Gems of Wisdom
- Running into the wall is the best way to guarantee your robot's orientation.
- Don't use spider couplers (use spiral flexure couplers instead). Use pillow-block bearings to hold your axles.
- Make the interior of your robot easy to access. Otherwise you'll waste a lot of time trying to manipulate hard-to-reach wires.
- Big wheels make you go fast, but also make it harder to steer and amplify any slop in your motor/bearing system.
- Making a good catapult is harder than it looks.
- Try to make things as modular as possible when soldering on PCBs - use header pins for the GPIO pins on the PIC32 boards especially.
- Invest time early on to implement things the way you want for the final product and not just for checkoffs.
- Learn early on how to use crimp tools and soldering irons correctly. This will save many headaches later on caused by loose connections that look fine but are actually not and take hours to debug.
- Organize team materials so they are easier to find once the project starts (and keep them organized!).
- Buy a lot of wire, tape, and simple tools like tiny screwdrivers early on.
- Have an "all-hands" sync at least every morning so everyone's on the same page about what they should be working on and what is high priority.
- During integration, it will be difficult for everyone to work on the robot at once. Try to setup a schedule for when different people can work with the physical robot throughout the day to minimize idle time/getting in people's way.
- Figure out how to setup a simple general exception handler to capture and debug spurious reset events.