3507 Robotheosis

Relic Recovery 2017-18 Season

Robotheosis Team 3507

Engineering Notebook

“If it’s not in the notebook, it didn’t happen.”

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Team Captains: Levi and Nathan

Head of Mechanical: Levi

Head of CAD/3D Printing/CNC: Levi

Head of Electrical/Programming: Olivia

Mechanical Team: Grayson, Benji, Takato, Adam

CAD/3D Printing/CNC Team: Matthew, Takato

Electrical/Programming Team: Max, Gus, Adam, Benji

Media Team/Engineering Notebook: Nathan, Cole, Olivia, Benji, Grayson, Takato

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Saturday, September 9th, 2017: 10:00 AM-3:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Nathan, Matthew, Takato, Benji, Anjali, Olivia, Cam

        Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

        Today we made a list of tasks we need to do, or can do, before the game video comes out. The first was make sure the room is organized so we divided into different teams. One group of team members made sure all the bins of screws were organized. This is tedious work; however, it will help in the long run. The second team reconfigured our parts tool boxes (which contain the screw bins) and cleaned up our workshop area.

Over the summer, Andymark released new gearboxes for their NeveRest motors. They are called sport gearboxes and are very easy to mount and use. We plan on using many of these gearbox motor combinations so another team worked on unwrapping the motors and gearboxes and used pliers to rip the old gears off the motors. Then they hammered new gears in and greased the gearboxes before putting them together. Also, they tested each motor by plugging it into a battery.

Later, we all watched the kickoff video and then brainstormed ideas for glyph grabbers and on the nature of  our robot overall. We discussed the pros and cons of having our robot do certain point-earning missions, for example scoring glyphs in the cryptobox versus scoring the relic in the end game. We decided that our first priority should be to design lifts that can pick up and score glyphs.

While some members were thinking about the FTC competition, other members worked on robots for County Fair. This is an event we have at our school every year. Each grade sets up and mans a booth. Booths range from mini-putt putt and student-designed obstacle courses to some grades selling popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy.  The Robotics Club has a booth where students at the school and members from the community can come and drive robots and talk to our team about its work in robotics. In past years we used VEX educational robots, but last year we used robots built by freshmen who were learning the FTC build system. However, now we are going to custom-design four small demonstration robots to use not only during County Fair but for future demos of all kinds. The plan is to CAD (computer-assisted design) all the parts of the robot in Fusion 360 software and then cut them out of  ¼’’ HDPE plastic using our ShopBot CNC.  Some team members began working on designs while others starting coding for these new County Fair robots. Since we are using CAD to design the robots, we had the members that didn’t know CAD watch tutorials on how to use Fusion 360.

By the end of the meeting we cut out version 1 of the County Fair robot plates, but the plates do not seem to be big enough and/or designed properly to fit all of the necessary motors and electronics. We will probably redesign and recut the plates on Tuesday.

                

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Tuesday September 12th, 2017: 4:00-6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Grayson, Matthew, Anna, Elijah, Takato, Benji, Will, James

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

We began with a planning session to determine what path our team would be taking in our build process over the course of the entire season.  Members had been brainstorming, independently and in small groups over the past few days.  We are now bringing together those ideas to identify which ones we would like to pursue.  We looked at the three match segments: autonomous, driver control, and end game.

We think we can build a stand-alone mechanism to remove the appropriate jewel from the jewel platform using a servo arm and a color sensor.  We will try to read the vision targets and retrieve the coded message in order to score the pre-mounted glyph in the correct column of the cryptobox.  We believe that accomplishing autonomous tasks will not influence the overall design of our robot other than the jewel remover.

Overall, we decided the season focus should be on building the fastest and most reliable glyph scorer possible.  If we get a full cryptobox, that is 124 points.  If we do it in a crypto code, that’s 154.  End game only gets us a maximum point score of 55 for the relic.  This means that having a relic placement device should be secondary to having an effective glyph stacking mechanism.  If we make a fast and efficient stacker, we believe we can be successful.

        This is the time for crazy ideas.  We went around the room and allowed each team member to introduce one or two of their favorite ideas and put them into general categories as follows:

-   Crane game claw.  Drop claw to retrieve and place relic and glyphs. (I)

-   Suction.  Introducing the Neverest leaf blower.  Suction technique used in industry.

-  Polycord/wheels collector/ejector on lift (forward to back).  Glyphs get collected horizontally by polycord collector similar to past years bot.  The whole collector is then lifted into place and used to push glyphs into cryptobox. Would allow for individual placement of glyphs to match the patterns.  (IIIII)

- Forklift -  Scoop and lift the glyphs into place.  (may be similar to stacker below)

- Traditional stacker (Recycle Rush or Bowled Over-esque).  Similar technique to the polycord idea above, but uses a claw (or perhaps two claws independently operated)

- Vertical intake and pusher.  Pull glyphs up.  Push them out into cryptobox (III)

- Thor’s Hammer.  Collect two glyphs in front with large plate claw.  Swing it over the robot and drop it down the chute made between our bot and cryptobox.  Intended to be super quick method. Could use suction cups or plates.(II)        

        We will not pursue an end game strategy at this time but will try to incorporate relic retrieval with the glyph stacker.  We discussed some ideas which included installing a horizontal scissor “lift” or linear slide at a later time.  We plan to leave some room for such a mechanism, but our focus will be on the glyph stacker.

We found this is going to be a little bit of mixing and matching of many ideas.  We know we will need an intake, a way to secure the glyphs, and a way to place the glyphs.  Many of the ideas we had in brainstorming could be combined.

We voted on what ideas team members wanted to pursue (marked with I’s above).  We will look to make a polycord lift and an arm lift.  The arm lift will have a clamp/claw, but we will also prototype a suction lift to see if that is viable. We will research this next meeting.

The County Fair robot (see September 9th entry) has been designed in 2D by Levi and Mr. Lee using Fusion 360 and VCarve software.  It is ready to be cut on the ShopBot and we are cutting our first one today.  New team members will be assigned to assemble the bots which will be a useful experience in wiring and hardware.  Here is the CAD of the main plate.    

countyFairBotTOP.png

An early prototype was made, but didn’t really maximize space. Here was our early effort (white bot) alongside our newly cut blue plate.

The new County Fair bot design is being cut on the ShopBot.  We will make four of them.  To save time, we are doing all engraving and cutting with a single ⅛ inch ball nose bit.  The other cutouts shown are for supports and battery shelf for the underside of the bot.  We are using the REV Expansion Hub and slim batteries to save space.

Building these demo robots has been really helpful in learning how to design, and cut with the CNC, 2D plastic plates which we hope to be a primary method for building this year.  We have discussed the possibility of an all plastic robot as a challenge to the team, and a way to get the most out of our new CNC machine this season.

        Mr. Lee gave us some important information he found on a CNC forum regarding slotting plates together.  He read about the use of dogbone fillets to create proper clearances for slots.  We had a problem with the slots being too tight because the router bit could not make perfect right angles because of its round shape.  The solution is the dogbone fillet.  This is how we plan to build our robot, so this is how we will do all slotting for rest of the season.Dog Bone Fillet is the rounded inside edge shown.

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Thursday September 14th, 2017: 4:00-6:00 PM

Attendance: Gus, Levi, Takato, Grayson, Adam

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

 We worked more on the prototype (likely the final design product) of the County Fair robot and started making another one. At the end of the session we were connecting the phones to the first one. We used the CNC to cut additional County Fair robot pieces with the intention of producing four total.

We also did design research based off of our ideas from the last meeting. We looked into using a polycord lift similar to what we did last year and similar to what many FRC teams use for intaking. We learned, though, that a polycord lift would take up a lot of space since each string of polycord needs a pair of rollers to ride on, which takes up more space than we can afford. We also looked into how suction might work. We looked at a plunger to see if it was powerful enough to suction itself to the glyph. We concluded that a plunger does work in sucking up a glyph, but it is not fast or reliable. We also did research on vacuums with the thought of making a vacuum to suck up the glyphs. We realized quickly, though, that a vacuum suction would take up too much space and that the legal motors are not powerful enough.

We made a rough design for what could be our glyph claw. The intent is to “pick” the glyph using a simple claw driven by a motor (hopefully a servo).  Below is a quick sketch made and animated with the program Linkages to show the intent of the claw design.  A motor will be placed to rotate the central pivot of the middle linkage.  When the motor turns, the linkages push the claw arms out as a class 2 lever which creates a pinching motion. A class 2 lever is a lever with the load in between the force and the fulcrum as shown to the left.

The claw would be held at the end of an arm.  Our first design was to implement a simple arm around one pivot which would rotate 270 degrees to lift glyphs into a position so they could easily be dropped into the cryptobox.  The design also would mean we could collect from the front and drop the glyphs out the back.  With this design, we would have the advantage of not having to turn around during the collect-and-drop process.  We estimate that each cycle of collect and drop needs to take 15 seconds or less to ensure we can fill the cryptobox prior to end game.  We believe we can save a couple seconds a cycle with this design.  

We noticed that if we used a single arm (like a hammer), we would drag the glyph on the tile for a short distance as we initially rotated the glyphs to lift them.  There is an extremely high coefficient of friction between the tile and glyphs and we are concerned that the glyphs will be forced out of the claw or change position during the rotation.  Below is an alternate design which uses linkages (shown in collection position and dropping positions).  The advantage of using linkages this way is that the glyphs are lifted off the ground in a more vertical fashion and not dragged across the tile.

glyph arm.png

Claw prototype.

Top-left: open claw

Top-right: closed claw suspended off of the ground

Claw Prototype Model

Creator: Adam Keim

Prototype

On Past Robot

On Current Robot

Designed in:

Tinkercad

123D Design

Fusion 360

V-Carve

Other

Part Description:

An early prototype claw once the initial design of the robot was agreed on. This model has two tape-wrapped appendages that are connected to a 2-bar linkage, a nub, and an AndyMark motor without a gearbox mounted on a plate. The whole design is made out of HDPE plastic.

IMG_2567.JPG

glyph claw linkage.jpg

Picture Description: Top view.

Picture Description: 2D CAD view from linkage and V-Carve

IMG_2569.JPG

Picture Description:

Back diagonal view w/ motor

Picture Description:

Claw on top of glyph

Picture Description:

Grabbing the glyph + lifting off of ground

Conclusion: This was the first prototype of a claw for our claw pickup design. It was able to pick up a glyph from any orientation, which was useful because there was some variation in glyph size and orientation. We did learn that the arms that physically attach to the claw need to have some sort of fabric or tape on them in order to not chew up the glyphs when going to grab.

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Saturday September 16th, 2017: 10:00 AM-3:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Max, Cole, Nathan, Takato, Benji, Matthew

Mentors: Mr. Austin, Mr. Lee

General Agenda:

Mechanical Team Agenda:

Electrical/Programming Team Agenda:

CAD Team Agenda:

Media/Notebook Team Agenda:

The first thing that we did today is assign roles to everyone on the team. We chose leaders for each subteam whom we believe are the most experienced in the role. Our four subteams are mechanical, electrical/programming, 3D printing/CAD/CNC, and media/communications/engineering notebook.  Members chose a subteam based on their individual interests. However, members are not limited to their chosen subteam and will often work across subteams wherever they are needed.

        We then split up into the subteams. The mechanical team's first task was to assemble the remaining County Fair (CF) robots. They set up an assembly-like line in order to finish making the robots efficiently. While this was going on, our electrical/programming team was wiring up the CF robots. They also had to pair the phones up with their new code for the robots. The code was already completed, but not everyone knew how it worked. Therefore,  Gus who wrote the code, explained how it worked to the new team members. They learned how block programming works,  how to set up phones and change wifi channels and how to troubleshoot connection issues. This knowledge is important for everyone to know and it will help us throughout the year, especially during competitions.

        After this was done, members of both the mechanical and electrical teams put together the field so that we can start testing out designs. They also took turns learning how to use the CNC machine. Our goal is to have at least ¾ of the team knowledgeable about using the CNC machine so that we can use the machine as much as possible for robot components. Team member learned several skills starting with the basics of VCarve. They learned how to create shapes on a 2D plane. Next students learned how to create toolpaths for the CNC. These toolpaths are the way the CNC knows what cuts to make and where to drill holes. After learning how to create toolpaths, team members learned how to set up the CNC for cutting, i.e. how to properly install the HDPE material, zero the settings, attach the build plate and then cut parts.

        The CAD team had the task of designing the new competition robot. We had come up with multiple ideas for how to load the glyphs. They had to look up ideas online that might work and try to design them. The team spent a lot of time on YouTube, the forums and on Reddit learning about other design plans for this year and for past games. Additionally, we looked at FRC robots from Recycle Rush because during that game teams had to take in shipping totes and stack them and then move around the stacks. One of the ideas that came up was a claw-like device which some of our more experienced members put together. It uses a motor to grab the glyphs. The issue we had with the claw was that it might damage the glyphs. A solution to this was to put tape around the plastic arms that pick the glyphs. Now the claw did not damage the glyphs as it picked them up.

        

        

Above: Electrical/programming team member, Max, learns how to properly use the CNC machine.

Below: Drawings of ideas for how to collect glyphs and lift them over to the cryptobox

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Tuesday September 19th, 2017: 4:00 PM-6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Nathan, Olivia, Cole, Grayson, Takato, Elijah, James, Will

Mentors: Mr. Austin, Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Grayson, Takato and James put together the last two (of four) County Fair robots. James learned how to use the CNC machine and he is the one who supervised the cutting of the last two bots. Gus and Grayson then added electronics and programmed the phones for the finished bots. We now have three working CF robots. We didn’t have enough cables or phones for the fourth robot so we placed an order for the missing items.

Adam and Levi took the claw that we had prototyped on Saturday and began working to CAD a second version of the claw having a larger grip but a smaller profile, thus making it easier to pick up the glyphs. Additionally they are modifying the claw to run off a servo instead of a motor. This will give us more design flexibility since we will have an extra  motor available for other tasks.

Cole and Nathan continued to develop the new website. We took our old website that was specific to our Robotics team and remade it from scratch but used all of the old website information. The goal of the new site is to promote robotics in general at Francis W. Parker School, not just our team. The new site now has pages for FRC, FTC, FLL and MATE R.O.V robotics. Additionally Nathan wrote up a comprehensive history of our robotics team so that people new to FWP robotics can read up on our history.

        

L: New site

R: Old Site

In the fall of 2002, two Francis W. Parker (FWP) seniors, Jamie Shkolnik and Zach Grossman, approached science teachers George Austin and Xiao Zhang and the shop teacher, Joey Wade, about starting a FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC) team. Additionally the students found a few professional engineers, the lead engineer being Kesha Calton from Newark Electronics. Shkolnik and Grossman then recruited other Parker students and students from Gordon Tech High School, now DePaul College Prep. The students decided to each take a free period during the 2002-03 school year so they would have a chance each day to work on FRC. The students with guidance from Austin, Zhang, Wade and Calton and a small budget provided by the FWP science department and support from their parents set out on a journey to compete in FRC. The team of students registered team #1055 “Frank’s Garage.”

Frank’s Garage competed in the 2003 Midwest Regional and won the Rookie All Star Award. Winning the award qualified the team for Worlds and they competed in the Archimedes Division. The team finished Worlds with a record of 2-5.

After a successful rookie season, the Frank’s Garage team decided to compete in FRC for a second year. The team then competed at the 2004 Midwest Regional and finished with a record of 3-4. Due to major renovations happening at FWP, the lack of space did not allow Frank’s Garage to compete after 2004 and robotics at Francis W. Parker was paused.

A few years later, in 2007, robotics at FWP saw light once again. A middle school FLL team was started under the team name, “Robotic Colonels.” In the team's rookie year, they won the Project Award and qualified for the Illinois State FLL tournament. Additionally, high school students at FWP still had an interest in robotics so the students at FWP joined team 1739, the Chicago Knights, for the 2007-09 FRC seasons.

Then, in 2009 high school robotics was brought back to FWP, this time in full force by the efforts of seniors Max Braun, Jared Johnson, Brett Saito, James Mcdonald, Zack Dookeran and Cecillie Tassone and engineering mentor Dick Ledford and Business Mentor Mike Johnson. In the fall of 2009 FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team 3507 Robotheosis was created. In their rookie year, team 3507 qualified for state and was the Finalist Alliance First Pick at the Illinois State FTC Tournament.

Later in the 2009-10 school year the robotics team began competing in FRC once again, with the help of the NASA Alliance Robotics Project grant. They now competed under the team number 3135 Robotic Colonels. In the 2010 season the FRC team competed in two Regionals (Midwest and Minnesota North Star) and won the Rookie All Star Award at both events and qualified for worlds. However, since the robotics program was so new, the team was unable to compete at worlds.

As the years went on the FLL middle school program expanded from one team to two in 2010 because of the large interest in robotics. Additionally the FTC and FRC programs continued to compete.

During the 2013-14 season, 3507 Robotheosis had a successful season, under the leadership of new Head Coach Meredith Card, FWP Math Resource Specialist. At the CMSA Regional they won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award and at the IIT Regional the team was number one in the rankings, was the number one alliance captain and won the tournament. Then similar to FLL, in 2014 FWP added a second FTC team, 9410 Robo Galactic Corp. 9410 competed for only the 2014 season and the team recombined under 3507 Robotheosis for the 2015-17 seasons.

​During the 2015-16 FTC season, under the leadership of new Head Coach and FWP Computer Science Teacher, Aaron Lee, 3507 won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award and the 3rd Place Inspire Award, qualifying them for the Illinois State FTC Tournament. At the State Tournament, the team was an Innovate Award Finalist.

In the 2016 FRC season The Robotic Colonels competed with great strength at Midwest Regional and had a record of 6-4. Team 3135 then got an invite to attend Worlds where the team had a record of 4-6.

The following year at the beginning of the 2016-17 FTC season, it was decided that FWP robotics would pause the FRC team to focus on FTC. In the 2016-17 FTC season the team was mentioned as a finalist for virtually every award at the Chicago League Championship and the team won the Inspire Award.

Today the Francis W. Parker Robotics program consists of FTC Teams 3507 and 9410 and three FLL teams. Additionally FWP Robotics will be running a MATE ROV Robotics team beginning in the Spring of 2018.

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Thursday, September 21st,  2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Takato, Matthew, Gus

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Austin

Agenda:

Takato made a small phone mount prototype for 3D printing. It’s designed to hold the robot controller in place, and it’s going to have a mount for an Expansion Hub.This mount will allow the drive team to focus on the robot instead of worrying about how to best hold the robot phone.   Takato also paired two of our phones together. Below are screenshots of the phone mount.

        Adam and Levi continued CAD work on the robot.  They now have a full design of the glyph claws we will prototype for the robot. We will include that in a future notebook entry, but it includes motion analysis which we have never had for any of our past designs.

We discussed different types of plastics we will be using for the season. Our primary material will be HDPE due to its strength and ease of fabrication. HDPE holds machine screws well, and we can even make joints out of the screws because the material is self lubricating and self healing. Another huge advantage is that we do not need to use bearings when making plates. Eliminating the need for bearings will greatly help during competitions as we won’t have to worry about bearings falling out of place. On our robot last year we had breakage and  bearings popping out of place which made our robot inoperable during matches. We will use ¼” HDPE for most applications. It is also extremely easy to mill. A secondary plastic will be ABS.  We planned on making our wheels from ABS due to the high impact strength and rigidity.  It is also millable and relatively inexpensive.  PLA will be used for most 3D printing because it is cheap, safe and reliable.  However, we also see some places we can use thermoplastics like NinjaFlex where we need soft or flexible materials.  We noticed that some teams are using 35A hardness compliant wheels from Andymark (the green ones).  We think we can use NinjaFlex to customize something of similar hardness.  We remind ourselves that we want to make our bot in-house as much as possible and practical.  We also think we might have a use for Lexan or PETG where we need clear material so we can see the glyphs for placement.  Maybe the back of robot will be in PETG. Additionally, Gus and Takato set up multiple sets of phones to be used with the County Fair robots.

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Saturday, September 23rd, 2017: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Homecoming weekend for our school, so we did not meet.

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Tuesday, September 26th, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Adam, Levi, Gus, Benji, Takato, Grayson, Cole, Matthew, Olivia

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Austin

Agenda:

        Adam and Levi used the CNC to create a prototype of the claw that will pick up the glyphs and put them in the cryptobox. It was successful. Grayson, Benji, Olivia, Levi, Cole, and Takato put together some more motors and gearboxes to start prepping for prototypes and the final robot. We also got our Andymark 35-A compliant wheels which we may use for collecting the glyphs.

        The pictures on the next page are of a concept test of our glyph collector and arm. We designed this in Fusion 360 and then we cut it out. This prototype helps us visualize the different positions our arm will need to be in as it lifts the glyphs and moves into position to drop glyphs in the cryptobox. In the future we plan to design models and cut them so we can explore where to put pivot points and where arms and mechanisms might get tangled or not fit.

Arm Prototype Model

Creator: Levi and Takto

Prototype

On Past Robot

On Current Robot

Designed in:

Tinkercad

123D Design

Fusion 360

V-Carve

Other

Part Description: This is a mockup of how our robot arm will work. The plate the arms are being attached to is the side plate of the robot. The arms are a 2-bar linkage and the two squares attached represent the glyphs we are going to pick up.

IMG_2555.JPG

IMG_2556.JPG

Picture Description:

Side view. Pickup position for the glyphs.

Picture Description:

Side view. Lift position 1.

IMG_2557.JPG

IMG_2558.JPG

IMG_2560.JPG

Picture Description:

Side view. Lift position 2.

Picture Description:

Side view. Lift position 3, used for drop off of glyphs.

Picture Description:

Top view.

Conclusions: This prototype helped us see the amount of space needed in the robot and what path the arm travels through it as the arm transitions from picking up glyphs to releasing into the cryptobox.

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Saturday, September 30th, 2017: 10:00 AM- 3:00 PM

Attendance: Cole, Olivia, Gus, Elijah, Takato, Cam

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

We’ve mostly decided that our robot is going to be  U-shaped with the drive wheels in the back and two omni-wheels in front. This means that we will have a collector in the front to feed in glyphs. This collector will probably use 3D printed “flipper flappers” that we designed for last year’s game. The flipper flappers were printed out using NinjaFlex so that when they start spinning they slap the glyphs into the robot. They are flexible so they don’t eat into the glyphs or break upon impact with glyphs in the way they might if they were just PLA.

Once the glyphs get “sucked in,” they will be fed into the body of the robot. The glyphs will slide into place beneath two independently running claws. The claws then latch onto the glyphs.  An arm lifts the claws with the glyphs out through the front of the bot. The arm then hangs over the back of the bot.  We then drive over to the cryptobox and drop the glyphs into it.

More NeveRest motors and gearboxes were constructed, a prototype glyph collector was CAD-ed.

Disclaimer: Photos below are from a few weeks in the future timing wise. We added these photos so the different arm positions can be understood based off of the writing.

Claw in open - front position to stack the top two glyphs in a column.

Claw in down position to collect and grab glyphs

Claw in open-back position to stack the bottom two glyphs in a column.

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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Olivia, Cole, Benji, Grayson, Takato

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hall, Mr.Tham

        Agenda:

Mr. Tham and Mr. Hall, professional Computer-Aided Designers, came to see our work. We cut out some mounts for the “flipper flappers,” which are one of our designs for collecting the glyphs. We then attached the flipper flappers to some motors and a simple chassis to test how well they actually collected glyphs.  It worked well. We continued to design a chassis for our robot, but we didn’t CAD or build anything yet.

Mr. Hall and Mr. Tham are professional designers working with clients to design and create products. Mr. Hall is the brother of a Francis W. Parker student who is on our middle school FLL team. After our FWP robotics meeting last May where FLL and FTC presented., we talked to the parents and siblings in attendance about how we would like more mentor assistance.  Mr. Hall decided to help out. He and his friend Mr. Tham will meet with us weekly to teach us what a proper design process is. They encouraged us to think through our designs and look at many different designs before committing our time and resources into prototyping a specific design.


Above: Testing the mounts for the flipper flappers

Right:   Flipper flappers up close

                                                                                                                                 

Left:  Testing the flipper flappers on their mount on the field. We concluded that yes they work for collecting the glyphs and that when run at ¾ speed of a 20:1 motor they do not damage the glyphs.

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Thursday, October 5th, 2017 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Olivia, Benji, Grayson, Takato, Cole

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hall

Agenda:

We CADed some sprocket designs to prepare for lifting the arm. We also continued designing a chassis for our FTC robot.

 Our primary focus was getting ready for County Fair, which was the next day. We triple-checked the County Fair robots to make sure that they were ready. The phones to connect the robots weren’t connecting properly, so we reconfigured them to make the connection and controls stronger for County Fair.

Various Gears + Sprockets

Creator: Various team members

Prototype

On Past Robot

On Current Robot

Designed in:

Tinkercad

123D Design

Fusion 360

V-Carve

Other

Part Description: This season we have needed various gears and sprockets that cut on our own. This allows us to customize anything and everything regarding the size of the gears, the spoke sizes and how we want the gears shaped. Gears were made using hessmer.org/gears/InvoluteSpurGearBuilder.html.  This allowed us to make traditional and linear gears we could use in a variety of situations.

Picture Description: Gear up close

Picture Description: Interlocking gears up close.

Picture Description: Gears from above

Picture Description: Interlocking gears to show the interlocking depth of the gears.

Picture Description: Sprocket on Robot V1 connected to motor via chain. The sprocket is for running the arm.  Made from ⅛” ABS.

Conclusion: We found that the gears work incredibly well and that they are perfect plus easy to customize. The sprockets work great for the same reasons as the gears, but we have to use thicker ABS (¼”) instead of ⅛” because the ⅛” ABS broke when we were running the sprocket.

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Saturday, October 7th, 2017: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Adam, Olivia, Nathan, Cole

        Mentors: Mr. Lee

        Agenda:

        On Saturday the only thing we wanted to accomplish was CAD plates for our prototype bot. The purpose of this chassis is to check hole spacing and figure out the requirements for our final bot’s outside and inside plates. We successfully completed our task and created a prototype chassis and plates. However, there are adjustments that we need to make now, and we realize that we shouldn’t do elaborate prototyping on the CNC. We are now going to make small increments in prototyping rather than creating large prototypes that will not see fruition on the final robot.

        Prototyping is vital to the progression of our robot.  Being able to make prototypes for individual parts will allow us to identify problems and mistakes within those parts early so we will be able to finalize a successful working part well before competition. However, we realized during this test that cutting large plates is very wasteful if we plan on doing multiple prototypes.

Test Bot Plates

Creator: Nathan Satterfield

Prototype

On Past Robot

On Current Robot

Designed in:

Tinkercad

123D Design

Fusion 360

V-Carve

Other

Part Description: These prototype plates were being used to test hole spacing of the plates and spacers. We created the bot for the sole purpose of testing out how we wanted the plates to look on our final robot. Additionally, Nathan created the bot/plates for him to learn V-Carve and for him to learn how to use the CNC.

Picture Description:

Inside plate with slot for electronics board mounting that connects to other inside plate on the bot. Holes on the right are for mounting the drive motors

Picture Description:

Inside and outside plates side by side.

Picture Description:  Side view

Conclusion: We figured out that we didn’t want to use bearings for mounting the wheels because they are prone to popping out.   Instead we want to just have the plates supporting the d-shaft instead of bearings inside the plates supporting the shaft.

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Tuesday, October 10th, 2017: 4:00-6:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Levi, Gus, Adam, Benji, Takato, Grayson

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Hall

        Agenda:

        We began figuring out the full design of the robot including all aspects. There was one inch of space between the ground and the chassis; however, we wanted more wheel space so we added half an inch. Having wheel space in the front was especially important to get on the balancing stone, so we added a slight curve to the chassis to allow for wheels to roll up onto the balancing stone.

We then made a couple of drawings to figure out the different positions the arm/claw/box had to be in. One was the basic position at 00, one at 900, one at 2700.  We decided the arm should not be directly centered; otherwise the glyphs would hit the ground and get caught. We left 6 inches in the front and 12 inches in the back around the arm. This was described in more detail back on September 30th.

Mr. Hall helped us complete our initial block CAD below and now he is getting us to think bigger picture in order to fully CAD our robot. He continues to help us learn the design process.

Above: Robot CAD

Below: Team members working on the robot

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Thursday, October 12th, 2017: 4:00-6:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Levi, Gus, Adam, Benji, Takato, Grayson, Matthew, Olivia

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Hall, Mr. Zhang

Agenda:

Matthew designed some new wheels 6 inches in diameter.  However, bit problems with the CNC precluded finishing the cuts.

Grayson and Benji began work on a sliding bottom plate for the robot. The goal was to create a mechanism that lifted the base plate the glyphs were on into the claws above so that the weight didn’t break the arm. However, we concluded that it would be easier to just install the flipper-flapper arms higher on the robot.

We also learned that the flipper-flappers damage the foam of the glyphs. We are going to have to use a more flexible material. Benji, Grayson and Mr. Johnson brainstormed and started prototyping a way to more effectively mount the flipper-flappers on the robot. Adam and Levi worked on designing and cutting side plates and began putting the pieces together.

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Saturday, October 14th, 2017: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Gus, Matthew, Takato, Levi

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

When looking over our drive base that we cut out, we realized that we had an issue with the bearing holes  When we cut the plates for the robot, we cut a hole the diameter of a 6mm bearing when instead we needed to cut the hole to the diameter of a 6mm d-shaft. So instead of recutting the whole plate which would be a waste of material, we cut out a small circle with a d-shaft cut out in the middle to fill the bigger hole. We then took glue and our heat gun and melted the filler hole into the plate to create the correct size hole for the bearing. This worked perfectly and the d-shaft fit right into the hole.

Matthew redesigned and CAD-ed some new 6”wheels for the prototype of our robot. We plan to use these on the robot as our back wheels. We will have 6” wheels on the back and 4” wheels on the front so that we can back up onto the balancing stone easily.

Wheel

Creator: Matthew Garchik

Prototype

On Past Robot

On Current Robot

Designed in:

Tinkercad

123D Design

Fusion 360

V-Carve

Other

Part Description: A wheel with grooves on the outside so that the treads don’t slip around. (ribbed.) It has a four hole pattern in the middle of the wheel to fit to our motors. There are a series of grooves around the middle of the wheel to reduce weight and create ease of motion without losing structural stability.

IMG_2552.JPG

IMG_2551.JPG

Picture Description:

Top view. Wheel and tire. Wheel ribbing observable.

Picture Description:

Top view. Tire on wheel.

IMG_2550.JPG

IMG_2553.JPG

IMG_2554.JPG

Picture Description:

Side view. Tire on wheel.

Picture Description:

Side view. Wheel ribbing observable.

Picture Description:

6” tread for the wheel

Conclusions:

This was our second prototype for a wheel design. It worked.  We created and added tires to two wheels to put on the robot.

This season for intatking glyphs we plan to use rotating rubberish rods called flipper flappers. These flipper flappers are 3D printed using ninjaflex. We tested the flipper flappers a few weeks ago and found out they work so we designed mounts and designed new flipper flappers to go with them. The flipper flappers we were using were from last year's game that involved the intake of wiffle balls.

← Old flipper flappers + new mounts for them.

                                Fixing plate hole -->

← Matthew taking apart Nathan’s robot since we needed the spacers and wheels from it. Seen on the table are the wheels Matthew designed.

Above: Flipper Flappers Mounts  Below: I-Beam to connect inside plates

Above: Robot Inside Plate (one per side)

Above: “Motor Sandwich” to house drive motors and connect inside plates

Above: Outside plate with Jewel Arm hole. Below: Outside plate with out Jewel Arm hole

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Tuesday, October 17th, 2017: 4:00-6:00 PM

Attendance: Takato, Benji, Matthew, Adam, Nathan, Grayson

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Tham, Mr. Hall

Agenda:

We need a mount for the servo arm that will knock out a jewel. Takato designed the mount in VCarve and CNCed several iterations of it. However, the HDPE board was not properly screwed down and so Takato had to figure out how to get the bad screws out of the HDPE without damaging his cutouts. Nathan later cut a plate for the servo mount.

 Adam and Matthew assembled a prototype of the robot out of HDPE plastic. Matthew used the bandsaw to cut a shaft for wheels that earlier he CNCed. Then Benji and Adam brainstormed ideas for a new claw because the old claw design was too wide to fit through the space between the flipper flappers. They settled on re-cutting the old design to make it thinner and began to CNC it. Lots of the agenda above is our agenda for the week and will be completed throughout the week.

Also, we completed the initial base of the robot today! We have the basic components and the collection method, but we are still trying to figure out the correct spacing for the claw. The plates for this design were only half the size of what they normally will be and they do not include mounting space for the arm as we are trying to learn if the flipper-flapper collection method is efficient enough. With these plates, we are now able to design our claw and we are now able to test if the claw fits.

NeveRest Sport Gearbox Mount

Creator: Nathan

Prototype

On Past Robot

On Current Robot

Designed in:

Tinkercad

123D Design

Fusion 360

V-Carve

Other

Part Description:

  • Integration into robot plate designs through inserts cut out onto the bottom part of each side of the mount
  • Locking pattern between sides for sturdiness with support from ½’’ 6-32 screws
  • Mount is to secure the motor vertically onto the inside plate of the robot.
  • The motor spins the flipper flappers to collect glyphs

Picture Description: Bottom part of mount where flipper flappers on a d-shaft are connected to motor

Picture Description: Side of mount which screws into the gearbox  to hold up motor

Picture Description: Top down of mount w/ motor and gearbox attached

Picture Description: Motor mount w/ motor and flipper flappers on side of robot

Picture Description: Top down of mount w/ motor and gearbox attached

Conclusion: The mount works perfectly for its purpose. The mount is very secure into the side of the plate and the motor is very secure inside the mount. We might add another side to the mount so that it is secure in the front.

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Thursday, October 19th, 2017: 4:00-6:00 PM

Attendance: Matthew, Benji, Nathan, Levi, Takato, Grayson, Olivia, Cole

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Austin

Agenda:

Adam and Levi conducted a CAD seminar in which Grayson, Benji, Takato, and Olivia were taught basics of Fusion 360. They learned sketching, extrusions, and filleting. Fusion 360 is the software we use for most parts that we 3D print, so this was helpful. Each year we plan on doing multiple CAD seminars with new team members and those that do not know CAD.

Nathan finished his NeveRest motor mount and cut it out.

Adam, Levi, and Mr. Lee brainstormed about a VCarve design for the arms to carry the axle for the double claw. We also started CADing this new claw arm in Fusion 360 and will continue working on it next meeting.

        

Below and Left: Levi teaching CAD

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Saturday, October 21st, 2017: 10:00-3:00 PM

Attendance: Gus, Olivia, Benji, Nathan, Matthew, Levi, Cole

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Zhang

Agenda:

We started with Mr. Lee, Matthew and Benji CNCing out the new claw parts. Levi filed these new parts and began to assemble them. Matthew CNC cut out a prototype arm to attach this claw to. Today we made a lot of progress in terms of cutting out robot parts. On Tuesday, we will begin the assembly of the plates and we will finish the claw assembly.

Benji learned how to use VCarve and eMachineShop and learned how to cut out gears and import them between the two programs.

Benji and Nathan sorted some new REV electronic parts.

Matthew cut a churro shaft with the bandsaw for his sprocket plate.  

Levi with the beginning of the claw. The claw runs using a NeveRest 40 motor which uses an extended d-shaft to rotate the claw.

Above: Our inside plate! The triangle and the open blocks on the left size are openings so that the drivers can see into the robot at many different angles while driving. The oval opening on the right is a handle. The slots + circle in the bottom right corner is the mount for our motor and the other slots/holes in the upper-middle are mounts for the claw arm.

Above/Below: Claw Arm Linkages and mounting parts

Above: Claw plates

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Tuesday, October 24th, 2017: 3:30-6:00 PM

Attendance: Adam, Levi, Nathan, Benji, Takato, Matthew, Gus

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Adam, Levi and Mr. Lee assembled the various plastic pieces of the competition robot. Gus was teaching Takato how to code, and they worked on writing autonomous code. Benji and Nathan then gathered the necessary electronics for the robot, including two REV extension hubs, a servo arm, and a color sensor. Motor shelves previously CADed were assembled and attached with motors to the robot.

Levi and Adam assembling inside plates of the robot. The claw assembly is sitting in the middle of the bot.

Above: Jewel Arm and Servo Mount

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Thursday, October 26, 2017: 3:30-6:00 PM

Attendance: Adam, Levi, Takato, Grayson, Benji, Nathan Matthew

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

We continued to assemble the robot, adding the majority of the motors.  Two diagonal plates were added on the bottom of the robot to funnel the glyphs into the claw area. The flipper flappers were attached with the 3D-printed NinjaFlex appendages cutting into the glyphs to a lesser degree. The two 3D-printed back wheels were attached. IMG_2574.JPG

We accidentally cut a hole in the wheel for the shaft that was twice the diameter of what we intended it to be.  In order to resolve this, we CNCed a bushing that Benji CADed on VCarve.  The part worked but was too tight to be inserted.  In order to make it fit, we put it in the freezer, and heated the wheel with the heat gun.  The wheel expanded and the bearing shrank.  After a couple minutes of this differential heating/cooling, we put some loctite in the hole, put the bushing in, and it fit. Gus continued working on autonomous code.

 Adam cutting D-Shaft.

We get our d-shaft from Andymark and McMaster Carr. D shaft is a round shaft, but with a flat portion to resemble the shape of a D when looking at it from the side.

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Saturday, October 28th, 2017: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Gus, Benji, Olivia, Cole, Max, Matthew, Adam

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Austin

Agenda:

Benji and Gus configued the robot via the FTC Robot Controller on our phones and renamed all of the motors to make coding easier and Benji assigned motor ports to the motors in the configuration. We hooked up the motors and decided to velcro the REV extension hubs to the robot because we wanted both a secure mount and the ability to remove them easily if plans change. The drive motors, the jewel servo, and the color sensor were connected to the first REV extension hub, and the flipper flappers and arm motors to the second extension hub. IMG_2584.JPG

The flipper flappers are still cutting into the glyphs too much and causing field damage, so Nathan used a heat gun to melt down the edges of the flipper flappers. Adam and Nathan added some spacers to the claw attachment. Benji and Matthew used a switch attachment piece to mount the switch onto an I-beam on the robot.

The team assembles the arm piece on the robot.

Switch mount

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Tuesday, October 31st, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Gus, Benji, Olivia, Cole, Max, Matthew, Adam, Takato, Grayson

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Tham, Mr. Hall

Guest: Thomas Lee, a freshman at Northwestern

Agenda:

Part of the autonomous programming concerning removing the jewel was dysfunctional. The program was knocking off whichever jewel color it saw first, regardless of which alliance we were set up on. This is a simple fix in the code. So, Gus our programmer fixed the issue, we tested the code and it worked perfectly.  Adam then removed the jewel arm from the robot to repair a broken part of the shaft.

Levi attached encoder wires to each motor. Encoder wires allow us to track how far the robot has driven in autonomous allowing us to make exact turns when navigating to the cryptoboxes. We then practiced driving the robot but experienced difficulty grabbing the glyphs and pulling them into the robot.  We added Tako tape to the bottoms of the claw to create more grip and to break the friction between the glyphs and the ground. The sprocket around the churro-beam that pulled the arm got stripped, so Takato, Benji and Grayson worked to add more reinforcement, and we CNCed a new one.  Matthew moved the color sensor to a better location on the jewel removal arm and put the arm on to have Gus test autonomous again. We tested multiple times, but the movement of the arm to knock off the jewel was unreliable. We tested it again and the arm fell off. We tested it again, and the jewel arm worked, but the claw extended unintentionally.  The jewel arm sometimes extends when it is not supposed to. We have some programming bugs to work out.

_________________________________________________

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Gus, Levi, Nathan, Matthew, Olivia, Cole, Takato, Grayson, Benji

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

 Cole learned how to use the claw and we debated whether the glyph intake controls should be moved to the driver’s controller.  We decided not to.  Benji and Matthew added a plate on the outside of the sprocket but had some trouble with the standoffs.

The “corrected” autonomous code was reinstalled onto the robot.  We then tested autonomous, and the arm knocked off the wrong jewel.  We revised the code again and eventually the arm functioned correctly.  However, the robot was driving too far forward after knocking off the jewel and was then out of position for scoring the pre-loaded glyph.  Another part of the autonomous code to work on.

Picking up two glyphs consistently - rather than just one - has proved difficult.  Our latest fix is altering the grip of the flipper flappers.  Our strategy is to gain control of the first glyph and make sure it is inside the robot before picking up another one. Picking up a second glyph too soon leads to increased friction between the glyph and the ground making it very hard to load. Sometimes the glyphs got stuck sideways between the flipper flappers. This turned out to be because the flipper flappers were not both spinning toward the center so the coding was corrected.  The blue flipper flapper also has a tendency to get stuck.

A key problem that we can’t solve before Saturday’s competition meet is that our claw mechanism does not work with “angled” glyphs. We have to face a glyph straight-on to have a good chance of collecting it.  Our strategy for now is to nudge the glyphs into an appropriate position to pick up.

We also had a few of the kindergarteners stop by our meeting today in which we showed them our robot and demonstrated it for them.

_________________________________________________

Saturday, November 4th, 2017: 9:30 AM-2:30 PM

MEET 1 at Amundsen High School

Attendance: Gus, Levi, Takato, Benji, Cole, Anna,

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Our robot experienced a number of issues during competition, some expected and some not expected.  Our autonomous programming needed constant tweaking, but the jewel arm did work reliably.  On the other hand, coming off the balancing stone was so erratic that we never succeeded in putting the pre-loaded glyph in the cryptobox.

During the driver control period, our controllers would stop working.  We eventually figured out our phone couldn’t supply enough energy to the USB hub (we still don’t know why), and thus neither controller was powered.  The fix was to condense the programs for the two controllers into one, so that one driver (we chose Levi) could operate the whole robot. That obviously slowed our performance but at least we could compete!  A less serious issue was the Tako tape we zip-tied to the wheels got shredded, so we’ll have to find some new tires for our wheels. The claw arm worked pretty well, especially considering that the axle that kept the claw synchronized got disconnected during one match.

_________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Gus, Levi, Nathan, Matthew, Olivia, Cole, Takato, Grayson, Benji

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Austin, Mr. Hall, Mr. Tham

Agenda:

We created a spreadsheet following Meet 1 to track what we need to fix and what our goals for that system are for Meet 2, 3, League Championships and State.

We discussed our robot and its design for around an hour. We debated how to fix the claw so that we could reliable pick up two glyphs at once. The main issue with the claw is that there is a lot of friction between the glyphs and the field tiles when going to pick up glyphs. We came to the conclusion that there is no reliable way to fix the claw and that we need to redesign our robot completely. We set out to research other teams’ designs and to relook at our brainstormed designs from the beginning of the year. Many members were interested in creating a pass through design so that we can collect the glyphs in the front and then lift a plate upwards to dump the first two glyphs into the cryptobox. Then to get the top two glyphs in we would lift up the plate with the glyphs and dump on top of the first two, creating a column.

We are at a potentially big turning point in our season depending on what changes we adopt prior to the next competition on December 9th.

_________________________________________________

Thursday, November 9th, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Gus, Levi, Nathan, Adam, Olivia, Matthew, Benji, Takato

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

        Mr. Lee showed us a new idea he’d seen for a glyph collector online.  There is a base plate which will swing around to the back of the robot so that it is perpendicular to the floor. The glyphs will be shuttled in by the flipper flappers, and a plate attached to a servo on top which will flip down like a mailbox. When the plate flips, the glyphs will be held in place until the mailbox door reopens allowing the glyphs to drop down into the cryptobox.  Mr. Lee, Olivia and Takato used some cardboard to figure out a basic design for the actual glyph collection box, which Benji and Takato measured and then put into a VCarve file for later development. This design is an expansion of our first robot. This idea might be a solution to the friction issues that we encountered, but many team members are interested in a complete redesign.

A complete redesign of the robot seems to be popular amongst most team members.  We are waiting for detailed drawings or CAD prototypes from team members who have ideas.  Among the ideas: a traditional lift and stacker, a wheeled pass-through design, and a dumping plate lift.

_________________________________________________

Saturday, November 11th, 2017: 10:00 AM -3:00 PM

Attendance: Benji, Nathan, Takato, Matthew, Gus, Max, Cole

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhang

Agenda:

We started by talking about a new design for the claw arm. The box had some problems including size and usability. We wanted to make it smaller to hold the blocks better, but we couldn’t without making it too small. Mr. Lee, Takato, and Benji talked about using a different bar linkage to create more horizontal motion of the claw arm. Two linear motion rack-and-pinion designs were also considered. Takato and Benji created this new bar linkage design in VCarve.

 Matthew began to CAD a new relic arm that would be small enough to fit on one side of the robot and powered by two motors using gears.

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Tuesday, November 14th, 2017: 3:30 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Matthew, Benji, Grayson, Takato, Gus, Adam, Nathan

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Hall, Mr. Tham, Mr. Austin

Guest: Mr. Colestock

Agenda:

        

 Takato continued VCarve-ing the bar linkage that we started last meeting but changed the movement of the design a bit by having it turn both directions rather than one in a more linear motion, keeping the arms parallel. The bar linkage design would contain two plates on opposite sides and then they would move in and out onto the glyphs. This is better than a claw as the entire side of the glyphs would come into contact with the arm instead of us grabbing them with a claw.

Mr. Tham, Mr. Hall, and Matthew started brainstorming other options for a glyph collection and scoring arm. Nathan started building another arm prototype where we push the glyphs up and use an arm rather than a claw. We have also discussed using wheels instead of flipper flappers, but we tabled that idea. While working with our design experts, we floated our earlier idea of collecting two at once and then flipping a plate up to dump (as discussed on November 7th) and they both thought the idea would work well in principle. So, we began CADing our design.

_________________________________________________

Thursday, November 16th, 2017: 3:30 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Gus, Levi, Olivia, Anna, Takato, Matthew, Grayson, Benji

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin

Agenda:

After discussion about the dump design on Tuesday, we realized that it would be monumentally more efficient and it would work way better and would be more reliable than a claw. Following the Tuesday meeting, a team member, Adam, went home and designed a new lift and dump method. The lift uses a 64-1 Andymark Sport gearbox attached to a gear. The lift is comprised of a spine that is connected to the dump plate. To move up and down, the motor spins and in turn spins the rest of the gears lifting the spine up. To dump the glyphs there is a servo that is housed underneath the dump plate. The servo rests inside a channel so that it can only move up/down and so the servo cannot move out of place. We have not figured out our collection method to get the glyphs onto the plate, but we learned from this initial prototype that the design will work incredibly well. We learned that the plate needed to be wider than we had cut it.  We also learned that we need to add side walls to the dump/collection base so that the glyphs cannot fall out of the robot.  Finally, we learned that the servo mount needed to be shorter so that we can prop the glyphs upright further.

_________________________________________________

Saturday, November 18th, 2017: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Grayson, Gus, Nathan, Benji, Olivia, Adam, Matthew

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhang

Agenda:

        Every year our school hosts an open house to show itself to prospective new students and every year at this open house we open up our robotics shop for visitors to see. This year we set up tables and ended up working near the doors so as people entered they could see what we were working on and ask us questions about our program/team. This event is always great for us and it allows us to see which prospective new students are interested in robotics. We demonstrated our robots from the ‘15-16 and ‘16-17 season along with our version 1 robot that we are redesigning. We won’t be taking apart the V1 robot until after the season ends so that we can always have a robot to demonstrate with while we are building robot V2, aka dump bot.

While we demonstrated and talked to prospective parents, we continued to test our new dump bot design. One of the plastic gears snapped while we were testing the up/down capabilities and speed for the lift. So, we recut the gear and we added a plate to cover all the gears so they are not able to flex when we are running the lift. The gear that broke had flexed out of place and snapped as we were running the lift. Also while testing, we realized that we needed to make a special gear to mount to the motor. So, we made a special gear!

Glyph lift Motor Gear

Creator: Levi Sheridan

Prototype

On Past Robot

On Current Robot

Designed in:

Tinkercad

123D Design

Fusion 360

V-Carve

Other

Part Description: While testing the spine for dump bot, we realized that we needed to make a special gear to mount to the motor. The motor sticks through the plate that the gears mount to, so when we mounted the gear on the motor it was elevated compared to the rest of the gears. While in this configuration we couldn’t run the lift since all four gears were not on the same plane with each other and the spine. So we created a gear that had a cut out so that when sitting on the motor it was flush with the rest of the gears on the lift.

Picture Description: Gear sitting on the motor.

Picture Description: Sprocket from the back. Pictured is the cut-out so that it sits flush on the motor.

Picture Description: Gear on mtor

Picture Description: On bot from back of bot

Picture Description: Gear motor is the top left gear. As shown, with the cut out, the gear sits flush with all of the other gears.

Conclusion: The gear milled out is perfect for what we need as the gear now sits flush on the motor and in turn is flush with the rest of the gears and the spine.

Below: Team members presenting to families touring Parker.

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Tuesday, November 21st, 2017: 3:30 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Takato, Benji, Nathan, Levi, Matthew

Mentors: Mr. Lee

Agenda:

The new plastic sprocket cut at the Open House was installed for the lift arm motor which raises the claw.

We worked on the new ramp attachment.

 Matthew developed code to keep the flipper flappers hidden during driving. Gus continued refining the autonomous code.

← lining up to dump with the dump/lift

Dumping → 

Above: Dumping the top two glyphs.

_________________________________________________

We did not meet on November 23rd or 25th due to Thanksgiving Break

_________________________________________________

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017: 3:30 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Takato, Benji, Nathan, Levi, Matthew, Olivia, Cole, Gus, Adam, Grayson

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin

Agenda:

We cut all the pieces for our robot that needed to be cut. The cut pieces are going to be used to build our second robot that should be done by the third league meet. Each year we try to build a second robot so that we can build it without the mistakes that we had on the first robot. We will try to have this second bot ready for League Meet 2 on December 9th, but we are not sure.

 Olivia and Takato replaced the chain on the arm sprockets which should result in more consistency and smoother running than on our version 1 robot. We did this to fix a few problems we had with the arm during our first league meet. As said above, we are keeping robot V1 in working order if we cannot get our second robot fully functional before the second league meet.

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Thursday, November 30th, 2017: 3:30 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Gus, Olivia, Matthew, Levi, Nathan, Cole, Takato, Grayson, Benji

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Austin

Agenda:

Levi, Adam, Nathan, and Matthew put together the chassis for our new (second) robot, and the linear gear mechanism that lifts the platform with the glyphs on it.  We also used this time to teach new members how to drill into the plastic for screw holes without drilling all of the way through the plastic. We taught them how to make sure the drill is parallel and how far in to drill. After we did this we worked on assembling the lifting track. This took awhile due to the large number of screws needed to attach it. We also attached all the gears needed to hold the lifting track into place. This was difficult because we wanted to make them all level with each other. We had one sprocket that was attached to the motor, and that made it a little bit higher than the other three sprockets. The specialty motor sprocket we created wasn’t perfect, but works just well enough for its purpose.

By the end of the meeting today we connected the two inside plates and the back wall where the spine lift will mount. We finished attaching the drive motors and began assembling the new dump plate + spine lift.

We also took our team picture today.

Below: Most of our 2017-18 robotics team

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Saturday, December 2nd, 2017: 10:00 AM -3:00 PM

Attendance: Olivia, Cole, Gus, Levi, Nathan, Adam, Takato, Max

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

We successfully finished putting together the new robot body!  Wheels and the jewel + sensor arm were also attached to the robot. The only part of the robot we have left to add is the flipper flappers that we used on the first robot (as discussed on October 14th). Afterwards our lead programmer Gus wrote a basic driver control program while Takato and Max configured the robot so that we could drive it.

The robot’s sides and plates are made out of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. Every part was designed in-house and fabricated in-house on our CNC machine.

← Front of robot

Side of robot →

← Side of robot w/ jewel arm. In order to knock the jewel off, we extend the arm (which is attached to a REV smart servo) and then check the forward color with a color sensor. The robot then drives forward or backward depending on which color it needs to knock off.

Back of robot where electronics are mounted →

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Tuesday, December 5th, 2017: 3:30 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Benji, Olivia, Cole, Nathan, Gus, Levi, Matthew, Takato

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

 

Benji, Matthew and Takato have been elected to drive for this competition with Levi as our coach. Matthew and Takato practiced driving the new robot which also served as our first field test of the robot. The driving system worked well.  The flipper  flappers worked fairly well, but one kept falling off, and we have a much smaller intake area where glyphs can be gathered. We also had the thought to make the flipper flappers longer and with a hook at the end so that they can latch onto the glyphs and pull them in easier. We should have these done for Thursday.  In order to make sure the flipper flappers don’t fall out of their mounts, we taped them in place.  This should work for the league meet but will need to be changed for later.

Benji and Takato compiled a “Pre-Flight Checklist” for the drivers to complete before starting up the robot.

        If we experience phone linkup issues:

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Thursday, December 7th, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Gus, Levi, Nathan, Benji, Adam, Matthew, Grayson, Takato

Mentors: Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Lee

Agenda:

Matthew and Takato practiced driving, which also helped Gus to refine the programming.  Nathan, Levi, and Mr. Lee resolved mechanical issues as they arose. We extended the flipper flappers and added a hook at the end covered in Tako tape.  This made glyph collection more efficient. Glyphs still get stuck between the walls of the glyph pit on the inside of the robot, an issue we need to further troubleshoot. Below are the flipper flappers that we made for the tournament. They work because they lock onto the glyphs as desired.

Flipper Flappers Version 2

Creator: Levi Sheridan

Prototype

On Past Robot

On Current Robot

Designed in:

Tinkercad

123D Design

Fusion 360

V-Carve

Other

Part Description: These prototype flipper flappers are made out of ninjaflex. They have a hole in the middle to make them less solid, and two of these have screws for mounting and one has a nub for mounting to an axle.

IMG_2579.JPG

IMG_2578.JPG

Picture Description: Top view of all 3 flipper-flappers.

Picture Description: Top view of all 3 flipper-flappers on their side.

IMG_2580.JPG

IMG_2581.JPG

IMG_2582.JPG

Picture Description: Long flipper-flapper, top view.

Picture Description: Long flipper-flapper, top view of mounting screws.

Picture Description: Short flipper flapper, top view.

Conclusion:These are some of the prototype flipper-flappers. The small one, shown, has created out of ninjaflex to solve the problem of the flipper-flappers cutting up the cubes. The problem with this one, we believed, was that it was too small. So Levi created longer ones, but they were too fragile to move the cubes. We ended up heat gunning the edges of the original flipper-flappers to prevent field damage (see engineering notebook).

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Saturday, December 9th, 2017: 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM

MEET 2 at Francis Parker School

 

Attendance: Benji, Olivia, Matthew, Takato, Gus, Max

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Johnson

We set up all the tables and team stations Friday night since our school was hosting the second meet.  Benji, Takato, and Matthew were the driving team (Benji and Takato alternated co-piloting). In our first match, we activated the wrong autonomous program and earned no points in autonomous.  We lost the match. In the second match, our alliance partner suffered an emergency stop which prevented their robot from moving. Our robot performed well during the driver control period filling a good portion of the cryptobox.  However, our autonomous performance was unsatisfactory as we failed to knock off the jewel again.  We lost this match by two points.  In the third match, our autonomous worked, but because of poor planning and communication with our alliance partner, our autonomous programs overlapped and our robots collided with one another. We lost our third match in a row.  We won the fourth match as our autonomous functioned well and we were reasonably effective at scoring glyphs.  The same was true for the fifth match.

The good news from the competition is that our robot can perform competitively.  However, we must verify we have chosen the correct autonomous programming each match and communicate that to our alliance partner.

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Tuesday, December 12th, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Nathan, Gus, Olivia, Benji, Grayson, Adam, Cole, Takato

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

To begin the meeting we discussed what we learned from Meet 2 and talked about how to improve the robot. One of the main complaints was the lack of efficiency in using the flipper flappers. We like the flipper flappers due to their uniqueness, but we want the most efficient robot possible. We are thinking that we will switch to a wheel intake, and will take the next two days to do research.

Matthew and Mr. Lee worked on aligning the robot on the balancing stone to accomplish two autonomous goals. The first was to align the color sensor arm with the jewels. The second was to place the robot on the balancing stone so that it can score the premounted glyph into the cryptobox. Gus wrote the autonomous code to accomplish these two goals and for the two remaining balancing stone positions not already coded for.  

Matthew practiced placement of glyphs while driving into the cryptobox from different angles, the key to which is quickly lining up and not having to push the glyphs all the way to the back of the cryptobox. One of the issues from Meet 2 was the lack of practice that drivers had so we will make sure our drivers get adequate practice before Meet 3.

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Thursday, December 14th, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Olivia, Cole, Gus, Levi, Adam, Takato, Matthew

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson,

Agenda:

As discussed at the last meeting, we need a better glyph intake system than the flipper flappers are capable  of providing.  Therefore, we’ve designed a new glyph intake system for our robot using wheels rather than flipper flappers.  We hope this will be faster and more efficient. The design is to have two flexible traction wheels, each attached to a hex motor, which are attached to another hex motor. These will swivel into the robot when not in use, and will deploy outwards when the robot is initialized. They will swivel out to their widest points when the robot is driving in order to give us a wider area to gather glyphs. When the manipulator activates the intake, these wheel arms will swing inwards to secure the glyph, and the wheels will then feed the glyph into the robot. Then, when the lift or the ramp is activated, the wheel arms will swing back out to make way for deploying the glyphs in the cryptobox. Nathan and Matthew detached our previous intake system (RIP flipper flappers) and assembled the wheel arms. Gus has started coding the controls for the wheel arms. 

An issue we did notice after Meet 2 is that the Tako grip tape on the drive wheels gets really chewed up so Mr. Johnson helped Takato fix the wheels and put new Tako tape on.

In depth on our glyph stacker & lift:

Component: Glyph stacker and lift (Glyph to Cryptobox Delivery system)

Problem:  Deliver one or two Glyphs accurately, and quickly into any spot in the Cryptobox.

Research: Before we went to other sources, we began with a white board design period where we sketched out our ideas and collaborated as a team: this way we can visualize all of our ideas and build off of each other. We came up with a rotating hammer design which then led to the design of our first robot. We then used various youtube videos to gather information about what already works and what does not work. We then found one video from another team which seemed to work almost perfectly.  This team used a pivoting platform on a lift.

Requirements and Constraints:  We had to design a delivery system which could either hold one or two roughly 6x6x6 Glyphs at a time and effectively deliver them stacked on top of each other into the Cryptobox. We also needed to rotate the Glyphs ninety degrees along the Glyphs’ edge as they are collected horizontally and we must stack them vertically. Additionally we had to design an effective method of elevating the Glyphs so we can stack them on top of a pre-existing stack. Also, the Glyphs and the floor mats produce too much friction to drag the Glyphs so the Glyphs must be lifted off the ground. Finally and most importantly, we had to design a system which fitted into our existing robot design which we borrowed from our previous robot.

Brainstorm:  

Our first design consisted of a long pinching claw that was roughly the length of two Glyphs and was attached to a hammer arm. This arm would then rotate out of the robot around a pivot at the top of the robot to bring the Glyphs inside the claw up into a low and high position.  If we rotated this arm 270 degrees from inside the robot out to the back parallel to the ground, we could place the Glyphs on the ground.  If we rotated it 90 degrees parallel to the ground, it would stack on top of the Glyphs already on the ground. The issue with this design was that randomly glyphs would get pulled out of the claw due to friction with the ground. Our second design was a platform roughly two Glyphs long, which pivoted around its outside edge and was attached to a lift. With this design we could collect the Glyphs in horizontally, then lift them to the correct height, and flip them vertically into a stacked orientation.

Our Solution: We ended up choosing the second design for multiple reasons. The first reason was reliability. The second design had less large parts which means fewer areas for failure. Another reason is ease of use; with the first design, there would be too many variables of control in order to use it consistently. Finally, the most important reason for the use of design two over design one is a design flaw we noticed in design one and a general criteria for all designs of a Glyph delivery system. The Glyphs must be lifted off the ground as there is too much friction between the Glyphs and the mats. Because the second design has a platform that the Glyphs are loaded onto as opposed to design one where the Glyphs are simply pinched by the robot on the ground, design two can move quickly without losing the Glyphs and can control the Glyphs more reliably.  This was the deciding factor for the use of design two. We were also worried about running into the problem of time to produce the lift and pivot platform design but we pulled it off. For the second design we decided to use a long linear gear in between four round gears, 3 for stability and 1 to drive the linear gear up and down. We then used a track along the bottom of a platform which has a roller at the end of a long arm attached to a servo. When the servo was down, the platform would rest at a 20 degree angle,;when the arm was up, the platform would sit at a 90 degree angle perpendicular to the ground. The servo was attached to a plate which was attached to the linear gear so the entire platform mechanism could move up and down together. This was the design we wanted to prototype.

Prototype: This year our team got a wonderful CNC machine which allows us to make prototypes that are well built, sturdy and could even possibly be the final product. Because of this, the first prototype and the final product may be indistinguishable or at least hard to tell apart. For this aspect of the robot, we went straight in and produced the first version to see if our idea would even work. We designed it in Vcarve, and then cut it on our shopbot CNC machine out of ¼” HDPE plastic. We saw that our design did in fact work but it was a little large and could be made more streamlined which would result in more accuracy and less room for error.

Test and Redesign:  One problem that we had with our design was the servo. When the platform was all the way down, the servo would hit the platform, greatly increasing its minimum angle from our ideal 20 degrees to around 30-35 degrees. There was an easy fix to this problem. Because we have access to our CNC machine, we could simply design a servo mount to fix our problem. To fix this, we made a new mount which placed the servo farther away from the pivot of the platform allowing the platform to move into a lower angle before it hit the servo, and this fixed our problem. We also made the track that the roller on the servo arm fit into smaller. We made it smaller because our prototype had too much wobble which  might cause issues in its durability over time. Similar to the redesign of the servo mount, we could just CNCed a new platform and track,  We were able to make the track as small as possible which allowed there to be almost no wobble and increased the accuracy and reliability of the platforms tilting. With these two redesigns, we created a tilting platform lift system which accurately and reliably delivers Glyphs into the Cryptobox.

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Saturday, December 16th, 2017: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Cole, Max, Adam, Takato, Grayson, Benji

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Zhang

Agenda:

Takato, Benji and Grayson tested the new wheel arms and drive system which worked relatively well. However, the biggest problem was that the wheel arms got stuck on the glyphs when trying to push them into position. They also were too flimsy and rode up the side of the glyph. We lowered the arms a little bit so the wheel didn’t climb up the side of the glyph.

We did a test drive with the lowered arms and the climbing problem was fixed but the arms still got stuck for reasons we couldn’t decipher. We continued to do test drives. We learned that little movements are the best way to get the glyphs into the robot and that driving too far up to the cryptobox makes the glyphs fall back out. After a timed test drive, we realized that we need to practice over and over and over again. For Meet 3 practice will be the key to winning matches.

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2017: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Gus, Matthew, Nathan, Levi, Adam, Olivia, Takato

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Nathan took out our version 1 clawbot and began assembling some of the electronic connections that had been taken off for use on the new robot. A few weeks ago we didn’t have enough REV parts so we cannibalized some of our prototype bots, but now we have enough cables and converters for V1 and V2. We have a school-wide presentation after our holiday break and we want to show V1 and V2 off to our school. Nathan also began testing the V1 robot to ensure that it works.

Olivia and Takato began working on the presentation for our school that is on January 5. We will be presenting to grades 3 through 12 and to teachers and administrators. This presentation is very important as it is our time to show the whole school what we do in Robotics. The event also allows us to showcase the robotics team and hopefully inspire people to join the team.

We had some visitors from the Lycee Francais who are thinking of starting an FTC team next season. We showed them the space requirements that FTC has, talked with them about the program in general, and let them know about our dedication to helping their program succeed. The next step for them is to discuss among their own administration and then we will step in to help coach their students. We are planning on working with their students after our season ends to help mentor and train them for the 2018-19 FTC season.

Levi, Adam and Matthew began reassembling V2, but this time installed the wheeled intake that we designed and tested last week.

Working to assemble the robot.

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Happy Holidays!

We did not meet from December 20 through January 3 as we were on our Holiday Break

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Thursday, January 4th, 2018: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Matthew, Nathan, Levi, Gus, Cole, Olivia, Grayson, Benji, Takato

Mentors: Mr. Austin, Mr. Lee

Agenda:

Olivia, Grayson, Benji, and Cole made the finishing touches to the slideshow for our presentation tomorrow.  Matthew and Takato reattached the servo arm, adjusted the position of the wheel servos on the intake system (which now works pretty reliably), and practiced driving for our presentation tomorrow. We realized that the servo arm that raises the glyph platform was incorrectly lined up and even potentially too long. We fiddled with it, trying to shorten the arm, rescrewed the whole configuration, repositioned where the arm goes and lined everything up so it worked routinely. Because of the shorter arm and the new position, the angle that it pushes forward is shorter than we anticipated but it still seems to work. Rescrewing the arm should make it more stable and less likely to fall out.

We fixed the angle of the dump plate but figured out that the intake code was reversed. Instead of intaking the glyphs, the wheels were spinning in the opposite direction so they were pushing the glyphs out rather than pulling them into our robot. Gus fixed the code issues and we were off and driving!

After fixing the code and making sure the robot was intact, we began practicing driving for tomorrow. Benji, Matthew and Takato will be the drive team for Robot V2 tomorrow. Nathan will drive Robot V1. Levi and Olivia will lead the presentation and share with the community all aspects of our season. Finally, the whole team will field questions from the audience at the end.

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Saturday, January 6th, 2018: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Matthew, Nathan, Levi, Gus, Cole, Grayson, Benji, Takato, Max

Mentors: Mr. Austin, Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Benji, Takato, and Grayson put together several new Andymark sport gearboxes.  The glyph intake wheels and the motors were then moved up so that they could properly fold back into the robot. They still work effectively.

 The front drive wheels were changed out. The old ones were flimsily attached to the motors which caused them to splay out at random moments while driving. These new ones are double-layered, screwed in much tighter and should be more durable and reliable. They have metal spacers instead of plastic spacers or CNC cut ones. We then practiced driving and timed how long it took to fill one cryptobox.

Date

Best time for filling one cryptobox

1/6/18

3 minutes 8 seconds

1/9/18

2 minutes 51 seconds

1/9/18

2 minutes 40 seconds

1/25/18

2 minutes 3 seconds

1/25

1 minute 50 seconds

Additionally, Nathan and Levi did a mass reorganisation. Lots of parts had been taken out of their respective bins since the season began and had not been put back. This led to extra parts and motors being ordered since we couldn’t find the parts needed.  Nathan and Levi reorganized and recategorised parts so that everything is easier to find.

← Benji assembling gearboxes

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Tuesday, January 9th, 2018: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Benji, Grayson, Matthew, Nathan, Levi, Adam, Gus, Cole, Takato,

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Gus and Matthew reattached the color sensor arm to the back of our robot, so that we can mount a camera to read the pictograph. Matthew also fixed the dump arm servo because the arm pushing up the dumping platform was too short and didn’t have enough leverage on the platform to easily expel the glyphs. Benji, Matthew and Takato practiced driving which  revealed some new problems with the robot. The wire connecting the phone to the Expansion Hub needs to be replaced, and the wire connected to the dump servo needs to be threaded through the body so that it isn’t dragging under our robot.

Sometimes the robot would just start spinning, probably due to a bad phone connection. The drivers have been working on making sure that every motion is done in the most efficient way while also not going too fast. We want to add a slow button to the driver control  mode so that when we are lining up to score the glyphs we can go half speed. We will try to do that soon.

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Thursday, January 11th, 2018: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Gus, Nathan, Levi, Matthew, Takato, Benji

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Numerous wires on our robot have been dangling out the back and dragging underneath.  Matthew and Levi worked on securing them to the robot so that they won’t get caught on or break something when we’re driving. This included drilling holes through the robot for a servo wire, and zip tying them to sides of the robot for convenience. We had some problems with the app and the wiring following that, which Mr. Lee helped Matthew with.

We have a break over the next week due to finals, so we are going to work with our two CAD experts Mr. Tham and Mr. Hall to design new sleeker looking side plates in order to make the aesthetics of our robot better.

Above and below: Top-down view of the dumper plate + servo. Matthew worked on the wiring so that the servo can function properly no matter what position the lift is in.

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FINALS!

We did not meet January 13, 16 or 18 due to it being finals week.

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Saturday, January 20th, 2018: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Benji, Takato, Grayson

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Zhang

Agenda:

We CNCd sleek, new side plates designed by Mr. Hall and Mr. Tham. We removed our old side plates and attached the new ones.

We had some problems with our front omni-wheels because they bent out of place when the weight of the robot was put on them. The plastic ones also dug into the foam tiles and made it difficult to turn at times.  They were replaced with aluminum frame omni-wheels from AndyMark which will be much stronger.  The downside is they may not not spin as freely. We also made new back wheels with a double layer tire, using rubber and tape.

 We attached new glyph intake wheels. Blue in color, they are tougher and less malleable than the green softer ones we had earlier. Hopefully, this will make it easier to collect glyphs.   The glyphs were previously twisting and getting stuck in the intake because the wheels were deforming so much.  The new blue ones have a higher durometer, and should not be so compliant.

We added sandwich plates in the back of the robot to increase organization of the wires. We also remounted the REV hubs along the side walls of the robot to save space. We created a CNC cut mount for the phone to prevent the connection wire from coming out.    The new plates will also make it possible to use the phone’s camera to identify the pictogram on the wall of the playing field. The cable connecting the robot control phone to the Expansion hub is loose, as is one of the wires for an intake servo.   We immediately saw that the phone does not line up perfectly with the Vumark target. We may fix this in another iteration if we return to this component.

PROGRAMMING

        Now that we have a working robot, it was handed over to the programmers to work on the autonomous and driver control programs.  The driver control program has not changed much from previous iterations.  However, a few unique capabilities were added to improve robot performance. The autonomous has been written for awhile, but we are adding additional sensors to hopefully improve the performance.  Below is a recap of our programming to this point:

DRIVER CONTROL CHANGES

        The button setup is a modified tank drive for the driver gamepad.  The driver also has control of the automated collecting (on/off with a single button) and has a speed boost.

Automated Collecting

        The “A” button on the driver’s gamepad has been changed so that it turns the intake wheels on and off.  The button has a State of True or False in the code.  When the button is pressed, the State flips.  The state controls whether the intake is on or off.

        Previously, we were using the triggers and bumper buttons to control the arms in and out.  This gave a lot of control to our second driver to knock blocks around and try to grab glyphs.  However, the coordination required between the two drivers was a hindrance.

        We decided to automate the collecting arms to have power on when the wheels were collecting.  However, this meant that the arms were rigid, and for reasons we aren’t able to understand (even in super slow motion video), the glyphs got twisted into the intake, and frequently got stuck.  

        After watching some youtube videos of other team’s wheeled intakes,   we noticed a similarity among most successful intakes.  They were floppy.  The intakes would shake around, but the glyphs would go in straight.  We believe they are acting like an agitator or a shaker mechanism used for straightening boxes on a conveyor belt.  When there is a lot of agitation, the blocks are allowed to rotate into the necessary position, and go into the intake.

        So we made our intake wheels agitate the glyphs.  When the automated collecting was on, we made the intake arms and intake wheel speeds oscillate back and forth quickly.  By fine tuning this oscillation, we dramatically improved the robot performance.  Surprisingly, this was the single most productive improvement we made all season long.  Suddenly, the robot is picking up everything and it rarely gets glyphs stuck in the intake.  

        We also made it so that anytime the manipulator (Gamepad 2) moves the arms, the automated collecting is turned off.  This makes for a smooth transition of controls from driver to manipulator.

Speed Controls

Our driver was having a lot of difficulty maneuvering around the cryptobox.  Even using encoders to regulate the speed, the movements were often jerky and uncontrolled.  To remedy this, we halved the speed on the drive motors, and programmed a bumper button on the driver control to act as a “speed boost”.  If the button was down, the speed was 100%, otherwise it was 50% speed.  

This helped, but the driver found it awkward to have another button to press if they wanted to go fast.  We left the feature there, but changed the speed boost to be on when the intake was one (which is most of the time), and off when the intake was off (when we were usually maneuvering around the cryptobox).  This instantly made our drivers more efficient and controlled when scoring.

AUTONOMOUS CODE

We decided to work on a single autonomous start location (Blue Near the Audience), and keep adding to it until we perfected it.  Once we have one complete, we can then copy the relevant code to the other three.  We wrote the code in the built-in Block programming language.

Movement Functions

To get really accurate movements, we decided to use encoders for all of our movements and turns.  We wrote a function to run with encoders, and we could put in a distance in inches that we wanted to go with each wheel.  However, we found that driving off the balancing stone using only encoders, and turning (because of our odd wheel style), often made the bot go a little sideways and we would be off by +/- 5 degrees per turn.  While the encoder would work okay, we needed some backup to make sure we were facing the correct direction.  

We decided to use a gyro to keep us moving straight.  We found it a little challenging to integrate gyro position into our encoder movements, so instead we chose to use encoders for all forward/backward motion, and the gyro for all turns.  We used gyro turns last year, so we were able to recycle some code for this robot.  We used a modern robotics gyro which had to be scaled so that a full rotation was equal to 360 degrees.  Last year we couldn’t figure out why the turns were a few degrees off.  This year, we looked at the instructions and found out why.  

The move_with_encoders function and the gyro_turn function are the heart of our autonomous programming, and are used for all drive train movements.  We calibrate and zero the gyro using our initial position on the stone.  It seldom drifts more than a degree or two during the duration of autonomous.

Vuforia targets

        Last year, the vuforia targets perplexed us.  Then, in the offseason, we decided to give it another try with last year’s Velocity Vortex targets.  With much pain, we were able to read distance and angle information (our location on the field) using these targets in Java and Android Studio.  This year, an update in Block programming made the same functionality available.

        Due to the location of the target, we decided not to use it for orientation information, but just to read “Left/Right/Center”.  Turns out there is a sample program in Block programming which shows you how to do just this.  We adapted the code to read it, and were just waiting for the phone to be mounted in the correct position so we could see the target to use it.  

        When the phone reads the Vumark, it determines the correct column.  We have a variable in our program called vumark_distance.  The vumark_distance value is set by which column the phone sees.  This distance is then applied to our encoder movement to go the correct distance to hit the correct column.

        If the phone doesn’t read the target, we just go for the middle column.

Jewel Servo

        We have been able to read the color of the jewel and knock off the appropriate jewel since the November Meet 1.  We use a REV color sensor on the end of a servo arm.  We drop the arm between the two jewels, then do a small encoder twist to knock off the appropriate jewel.  We are actually reading a value on the color sensor for red and blue prior to dropping the servo arm.  Then when the sensor is in position, we read the color and compare it to the original value.  We assume that the one with the larger delta is the color being read, and make the appropriate twist to knock the jewel off, then twist back into position.

Glyph Scoring

        We initially thought we could just go the appropriate distance according to the vumark, and be in position to dump the glyph for 30 points.  It was not so simple.  Due to random errors, we always seem to be off by a few inches left or right.  It might be gyro drift, it might be encoders coming off the balancing stone.  Maybe the balancing stone shifts a little when we twist to knock off the jewel, maybe the drive team places the robot differently each time, or likely a little bit of all of these things are happening.  Regardless, it results in an error which causes us to miss our target half the time.  We are shooting for 80% accuracy or greater for this task.  We think it shouldn’t miss more than once a meet.

        Our solution was to overshoot the target slightly so that we were always to the right of it.  Then we would twist back until we met the divider between the columns.  This meant another sensor. Since we really liked the simplicity of the REV color sensor, we used this as an Optical Distance Sensor mounted next to our intake.  

        Now we can drive into the cryptobox, stop, do small incremental turns to our left until we see the divider, then dump the glyph in the correct column.  It works, but not every time.  We will need to do some further work on this.  We hope it is just some tweaking.

The Super Secret Bonus Glyph

        Since day one, we have wanted to score extra glyphs in autonomous besides the one we are carrying.  After some early trial runs, we realized that our bot would not likely have enough time to score and go back to the pit for another glyph.

        Our “experimental” method for grabbing an extra glyph on the way to the cryptobox is to drive along the edge of the glyph pit with our collector on, hoping to coax one into our intake.  This is risky, because we might grab more than one and get a huge penalty if we possess and score it.  Basically, if it works improperly, we lose big.

        Since it is only worth 15 extra points, we need to work on this to make it safe before we use it.

TRIALS

In 20 runs, our autonomous did the following for random vumark targets:

Errors

New Robot plates:

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Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Levi, Matthew, Takato, Benji, Grayson

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

With all the recent modifications, our robot no longer fits within the required 18-inch cube. Therefore, we CNC cut shorter versions of the mounts for the intake arms and the arms themselves. Takato reattached the new intake arms as well as the core hex motors controlling them.  This task consumed almost the entire meeting.  Very little practice was completed.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Levi, Matthew, Takato, Benji, Grayson, Adam

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Today we started practicing driving and autonomous for the meet at St. Patrick’s High School. We modified our autonomous code several times so that the robot can reliably score a glyph in the cryptobox and potentially collect a second glyph and score it too.  We are really worried about potential penalties in autonomous, so we may choose not to use it for this competition, and only use it if we are outmatched.

We also changed the phone mount and how the phone lines up to identify the pictograph on the field wall.

We figured out a way to use the intake arms and the lift system to help us get onto the balancing stone by pushing the platform down with the lift. This saves us several seconds in endgame and allows the driver to go forward onto the stone.  Previously, we were backing up with our big 6 inch wheels, because the 4” omnis cannot climb over the edge of the stone.  Now they can.  

We continued to practice the driver control portion of a match until we could consistently fill a cryptobox in under two minutes. Nathan encouraged our drive team of Matthew and Benji by making the practice session into a competition as to who should be the driver vs. manipulator during the competition. During this competition both of our drivers, Nathan and Matthew, began being able to fill cryptoboxes in under two minutes. This is great as it allows us to score even more points during matches. After the third league meet we will practice making cyphers in the cryptobox so that we can get the extra 30 points.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018: 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM

MEET 3 at St Patrick’s High School

We had quite the successful league meet! We went 5-0 and filled the first cryptobox in all of the Chicago League! Our high score of the day was 285 when we were paired up with our school’s second team, 9410 Frank's Garage. Our autonomous worked perfectly! We put the glyph in the correct key column based on the vision target 3 out of 5 times. We are going to work on the autonomous so that we can put the glyph in the correct column every time. This consistency will come from testing our autonomous and fine tuning the gyro turns and run with encoder straight drives. As for the driver control period, we just need to practice more. We only filled a cryptobox once during the tournament, but we should be able to fill a cryptobox during every match during the League Championship. This will come through lots of practice!

        Over the next two weeks we will experiment with adding a second set of wheels on our intake. We think that it may increase the consistency of glyphs coming in square through our intake.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Benji, Grayson, Takato, Cole

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Special Guest: Dr. Rick Stevens

Agenda:

        We spoke with Dr. Stevens for a while and showed him our robot in action. Dr. Stevens is our school’s annual Visiting Scientist. Dr. Stevens came to talk with us and our ROV MATE Robotics team.

Here is his bio from the Argonne National Laboratory website:

Rick Stevens is Argonne's Associate Laboratory Director for Computing, Environment and Life Sciences.

Stevens has been at Argonne since 1982, and has served as director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division and also as Acting Associate Laboratory Director for Physical, Biological and Computing Sciences. He is currently leader of Argonne's Petascale Computing Initiative, Professor of Computer Science and Senior Fellow of the Computation Institute at the University of Chicago, and Professor at the University's Physical Sciences Collegiate Division. From 2000-2004, Stevens served as Director of the National Science Foundation's TeraGrid Project and from 1997-2001 as Chief Architect for the National Computational Science Alliance.

Stevens is interested in the development of innovative tools and techniques that enable computational scientists to solve important large-scale problems effectively on advanced scientific computers. Specifically, his research focuses on three principal areas: advanced collaboration and visualization environments, high-performance computer architectures (including Grids) and computational problems in the life sciences, most recently the computational problems arising in systems biology. In addition to his research work, Stevens teaches courses on computer architecture, collaboration technology, virtual reality, parallel computing and computational science.

Since he works with Artificial Intelligence, he had the knowledge to explain how our work can be used in future science activities. He talked about what the implications of robots having sensors and vision are, using self-driving cars and the drones he has been working on as examples of these implications. He really showed us what our work in FIRST can become in our futures and many of us were inspired. We are excited to be working with him and are grateful that he came to talk with us.

Nathan added a second wheel to each of the intake arms which gives the glyphs less room to move around during collection. We found that our new intake arms were sagging due to the weight of the extra wheels.  his caused said wheels to scrape against the glyph storage walls. We are going to remedy this problem by making the intake arms longer so they don’t rub against the dumper outside walls.

 

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Thursday, February 1, 2018, 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Benji, Grayson, Takato,

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Because of the intake problems we found on Tuesday, we’ve decided to cut another set of intake arms to reinforce the ones we already have on the robot. To support the second wheel, we cut a second set of supports so that the REV Core Hex motors that run the intake wheels are supported on top and on bottom ensuring proper support. We were worried that with just one brace the motors would break under the weight of both wheels.

We had some trouble connecting with the CNC (driver issue), so recutting took some time, but we figured out the issues and eventually cut the new arms.

        We also prepared for a presentation tomorrow to Kindergarteners at our school. We will have both of our robots, our second team and our 8th grade FLL team there. Each team will be presenting what we do in robotics and will be showing the kids what robotics is. Every year we try to present to the younger grades as it really excites them and shows them what to look forward to in Middle School and then High School.

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Saturday, February 3, 2018, 10:00AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Cole, Takato, Grayson, Benji, Max

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Yesterday, we presented to the Junior and Senior Kindergarteners at our school. Alongside our 8th grade FLL team and our other FTC team we presented about our season, we showed off our robotics and spent 10-15 minutes answerings questions that the kids had for us. While in the demo we realized that the double wheeled intake made little to no difference and that we will revert back to one wheel. We did learn thought that having two brace arms drastically improves the motors functionality since the arms can know fully support the intake motor.

We then spent 3 hours practicing the autonomous over and over again. We were mainly focusing on the back two cryptoboxes (the ones furthest away from the audience) since to access them we need to drive at an angle since there is no easy way to drive head on into the boxes. We then also practiced driving.  Our new solution was to make an S-turn into the box.  Previously, we were trying to do gyro turns to line up.  We decided that encoder turns would allow us to make exactly the turn we needed.  The far autonomous is now more reliable than the near.  We scored 85 points in all three cryptobox columns for both jewel positions.  Our focus had previously been almost exclusively on the side of the field near the audience.  We chose to focus on this early in the season because it was easier to score glyphs.  As we prepare for better competition, we hope to be equally good from either position as we may need to accommodate the capabilities of more capable robots.

Our core drive team member Matthew was not there today so we all took turns driving. Max and Nathan began trying to complete ciphers while driving. After a short session of reviewing the ciphers, they went to the field and completed a cipher (filling the cryptobox) in 1:30 then 1:35 and finally in 1:20. This was the first time that we completed a cipher in under two minutes with our robot. We have always known that our robot is capable of completing a cipher, but before today we didn’t have a drive team that could do it. Max and Nathan might be one of our two drive teams at the League Championship on Saturday.

This milestone was a precondition to attempting to build a relic arm for our bot.  It did not make sense to attempt to deal with the relic until we could max out all the points for a single cryptobox with time to spare.  It’s time to start work on a relic arm.  Since we have a solid working robot that we believe will be competitive at both League Championship and State, we will not make the changes unless we advance past State.  We have a school break coming up, and there would likely be time to make the new arm, but not enough time to mount and test it to a point where it would be useful prior to the state competition.  Instead, we will stick with our current design and work to incrementally improve the autonomous and scoring through practice.

Yesterday, Nathan got in touch with the company Inventables regarding a possible partnership between our team and the company. Inventables makes a CNC machine, laser cutter, and is a plastics supplier. Inventables is our main source of HDPE and other plastic for the manufacturing of our parts. We are looking for a parts sponsorship with them in exchange for placing their company name and logo on our website and robot. We are hoping that they could offer us either discounted or free sheets of plastic. We also would love to take any large scrap pieces of plastic that they have because we cut a lot of small odd-shaped parts. This would be our first official partnership with a company since our school limits contacts with outside organizations.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 4:00 - 6:00 PM

LAST MEETING BEFORE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP!

Attendance: Nathan, Cole, Takato, Grayson, Benji, Max, Levi, Adam, Matthew, Gus

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhang, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Austin, Mr. Hall, Mr. Tham

Agenda:

Today is our last official meeting before the Chicago League Championship! We do not have school Thursday, so we do not have an official meeting. Some members of the team may meet to practice the engineering presentation and to practice driving, though. We started off the day by running through our engineering presentation. As we listened to everyone's part/contributions, we shared our own thoughts so that each presenter was sharing the correct information. We finalized our drive teams and practiced more. Nathan and Max will be our main drive team. Our mentors nominated Nathan for Dean's List so if Nathan’s interview interferes with a match or Nathan + Max get tired, Matthew and Benji will drive. Our notebook team finished the biographies, the sustainability plan, and finalized our outreach log that documents the outreach events we do every year.

We also did a little prep such as pulling parts of the field off and discussing our game plan for our demonstration tomorrow. Like last Friday we are doing a small demonstration for the 1st and 2nd graders at Parker.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018: 7:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Chicago League Championship

Below: Publication in our school newspaper

To start the day, all teams underwent inspection so that tournament organizers could verify that the robots had been built within the rules for the game. The teams then presented to judges who would later decide on awards to present to the teams at the end of the day.

Coming into the tournament, Parker’s teams, 3507 Robotheosis and 9410 Frank’s Garage, were ranked 1st and 4th respectively. Rankings were decided based on each team’s best 10 out of 15 matches that they had played over the past three months. The teams then played another 5 matches and ended the qualification rounds in 2nd and 4th.

During elimination matches, Robotheosis was partnered with Latin’s FTC team. Together the alliance went undefeated in the Semi-Finals and Finals matches. This Parker-Latin alliance won each of their matches by 100 - 200 points earning Robotheosis and Latin the Winning Alliance award and medals.

Frank’s Garage during elimination matches was partnered with Team Jarvis from Amundsen HS, and they were narrowly defeated in a tie-breaker in their semi-finals matches.

During the awards ceremony Frank’s Garage won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for their unique and creative robot design. In addition to being a member of the Winning Alliance, Robotheosis won the Control Award for their unique and ingenious robot programming.  It also won the Inspire Award which is given to the best overall team at the tournament.  The team must excel on the field with a well designed and exceptional robot, engage their community through outreach activities, and have a detailed engineering notebook that documents their design process, technical drawings and details of construction, and outreach activities. The engineering notebook documents each and every thing that happens at meetings, and Robotheosis also has an outreach log which tracks the various community-based events we host.

Lastly, through their strong overall performance, Robotheosis qualified for the Illinois State Tournament which is on Feb 23-24 at Elgin Community College.

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To sum up the above, our robot worked great! We had a super tournament. We just need to alter the autonomous to make it even more reliable! We also need to tape down our USB connection between the robot phone and the REV Hub since it is loose. We will also practice driving!

Above: With our Control Award, Inspire Award and Winning Alliance Award! ‘Twas a big day in terms of award winning!

Above: We filled completed the first cipher in any Chicago match. We did this four times and are the only team to have filled a cipher in Chicago!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Benji, Grayson, Takato, Cole

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hall, Mr. Tham

Agenda:

We spent most of the class making buttons and preparing for State. We also cut a few of our crucial parts such as the spine for the lift, the lift gears, and the back plate where the spine/gears are mounted. We did this in case one of these parts breaks during the state tournament. Lastly, we worked on a possible relic grab-and-deploy design. If we qualify for the Super-regional Tournament, we plan to add a relic arm to allow us to score more points during matches. Thinking about the arm now allows us to jump right into physical prototyping should we advance.  The drive team practiced several rounds, and were able to fill the cryptobox with cipher on the far side of the field; something that gave us trouble at league champs.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Benji, Grayson, Takato, Cole

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

Gus worked on making the autonomous programs for the Red side of the field, because those hadn’t been finished yet. We also practiced driving and packed for the state tournament! Done for now! Time to compete! (We are not meeting again before the state tournament since we have a week-long break beginning February 19th.)

        Also, should we get past the State Championship, we have a prototype for a relic arm that would fit on the side of our intake box.  It should be able to pick up the relic with a small claw, and use a CNC-cut plastic staged slide rail to reach the third zone.  A REV hex motor will drive the slide.  REV smart servos will control the claw.

        Additionally, Gus our programmer, has gotten in contact with software engineers at Google. Gus wants to make a change to the FTC robot controller application to allow teams to program with JavaScript instead of just Java. Gus is going to work with the Google software engineers to recreate the Java programming system in JavaScript. Gus believes that teams will want to use JavaScript instead of Java because it is easier to understand and learn. After Gus has completed his new FTC application, we will send it to FIRST and let them decide if they want to officially implement JavaScript into the controller app.

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Friday, February 23rd, 2018 6:00 - 9:00 PM

Judging for State Competition

        Team 3507 arrived at Elgin Community College around 6 PM ready to set up our booth and prepare for our presentation for the Illinois State Competition. After greeting everybody we recognized and meeting new teams we decided to review and practice our presentation. As a team we put a large amount of focus on our CAD and the use of our CNC machine. We talked about our outreach and how we are helping start FTC programs not just locally but worldwide! We had a spectacular time presenting to the judges and we are very excited to participate in the Illinois State Competition once again!

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Saturday, February 24th, 2018 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Illinois FTC State Competition

At the State Championship, we gave an engineering presentation to judges and

competed against 43 other teams. After qualification matches, the team finished 7th place in our division, and we were selected by the 3rd place captain to compete in elimination matches.  Our

allies were FTC Team 6596 Robotic Rams from Port Byron and Team 8899 EP

RoboRaiders from Peoria. Our alliance eventually lost in a tie-breaker third match in the semi-finals. We were not a part of the first match which our alliance lost.  In the second match we achieved the highest single-game score for our division and won.  However, we lost the third match due to phone coding and software issues.

At the Championship Award ceremony, our longtime mentor, Mike Johnson, who has been a part of Parker Robotics since 2006, received the FTC Compass Award for the state of Illinois. The Compass Award is a student-submitted award which recognizes one adult Coach or Mentor in the state who has given outstanding guidance and support to a team throughout the year, and demonstrates to the team what it means to be a Gracious Professional. Mr Johnson has been a tireless supporter of Parker robotics, even after his son, Jared Johnson, graduated from Parker in 2010, and is incredibly deserving of the recognition.

Additionally, we won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for the most innovative and creative robot design. This earned us advancement to the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) North Super Regional Championship. We were also a finalist for the Design Award which recognizes industrial design elements, creativity, and aesthetics.

This is the first award Parker Robotics has earned at the FTC State Tournament, and the

first time a Chicago team has qualified for the Super Regionals. The North Super Regional

Championship will take place March 15-17, 2018 at the US Cellular Center & DoubleTree

Convention Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. During this two and a half day event, we

will compete against 71 other teams representing nine US states for the opportunity to advance to the World Championships.

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Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Benji, Grayson, Takato, Cole, Nathan

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hall, Mr. Tham

Agenda

        Today we started building our relic arm which, if successful, will help us score points in a new way during the North Super Regional Competition. We are using the CNC machine to cut several pieces which we will assemble to create an extending arm. We will put it on the side of our collector which will rise while we extend the arm in order to clear the wall of the playing field. However,  our initial attempt  encountered some obstacles along the way. The arm wasn’t long enough to reach the third zone to get the maximum 40 points.  If we add another section to the extendable arm, we wouldn’t have enough space for the arm on the robot.

        At the state tournament we realized that our robot phone software was a version behind that on our driver phone. We had been running this way since our 3rd league meet, so we did not want to update prior to competing. During two matches (one qualification and our last semi-final match) we lost connectivity when transitioning between the autonomous and driver control periods.  Our phones would get stuck and not switch to driver control mode.  We lost both these matches because of this phone issue. Therefore, today we updated our robot phone  and continually ran autonomous switching to driver control. We did not experience a problem  transitioning to driver control mode, but over the next two weeks we will continually stress-test the phones to see if they fail under heavy-use conditions experienced during competition.

Left and below: Cutting out linear slides, string spool, and servo mount for relic arm

Left: Website development

Above: Relic Claw grabbing clyph. The front claw is controlled by a servo and the back two claws are stationary.

Left: Claw + claw mount design in CAD. We used a raptor claw to model our design

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Thursday, March 1st, 2018 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Adam, Gus, Benji, Grayson, Takato, Cole, Nathan, Matthew

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

        To increase the length of the relic arm and minimize the overall size of the relic arm assembly, we had to redesign the claw. The parts of the claw that physically touch the relic were reduced in size. We also took the CAD of the relic and created a claw that would mold to the front side of it so that we can grab the relic with even more stability. We also extended the length of each slide for the relic arm linear slide and re-cut and assembled the mechanism.

Next, we changed the design of the front part of the claw grabbing assembly. Instead of the claw mounting directly to the sliding mechanism, the claw will be on a separate arm. This will allow us to grab the relic and then rotate it up-down so that we can actually lift the relic up and over the wall. We thought that initially we could let the wall push the relic over itself, but we realized that by using the wall we will increase our chances of dropping the relic.

We had to re-design and cut the forward part of the slides to accommodate the above changes. Each part of the relic arm assembly was completely designed in-house, and each part (except for the screws, servo, and string) was cut by the CNC.

In order to track how long it should theoretically take to extend our relic arm, we did some calculations to how long extending the arm takes:

Reach of relic slide: 36 in

64:1 andymark sport speed: 103 rpm

Diameter of drum: 1.9 in

Circumference = 3.14 * 1.9

rev/s = 103/60

Seconds for full extension = 36/(1.9 *3.14 *103/60) = 3.5s

This means that in a perfect environment we should be able to extend the arm in 3.5 seconds. This, though, does not account for friction between the slides, weight load of the relic, and current fluctuations between the REV Hub and the battery. In reality we are assuming it will take anywhere between 5-8 seconds to fully extend the relic. Then another 2-5 seconds to position the relic so that it stands upright.

Relic arm slide mechanism in its fully retracted position. The minimalist profile will allow the arm to fit underneath one of the intake wheels.

Above: Extended relic arm. At the top of the picture there will be a 64:1 Andymark Sportgearbox with a spool mounted to it to drive the lift. At the bottom of the picture where the servo is, we will mount the claw mechanism to grab the relic.

Above: Relic arm linear slides CAD. The slides fit into each other and are secured with a few screws at the beginning of each stage. The back parts of each slide stage rest on the one below and are secured via the string when it is fully retracted. In the bottom left corner of the CAD is the spool that the string rests on. The spool attaches to a d-shaft via the hole in the middle and it is secured there using Andymark nubs. 1.5 inch standoffs are secured between the two sides to the spool, and the string wraps around the standoffs as the spool is spun.

Above: New relic arm claws. The claws now are molded to fit directly to the shape of the relic. The front claw (which is the little one on the left side of the picture) is still a raptor talon which provides forward grip on the claw. This new design works well as the relic arm is supported much better when the claw grabs on.

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Levi, Gus, Grayson, Takato, Cole, Matthew

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

        We had to make new side plates on the lift so we could have more room to attach our relic arm assembly. We added a motor mounting hole so that the motor would sit under the glyph dumping plate and face outwards. The string spool to winch the relic arm as it slides in and out will mount directly to the motor via d-shaft. The last stage of the relic arm will then mount at the bottom of the plate and the above stages will be held inwards by the string.

We used polycarbonate plastic for the side plates because of its transparency and good visual aesthetic. The transparency allows us to see the color of the glyphs which helps us when choosing glyphs in a specific order for completing a cipher.  Cutting and mounting the side plates turned out to be more difficult than expected so we were unable to mount and test the relic arm assembly this meeting.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Levi, Adam, Gus, Takato, Matthew, Cole

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Austin, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

        

        Yesterday, during a break that a few members had, we reattached the lift and the relic arm so that we can focus on wiring during our official meeting today. Since we repaired the bot, we began the meeting by testing the relic arm. The relic arm didn’t work as well as intended. Once extended the relic arm sagged quite a bit and we were having issues with storing the arm inside 18 inches. We are going to leave the arm and brainstorm ideas for a smaller claw, but we might take it off. We do not want to sacrifice our performance filling the cryptobox, so we have no issues with taking the relic mechanism off.

Since we  took half of the robot apart on Saturday, Levi and Adam put it back together. In this rebuild of our robot, with the relic arm now, we decided to remove all of the wires and rewire the bot. We are going to rewire the bot now with an emphasis on the shortest path between motors and the REV hub. Previously we plugged in wires where it made sense without regard to planning out each wires path. With this change in the wiring comes a re-do of the configuration, but it shouldn’t take too much time.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Levi, Takato, Matthew

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

To begin the day we tested yet again the relic arm by extending it out and retracting it multiple times. We made a final decision to take the arm off of the robot. The relic arm was in a position that was interfering with the extension of one of our intake wheels which was an issue that we couldn’t fix with the time we have left.

        Our drive wheels are CNC’d out of HDPE and then they have Takto Grip Tape on them to allow us to have traction on the field. Over the past month the grip tape has worn down. Takato took the wheels off of the robot and replaced the grip tape. He then reinstalled the wheels. These fresh wheels will ensure that we have traction on the field and we are able to make precise turns.

        We CNC’d top mounts for our intake in-out motors. We had issues at our State competition where the motors would come loose, so we added supports on top to fix the movement of the motors.

        Lastly, we began working with members of our school’s ROV team and taught them how to set up the CNC, create tool paths for parts, and how to properly and safely use all aspects of the CNC.

        

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Saturday, March 10, 2018 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Attendance: Nathan, Levi, Takato, Matthew, Gus, Max,

Mentors: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson

Agenda:

        

We reattached the jewel/color sensor arm and the distance sensor and rewired everything back to the expansion hubs. We ended up redesigning the relic arm to make it more sturdy, and we made it so that there are two arms that sandwich together. We did this so that we can hide the color sensor wire that runs the length of the jewel arm. Hiding the wire also ensures that the wire does not get caught or tangled with anything as the jewel arm moves up/down to knock off the correct jewel.

After attaching everything and finishing the wiring, we began to configure the robot. We began by configuring the first REV hub independently; then we attached the second hub to configure. We had many issues when going to attach this second hub. We were unable to see both REV hubs when going to configure through the phones. All of the wires were connected properly, there was adequate battery power going to both hubs, and the data cable was working properly. We spent an hour switching around cables and exchanging cables for new ones, and then, after an hour, we replaced the REV hub that we were unable to see when going to configure the bot. This fixed the issue and we finally configured the robot!

There were a few issues that needed to be changed code wise. With our old wiring, some Anderson cables were backwards, but this time we wired everything as it should have been, so we had to reverse a few of the motor directions in order to be up and running properly.

Nathan and Max then ran a few practice runs and they also tested the autonomous code. Everything seems to be working just right with the robot, and on Tuesday we will be doing more practicing and autonomous testing. When testing, though, we found a broken cable on the robot that we replaced, but on Monday Nathan will secure the cable and tape it up properly.

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Special Meeting!

Monday, March 12, 2018 3:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Attendance: Nathan

Mentors: Mr. Lee

Agenda:

We secured the loose cables that were on the side of the robot. Afterwards, lights were added to the outside plates on the robot. We want lights on the robot to make it look better, and for the juniors we have dreamed of having lights on the bot for the past three years!

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LAST MEETING BEFORE SUPER REGIONALS!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Attendance: Mr. Lee, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Austin, Mr. Hall, Mr. Tham

Mentors: Nathan, Cole, Adam, Gus, Levi, Takato, Matthew

Agenda:

Today's meeting was all about last minute preparation! Yet again we tested our autonomous code. We ran autonomous in all four balancing-stone positions and using all three pictographs to check if the code works. It does! We didn’t have to make any changes. Nathan and Max then did six practice runs split between the back and forward cryptoboxes. We also packed up all of our gear for NSR.

        All is looking good and sound for the competition!

TIME FOR SUPER REGIONALS!!!

It’s been real, notebook! Signing off