FTC Team 3507 - Robotheosis                               2015/16 - RES - Q                                      Engineering Notebook

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Robotheosis

Team 3507

2015/16

Engineering Notebook

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Date: 9-15

Start time: 3:30

End Time: 5:40

Coaches/Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Austin

Mr. Zhang

Tori

Team Members Present

Henry

Nathan

Noel

Gus

David

Cole

Gino

Graham

William

Felix

Olivia

Tasks:

Reflections

  • Introduce team members to the game
  • (Show them the FIRST game video)
  • Discuss afterwards
  • This was a great way for the new team members to get to know exactly what the robot needs to do in competition
  • Before now, many new team members did not have an idea in their heads of how to visualize an FTC robot
  • Get to know team members
  • It’s only our second meeting! We need to make friends!
  • Captain, mentor, and coach’s introduction to robotics
  • Brainstorming strategy
  • Consider different point values
  • Held a team brainstorm discussion
  • We wrote charts on the board considering different point values and possible ways our robot would have to be built to achieve those points
  • Talked about objectives that are within our team’s reach
  • Strategy development
  • Getting more intense: Brainstorming our ideas of prototypes to achieve the best possible points in the game
  • We had so much fun discussing that we decided to talk about prototypes!
  • No idea was turned down, from tank treads to winches, we put our engineering minds to work
  • Priority Chart
  • After a nice session of brainstorming, we each listed our opinion of robot priorities 1-3
  • This opinion was what each team member thought we should focus on for the season.
  • We ended up deciding that climbing and the pull-up bar would be our best bet for this season

This above is our priority chart.

Date: 9-17

Start time 3:30

End Time 6:00

Coaches/Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Team Members Present

Nathan

Noel

Gus

David

Cole

Gino

Graham

Henry

Tasks:

Reflections

- Build the Field!

  • The field came already!
  • Building the field is important to get finished as soon as possible, so we can begin prototyping and even better brainstorming
  • Building the field is a good way to warm up our allen-wrenching abilities
  • Set up Trello, roster, and this wonderful engineering notebook
  • Coach meeting
  • Getting our organizing utilities underway as early as possible!
  • We learned about the task management website “Trello”, further set up to do Saturday

David, Gus, and JJ are super pumped about the field parts

 

Date: 9-19

Start time 10:00

End Time 3:00

Coaches/Mentors Present

Mr. Zhang

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Tori

Team Members Present

Gus

Henry

Jake

Cam

Max

David

JJ

Gino

Graham

Nathan

Cole

Tasks:

Reflections

-  Continue field construction

-  Finish setting up CAD

  • We learned from the field construction that communication is key in engineering: We split into multiple groups, and because two separate groups did the same building activities (one mirror image field components) there was less room for error
  • No mistakes in setup, maximum efficiency
  • We installed CAD today, but we’re struggling a little with using it properly and the computer is really slow.
  • As a whole, it’s been a very productive Saturday

-  Built Prototype drive train

  • We finished building our prototype drive train (YAY) we have the electronics and battery mounted, it’s functioning pretty well even though it can’t drive up the mountain yet. Today we learned that simple tasks sometimes take WAY longer than they should.

Gus throwing some finishing touches on the chain, and testing the drive train on the new field:


Date: 9-22

Start time 3:30

End Time: 6:00

Coaches/Mentors Present

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Austin

Team Members Present

Gus

Nathan

Henry

Graham

Jake

Chris

JJ

Cam

Noel (left early)

James (left early)

Tasks:

Reflections

  • Brainstorming
  • Some of our final brainstorms rained today
  • We talked about the pitfalls of our previously designed prototypes
  • We discussed the practicality of ideas, such as the impractical “diagonal tread” or the idea of tank treads
  • We want our robot to have great climbing/traction abilities in order to pull in the major point rewards from climbin

The next image is a picture of the chalkboard full of important ideas:

  • The “good idea list”
  • The last stage of brainstorming was the final ideas list: today we decided on our two top drive train ideas

IDEA 1 - Tank treads

Tank treads, possibly in combination with other wheels

IDEA 2 - Notched wheel

Back wheels and a front giant wheel, the big wheel containing notches to grab onto the churros

  • Prototyping
  • Everyone on the team was super excited to grab the tools and get prototyping
  • Today was an exercise of getting the ideas from the drawing board onto the table
  • We learned that the parts “don’t act like you want them to” so to speak. It’s harder to build something with nuts and bolts than you think
  • We also learned that before even testing a prototype, it is easy to see many of its pitfalls

Date: 9-24

Start time 3:30

End Time  6:00

Coaches/Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Team Members Present

Chris

JJ

Henry

Noel

Gus

Jake

Jett

Gino

David

Tasks:

Reflections

  • Tread-traction

What did you learn from the stuff you did?

  • The main goal for today was to put the treads onto our existing drive train
  • Before we wheeled up and fitted the treads to the robot, we had to add rubber traction enhancing pieces to our treads for the big climb

Reflection

  • The wheeling up was easy, as we already had a drive train, we just needed to add some new, tread-compatible wheels
  • Putting the rubber pieces on the treads was a lot harder than we anticipated: we learned that things that may seems easy might actually be difficult
  • The treads we added were satisfactory, but we did not think they would be ideal for climbing
  • Tread test
  • The moment of truth, the moment of learning
  • The treads did terribly. Worse than we anticipated
  • They got the robot up at an angle but barely even got up to touch the first churro
  • We learned that traction is a tricky topic to estimate, because on the robot traction acts VERY different from just basic tests not on the robot
  • Next time we will try giant wheels, maybe with traction tape on them instead of treads!
  • We disassembled the treads.  The idea is not in the trash, but we are leaning away from it
  • Electronics strengthening
  • The electronics board was weak last session, so we added some nuts and bolts to ensure a safe, and high quality wiring system.
  • New idea!

We call it the zodiac-boat climber

(It gets its name from a drawing of it on the board that looks like a zodiac boat)

  • More on this idea next session, but it is a newly brainstormed way to get the robot into the high zone, one that is different from just a stellar drive train
  • Robotics rules test
  • Team members will start taking a 30 question test about the game to make sure that they really know how to play

Date: 9-26

Start time 10:00

End Time

Coaches/Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Tori

Team Members Present

David
Jake

Gus

JJ

Cam

Cole

Tasks:

Reflections

Prototype Narrowing down our options for a drive train.

We have chosen a few drive train ideas to pursue after watching some inspirational videos of climbing robots from around the internet.  We really like one called a tri-star which uses a set of three wheels that are geared to make the robot drive normally on the ground, but the tri-star wheels will step over the churros going up the mountain.  Pretty excited about this.

The top two images show a half wheel design we saw online.  It uses wheels that are irregularly shaped and synced together so that they walk over obstacles.  We thought we could use our regular tetrix wheels sawed in half to accomplish the same thing.

The bottom two images are the tri-star design.  We think we figured out the gearing to make this work and how we could put a hub and bearing in place to make it work.  This one will be more difficult

The other option we are pursuing is big foam wheels.  That would be the easiest to make if they work.  We might add a bumpy profile to the wheel to make it grab the churros

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  • Prototyping (continued)
  • We are continuing to try out other methods to get over the churros after we started to lean away from doing treads
  • Rules test
  • After the creation of the test, the questions have been edited to be clearer to the test taker.
  • Consists of 20 multiple choice and 10 true/false questions
  • Practice bot
  • We created a second robot to help try out different ideas
  • Wiring on the second robot is finished
  • The second robot will also help when we finalize our design so we can get used to a robot on the field

Hanging arm

We chose to pursue climbing and hanging as our primary point scoring methods.

We think we have options for climbing, but we are just getting started on the hanging part of it.

We brainstormed a method for using a two jointed arm that expands to latch onto the cliff, and then pulls the robot up to swing directly under the bar.

We also have a winch that worked well a couple years ago when we hung from the bridge.

Date: 9-29

Start time 3:30

End Time 6:00

Coaches/Mentors Present

JJ

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Team Members Present

Gino

Chris

Noel

Jett

Olivia

Ricardo

Tasks:

Reflections

  • Quick wheel discussion
  • If we are not using treads, we need to use wheels
  • If we use wheels, we need top-notch churro-climbing wheels
  • We need high-traction wheels
  • The wheels should have some sort of notch, indent, or other climbing apparatus
  • The best wheel to start out trying is the modified omni-wheel. We have been working on it for a little while; it has always been in the back of our mind for consideration
  • Get the omni-wheel rolling        
  • After a quick discussion, we began work on preparing the wheels
  • The omni wheel we have looks like a large-toothed gear, similar to the Robotheosis logo wheel
  • We removed half of the wheels off of the wheel to give it the toothy shape
  • Then we filed the ends next to the wheels to make traveling over churros easier

The omni wheel struggle

            It turned out to be way harder than we anticipated to get a working wheel. It may seem like getting a wheel to work as desired would take ten minutes, but it actually took most of the work period. We had to file down the wheels, because, at some points in the wheel rotation the rubber grip was not effective at getting traction due to blocking by protruding plastic pieces.

Date: 10-1

Start time 3:40

End Time 5:30

Coaches/Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

JJ

Mr. Austin

Team Members Present

Henry

Jett

Olivia

Gino

Noel

Gus

Tasks:

Reflections

-  Introduce new ideas

  • We needed to bring in new drive train ideas at this stage because our previous one failed
  • The notch wheel we were working on to get over the churros gets stuck in between two churros, so we cannot use that design
  • This marks our first major failure, because we have been working on this design for a while
  • Part of our team’s mission is to learn from our mistakes, so this failure cannot be looked at as just a bad thing, but as a guide, telling us where to go
  • We restarted by beginning some brainstorming, and ordering new types of wheels that might give us the perfect climb, after some modification

Board drawing of the new wheel base:

  • Team Arm
  • We split into groups (teams) and one team began prototyping a pull up arm to get the 80 point pull up endgame achievement
  • We did research of previous games with pull ups
  • More detail on this design next week
  • Here are some board drawings of the arm:

Date: 10-3

Start time 10am

End Time 3pm

Coaches/Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

JJ

Team Members Present

Graham

Henry

Gus

Cam

Max

Jett

Cole

Tasks:

Reflections

-  VEX robots for County Fair

  • Our school has a fun event called County Fair which is a day when, instead of having classes, the entire school (K-12) has a field day and participates in activities run by older students. The robotics team has had a booth for around 4 years where kids and parents can come and drive around 5 or 6 vex robots we built so that people can get a general idea of what we do in robotics. We run a booth to get people interested and to do outreach in our school and because it’s fun! We finished building 5 vex robots today (We might need to build another one but we should be fine with just 5)

Graham and Gus working hard on getting the vex bots going:

  • Create and implement wheels for climbing

We came up a new idea for climbing up the mountain and we are 3/4ths of the way in the assembly of the wheels (which is pretty good considering we started the project today) and we think it will really enhance our performance in the game. The wheels should enable us to get up to the high climbing zone with relative ease and from there we have the possibility to get our robot to do a pull up and score 80 points. The team decided that we should focus on this because while the risk is high, the rewards are also very big and our team believes we can accomplish it.

Here are some pictures of the wheels getting chopped and fitted:

Placed tread on the chopped off wheels

Today we used contact cement  to glue tread onto 8 semicircle wheels.  The process of attaching the tread upon the wheels was very tedious. First we had cut off the excess tread.  Then after we completed that step we had to make an incision on opposite sides of wheels in order for the tread to be fully attached.  Then we layered the inside of the tread with contact cement along with the edges of the semicircle wheels. This was the hardest part because if you attached the tread before the contact cement became semi-dry it would cause the tread eventually to become semi-detached, which was very frustrating.  After we had successfully attached the tread we placed each semi circle wheel in a vice for 15 minutes in order for the contact cement to become fully dried.   This task may seem simple but it was far from it.  It took 2 members of our team 2 hours full hours to complete!

Finished wheels:

More about the tread:

The theory is that at least four of the 8 wheels will be touching ground at all times, and the churro (the main obstacle) will fit in the slot under the wheel that is not touching the ground.

Even though the wheels are thin, they still have major friction. Our coach, Mr. Lee, used to be a physics teacher. He enlightened some of us to the fact that no matter how big the wheel is, as long as it is the same material and weight, it will have identical friction. That is how bicycles can stay sturdy with only a small part touching the ground. Here is some of the math he showed us, using trigonometry:

Date: 10-6

Start time: 3:30

End time: 6pm

Coaches/Mentors

Mr. Ledford

JJ

Mr. Austin

Mr. Johnson

Wonderful Engineers

Gus

Henry

Olivia

Nathan

Gino

Jett

Noel

Tasks

Reflections

  • 8 Wheel robot assembly
  • The fancy 8 wheel robot is coming along! The goal today was to get the eight wheels mounted on the frame of the robot
  • We learned that this design has a lot of fine tuning that needs to happen in order to get the robot working.  We will adjust chain length and motor positioning later as we figure out the adjustments we need to make
  • We feel that the team has made a fantastic effort in turning the team mindset around: the team (from the multiple past weeks) has had a mental blueprint of the old notch wheel, which did not end up working
  • These wheels are almost finished with assembly (woohoo!) and it has only been one week, from visualizing the complex idea in our mind, to getting it on the table
  • Big wheel robot assembly - first steps
  • We have not tested the fancy wheel design yet, and we do not know if it will work
  • Our mentor, Mr. Ledford, thought it would be a great idea to have a backup plan in place
  • Our backup plan consists of building a simple 4-wheel robot, but with GIANT wheels, wheels meant for 6 foot tall FRC robots
  • The project is underway, and it is harder to mount these big wheels than we thought
  • Because they are so big, the wheels have trouble mounting on the robot. We need to dremel custom screws and use adapter hex-plates to accommodate
  • Programming
  • Gus, our head programmer, has started some preliminary programming, so our robot can be ready to go the moment we finish building it
  • Team Arm
  • Arm brainstorming continued.We listed and sketched multiple arm ideas, including new ones. We have decided on a winch-oriented arm. More on that later.


Date: 10-8

Start time: 3:30

End time:

Coaches/Mentors

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Austin

Wonderful Engineers

Jake

Gus

Henry

David

JJ

Nathan

Olivia

Noel

Tasks

Reflections

  • VEX
  • Robots for County Fair are finished and ready to go for tomorrow, so we can focus on other tasks
  • Get our chain game going with the 8-wheel drive train
  • Now that the drive train has all 8 axles running smoothly, it is time to align motors and align chains. This is a step in the design process that we have reached once already, but with the tread bot
  • We are behind on our drive train. In previous years, we have had a working drive train weeks earlier
  • In case this fails, we know we have a backup with the BIG WHEEL robot
  • We have learned from our multiple mistakes that we should always have a backup. This makes us more confident!

Date: 10-13

Start time:

End time:

Coaches/Mentors

Mr. Austin

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Jared

Wonderful Engineers

JJ

Jake

Gus

Henry

Olivia

Noel

Tasks

Reflections

Put electronics on the robot

  • Now with our successful County Fair event behind us, we can spend all our focus on the ftc bot!
  • Motors are mounted, today we put the chains on. We need further adjustments to the chains, but that will be later fine-tuning
  • Electronics board is finished, (we disassembled it from our tank treads robot) and it is ready to mount
  • We will use motor controllers that route electricity to the front two wheel bases, and another motor controller for the back two. This way, our robot can continue to move if one of the motor controllers explodes
  • On Thursday, as long as programming is in top shape, we will be driving and climbing!
  • We can’t wait to see how our four-wheel drive, eight-wheel total robot works. High zone is the goal

Arm production

We ripped up an old arm mechanism from our ftc robot two years ago, and we are using its awesome design concept for the pull-up bar this year!

We learned a lot from last year, including that we need a cleaner design. The last one jammed up and only got one of two hooks on the bar half the time. Now we need an arm capable of reaching farther than in Block Party. Once our drive train climbs up to the high zone, it is about 24 inches from churro to pull-up bar. We need to engineer the perfect arm that can swing up and grab the bar.

The idea is that the hook with a velcroed attachment gets lifted by the robot’s arm, hits the bar and detaches from the robot. Then it is connected with just a string, the string gets pulled into a winch and the robot rises to the sky!!

Date: 10-15

Start time: 3:30

End time: 6:00

Coaches/Mentors

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Wonderful Engineers

Gus

Henry

Cole

David

Jake

Noel

Olivia

Gino

JJ

Tasks

Reflections

  • Upgrades, baby

We tested out our wheel base yesterday, it was mildly successful. It needs improvement in agility: the turning ability was terrible. Imagine a tank with very long treads. Those treads have great stability lengthwise, but pay for it with their turning radius.

This means we need to fit our wheels closer together, which will allow for quick action turns. The problem with redesigning our base is that we need to take all our electronics and chains off, which we did today. Saturday we plan to test out these upgrades, tune in on the next page to see how it goes.

We also upgraded electronics by cleaning the cables and changing our electronics from a hot mess into a nice looking wired system

Olivia is a chain-fitting master

  • Testing time                
  • We put the robot out for a test!
  • Unfortunately, the wheel design could not show to its full potential
  • The wheels are not low enough off the frame, they hit the churros
  • It’s like a low car going over a speed bump, the bottom of the frame of the car scrapes the speed bump
    Our robot does the same thing with the churros

Getting ready to test:

  • Fix our test problem

-We still had time today to fix the problem we faced

  • Team arm

- We completed the winch structure. It’s a little bit big and needs to be cut down in size, but it has a motor and gear ratio attached, along with big washers as borders to prevent the rope/string from getting tangled in the bearings

Date: 10-17

Start time: 10am

End time: 3pm

Coaches/Mentors

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Zhang

Tori

Wonderful Engineers

Cam

JJ

Henry

Cole

Gus

Max

David

Nathan

Tasks

Reflections

  • Retest after problem fixed

We fixed the low chassis problem yesterday, and in the process we did a lot of rechaining, custom part fitting, and electronics refitting. The result today is a robot that is about 3 inches wider, and 2 inches higher off the ground. Here are David and Mr. Lee custom fitting some bearing blocks:

 

The test went well! With minimum attachments on our robot (just battery, motors, wheels, and other electronics), we got up to the high zone on our first try!

Things we learned/room for improvement:

  • The robot gets up to the high zone, but hastily and with minimum balance. It actually flipped upside down at the top
  • The wheels got jammed in between churros on multiple occasions. In order to actually climb we had to wrestle around with the mountain, going back and forth
  • Keeping the weight of the robot towards the front side is VERY IMPORTANT because it helps maintain safety when climbing up the high zone; otherwise we would flip all the time

Awesome things we are thrilled about:

  • The robot made it to the HIGH ZONE. This is just the drive train ALONE. We are not expecting to see many others in competition whose wheels alone take them to the top of the mountain!
  • It means we have serious potential for getting the pullup 80 point bonus
  • We finally have a design that works

Ways we will improve:

  • We are now in the process of replacing the hunky bearing blocks with homemade ball bearings, which will massively lower the friction on the axles, and lower weight of the previous bearing blocks

Here are some pics of the bearing blocks in process

 Robot Arm

We have a working winch prototype, with a new and improved Andy-Mark motor. Here is a picture of Nathan getting the motor set up.The winch is on the left, and some hook prototypes on the right

  • Backup wheels

Just in case of an unfortunate event occurring with our current wheels,

we started building a new pair of wheels using regular wheels with cylinder shaped rubber pieces attached on the outside of those wheels.

 

That #PRODUCTIVITY

Date:10/20/15

Time start 3:30

Time end 6:00

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Splendid Engineers

Nathan

Henry

Graham

Abhi

Gino

JJ

Tasks

Reflections

  • Adjusting the winch to fit our robot

- We cut a 23 inch pole to just 18 inches. The pole broke in two when the cutting was done, and the part on the end was unscrewed and placed on the new metal piece which made it longer. Finally, the edges of the recently cut pole were filed smooth. I did a very good job!

-T-Bar and hooks

-Today, we cut a piece of sheet metal to add on to the end of our winch arm. The metal piece is used to support two hooks that we are going to use to grab onto the top bar on the mountain. On the metal piece we attached velcro. The velcro then grips the other velcro end on the back of the hooks.

- We also took existing hooks and widened them with a pipe in order to create a greater grip radius. This way our hooks have a fantastic grip on the pull-up bar. After some fine tuning, they will be field-caliber tools

-Wheels

- We cut new wheels to put on the final robot. After we found that the wheels would break if we handled them too roughly, we decided to order a lot more. The robot we have right now is a prototype robot. When we make the new robot, we will put the wheels we made today on it, and the building process will hopefully run much smoother on the second bot since we will know what we are doing.

Date: 10/22/2015

Time start 3:30

Time end 6:00

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Austin

Splendid Engineers

Jake

Henry

Noel

Cole

JJ

Nathan

Jett

Tasks

Reflections

Test Time

Gus, our main programmer, is sadly not here today. It made our robot hard to test, because our team is oriented more with last year’s programming system, C++. Even more sadly, when we tried to get the system to work, the wheels on the robot would not correspond fully with the joysticks. One side was inactive, and only two of the eight wheels actually spun.

UPDATE

Later on today, Nathan helped get the robot going. Nathan learned how to turn the robot on and off and how to connect the two phones and joystick controller. We got it fully working and climbing. We are developing climb strategy. The most important thing we learned is that the ramp will be much harder to climb in autonomous that we thought. We can’t head straight up the ramp, we have to have calculated ascent with multiple stops and adjustments. The hardest part is that the climb up the mountain is unique every game, unpredictable. While climbing, our robot cracked a wheel. The bottom of the wheel cracked completely and bent sideways. Here is a picture of Nathan with the cracked wheel.

There is a chance Nathan will be our head driver, because he is getting good at climbing the hill!

Start attaching arm

We constructed two towers to mount on the robot. Both are made of channel and are designed to stay within the 18 inch limit, but they are also made to still have a decent chance to reach the pull up bar. We cannot know for sure how they will fare until we finish the mounting.

UPDATE:

We did not mount it, but we are currently finding the proper range of motion for our servo motor. Once we do that, then we can mount the servo on the system, and mount the system on the robot with triangle support brackets.

Disassemble old arm

We disassembled an old robot elevator (from last year Cascade Effect) so we could salvage pieces from it. The pieces will go toward building the new arm and winch. The old elevator had string, screws, channel, and other miscellaneous pieces. This task was hard because the pieces have been untouched for a while, and therefore they were stiff. We spent 30 minutes salvaging these parts.

Date: 10-24-15

Time start 10am

Time end 3pm

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Zhang

Splendid Engineers

Jake

Henry
Cole

Abhi

David

Jett

Nathan

JJ

Tasks

Reflections

  • Mount the servo, mount the winch
  • The arm assembly, as reported yesterday, is ready to be mounted on the robot and tested. The only thing that might be a problem is programming because our main program slam daddy, Gus, is out of the station today. He (along with some other valuable team members) has other dedications for the next week or two which will slow down the build process.

  • As we progressed, we realized right before mounting that the tower is crooked. The tower is a trapezoid, not a rectangle like it should be. Although it was a time sacrifice, we took apart the whole tower assembly to add some spacers. This will increase structural integrity, make our robot look better, and possibly make mounting it easier.
  • Wheels, the big deals
  • As you know, we had a cracked wheel yesterday
  • The superglue we applied for a fix did not hold it well enough, so we are taking the wheel off and reinforcing it with another wheel. It will be an acrylic wheel sandwich
  • This fix is immediate, but difficult, because we have to remove the chain, which hurts our precise wheel alignment
  • One could say that these wheels are the big deals
  • Nathan’s robot Arm

      -Added a lot of parts to it and helped it get in order for the robot

-Made the sides of the arm into right angles so that it has a sturdier base

-Also worked on trying to attach it to the robot


Date: 10-27-2015

Time start 3:30

Time end 6:00

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Austin

Mr. Zhang

Mr. Johnson

Splendid Engineers

Jake

Chris

JJ

Cam

Henry

Olivia

Nathan

Jett

Noel

Tasks

Reflections

  • Mount the winch
  • This was last poetry today and we sadly did not make any progress
  • The winch assembly sat with a frowny face in the corner watching us work with our robot
  • We devoted our efforts elsewhere and did not mount the winch
  • Game strategy

We noticed a pattern with our wheels breaking, and can forge a strategy to help preserve our wheel base.

Here is what we have so far:

When the robot is crooked on the hill, the driver must immediately used a gravity aided descent to get back down the hill a little bit and realign.

  • EVEN NEWER WHEELS

The wheels we have on our bot currently are breaking too frequently. Our new wheels arrived today. They are big, black, and much thicker. They are super duper strong. We have no specific statistic, but nobody on the team had the muscle to break one. Because we have broken about 6 of the small acrylic wheels, we think these big ones will have a great positive impact on our robot and our time management. (We won’t have to spend so much time gluing the old wheels back together.)

Because these wheels have a different diameter than the old ones, they make an interesting combo on the robot with the small wheels. Our robot currently (end of today) has four big wheels and four small wheels fitted to it. The big wheels are not cut like the small ones, so they will do the driving, and the small wheels only will touch the churros, in order to boost the robot up. We can test this sick design Thursday.

Date: 10/29/2015

Time start 3:30

Time end 6:00

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Austin

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Splendid Engineers

Jake

JJ

Noel

Olivia

Nathan

Felix

Cameron

Cole

David

Jett

Tasks

Reflections

  • Flip Wheel
  • We flipped the big wheels and the smaller wheels so the smaller one will engage with the churro first and then the larger wheel will pass over. We did this only on the front set of wheels to test and plan on switching it in the back (The smaller wheels have a flat side and are only 180 degrees and the larger wheels are 360 degrees and have no flat side)
  • We noticed a problem with this though as the small wheel engages and then the larger spins and gets caught on the churro and does not move

  • Adding new electronics
  • We added another motor control and server control to allow us to begin attaching the arm and winch. We then added these new inputs to the code to allow us to control the arm and winch which we will be adding to the robot upon finalizing our wheels.
  • Attaching the baskets to the mountain
  • We finished attaching the three baskets along the slope of the great and intimidating mountain. We had two engineers go under the mountain and one engineer on top. The one engineer would take a zip tie and tie it through one of the holes in the baskets and then put it through a hole in the mountain. Then as the zip tie was through both holes one of the engineers put it back up through the two holes symmetrical to the two holes in which the zip tie was inserted so that the engineer on top could pull it up and start to tie the zip tie. Once we had tightened it enough, we put the extra part of the zip tie back through the two holes on the right side. When it went through the holes, an engineer would grab it with pliers and tighten it a little extra so it wouldn’t be as wobbly. We did that two more times and we were done.

Date: 10/31/2015

Time start 10:00

Time end 3:00

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Austin

Mr. Zhang

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Splendid Engineers

Jake

Nathan

Gus

Cole

David

Jett

Max

Henry

JJ

Cam

Graham

Tasks

Reflections

  • Cut the black wheels
  • The painstaking process of lining up the wheels to the big saw begins again for a third time!
  • We used a similar procedure to cut the big wheels as we did to cut the smaller ones. This setup is more secure and used giant FRC channel to sturdy the wheels
  • They are tightened with some nuts on the top and aligned so that the cut will make the churros slide just underneath
  • This should work similarly to the previous wheel setup, but the largeness of the wheels should allow less breakage, and less chance of getting jammed

Here is a picture of JJ manning the saw while Mr. Ledford explains the process to Max. They are  cutting the new abs wheels.

  • Troubleshoot the electronics
  • New electronics board
  • We made a new electronics board with electronics parts from Modern Robotics. Nathan worked on it. He is considering a new design with vertical mounted motor controllers. This is going to be pretty useful.

Here is Nathan working on the electronics board with Cole

And me (Henry), Nathan, and Jake with the new electronics

We need new electronics for our little baby robot, it’s a semi-prototype bot. All it is is a drivetrain with wheels and an electronics board. It has NO driving motors and cannot move.

  • The reason to build this is to have a place to test our pullup arm/winch assembly that we wanted to mount so long ago
  • We cannot mount it on the actual protoype bot because we are doing so much work replacing the wheels

Picture of the new assembly


  • Engineer new wheels
  • Every time we used the acrylic wheels, they broke due to lateral stress. We ordered new ABS wheels which are much stronger and bigger. This will allow us not only to have a stronger wheel, but also allow us to have more cutting and fabricating room due to the expanded dimensions. This means we can modify/customize our wheel to a greater degree

Date:11/3/2015

Time start 3:30

Time end 6:00

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Austin

Mr. Ledford

Splendid Engineers

Jake

Gus

Levi

Nathan

Jett

Noel

Henry

Olivia

Snatch

Cam

Abhi

Tasks

Reflections

  • Readjust larger wheels
  • Because the bigger wheels have a different diameter from the smaller wheels, the distance between the two wheels needs to change in order to allow our robot to hoist itself over the churros in the best way possible.

  • Specifically, we need to space the big wheels further apart than the previous ones. Otherwise they overlap and get stuck on the churros.
  • Get motor test underway
  • We decided to change our servo on the arm to a motor after a servo test
  • The servo we had mounted before was not strong enough to lift the arm high enough to perform a pullup
  • The alternative to a servo is an Andy Mark motor, which by the end of today we should finish mounting

UPDATE

  • We completed the mounting and will test it out later
  • The motor is now hooked up to the pull-up arm

  • create other wheels        
  • As we progress through the season, we aren’t staying firm in the design of the robot. These wheels are pictured below. The purpose of the wheels is to latch onto the churro, but only ‘give’ in one direction. We achieve this by putting glue on one side of the surgical tubing.
  • These wheels are just to try out. We are still progressing with the semi-circular wheels, but exploring our other options as a backup plan

Date: 11-5-15

Time start 3:30

Time end 6:00

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Splendid Engineers

Rogie

Jake

Henry
Nathan

Jett

Gus

David

Noel

Gino

Tasks

Reflections

  • Fix wheels
  • After mounting the cut black wheels and resizing the chains, we ran into spacing problems
  • We have been working slowly to fix all these problems, but they take a long time
  • Putting a spacer into a wheel requires disassembling the wheel, which takes a long time, because it is necessary to move the motor to make room for the chain to come off
  • Disassembling a wheel to add a spacer:
  1. Loosen the chain by moving the motor
  2. Take the chain off
  3. Remove the nut holding the wheel in place
  4. Wiggle the wheel off
  5. Remove the sprocket and metal spacer(s)
  6. Remove the four nuts holding on the wheel’s hole adapter (we need an adapter for the wheel to make it compatible with our tetrix parts)
  7. Put in the plastic spacer
  8. Repeat steps 1-6 in reverse to reassemble the wheel with the new spacer without moving any screws!

Here is a diagram below of essentially what all our efforts of fixing the wheels have been when transitioning from small to big wheels:

  • Winch work
  • Now that there is a motor on the winch, we need to put the arm on the small frame so we can test the new motor!
  • This was a low priority task today, and took longer than we thought it would
  • We are still not done, by the looks of things, we’ll have this test done Saturday
  • STIMS
  • Competition is coming up! We need to get signed up
  • A big part of today was signing some team members into STIMS on the team computer


Date: 11-7-15

Time start 10am

Time end 3pm

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Tori

Splendid Engineers

Gino

Graham

Henry

Cam

Gus

Nathan

Jett

Cole

Levi

David

Abhi

Rogie

Tasks

Reflections

Excitement

Walking into the room today, there was a noticeable excitement in the environment stronger than any other day! Progress time woohoo!

  • Today is DRIVE DAY
  • As we adjusted our wheels, we decided to change the wheels’ sprocket size
  • This is a large amount of extra work (see Thursday’s description of taking apart a wheel)
  • Today, there is only one more sprocket that needs replacement, which means only one more chain to be resized
  • The chain sizing takes by far the longest time compared to the other tasks when fitting a new sprocket
  • After countersinking the sprocket and mounting, the wheels should be ready to roll (no pun intended)

Here is a picture of the room full of action packed work:

UPDATE:

  • The robot was drivable at 1pm today! All the mechanics were fantastic, the winch mounted, string on the hooks, and wheels fully fitted, the moment we were all waiting for
  • We could not drive it because of programming problems
  • Our main man Gus tried to fix the problems in the code, but the robot still acted very strangely
  • Random controls on the controller moved random wheels
  • We could not get the robot to actually drive in a straight line because the wrong buttons were linked to the wrong wheels
  • The good news is that the every motor worked, including the winch and arm!!

One hour later…

  • Thanks to Gus, who is working hard as I write this, the robot is in working condition!
  • The wheels act as they should and we did our first big wheel drive test
  • The big wheels perform worse than we thought they would. They slip off the churros
  • We are all very sad recognizing that our new wheels, although incredibly strong, don’t climb a fraction as well as our other wheels

  • ARM DAY
  • The arm is ready. It is fitted and works for our non-moving drive frame
  • This means only one thing: We just need to move it from the non-driving frame to the actual prototype bot with the wheels
  • Here is a picture of Levi working on it so it will fit on the frame:

  • Backup wheels
  • If team members have free hands, they can always work on the backup plan
  • The backup plan consists of a wheel wrapped in tape with little squishy pieces of cut tubing around the circumference of the wheel

These wheels have many benefits

  1. Traction
  2. Durability
  3. (Hopefully) Easy to mount
  4. Won’t get jammed in the churros

The only question is “will they climb reliably?”

  • The wheels have zip tied plastic, so the plastic moves if it is ever forced, ie. it is stuck on a churro
  • This property makes them durable and reliable, and they won’t get jammed like our half wheels might

Here’s Henry and Olivia proud of their backup wheels:

  • Field Work

Work on the field

  • Today we whipped out the instruction manual for field construction


Date: 11-10

Time start 3:30

Time end 6pm

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Splendid Engineers

Jake

Rogie

Henry

Noel

Gino

Gus

Nathan

Olivia

Jett

Tasks

Reflections

  • Respond to test climb on Saturday

On Saturday, sadly our test run did not turn out well. Read above. Our main climbing problem was the inability to get over the churros because the robot would push itself upwards instead of forwards on the churro.

  • To fix this:
  • We will still use the same large wheels
  • We will take off the current wheels and replace them with new and improved cut wheels
  • The new wheels need to be cut the same shape as the old ones, but nearer to the axle

Another problem we had was the winch. It was not strong enough (one motor, no gear ratio improvement) to lift the robot all by itself

  • To fix:
  • We need to either add one more motor onto the winch assembly or change the gear ratio of 1:1 to something different so the motor has a strength advantage

  • Cut new wheels
  • Yes, that’s right, we need to cut wheels again
  • We will take our current giant wheels and shave more plastic off of them with the bandsaw in order to have more room for churros to slide under the bot, hopefully creating more climbing agility

Here is a picture of Jett holding the cutting assembly still so it does not shake during cutting:

  • Strengthen winch
  • The winch needs to be strengthened in two ways which we are working on simultaneously
  1. The poles supporting the electronics board also support the winch, because the poles are where the winch is mounted. These metal beams nearly eliminate wiggle between the winch and the rest of the robot
  2. The winch used to be attached to the robot with only a couple screws. These could come loose. Now, we have the winch fitted to the robot with heavier duty (10 32) and more numerous screws
  • Attach other prototype wheels to the robot

-We attached different prototype wheels to a different test robot as a backup in case our current robot does not work

- We attached 2 of the prototype wheels with motors to the front and 2 regular wheels to the back without motors.

Date: 11-12-15

Time start 3:30pm

Time End 6pm

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Austin

Splendid Engineers

Henry

Rogie

Jake

Gino

Cole

Jett

David

Gus

Noel

Tasks

Reflections

  • Climber scoring

We started to focus on how we are going to drop the climbers into the bin while touching the button in the process. We brainstormed multiple ideas, a few of them were mechanical. Back to the prototyping/brainstorming phase. After some outstanding ideas we finally came across a single idea that stuck out. Our idea is to attach a long aluminum rod to the front of the robot attaching a smaller pole in the middle of it to touch the button. At the top of the main aluminum rod we have a platform for where we have the climbers. By driving the robot at a fast enough pace into the button, the force of stopping short will carefully launch the climbers into the bin. With this idea we are able to both touch the button and drop the climbers into the bin.

  • The new wheels

Our old wheels did not work when we attempted to drive the robot up the mountain so we decided to modify them. What we had to do was sand the bottom a little more so that the axle going through the wheel was closer to the flat side. By doing that we are creating more space between the wheels at each end to go over the churros on the mountain.  Hopefully when we test the new wheels, the idea is successful.

  • Winch tests
  • The two motor winch is ready to test today!

Results:

  • We attached a weight almost as heavy as the robot to the winch
  • The winch (on full power) could not lift weight
  • We thought with two motors we would have success for sure, but I guess not today
  • We will redesign because of this
  • We are thinking of using gear ratios on our next model for strength

  • Winch/New winch
  • There was enough time today to make a BRAND NEW winch and test it, that’s how productive we were today
  • We used pieces from the old winch, one motor, and two gear ratios to make the most effective winder possible
  • After that, we mounted it in no time
  • After mounting and a little hot-wiring, we tested it at maximum power, on the actual robot, IT WORKED very well and lifted the robot’s full weight

Here is a picture of the team crowding around the new winch

Date: 11-14

Time start 10am

Time end 3pm

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Lee

Mr. Zhang

Mr. Johnson

Tori

Splendid Engineers

Henry

Jett

Nathan

Jake

Rogie

Max

David

Cole

Gus

Abhi

Tasks

Reflections

  • Zip line trigger slapper
  • Last session
  • Hook arm
  • Today we upgraded the hook arm because it was not long enough to reach the pull-up bar
  • This length is important because with it we don’t have to climb as high on the mountain to reach the pull-up bar
  • New wheel test
  • Now that all the gears are adjusted to the large wheels (thanks to our multiple weeks of work) we can pop off the large wheels that are cut, and put on the NEW large wheels that are even more cut! Check out date 11-10 to see the cutting of the wheels
  • We put two of them on, and it is test time
  • The robot got up and running in no time, unlike last time
  • THE BEST PART
  • Our new wheels work very well
  • We cannot wait to mount the next 6 of them
  • After that we will have a near-competition worthy robot
  • Programming

Gus today taught Jett some basic java for coding the robot. Here is a picture of them in action

Date: 11-17

Time start 3:30pm

Time end 6pm

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Austin

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Splendid Engineers

Rogie

Henry

Jake

Noel

Gus

Nathan

Jett

Levi

Olivia

Gino

Cam

Tasks

Reflections

  • Test the new wheels one more time
  • Are these wheels too good to be true? I think so
  • They climb very well, even considering we only have two on our robot right now
  • We tested these wheels Saturday, and again today
  • This test confirmed what we deduced on Saturday, see the last entry for more detail
  • The main gist of this is that the team needs to go FULL TILT into making wheels just like the ones that are currently on the robot!
  • Wheels wheels
  • To make the wheels we need, we need to cut the main black wheel base
  • The good news, is that we already did that. We have the right shape
  • The next most important thing is to file the wheels down to size, the corners get stuck on the churros when climbing if they are not filed down to a certain corner (the corner size we found by trial and error of all our previous wheels)
  • The surface of the edge of the wheel needs to be filed smooth as well
  • Treads treads
  • The treads, our only source of traction on the ground, are vital
  • In order to put them onto the wheels, we have learned over trial and error that the glue will not take care of everything for us
  • Our mentor Mr. Ledford has experience with glue (from past jobs), so he can really help us out when we need assistance gluing
  • We need to prepare the treads AND the wheels themselves for the glue
  • This involves shaping the wheels’ edge to a crest so the tread can glue strongly
  • Sanding wheels on the sides where the glue will be bonding
  • It means etching lines of roughness in the tread so the glue can hold on
  • Lastly, it means that the treads need to be clean and free of plastic debris
  • Climber coffin

What it is:

It is a small aluminum sheet folded into a box, capable of holding the two climbers given to each team before autonomous. It is attached to our winch arm and we will use it to dump the climbers into the bucket at the beginning of the match.

-The climber coffin purpose is to put the climbers into the bin to score points.

-The coffin idea will benefit our team because it will help us score more points, additionally it is easy to attach.

- We just attach it onto the arm and we can swing the arm over and the climbers will fall out.

Date: 11-21

Time start 10am

Time end 3pm

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Splendid Engineers

Henry

Gus

Nathan

Levi

Gino

David

Cole

Max

Tasks

Reflections

Robot Test

Henry (our outstanding captain) had his first test where he drove the robot. This test has been arguably the BEST ONE so far this season. The robot climbed up to the highest position. We straightened out the robot so that the arm could reach the pull-up bar. The arm hooked the pull-up bar, and the winch lifted the robot off the high zone, no problem. It was amazing.

UPDATE

Nathan did a test under the similar circumstances as Henry. He is a well practiced driver and made it up the whole hill no problem. The pull up worked as well!! The winch could use some string improvements; the string gets bunched up during the climb.

Individual wheel spin strategy

  • To get higher up the mountain, Gus has added some programming tricks
  • The main one he added is the ability to spin individual pairs of wheels, this helps when they are unaligned and won't lock into the churros
  • This also inevitably allows the robot to do cool wheelie tricks :)

Here is a picture of some fellas hard at work after all the working robot excitement


Date: 11-24

Time start 3:30

Time end 6:00

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Austin

Mr. Zhang

Splendid Engineers

Noel

Henry

Gus

Rogie

Jett

Nathan

Jake

Levi

Tasks

Reflections

NEW climber dropper

  • The climber dropper (the coffin) that we had before is fantastic, but it does not work as well as we want it to
  • What we decided to do was implement a simpler, lighter, more effective, ingenious device
  • It drops them way more reliably than the coffin

What it is:

  • A screw coming out of the winch’s arm right where the coffin used to be, with little borders to prevent the climbers from slipping around
  • It is very tunable/adjustable

  • We are all very proud of how much hassle this awesome idea has saved us

Field cleaning

  • We need to construct the other mountain on our field and put down some tape to mark the robot floor scoring zones
  • To accompany this construction, we also needed to clean up the field with a vacuum

Tests and more tests (with a GoPro!)

  • We tested the robot in a new realistic field setting: this means with loads of debris all over the floor
  • The robot handled the debris AMAZINGLY, a product of the eight giant wheels that have pieces cut out

Date: 12-3-15

Time start 3:30

Time end 6:00

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Splendid Engineers

Graham

Henry

Gus

Olivia

Levi

Rogie

David

Nathan

Tasks

Reflections

-Practice

  • These past couple meetings have been dedicated to driving the robot, practice practice practice!
  • Everything is going great, we need to make slight adjustments to fix things
  • We adjusted the climber dropper so now it drops the climbers in the bin (almost) every time
  • We have changed the wheels a little bit to fix them from wear and tear
  • Our game strategy is the same, dump climbers, climb as high as possible and hang
  • PRACTICE IS FUN
  • And we have been doing fantastic. Cannot wait for competition #1 in two days

-Packing

  • Today we had the exciting task of packing up supplies for competition wohoo!!

-Coding

  • Autonomous, improving controls of teleop, you bet we are coding
  • Hopefully we will be able to have a successful autonomous, we definitely have an impressive tele-op


Date: 12-5-15

 Time: 7am-1pm

Mentors at Competition

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Lee

Mr. Zhang

Mr. Austin

Mr. Johnson

Whole team present

Competition! - 1st Division Meet

Reflection

Performance

  • Our team was well prepared and the meet was outstanding
  • We were unparalleled by any team and won all five matches, despite disconnection errors

Date: 12-12-15

 Time: 7am-7pm

Mentors at Competition

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Tori

Mr. Austin

Mr. Zhang

Whole team present

Reflection

On Saturday December 12th, Parker hosted a robotics competition. At the competition that we competed in last week (on the 5th), there were 12 teams. This weekend, we had 23 teams and 400-500 people. The entire Parker Upper School Robotics Team, along with other student and adult volunteers helped with crowd control, team supervision, and even deejaying to make the competition the best experience possible. At the competition on the 5th, there was not very much hype and excitement. We made sure to have as much excitement as possible this weekend. Not only does hard work earn us a fantastic review from the visiting teams, but it increases our chances of everyone else coming back next year for another FTC competition! Hosting an all-day competition is no easy feat, but with our team running it, it was a major success.


Date: 1-5-2016

Time start 3:30

Time end 6pm

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Austin

Splendid Engineers

Henry

Jake

Nathan

Gino

Cam

Gus

Jett

Noel

Tasks

Reflections

  • New year, new bot

2016 has arrived! We have major plans for the rest of ftc season, the main plan being a NEW robot modeled off of our first.

  • Our first bot has amazing design that we are all proud of and always will be, and after some thought we decided that we have the most room for improvement if we remodel our super awesome design on a new robot
  • We are closely following our first robot as a model to build
  • Building a second robot will almost certainly be way quicker than the first one
  • Since we have two robots, more people will have jobs and feel occupied the whole 2.5 hour robotics session

We brainstormed a beginning list of improvements that can be more easily made to a new robot than modifying the first in order to justify the building of robot #2

On the left side there is a list of changes that we plan to implement in the new robot, and the right side has a list of the benefits that we reap from using the change.

Keep in mind this is just the beginning; this list has so many more opportunities!

  • It is very daunting to look over and see that all we have is a blank frame. This has not been the case since September!

  • More driving
  • Since we have a robot in building process (Nathan is leading that) and another robot completed (our trusty robot that we have been building since week 1), we practiced driving the completed one with people who have never driven before!
  • Gus and Nathan set up the robot for driving, Jett, Gino, Noel, and Cam each took turns driving it around for the first time to get a feel for it
  • Early practice is important, because driving the robot is an acquired skill that takes a couple intense driving sessions to master.  Driving is super fun, and there is no reason not to do it :)
  • Field Cleaning        
  • Spring cleaning? We do winter cleaning. The field acquired some clutter from hosting our own competition here at Parker. We had to put some field elements in our clutter closet and stack boxes, move boxes, and most importantly, VACUUM
  • Order up        
  • Along with winter cleaning came realizing that we don’t have enough parts for doing what we want… so we also made an order list of parts that will help us out. Here is Levi (who has made various 3-D printing parts for us) and Gus talking about it:

Date: 1/7/16

Time start 3:30PM

Time end 6:00 PM

Mentors/Coaches Present

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Splendid Engineers

Nathan

Henry

Cole

Olivia

Rogie

Jake

JJ

Tasks

Reflections

  • ARM

The new robot’s arm is awesome. The old arm is a tube with makeshift holes drilled into it to attach things, it is not super durable and it is hard to mount. Also it worked by gear ratio with GEARS and not sprockets. Gears tend to slip much easier and with the large wear and tear on the arm, the gears end up slipping a lot! Now with sprockets, our new arm will be much more reliable.

New Year? New format:

Day: Saturday

Date: 1/9/16

Start Time: 10am

End Time: 3pm

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Jett

Max

Henry

Gino

Levi

Cole                    Nathan

Arms are difficult.

It’s almost impossible to get every challenge.

SO MUCH PROGRESS TODAY

Mentors Present

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Lee

Tori

*Special Note

Today was FRC kickoff day - some of our older members of the team will now be helping exclusively with the FRC robot and no longer the FTC one. Those people are: Jake, Rogie, and JJ

Task

Progress

Reflection

Moving the climber droppers

Completed

This task, although it may seem very simple was essential to constructing and attaching our new arm.  Normally with tasks such as these it takes forever to find the right allen wrench. However, today it was only a matter of seconds until we found exactly what we were looking for.   Therefore, this task became much more enjoyable and less time consuming.

Velcro the electronics board

Done

The electronics board is looking snazzy and ready for business, we have velcro as the medium for attaching the various components, instead of screws like last time

Brainstorm

A small sliver done

  • With a new robot comes room for new ideas.  We are thinking about all the attachments we can put on our robot to hit the all clear sign, and drop additional climbers down the mountain

Arm Making

65%ish

  • The arm is coming along great, we now have a motor attached to it, sprocketless, but attached nonetheless
  • It took a lot of fitting, drill pressing, and elbow grease to get the motor on a bearing block that works smoothly. Look out for pics of the arm in coming posts

Here is Gino with the robot base coming to life:


Day:  Thursday

Date: 1/12/16

Start Time:  3:30

End Time: 6:00

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Jett

Gus

Olivia

Henry

Drawing is hard

We need more Java

My hands were very greasy and gross after making a chain

It was fun to

Mentors Present

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Johnson

Tori

Mr. Lee

Mr. Austin

Task

Progress

Reflection

Arm mounting

70%

The arm needs to be mounted along with the winch motor on the same beam

  • Today we cut the beam, drilled holes in it, fitted it to the robot and to the two motors
  • The motors don’t actually fit like we want them to, so next meeting we will cut some shaft off the arm’s motor
  • The current beam is very awesome and we built it pretty darn fast

Arm making

60%

  • The arm is mostly done, it has motor, both sprockets, chain, and works smoothly
  • It even has the climber dropper, mirroring the climber dropper on our old robot
  • We will mount it when we cut the shaft so it fits on the mounting bar

  • The reason we are only at 60% is because eventually we will add a block dropper or some other apparatus
  • We also need to add velcro to put hooks on the arm

Day: Thursday

Date: 1-14-16

Start Time: 3:30pm

End Time: 6pm

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Henry

Gus

Noel

Olivia

Cole

Gino

We need to get the robot armies up the robot sleevies

Our robot cannot run crysis, yet.

The Hooks look cool (/^-^)/

So far, our new robot is looking good.

Mentors Present

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Task

Progress

Reflection

Bearing block bonanza

2%

  • Our new robot will have bearing blocks that hold two axles per block instead of one
  • They will be wide blocks than cannot twist around as easily, helping ensure our wheels are fully tuned at all times
  • Our progress is only 2% because the only thing we have done is anticipated the making of the blocks: it turns out we will have to cut up the electronics board to fit the blocks, which we will happily do.

Chain Making

100%

  • Olivia made the chains today that we need for the arm and the winch
  • Last robot had gears attaching the arm and motor, which slipped too much and were unreliable.  Now we are using the best system - a sprocket and chain system
  • The winch system is the same as the last robot, same pipe, motor with sprockets and gear ratio
  • Because we finished the chains we can mount the arm and winch assembly with motors! Wohoo! Meeting goals!

Wheels update

0%

We have ordered the new wheels for the robot

  • They have still not arrived, even though we ordered them two weeks ago

Make some hooks!`

70%

  • We need new grappling hooks for the robot to do a pull up with, today we started and almost finished them!
  • We found lighter, bendier metal than our previous hooks
  • We bent them at 90 degrees instead of a curve (our last hooks have a curve) so that the hook fits flush against the bar better
  • We still need to add velcro
  • We engineered the string placement to not add bumps between the hook and velcro
  • We have some sweet strong green string, the same stuff that is on our other bot
  • We have the hook shapes and have filed them down!


Day: Saturday

Date: 1-16-16

Start Time: 10am

End Time: 12:15pm

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Henry

Final exams coming up. One lonely captain at robotics.

Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Ledford

Tori

Task

Progress

Reflection

Hooks

92%

  • I put some velcro on the hooks, decided on knots with Mr. Ledford, then put the string on
  • We have the string running down the side of the hook so there is no bump under the velcro
  • This requires glue to keep the string in place, the shoe goo got all over my hands. Dang, I hope that stuff isn’t toxic

Bearings

35%

  • Our multi-axle bearing blocks are under construction
  • Currently, we have all of the pieces set aside, we need to assemble and mount them
  • Mounting will be the hard part

Wheels

Still have not arrived yet! Yikes!


Day: Saturday

Date: 1-23-16

Start Time: 10am

End Time: 3pm

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Jett

Henry

Cole

Max

Gino

Special Note:

 Idler gears are fun.

The best build sessions are the ones with lunch (like today)

This is our first meeting in a week because on 1/19 and 1/21 we had finals which took up a lot of each team member's time.

Mentors Present

Mr. Ledford

Mr. Lee

Tori

Mr. Johnson

Task

Progress

Reflection

Chain re-pathing

30%

  • For our new robot, we need the chain to follow a different path
  • We have hypothesized about how the robot would perform using two large chains instead of a bunch of smaller ones
  • We decided to move the back motors to the front of the robot for the sole purpose of making room for a block/ball scorer in the back
  • To move the motors further forward means to change the sprocket path, which means we need to change our chains :(
  • The chain needs an idle sprocket to be added to accommodate for the obtuse angle on one of the wheel’s sprockets. Because an obtuse angle is formed with the sprocket, it doesn’t touch the chain enough to have a reliable grip
  • An idler is a gear that simply redirects the chain

Post strength

100%

  • Today we put support beams on our robot to hold up the pillars with the arm and winch and electronics
  • We used 6mm screws and nuts to fasten the beams to the channel, because these need to be STRONG
  • We don’t want them to come loose in competition
  • Because the 6mm is too large to fit in the channel, we filed the nuts down until they fit, and now they fit and are incredibly tight

Day: Tuesday

Date: 1-26-16

Start Time: 10am

End Time: 3pm

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Noel

Henry

Gus

Oliva

Noel

Nathan

Robotics is like the ocean: it ebbs and flows

Robotics is like history class: boring.

“We never got donuts” -Gus

Robotics is weird as nothing gets done until a day before competition…

Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Mr Ledford

Task

Progress

Reflection

Improve autonomous programs

50%

  • By this time in the season, we have an understanding of the new language for the robots this year, java.
  • Changing from C++ to java took some getting used to and some frustration, but now we have a robot that moves in autonomous

Continue new bot

40%

  • This is a huge project, but it is coming along great so far
  • Compared to our last robot, we are building this one incredibly fast
  • This robot should have some major function improvements, and it’s feeling more structurally sound already

Day: Thursday

Date: 1-28-16

Start Time: 3:30

End Time: 6:00

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Gino

Olivia

Cole

Jett

Gus

Nathan

Henry

Last practice before competition!

Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Johnson

Mr. Ledford

Task

Progress

Reflection

Autonomous work

80%

Competition is very close, but we are still not entirely done with autonomous

  • We will work on it at competition
  • Currently, the autonomous can reliably make it to the score bin, and it drops the climbers in about 50% of the time
  • If it doesn't run into blocks on the field, the robot can climb to the midzone in auton, but this is rare and we are still working on fine tuning

Climber release paddles

100%

  • Most of today was devoted to making the climber zipline triggers
  • We started almost from scratch
  • These are servo-mounted paddles that swing down upon the press of a button and stick out the side of the bot
  • We constructed them quickly, but came up with an ingenious design
  • Paddles are made from plastic to flex and not hurt the field, otherwise we may incur a major penalty

Here is a picture of our robot with arm and climber paddles fully extended:

PRACTICE

As always, practice makes perfect! Lots of hangs and climber drops in practice today

Day: Saturday

Date: 1-30-16

Start Time: 7am

End Time: 1pm

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Whole Team

Mentors Present

Mr. Lee

Mr. Zhang

Mr. Johnson

Task

Progress

Reflection

2nd division meet

We had our second division meet today so no new things got done

At the competition we won ⅗ of our matches which put us in fourth place for that one competition, but we are still in first overall in our division.

Our biggest problem was the robot emergency stopping in the middle of the match which stopped us from being able to run the robot. Removed  chain-protecting metal bars which were causing robot to catch debris, stop moving and cause an emergency stop.  Problem solved.

Competition Pics:

The drive team ready to rumble:

Pre and post hang: (we are the robot in the foreground)

Day: Tuesday

Date: 2-2-16

Start Time: 3:30

End Time: 6:00

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Olivia

Nathan

Gus

Cole

Henry

Mentors Present

Ledford

Lee

Johnson

Task

Progress

Reflection

Put away competition equipment

100%

  • A large part of the day was cleaning up and re-sorting items after bringing them back from competition

Transition to new bot

  • We transitioned to editing ONLY the new robot, the one we used in last competition is only for practice and to trade wheels (when they get destroyed)

New electronics

28%

  • The new robot needs some electronics, or it will not be able to run
  • The goal with electronics is to conserve space, while still staying in regulations and making sure we have access to all the wires
  • We attached the electronics by velcro, and attached the battery and phone by a sweet holder that Henry made

Trial and error

This is a long battle that never ends

  • With the electronics in beta, we could plug in our robot and drive it a little. This helped us work out kinks in the programming, in the electronics, and other design areas
  • We found that the robot loves to disconnect while we are practicing, hopefully it will not behave that way at competition (two weeks!)

Day: Thursday

Date: 2-4-16

Start Time: 3:30

End Time: 6:00

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Nathan

Gus

Levi

Cole

Jett

Mentors Present

Lee

Ledford

Johnson

Task

Progress

Reflection

  • Even more of yesterday

80% of the robot is done

Today we worked on the same things as last meeting.

  • We continued to upgrade the electronics
  • Connected and practiced with our new bot
  • We made it up the hill and hung for the first time with this robot!
  • Competition is close, we kept brainstorming ways to make sure the matches go as smoothly as possible (strategy, alliance partners, etc)

Paddle improvements

30%

  • Our paddles to trip the zipline that we build the day before last competition were a fail
  • They were too big and got in the way
  • They smashed wires
  • They made it hard to move the arm
  • We ended up taking them off the robot for the last couple matches
  • We are making structural and material improvements to the paddles for the next competition

Day: Saturday

Date: 2-6-16

Start Time: 10am

End Time: 3pm

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Jett

Nathan

Max

Gus

Cole

Levi

Noel

Mentors Present:  Dick Ledford, Mike Johnson, Aaron Lee, Xiao Zhang

Task

Progress

Reflection

Add servos

50% done

  • We have continued to build out and add to our new robot for this tournament.
  • For the servo’s,  we created a new servo horn that better fits our usage of the servos.
  • We also changed the type of servos we are using on the robot because they are a little more rugged and therefore better for our needs.

Continue building the new robot

75% almost done

  • We have continued to build out our new robot!!!!
  • We are very close to be done

Some new improvements to be noticed:

Final week before qualifier:

Day: Tuesday

Date: 2-9-16

Start Time: 3:30

End Time: 6:00

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Jett

Nathan

Max

Gus

Cole

Levi

Noel

Mentors Present:

 Dick Ledford, Mike Johnson, Aaron Lee, Xiao Zhang

Task

Progress

Reflection

Practice even more

  • Competition soon, final preparations are being made, while we practice hardcore
  • Henry, Levi, Nathan, Gus are all possible - driving contenders

Engineering notebook and presentation

  • This notebook doesn’t write itself! Today we touched up many of the articles with heartfelt emotions looking at our earlier robot pictures
  • We fixed up some of the grammar mistakes and re-read articles
  • The presentation to the judges is also very important
  • We made sure everyone on the team knew their role in the presentation in order for the most awesome delivery

Day: Thursday

Date: 2-11

Start Time: 3:30

End Time: 6:00

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Nathan

Gus

Cole

Levi

Noel

Olivia

Mentors Present:

Mr. Austin, Mike Johnson, Aaron Lee, Xiao Zhang

Task

Progress

Reflection

Make our robot LEGAL

100%

  • The robot is currently (we just noticed) a TINY bit over 18” inches from front to back
  • The part that protrudes past 18” is the motor mount for the arm!
  • This means in order to make the robot fit in the box, we needed to flip the motor around, take off the arm, cut the arm, reattach it, and flip the winch around to accommodate for the space of the new motor
  • We are not finished with it yet and will squeeze in a short practice tomorrow to fit everything perfectly

Presentation

  • Tomorrow will also be a day to squeeze in a short practice presentation to the judges
  • Today we made a list of all outreach and parts of the robot that are worth talking about
  • The most important is the wheels!

Zip line paddles

90%

  • We entirely took off the zipline paddles and remodeled them to something different
  • Currently, there is no more plastic, just a metal bar that will trip the triggers!
  • Hopefully this will work better than our last attempt
  • We have the programming fully completed
  • The only reason these are currently at 90% is because we have not tested them enough to be 100% complete

Here is a picture of the zip trigger along with the rest of the robot’s wiry hot mess:

Day: Saturday

Date: 2-13-16

Start Time: 6:45 AM

End Time: 7:00 PM

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Entire Team

Lets win!!!

Mentors Present:

All Mentors Present

Task

Progress

Reflection

Tournament

0%

This is the last entry, as we have a tournament …


Task

Progress

Reflection

Start on mounting ODS sensor

Day: Tuesday

Date: 2-16

Start Time: 9:00

End Time: 3:00

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Gus

 Spring Break for Parker School this week.

Mentors Present:

Mike Johnson, Aaron Lee, Xiao Zhang


Task

Progress

Reflection

Finished mounting ODS sensors

  • Need to program the servos to lower and raise the sensor.

Attached wires for the 45 degree arm servos

  • Need to attach the servos permanently to the robot and install the arms to swing on the servos

Tested Autonomous

  • Robot successfully used the white line to drop the climbers 2 out of 3 times.  (Note, that lowering and raising the servos are not part of the autonomous program yet.)

Day: Wednesday

Date: 2-17

Start Time: 9:30

End Time: 3:00

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Gus

Spring Break for Parker School this week.

Mentors Present:

George Austin, Xiao Zhang

Day: Tuesday

Date: 2-23

Start Time: 3:30

End Time: 6:00

Engineers Present

Special Note (from them)

Henry

Gus

Nathan

Levi

Cole

Noel

Olivia

Almost to state. We need LED lights

Mentors Present:

Mr Lee, Mr Austin

Tasks

Progress

Reflection

Discuss drive strategy

30%

  • Although we know our drive strategy by heart at this point in the season, it is still important and fun for the drive team to discuss how the matches are going to evolve
  • We also talked about elements of competition and with our coach, Mr Lee
  • This is an ongoing conversation that we will be having until we are done with the season!

Plate the wheels!

100%

  • We took all the wheels off the robot (quite a nuisance) and plated the wheels with a chemical nickel spray over the weekend, with help from our science department
  • This will hopefully solve some of our connectivity issues
  • Usually during matches our robot builds up a charge and when it touches something metal ie the mountain, there is a visible spark in the discharge of electricity
  • This discharge is threatening to our sensitive robot electronics board
  • Hopefully this nickel wheel plating makes the wheels keep the charge build up to a minimum by discharging the robot through the floor
  • We also managed to put the wheels back ON the robot in record time and fit them with the chains (hard to do with our wheels because it is necessary to synchronize them) which makes our progress 100%

Here is a picture of our SHINY new wheels:

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