1) Decide on budget, the target competition and teams.
2) Decide, based partially on budget (and in some cases competition), on general bot design (even just weapon type)
3) Figure out what bot will roughly look like (how many wheels, where weapon is, where internals are, etc)
4) Start figuring out what things will be made of (what materials, which motors to use, etc) and how things should be arranged (internals, how will things be attached, etc)
5) Start making things from paper to real space: how big should things be? How large the wheels, how wide the bot, how tall the weapon disc, etc, etc
6) Start figuring out how it will be created: Can you make those 3 edges come to a point with the tools we have? If not, modify the design. Can you make that lid have two spork-wedge extensions with our tools? If not, modify the design. And so on.
7) Start getting to the nitty-gritty. I hate this part. Measure every piece. Figure the diameter of every screw hole, the lengths of the screws, quantity of screws, exact dimensions of screw holes, and so on. It's annoying because it's unforgiving, and you will probably make countless mistakes, fix them countless times on paper, and still screw up.
8) If you haven't already, model it on computer. Then model it in cardboard, or better yet plywood. Make sure you've figured out all potential problems.
9) Actually cut the parts, put everything together, fix all problems that arise with duct tape and car epoxy. (You think I'm kidding. Ha! I laugh. Talk to members from last year: Mark or Marjorie may get whimsical grins on their faces.)
10) Wiring! Plan out wiring and draw your planned connections, based on real life and then in wiring mode. Make sure you will achieve what you want, then solder and crimp the crud out of those wires.
11) Power on. Raise the wheel(s) in the air, say a prayer, hope the bot doesn't explode, and flip the switch. The bot may come to life, or you may have to plug in the batteries first. Or you may have reversed the leads to your ESCs, and spend two weeks approaching the competition having no clue what is going on until you realized you just plugged the freaking leads in the wrong way.
12) When the bot finally runs, rejoice, then figure out what's wrong with it. It almost never runs right the first time. If nothing appears wrong, just kick the stupid thing. No, really, kick it until something breaks. Then fix it, and kick it again, and repeat the process until you are satisfied with your progress. This may seem overly sadistic, but realize that you're going to be putting this bot into an arena where bots will be hitting it harder and with less remorse than you are. These same things would be breaking in combat.
13) Finally, practice driving the bot. This is most important, usually, and takes a long time. Try to schedule plenty of time to do this, say a month. The longer the better, as driving skill usually beats all in this sport.
14) Compete. This is a whole other topic.

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