• Etown Engineering Club Hints to Help You Win!Etown Engineering Club Logo

    It takes a lot of time to do well in a competition. You have to master the art and then master the practice. You can follow the engineering design process to help you master the art and master the practice. Watch the movie, Spare Parts, to get an idea of what it takes to win a robotics competition.

    1. Master the artThis refers to the knowledge that is needed to do well.

    1. Read the rules and refer back to the rules often. You should get to the point where you are extremely familiar with the rules. 
    2. Conduct online research. Look up other teams that have won and note the similarities between the winners. 
    3. Talk/email experts. Teams that win usually have teachers and professionals help them with their competition.

    2. Master the practice - This refers to being familiar with the motions needed to do well.

    1. This takes time. You will be competing against other students who love this subject. It is what they continually think about and talk about. You have to match that level to do well.
    2. The best Battlebot does not always win, it comes down to the driver's ability. The more you practice actually doing your competition, the better you will do in the competition.
    3. Use experts to help you practice. They can help with your presentations and pre-judge your competition to give you pointers on how to improve.
    4. Show enthusiam and good sportmanship.
    5. Do something extra that makes you stand out. Do this after you have everything completed to get the maximum points. Usually all the teams are excellent teams. You need something that will put you above the excellent teams.
    6. Do not waste time on something that does not give you points.
    7. Keep your eyes on the goal to keep motivated. Do you want to sit at the awards ceremony knowing that you could have done more or do you want to compete to the best of your ability and know that you did the best you could?

    3. Follow the engineering design process to help you do well:

    1. Define the problem
      1. Read the rules.
      2. Check the dates for registration and for the competition.
      3. Figure out the cost.
    2. Do backround research
      1. Look at past winners.
      2. Look at everything on the competition website.
      3. Do a web search for other teams or reports from the competition. Email or talk to other teams for advice.
      4. Look at the information in Mr. BP's distribution folder.
      5. Talk to or email experts to get ideas and help. Teams get extra points if they have an expert/professional help them design and test a project.
    3. Specify requirements
      1. Set up your team
        1. Team manager makes sure things get done on time and that everyone has what they need to do their job. Team manager makes sure the teams meets all the rules. Represents the team to the judges.
        2. Team treasurer keeps track of the budget. Responsible for buying things for the team.
        3. Team design engineer does the design, drawing, and runs simulations to improve the design.
        4. Team manufacturing engineer selects the material, builds, and repairs the prototype.
        5. Team reporter or communication officer takes notes and pictures of what the team is doing. They communicate with the community, sponsors, potential sponsors and create a web presence. Sets up a way for the team to communicate with each other.
      2. Set up a gantt chart to map out how long it should take to complete each task. Then double the time you think it will take. Allow a month for shipping if you are going to order any parts.
      3. Set up a budget to see how much money you need to raise.
      4. Read the rules to see if you missed anything.
      5. Check the competition's website or Facebook page to see if there are any updates.
    4. Brainstorm
      1. List all ideas - crazy, wild and anything else.
      2. Use the judging criteria to pick the idea that you believe has the best chance of winning.
    5. Build a prototype
      1. Check the rules often to make sure your prototype fits the requirements.
      2. Run simulations to test different scenarios. You should have a good idea of how it should work before you start to build.
      3. Make a concept model to make sure it functions before using the real materials.
      4. You can build a back up or another idea to test at the same time.
    6. Test solution
      1. Does it function well?
      2. Does it meet the rules?
      3. Practice many times so you can fix any problem that will come up at the competition - Murphy's Law.
    7. Improve your protoype 
      1. Try other ideas. 
      2. Try improvements that are based on previous test results.
    8. Communicate your results
      1. Keep records of your testing and include your findings when you talk to the judges.
      2. Let the judges know how your project worked during your testing.
      3. I have seen judges make up an award so they could give it to a team that had a good story. Judges want to know:
        1. How you formed your team.
        2. When you worked on the project.
        3. What problems you encountered.
        4. How you overcome those problems.
        5. What you learned from this competition.