Why do i always find myself building the robot the day/night before a comp?

I have found that despite my best efforts to evenly space the work on the robot and get everything done with around a week to spare for small fixes on the robot, code, etc, i seem to be always making something for the robot that needed to be done, in the couple of days leading up to the competition and sometimes even the night before. This could just be what i’m experiencing but if it isn’t feel free to say what you’ve had to do on your robot just before you attended a comp.

We leave the backup battery off our robot often until we are at competitions. Our process of robot development has constant improvements, so when we are at tournaments and there are small fixes we could do to make the robot better, we do them.

It’s gotten better and better for our teams. The first few years, we were up late the night before just to get an operational robot. Now we’ve learned to freeze design decisions early to make sure we have enough time to get everything done. It’s all about experience, planning, and scheduling. The first tournament we didn’t stay up until midnight the night before felt decadent! It will get better for you.

That’s just how it is, my friend. Nobody can change that. :slight_smile:

Our Team has had finished robots driving, scoring, and scrimmaging a month in advance. Even then we still are building modifying and improving until the last second.

This year I made a Gantt chart with specific dates for different tasks to be done (chassis, lift, etc.). The hope is that I can convince students to put in a few extra hours at different points throughout the build rather than a whole bunch of extra time right at the end. Obviously design changes and challenges can mess the schedule up, but if they knew the chassis was supposed to be done by a certain date, I expect them to put in extra time at that date (not just bump everything back).

So far it is working (relatively well), but we haven’t dealt with any major rebuilds or changes in design. All three of our teams are first year teams, so I’m focusing them more on building a functional and reliable robot than the absolute best robot possible (KISS).

The attached document is what I gave them, but I’ve been asking each team to update and customize their subtasks as needed. They haven’t been too proactive on modifying their own documents, but they are all freshman so it is a skill we will continue to develop.
Team 43210 - In the Zone Gantt Chart - Sheet1.pdf (79 KB)

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I would add that I still fully expect there to be students wanting to change the robot up until the last moment of competition. At that point, discussions will be had about what would actually improve our chances of success, having an improved robot or having extra time to program autonomous and practice driving. I have seen many good robots lose because of insufficient driving practice.

Winning auton is critical this early in the season. I cannot even count how many matches I’ve seen decided based on the autonomous winner. It constitutes aprox 1/5 the total score in most matches. Do yourself a favor, enforce a hard stop on building 1-2 weeks before competition so you can program a simple auton. Even putting a cone on the stationary will suffice to win you more than half of you autons in quals, and thus boost your rankings over spending that time making impovements that slightly increase your cps or whatever.

If in doubt, I would go for the robot changes over extra autonomous programming time (at least for early tournaments). The way I see it, robot progression is moving forward, while autonomous programming is refining a specific design and mostly lost when the robot is changed.

Last minute building has always been sort of a tradition early in the season for us on nights before league matches :stuck_out_tongue: although once we get into December and play actual tournaments we give ourselves a week or more for auton testing

I had that my 7th grade year on Friday then state was Sat and was completely rebuilt and programmed for state. I somehow managed to win state. But since then I have tried to change my robot the least amount I need to.

Granted this year I wasn’t good at that having already rebuilt it 4-5 times already

we had a competition today which we made to semis but lost 2-1 and we ended up making our flipping mechanism yesterday and perfecting the auton today(we dont actually have access to a field or anything)

When our coach last year left we lost ours. In my area not a lot of teams have a field.

the nearest field to us is a 3 hour drive away.

One hour and a half for us

Isn’t that most people though?

The rebuilding multiple times part, not winning state.