Zip ties for tile coverage

At yesterdays event teams complained about not getting points for covering tiles. The rules are “touching the tile”

Easy fix is a few small zipties. Attach them to the far reaches of your robot pointing down, so they drag along the tiles. Remember to put the square gripper on the inside (makes you bigger than 18" if on the outside)


Oh come on @Foster let them figure it out for themselves… Remember “Student-centered”.



Umm, yea, so there is a blurry line (the yellow zone) on the Student Centered card. After the Head Referee, as an EP I’m the last stop on the “whine train” and was unhappy to have teams complain about this, something that has an easy fix.

So rather than being accused of unfairly mentoring just teams in my Region, I blurted out.

But let me try it this way in the way the conversation should have gone.

Hey, roboteers, remember the rule about tile coverage that says you have to be touching the tile? And you know that your wheels touch the tiles and those tiles touch. Does your frame extend past the wheels? Will tiles that are under the frame count? Right, they don’t because it’s not touching. How can you make the robot touch the tiles under the edge of the frame? Wheels? Yes that would work, how much of the wheel needs to be set back to make the 18"? Right an inch or so. How can we make that extra space work? No Kyle, for the final time we can’t put lasers on the frame. Anyone else? Anyone? Bueller? Good idea, string. Anyone else? Kyle, please not the lasers again. Oh zip ties? Nice! But wait, what about the little knob that keeps the ziptie together? Great, on the inside of the frame.
Nice job team, good chat!!


At my event, I was so tempted to “blurt out” “you know those match loads might be useful for something!?!”

But do appreciate you gentle nudge in the right direction.



Wait, I’m not supposed to go “Ok, Robot on? Controller On and plugged into the Tower? Pre-match loads in the robot for autonomous? Safety glasses on? Correct program selected and you are connected to the robot?” before the first rounds of matches?

So many new teams this year …

I’m a rookie EP, thanks @lacsap for the tips.

And I’ll post this here. I got called over for a field fault for a team that autonomous routine didn’t work. We are three matches in on that field, unlikely it’s the field electronics but lets take a look.

Took them to the skills field that has a switch. Got them set up, flicked the switch, nothing. But they said it works from the controller and did a demo. Weird. Had them get their laptop, showed me the code, they were missing the “Start Autonomous block” . They fixed it. Switch works. Dragged them over to a field in reset between matches, plugged them into the tower, got the TM operator to do a quick auto start, robot moves. They walk away happy with instructions to tell their mentor what happened.

3 mins later a parent shows up (different team) to complain that I’m not supposed to help teams like that.

Yea, no. First event of the season, not going to let teams play 10 matches with no auto and be unhappy. Big fan of “Student Centered” bigger fan of “No team fails”.

There was a big discussion at the EP summit on putting things back on the team Mentor / Coach rather than the EP trying to fix things. I’ll try, but not going to let roboteers fail because of a new Mentor / Coach.


Back on topic, I have had a similar idea of having a zip tie “brush” system to guarantee that out bot gets max coverage

As for the other half of the conversation, MS teams constantly are asking my team for help, and I do my best to lead them in the right direction without explicitly telling them what to do, but there have need a few situations where I have to point out major flaws or strongly suggest that they use bearing flats. It just difficult walking the line of helping a team too much or too little.

Nagging on teams about using bearing flats is always appropriate.

Even for HS teams.


A - Always be charging robot battery
B - Bearing flats are a must
C - Controllers need Charging too


Better, more alliterative version:
Bearings are your buddies


During robotics:
Always Be Charging
Always Be Cleaning

Pre-match checklist:
Air Battery Chain