designed, ready to feed into the printer as soon as I get back home and order some plastic. There are still a couple of designs for the 24" robot on the table. Once we get the questions answered, we pick one of the two and finalize the exact mechanisms we need for Elevation.

We’re pulling parts and the Clean Sweep balls off-campus early next week, and I’m hoping to have a cannon prototype done by the end of April. Intake should be done mid-May, and the base is a two day job. That still leaves months to code out what we need. Even if we spend all of June redoing the mechanisms, that’s still months before we need them finished.

I suggest as soon as possible. If you don’t have access to your kit at school you can still sketch and even do basic shape design out of foam core, cardboard or even cereal boxes. Meet your mates with some paper and pen, start imagining it right now, today. That doesn’t mean you have to start the physical build if you don’t have access to it, but the best designed bots seem to win, not just the best built.

We’ve probably got a dozen sketches of intakes, launch and lift systems thus far. Some ideas are surviving, some look silly to us now. It’s an evolutionary process and the sooner you start the better. We have a foam mock-up of the intake, chassis and launcher which we are going to tinker with metal structure overlay this weekend.

Our lead driver/builder says his biggest challenge last season was getting enough time planning and with the bot for mechanical problem solving, and just as importantly, practice field time. He did some planning in the summer last time and built in the Autumn like you are talking about… we aren’t going to make the same mistake again. :frowning:

Just a suggestion, we aren’t experts by any means.

For clarification we are a VRC high school team. I see your points. I suppose we just have to try to find a balance. I have three weeks before my school shuts for the summer after my exams in about two months. I might start with some CAD but i can’t draw to save my life.
And wow you guys work fast.

For now, I’d say focus on your exams. After, start planning. Prototype whatever designs you can, and get some ideas of what it is you want to build. If you get to the point where you are not able to access your stuff because the school closes for the summer, try and bring stuff home to build over the summer. If you can’t, get right to building as soon as school starts.

As a homeschool team, we have flexibility in our schedule. I’ve told the team to take a few weeks off, focus on closing out school (since they focused on robots for the past 4 weeks), then start NBN. However, they have already talked through designs and the field elements arrive in the next week or two.
I think, like a number of teams, we have an advantage because our practice field is in our basement. So summer is a great time to design and test, repeatedly.

For we North Hemisphere teams, building usually starts in August, when school starts. From today to August, brainstorm, CAD, engineering notebook entry and research can all be done.

I would say start as soon as possible, but it really depends on what level of a team you are in. A good team can design and build very fast, while a lower level team may work hard the entire year and still not reach the highest level. But time is always the key issue – if only we had more time to do designing/building/practicing/autonomous/engineering notebook/online challenge/team website/everything!!!

So I would say start as soon as possible if you are enthusiastic about performing well in competition. Good luck!

BTW: 600th post!!! Yay!!! Can’t believe I have been on Forum for so long. Love you all!