Difference between revisions of "Prototyping Best Practices"

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==Prototyping Steps==
==Prototyping Steps==
''"You don’t need to prototype everything, just the things you want to work."'' -- John V-Neun, Head Mentor FRC148, IFI Director of Product Development<br><br>
;<big>Developing your experiment</big>
;<big>Developing your experiment</big>
#How will the device fit into your game strategy? What will it have to do?
#How will the device fit into your game strategy? What will it have to do?

Latest revision as of 05:47, 30 December 2012

Prototyping Steps

"You don’t need to prototype everything, just the things you want to work." -- John V-Neun, Head Mentor FRC148, IFI Director of Product Development

Developing your experiment
  1. How will the device fit into your game strategy? What will it have to do?
  2. What tests will determine if/when the device is successful? How should experimental conditions mimic match play?
  3. What dependent variables indicate a successful test? How will you measure and record them?
  4. Which independent variables should you change? Over what ranges?
Forming your rig
  1. Keep experimental conditions (control variables) constant
  2. Adjust independent variables consistently
  3. Measure independent and dependent variables accurately
Prototyping Construction Requirements
  1. Work as fast as you can, and no faster
  2. Make it as simple as possible, and no simpler
  3. Minimize $$, time and resource cost - use available (preferably used) materials
  4. Measure twice, modify once - minimize permanent modifications, use smallest possible pieces
  5. Remember you'll disassemble and reuse these!

Alpha versus Beta prototypes

  • First 'concept testing' version
  • Time: ≤1hr construction (+ ≤20min planning)
  • Materials: in-house, possibly a few cheap, useful Home Depot-type
  • Parameters: most critical / likely to determine viability
  • Form factor: any (needn't resemble imagined final device)


  • More advanced, design determiner
  • Time: ≤1/2 day total
  • Materials: slightly more expensive and/or more machining
  • Parameters: all necessary
  • Form factor: any
Devices that don't need Alphas
  • Non-novel (not game piece-dependent) but complex and high-investment
  • Require considerable pre-calculation/CAD
  • OR things we have experience with
  • Elevators, arms, etc

Devices that don't need prototypes

  • Things we have previous experience with
  • AND that we can accurately calculate and simulate (CAD)
  • Rarely: devices that are prohibitively expensive to pre-test


Construction Examples

Use these after you develop your experiment. They can help form your rig, but remember you have different games, goals, skills and resources.


Ball Intakes

Devices that bring game pieces into the robot. May include lifting.

See also:

Ball Possessors

Devices that possess game pieces without bringing them into the robot.

See also:

Roller Claws

Claws with roller(s) to acquire game pieces of many shapes. May include scoring via shooting.

See also:

Other Claws

Alpha - outside (manual)
Beta - inside (motor)
See also:


Game Piece Lifts

Moving (and storing) game pieces within the robot primarily single-file. May include intakes.

See also:


Storing and moving game pieces within the robot with several pieces on the same 'tier' (not single-file). May include intakes.

Alpha - sorting test
Alpha - spiral
See also:


Single and multi-joint rotary arms, may include hurdling (e.g. catapulting)

Double joint (genius!)
Single joint
See also:

Mechanism Elevators

Vertical lifts for robot mechanisms (e.g. claws, rather than game pieces themselves). Single and double [bar] and box refer to the cross-section shape. May include claws.

Beta - double nested
Alpha with control - double nested
See also:



Devices that launch carried game pieces, likely one at a time.

Beta - adjustable (explanation)
Beta - mobile hurdling
See also:


Devices that release (with a lower horizontal velocity than shooters) carried game pieces.

Alpha - multiple
Alpha - single file vertical
See also:


Single-contact (non-through action) momentum transfers. May include possessors.

See also:


Drivetrains, particularly for negotiating obstacles. May include assistive mechanisms (wedges, articulators, bridge manipulators).

Slanted Bump Crossing - multiple
90deg Barrier Crossing - skid arm
See also: