Some teams like to think outside of the box, and other teams like to flip that box on it’s side at the start of autonomous. Enter “flop bots”, a breed of robots that start the match in the vertical orientation (per the associated years starting configuration rules) and spend the rest of the match in a second configuration. Recent years bumper rules have put a stop to this breed but the community has seen real success with a least four of these mythical creatures. So what do these machines look like making the change? Perhaps it’s best just to show you, here’s the release video from FRC16 from 2008.
FRC71 in the 2002 game “Zone Zeal”
Team Hammond came through the season with the following stats:
- Record of 30-14-4
- Engineering Inspiration and Winner of the Midwest Regional
- Technology Award at the Western Michigan Regional
- Newton Division Champions
- World Champions
When it comes to “game-breakers” this robot has to be the first one to come to mind for all students and mentors in FIRST. FRC71 may not have had the best record in qualification matches, but when it came to eliminations it was nearly impossible to stop them.
FRC67 in the 2004 game “FIRST Frenzy”
The HOT Team came through the season with the following stats:
- Record of 39-16-0
- Judges Award at the Great Lakes Regional
- Industrial Design and Winner at the Buckeye Regional
- Control Awards and Regional Finalist at West Michigan Regional
- Newton Division Champions and Controls Award
Perhaps, of interesting note to the octocanum/butterfly folks who are now shifting between wheels, this robot featured a shifting drivetrain using 2 different sized wheels. (visible here). It also featured prominently in one of the most innovative defensive plays seen in 2004 when it capped 1241, the rookie juggernaut out of Canada at GLR.
FRC67 in the 2005 game “Triple Play”
The Hot Team came through the season with the following stats:
- Record of 42-15-1
- Semifinalists and Technology Award at the Great Lakes Regional
- Winner at the Buckeye Regional
- Chairman’s Award Winner at the West Michigan Regional
- Newton Division Champions
- World Champions and World Chairman’s Award
Here’s some footage from Einstein 2005 showing you how the bot started the match and made its way around the field. Take note, not only is this a flop bot, but it is also a swerve drive and responsible for the only instance of a team being inducted into the FIRST Hall of Fame and also winning the World Championship in the same year.
FRC16 in the 2008 game “Overdrive”
Baxter Bomb Squad came through the season with the following stats:
- Record of 34-14-0
- Semifinalists and Design Award at the Midwest Regional
- Winner and Entrepreneurship Award at the Bayou Regional
- Curie Division Winner
- Championship Finalist
FRC16 is the most recent flop bot that we have of the four discussed in the article. Boasting the signature Baxter swerve drive and their polycarbonate, motor in roller “floppy accumulator” the Bomb Squad was able to pick a number of Blue Banners ultimately becoming finalist on Einstein.
Article Content Gathered/Provided by: Justin Foss (FRC558 Mentor) and Andrew Schreiber (FRC125 Mentor)