Welcome to The Fighting Calculators' blog!

Get the latest news about FRC Team 2175 right here!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rebound Rumble Day 3 - 1/9/2012

More of the same today. More brainstorming, more prototyping. We started thinking more about collecting balls, learned more about the rules, and kept working on the shooter prototype. Still no footage of that...stay tuned!

A lot of ideas were brought up for how to collect balls off the ground and how to convey them to the shooter. Nothing definite, but there were some great and unique ideas that we may implement in the final design. One interesting thing we noticed from watching this video...the bridges are covered in polycarbonate, which we were not taking into account when we started brainstorming. A little experimenting with some polycarb around the shop showed that the traction wheels we were planning to use slip a lot on the smooth surface. The AndyMark wheels provided in the kit, however, gripped hard and didn't let go. So we'll see what comes out of that.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rebound Rumble Day 2

The build season is off and running! We spent most of yesterday (Kickoff) discussing strategy for this year's game with our partner team, the ERRORs. Nothing was really decided for sure, but we had a great time discussing the rules and intricacies of Rebound Rumble. Out of it we got some great guidelines for the game this year. For one, if there was ever a year to figure out the vision system, this is it. We hope to use the Kinect onboard the bot this year to help track and autotarget the hoops.

We've had a lot of ideas flying around for the last two days. The majority of the debate has been centered around the scoring method. (Shooter? Dumper? Air cannon?) The air cannon idea really didn't work, for a variety of reasons. Dumper is low on our list as well, due to the fact that we'd still have trouble getting it in the second level of hoops, and also due to the fact that it's really boring. On the shooter front, we managed to get a nice prototype working with some CIM motors, Toughboxes, and two traction wheels. It managed to shoot the balls 10 feet without any upward angle, which is not too shabby for a day 2 prototype! It's still a proof of concept at this point, but this is probably where our focus will be when it comes to scoring.

Unfortunately, no one seemed to have a camera. And the video I took with a phone got lost in cyberspace. Ah, well. I'll make sure to get some footage up within the next few days.

The other subject of debate has been the drivetrain. We still don't have any clear idea of where we're going with that, but we ruled out slide drive, tread drive, and "jump drive". Tank drive is looking very feasible this year since we would like to have a rotating turret on top to target the hoops. Due to that, the robot base itself shouldn't have to be quite so maneuverable. And with some good driving practice (please!) inaccuracy shouldn't be a huge issue anyway.

Still to discuss are things like picking up balls and safely navigating the ramps. More updates will be posted throughout the build season! (Hopefully daily!) It's gonna be a great season!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

State Fair Competition

Come see the Fighting Calculators at the Minnesota State Fair! We will be competing on Thursday, August 24 and Wednesday, August 31 in the Education Building at 10am, noon, and 2pm.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ship Day Video

Here's a video showing off our robot right before we packed it up on ship day! This is basically how the robot will perform at the North Star regional!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

2011 Unveiling Video

Here's some (dramatized) footage of our robot, The Scorpion, in action at the Simley practice event on the Saturday before ship. More to come!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our 2011 Robot

Say hello to our 2011 Robot! The last week has been really busy (hence the lack of blog posts), and we've getting a lot done. The drive and tube scoring systems are pretty near finished, we're just waiting on the cylinders to power the gripper. There's a video of us testing the elevator and doing some driving posted at Vimeo and Youtube. Enjoy!

The minibot is not so far along, and that is now the priority for the next few days. We'd like to at least have a deployment mechanism to practice with at the pre-ship event on Saturday. And of course there are plenty of other finishing touches! And we need a name for this thing real bad!

See you Minnesotans on Saturday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Food & Fundraising!

Come support the team on March 22 & 28! Team 3130 - the ERRORS are holding two fundraisers to support both their team and the Fighting Calculators.

Fundraiser 1:
 - Location: Deleo Bros Pizza in Woodbury, MN
 - Time: 5:00 to 7:00 PM on March 22
 - RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=102661003146198.

Fundraiser 2:
 - Location: American Burger Emporium in Woodbury, MN
 - Time: 5:30 to 7:30 PM on March 28
 - RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=199760483369146.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Build Season Update 2-3-11

We drove!!! After all the work we've put into our 'bot so far, it was very satisfying today to see it perform as expected. The strafe module works very well. It proved wise of us to design it to be adjustable, because we had to adjust it immediately after mounting it to get contact with the floor. Right now it is powered with 2 CIMs, which we will swap out with RS775s in CIMulators when they arrive in a about a week. Here's a video:

This is not even close to half the work. We still have an elevator to finish, a gripper to complete, and a minibot with deployment method to fully design. We'd also like to get some drive practice in if at all possible, since this drivetrain is particularly unwieldy in unfamiliar hands. If all goes well, we will be all set for the preship event on the 19th! But that's a big if....

18 days!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Build Season Update 2-2-11

Got lots done in the shop today.

We finished the chain tensioners and they seem to work nicely. They are a little different from previous years' implementations, but are definitely an improvement (if they work).

The electronics had a little more wiring done, although we're still waiting on motor, elevator, and other component placement to finish that up. Tomorrow, 3130 will have an RJ11 crimp kit, so we can get the CAN wired.

And the exciting part! Our second Andymark order arrived!!! This comprised all of the strafe drive system components except the Banebots motors and CIMulators. Since these will take at least another week to arrive, we'll be using some of our abundant CIMs for now. We hope to have everything driving tomorrow!!!

And there's nothing more fun than accidentally letting a 4" dualie omni wheel completely fall apart and then putting it back together...

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Death of the Octagon

This post is long overdue, and concerns a fundamental aspect of our 2011 design. You probably saw the post with the octagonal frame, and may have fallen a bit in love with it as we did. However, we are sad to say that it has been abandoned in favor of a larger, rectangular frame. The rationale was that while the octagon provided some higher maneuverability and style points, it limited space for components and threatened instability due to a high CG and a small wheel base. The rectangular base allows us to put the wheels in the corners (adding a fifth one sideways in the center in a layout known as "Slide Drive") and keep control components much lower. Despite our (somewhat irrational) attachment to the octagon, we are happy with this decision. Here is the new design:
The decision was made a week or so ago, and this is the frame we have welded up with drive train nearly ready. We hope to have a video soon!

We've kept our basic strategy of maneuverability and quick tube scoring in front. This design is still just as maneuverable, but the CG is lower, the robot is more stable, and we have a lot more real estate (especially for the minibot :O ). Kind of a no-brainer.