FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Stop Build Day Survey

Sep 06, 2016 Written by Frank Merrick.


Today we’re releasing a very important survey to the community about Stop Build Day. There has been much discussion recently in our community and within FIRST HQ about this topic, and we want to hear from folks in a more systematic way. An email blast is going out to all FRC teams today encouraging them to respond. We really want to hear from as many folks as possible!

Stop Build Day is the kind of thing to which it’s easy to have an emotional, gut reaction. However, you will see we’ve laid out the survey in such a way as to help you think through various potential advantages and disadvantages of Stop Build Day before we ask you your overall opinion about what approach is best for the long term success of FRC. I encourage you to take your time and think through all of the questions before responding.

Please respond to this survey, and encourage others in the community to respond as well. Your opinion matters!

You can find the survey here. The survey will close on September 26th.




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I belive that u should extend the build day 

I love the idea of having kickoff before Christmas break or beginning of December and having that first 4 weeks to allow for more r and d and parts procurement. Then build would start at regular time. It may give those teams with less time offseason and less mentors more time to work and come up with new and better training or assemblies. 

As a lead mentor and parent I have always found that stop build being on a weekday at midnight is hard on the students. Ideally I would like to see it either moved to a sat night or have stop build happen at 10 pm. Students have school, mentors have jobs. Working till midnight mid week is challenging in a negative way.

I personally believe that the 6 week build period is essential to the competition. There's always going to be parent/mentor driven teams where they ultimately build the robot for the competitors and student based teams where they do all the work themselves, as well as better funded teams, and teams that fund themselves. But to take away the build period and just leave it open would take away a valuable lesson in time management as well as it builds the team and brings them closer because you have such a limited time to work. Yes it is difficult to balance the competition/build time with other activities but and I know my team did this, maybe there needs to be a grade point average met before one could be on the team. And if the thought of moving the competition maybe kickoff should be in may and the competitions in the summer, then it truly becomes an elective thing and most likely won't affect the same school sponsored events.

I agree, as an alumni and a mentor I feel that actually working under a time constraint helped me grow more as a person and taught me valuable lessons in time management (and i've seen it in students over the years as well). What I feel a number of teams dont seem to realize is that even though your robot has to be bagged/crated at Stop Build, Build isn't done. You can still keep innovating and building spare parts/mechanisms. If I recall correctly, you have a 30 lb allowance for carring in spare parts for competitions. One of my years as a student we drastically modded our robot in the pits each competition (granted we still didnt do well in the end) but it evolved each time and it gave me valuable "under the gun" experience working under a deadline. I think it was representitive of the actual build process I see regularly as an engineer out in the workforce. Theres always going to be a team that goes more gung ho than others with more energy/manpower/money, but I honestly feel that removing the time limitations from the competition would remove a valuable teaching experience for students on many teams in years to come.

I can see where your coming from with having competition in summer, but it would not work at all for my team.  Its hard enough for us to compete with jobs during the school year, but during the summer, most if not all of our kids work.  In fact jobs are our biggest competition for team members. We have completely lost several team members to jobs, and many others divide their time between us and jobs.

If we get rid of it, then some teams will have up to 8 more weeks to 'build' depending on which competition they compete in, ie. week 1 vs. week 8.  What about letting teams open their bag 1 week before their first competition?  Then we will all be on the same time constraints. This is all based on the honor system anyway, so trust us. This would give us time to make changes, test drive, check bumpers, and help out rookie teams that need it. 

I think the build time needs to be longer for the small schools as my 2 children are building from 430 till 11 pm 5 days a week and then all day Saturday and Sunday for 6 weeks straight. We have a Google Doc for meals for the parents to bring in. This is extremely hard on the kids and parents and their grades suffer during this time. As much as my children love robotics they are burnt out from year round robotics and then build time comes along and it's hyper drive.

I think Stop Build is an essential part of the FIRST/FRC experience.  It mirrors real world time constraints.  In the real world you have deadlines.  Yes, its hard to get a robot built in 6 weeks, but isn't that a lesson kids need to learn, that good things don't come without hard work?  We can either make it easy, or make it good.  That being said, I do not have an issue with adding a couple of days to make it happen on a Saturday, since there is a legitimate issue with being up late on a school night. But there should be a Stop Build day at around 6 weeks.  Also, my experience of FIRST is that we all try to make things as fair as possible. If you eliminate Stop Build, teams with later competitions will have an advantage over teams that have earlier ones, they will have that many more weeks to work on their robots.  It might not make a big difference at Regionals (or districts) but it could at Championships. That does not seem quite fair to me.

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