- 2007 (regionals) - A sheet aluminum piece of junk that was duct taped to the floor and had an aluminum bar as a lifting arm. And we lost. It brought shame to its builders' families.
- 2007 (states) - A Lexan and aluminum wedge bot with a green top. That thing had great motors and wheels (instant acceleration!), but the electronics were iffy, and failed during a match against our rival team. Everyone got pwned by the black pyramid thing built by Union-Endicott.
- 2008 (regionals and states) - A plastic pyramid bot with four black wheels and a stack of fans to suck down against the floor. We got sabotaged during regionals impound (!!!). At states, we beat Union-Endicott (:o), and then lost to a bot that was taped to the floor (:o). Delicious irony.
- Using more than two wheels: A lot of people use only two wheels and let the scoop rest on the surface of the field. This is not really a good idea. The field is never going to be totally smooth, so the scoop will want to bounce about the axis of the wheels. Also, a lot of your mass will be resting on the scoop rather than on the wheels, reducing your traction. Having more than two wheels allow the mass to rest on the wheels.
- Use a low, sharp scoop: Our 2007 bot used a 40 degree Lexan scoop sharpened by hand with a file and sandpaper. The bot bounced too much, so it was pretty bad at getting under other bots. The 2008 bot had a similar scoop, but it had four wheels, and it was angled 30 degrees. It was able to get under pretty much every robot I faced. However, my kinematics calculations were based on erroneous motor data, so I was not able to actually push once I got under.
- Custom made wheels: The 51:1 550-size gearmotors we used in the 2008 states bot were phenomenal. However, the two motors and two wheels lined up exceed the 30 cm width limit added last year. So, I will be making my own wheels, that do not extend out from the shaft of the motor, but instead wrap over the gearhead. This is a good idea if you want to a set of BaneBots motors but are afraid that they are too large.
- Reducing the moment of inertia: keeping all of the mass near the robot's center of rotation will allow it to attain higher angular acceleration, and thus maneuver better.
So, what are your ideas? Taking a trial event seriously is an easy way to win medals, guys... a good thing in NY, where they count towards your team rank. ;)