Today’s post is by Mike Grenier, FIRST® Engineering Technician. Mike helps design the annual Challenge and wanted to share some useful tips to help teams blast off into the season.
Find the INTO ORBITSM Mission Model Building Instructions here. We encourage teams to build their Challenge sets together.
Before You Begin…
- Take your time! All Mission Models serve a purpose/function, so improper builds can cause large flaws in the game.
- Be sure to grab all parts listed in the top left corner of each step.
- Remember: When grabbing parts, note of the color and length the build calls for.
- Organizing beams, axles, and other elements by length can help decrease error margin and save time.
- Watch for pictures of what you are building. There may be assemblies or sub-assemblies that need to be built more than once and will include a 1x, 2x, 3x… etc.
- The symbol shown below (Figure 1) signifies an orientation/view change. Orient the model to mimic the view shown in that step.
- Teamwork is key with tasks such as these! It will take a single person many hours to complete a Challenge Set. With a team, the work can be divided among many people. Remember: Many hands make light work.
- Working as a team can also help decrease the margin of error. Have several individuals follow along, help with the build, and/or check your work.
Contents: Meteoroid, Meteoroid Ring, Penalty Disks, Crew Payload, Supply Payload, Vehicle Payload, Astronaut Gerhard, and INTO ORBITSM elements
- The INTO ORBIT elements do not have a function in the game and because of this, a placement for these will not be mentioned in the Robot Game Field Setup. They are purely here as a fun addition for teams to honor their coaches.
- In this bag (and others), you will build many similar sub-assemblies. To save time, make sure you are watching for the multiplier (example: x5). It is key for these types of models.
- In addition, it is possible to install the face shield to the helmets backwards, so make sure to watch for this. Although this will not affect the function of the model, consistency is always key!
Contents: Space Travel Ramp and Your Team’s Solar Panel
- This bag requires quite a few elements be collected from the unlabeled bags provided in your Challenge Set. Make sure to grab all the proper lengths and take note of the color and quantity of each element.
- As you build, you will be placing a few colored elements along the Space Travel Ramp (1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 green). These are strategically placed to help in locating later sub-assemblies. Make sure these are in the right place along the beam. This can be seen in steps 19, 30, and 36 (the number is referring to the number in the top left corner of each particular step).
Contents: Cone Module, Tube Module, Dock Module, and Habitation Hub
- Before you begin building, please note that you may have 4 or 5 No. 3 bags to collect. They have the same contents, just spread among a different number of bags.
- Throughout most of the building in this bag, you will find that there are a number of orientation changes, so pay close attention to the orientation of the model in each step.
Contents: Lander Release & Lander
- The first model to be built is the Lander. It’s quite detailed and complex. Take your time here, as there are many little parts in a small volume.
- As for the Lander Release, there’s one main feature I felt the need to point out, so I have done so by step number (the number is referring to the number in the top left corner of each particular step).
- In Step 6, you will notice a medium gray element (x2) called out with a given orientation and alignment. The orientation does matter and will show up later. If you make a mistake here, there is no need to fret, because you can always spin them freely later.
- In Step 34, you will see that you are pushing in two red axles. You should not press them all the way into the black axle, but instead, try to match the step picture shown as you might bind the black axle (which would affect the overall function of this model).
- This build is unlike most in that it is not symmetrical. This model was designed to have two different sides, which may make the construction less intuitive. Pay close attention to what is being asked in each step.
- This model uses a lot of similar colored elements, so pay attention to the exact element and location being called out in each step.
Bags 6 – 7:
Contents: Food Growth Chamber, Exercise Machine, Core Site, Regolith Core Samples, Gas Core Sample, Water Core Sample, 3D Printer, and 2×4 Brick
- This section is unique in that the build instructions are for Bags 6 AND 7. Be sure to collect all the right material before starting these bags.
- Although the two bags are combined for build instructions, it may be more helpful to start by just opening Bag No. 6 as the set of models do not require content from Bag 7. This should help decrease build time by not mixing elements.
- If you start with Bag 6, you will find you have a couple extra elements. Save these, as they will be needed when you open Bag 7.
- When you open Bag 7, there is one main feature of the Food Growth I felt the need to point out, so I have done so by step number (the number is referring to the number in the top left corner of each particular step).
- In Step 40, the orientation of the inner mechanism (tan side up), is important. Try your best to match the orientation shown before inserting the racks. Also make sure to insert the racks in their correct positions to ensure proper alignment.
Contents: Launch Platform and Meteoroid Catcher
- With the Meteoroid Catcher, there is one main feature to point out, so I have done so by step number (numbers are referring to the number in the top left corner of each particular step).
- In step 27, you are tasked with joining the two halves of the model. Note the orientation before joining as this model can be assembled backward.
- When you begin building the Launch Platform, there are several orientation changes, so be sure to pay close attention to the orientation of the model in each step.
- As for the build of this model, there is one main feature to point out, so I have done so by step number (numbers are referring to the number in the top left corner of each particular step).
- In steps 29 and 38, a black curved rack is used. Please note that there is a left and right rack. Pay close attention to which is called for in each step of the build instructions.
Contents: Satellite C, Satellite V, and Satellite X
- As for the build of Satellites V and C, there are a few features to point out, so I have done so by step number (numbers are referring to the number in the top left corner of each particular step).
- Satellites V and C, are not symmetrical, and so precise placement of certain elements are critical. Please pay extra attention to steps 12-13 of Satellite C and steps 8-9 of Satellite V.
Good luck with your season, teams!