Today’s post was written by Mike Grenier, FIRST® LEGO® League Mechanical Engineer. We hope you find these tips helpful as you build your CITY SHAPERSM Mission Models!

Before you begin…

  • Make sure to take your time! All Mission Models serve a purpose/function, so improper builds can cause large flaws in the game.
  • Make sure to grab all parts listed in the top left corner of each step.
  • Remember – when grabbing parts, make sure that you take note of the color and length that it calls for.
  • Organizing beams, axles, and other elements by length, can help decrease error margin and can sometimes help 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. This is different than in years past and is important to note. Make sure to orient the model to mimic the view shown in that step.

figure-1
Figure 1 
  • It is also important to note that 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 with a team can not only make for light work, it can also help decrease the margin of error.

Bag 1:

Contents: Precision Tokens, Bat, Inspection Drone, Bridge Entrance, Bridge Top, and CITY SHAPER Pins

  • First, it is important to note that the CITY SHAPER Pins 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.
  • After building the Bridge Entrance, place this to the side. We have a cool trick to show you in the future. 🙂
  • When building the Bridge Top on Page 16, note that there is an orange pin that has not been pressed all the way in. This is the first of three for this model and was done purposefully. Please note this for all three as it will help with the assembly of the model later.
  • It is important to note that at the end of building the contents of bag one, you will have some spare axles. Hold on to these, as you may need them for practice setup.
  • It is also important to note that an update has been made to the building instructions this year that includes the new build of the drone. Please visit our website to make sure you have the latest copy of the build instructions!
  • The correct way to build the Drone is shown below, and the building instructions have now been revised to show this.
drone
Drone Model


Bag 2:

Contents: Bridge

  • This bag requires quite a few pin connections. There are two bags filled with pins and other pin-like connectors. It is important to take your time through this build to locate the correct position of each pin before assembling together. Each pin is in a precise location to help distribute weight.
  • When building the Bridge, there are several more orange pins (as seen on the Bridge Top) that should not been pressed all the way in. This was done purposefully to help with the assembly of the model later.
  • On pages 6 and 27: note the location of the two blue studs and where they end up. They are part of a helpful trick in the future.
  • After you have built the Bridge, you will see how the different assembly configurations work.
  • Remember those studs we told you to note and the Bridge Entrance we told you to put to the side? Those studs provide an under-storage for travel. The Bridge Entrance can be attached to these studs for safer traveling.

Bag 3:

Contents: Treehouse and Steel Structure

  • This bag requires quite a few elements to 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.
  • When beginning the Treehouse build, you will see there are several orientation changes. Be sure to pay close attention to the orientation of the model and alignment of each element throughout each step.
  • As a general comment, and one you will notice in this bag, is that 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.
  • An example of this can be seen on Page 31 – there is picture of a sub-assembly noted 2x. This could save you quite a bit of time if you build them together. Otherwise, when you get to Page 37, you will be sent back to Page 31 to begin the process again before continuing to Page 30.
  • Beginning on Page 45, you will notice you begin building another sub-assembly. We recommend taking extra time with this and checking your work often. There are many orientation changes and pinned connections. It is important to take your time to ensure the model is built properly.

 Bag 4:

Contents: Crane and Hooked Blue Unit

  • Again, 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.
  • This model has many unique mechanical connections and it is recommended that you build slower than usual and double check your work as you go.
  • On Page 11, you will be asked to press a few axles together. Make sure that when you assemble these elements you do not compress the blue lever, as this needs to be able to move freely.
  • On Page 23 and 24, make sure to note the connection between the blue and black levers. Once you are sure you have made the correct connection, make sure not to compress this lever as this also needs to be able to move freely.
  • On Page 45, you will be instructed to put a bushing on the end of a red axle. It is important that you leave the bushing so that that the axle is flat with the end of the bushing. If you push the bushing too far down the axle, the model will not work properly.
  • Note on Page 62 that the direction of the tire does matter, and improper build will lead to a functional issue.
  • When you reach Page 65, we recommend that you skip this step until the very end.
  • On Page 68, note that there is a correct orientation for the black hole. To make sure you are in the correct position, make sure that you align using the window of the Hooked Blue Unit as a reference.
  • After you have completed Page 68, we recommend that you release the string to its most extended position so that it is not coiled around the wheel. Next, place the hook on the string and the hook on the Hooked Blue Unit. Once you have done this, rest the Hooked Blue Unit just below the Guide Hole so that the Hooked Blue Unit is resting on a flat surface alongside the Crane. After this, tie two knots (a double knot) in the string so that it is still possible for the Hooked Blue Unit is resting on the same flat surface as the Crane. Please note that this should be at the very end of the fully extended string with very little extra sting remaining.

Bag 5:

Contents: Red Building Units

  • As a general comment, and one you will notice in this bag, is that you will build four of the same models. Knowing this, you can build all four at the same time to hopefully save some time.

Bag 6:

Contents: Tan Building Unit

  • Again, as a general comment, and one you will notice with this bag, is that you will build four of the same models. Knowing this, you can build all four at the same time to hopefully save in overall time.

Bag 7:

Contents: White Building Units, Blue Building Units, Roof Garden Upgrade, Solar Panel Upgrade, & Insulation Upgrade

  • Again, as a general comment, and one you will notice in this bag, is that you will build two sets of four of the same models (White Building Units and Blue Building Units). Knowing this, you can build all four at the same time to hopefully save in overall time.

 Bag 8:

Contents: Test Building & Elevator

  • This is another bag that requires quite a few elements to 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.
  • On Page 20, there is a very helpful zoom in of the underside of the Test Building. It is recommended you double check to make sure you have the correct configuration.
  • On Page 22, you will begin to build the Elevator. It is important to note before you begin building this model that this is a model that is dependent on weight and balance. Please take extra precaution when building to ensure everything is aligned and positioned properly, as this could affect the overall function of the model.

Bag 9:

Contents: Swing & Traffic Jam

  • This is the last bag that requires elements to be collected from the unlabeled bags provided in your Challenge Set. This means that you can safely grab the remaining elements from this bag. If you find you have extra or more elements than are listed on Page 1 of Bag 9, then we recommend you return to the first page of each bag and locate where this element is missing from and try and fix the mistake within this bag. Note that this may require you to break down the model and begin again.
  • On Page 39 and again on Page 41, it is important to make sure when pressing the fittings together on the yellow axle that you do not press too hard and cause compression. Pressing the fittings too hard together could cause compression that could lead to the model not functioning as expected.
  • On Page 50, you may notice that the color contrast is difficult to interpret. We recommend you take extra time on these steps to ensure everything is aligned properly.
  • On Pages 53 & 58, you will find it is quite easy to misalign the car lanes. Again, we recommend you take extra time on these steps to ensure everything is aligned properly.

 Bag 10:

Contents: Innovation Elements

  • This is the first time that we’ve ever provided a bag of elements that do not require building. Instead, they have a different purpose in this year’s Challenge. Check out this year’s Challenge Documents for more details about how these fun elements are used!

Good luck with your season, teams!