Designing and Building the robot is an exciting part of FIRST.
When you are ready to build, here are some basic guidelines to consider.
1. Do some planning and design work in advance, so you have a good feel for the general layout and organization of the robot. If you have the skills and capability, the more of the robot you can draw (Computer Aided Design, such as Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, ProE) before you start to build, the fewer headaches you will have as you begin to assemble the parts.
2. Measure twice, cut once. Be sure measurements are accurate and the part will fit where it is intended.
3. Be sure the parts you are using are legal. There are limits on some materials. Some parts can be used, but in limited quantities (such as motors, batteries, compressors). Some parts are not allowed at all, and some must meet specific standards (pneumatic components, electrical components.
4. Follow the robot rules when wiring the robot. Wire size, breaker size and the use of some controls components are very well defined and will be verified at inspection.
5. Focus on building a robust machine. Think about how your robot will move, contact the field and contact other robots.
6. Standardize fastners. Consider using only 10-24 or 1/4-20 nuts and bolts for everything. This will simplify the need for tools and spare nuts and bolts since you will only need a few wrenches. If absolutely needed, use a different size, but work to standardize.
7. Work safely. Wear safety glasses. Use tools as they have been designed. Get help with difficult areas or heavy components.
8. Think about repairs and maintenance. Components that may need replaced or adjusted should be easy to access.