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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Build Season Day 6

Today we continued work on the prototype robot including the mounting of the tough boxes and the electronics board. We (aka Aren) downloaded coded and at the end of the meeting we were able to drive the bot around (strafing, driving, and pinning). However, one set of motors seemed to be having some issues, but we ran out of time to positively determine what said issues were. We will all try driving it tomorrow/this weekend.

Action Items:

Drive/chassis system:
Figure out what's wrong with that one set of motors.
Figure out why the signal light wasn't doing anything.
Watch where the center of gravity is. (i.e. check that the battery is centered)
Work out any remaining bugs in the code.
Complete our analysis of drive train options and continue moving towards a completed frame design that we can send off to be welded together.

Arm system:
More CADing!
Current design ideas include:
elevator and a (shorter-ish) arm
double jointed arm (more like an arm and an articulated wrist)

Gripper system:
More CADing! And probably some prototyping....
Current design ideas include:
powered wheels on the top and rollers on the bottom
powered wheels on the top and the bottom
a pneumatic grabber of some sort

You may be wondering... The Minibot is kind of on the back burner for now. While it is a lot of points, we don't have a whole lot of people to split off and focus on that right now. Because of this, we are considering pulling in MSA students from FLL to work on this, as a way to get them involved, get this task done, and keep the team alive. We also plan to commit our own efforts to this a little later when some of these more important details (we think) are figured out. And it is part of the Withholding Allowance, so if worst comes to worst we'll do it after Ship.


Silly us. We jumped right into gruesome shop details without any introduction. On Saturday January 8th, FIRST revealed the 2011 FRC game to us at the Kickoff. It is called LogoMotion and involved placing inflated tubes on racks to form the FIRST logo and deploying tower-climbing minibots at the end of the match. Here's the 2011 Game Animation:

The FIRST website has lots more information.

Now we scramble for 6 weeks to design, build, program, and otherwise conjure a robot to compete in the game!

Build Season Day 5

Today we continued working on the prototype robot. We took one CIM out of the tough boxes and reassembled them with one CIM. We also assembled the CIMple boxes. The CIMple boxes were mounted to the chassis and the chain is in place. (Side note: The motors are facing outwards instead of inwards like normal people mount them. When we build it for real we will have 2 layers (i.e. top and bottom) but we don't want to make 2 layers for this prototype.) (We still need to mount the tough boxes.) We removed the electronics board from last year's robot and it conveniently fits right between the wheels. We need to add a jaguar to the board. It will go in the place that the 2 victors (which we removed) were sitting.

Next items of action:
Finish the prototype:
attach the tough boxes
attach the electronics board
find someplace to mount the battery

CAD/create arm designs

CAD/create minibot designs

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Build Season Day 4

The team shared our design ideas with the East Ridge team at the beginning of the meeting yesterday. We are in the process of building a working drive prototype, and are working out the details for reductions, motors, etc. We also learned that the robot needs to fit inside a 84 inch cylinder instead of a 60 inch cylinder. This means that we have a few more options for the lifting mechanism and this will probably be discussed today.

Our plan for the first few weeks is to continue the brainstorming and fill out the details to the best few designs for each system (drive, arm, gripper, minibot) using CAD, calculations, and drawings. Then we hope to do what prototyping is necessary to fully assess which designs are best. By week 2 or 3, we will have a completed CAD model of our competition robot, send it off to our manufacturer for the initial frame welding and construction, and then get it back and put everything else together. The remaining 1-3 weeks would ideally be for testing everything exhaustively, getting the code working how we want, and getting lots of drive practice. This process is radically against the traditional Fighting Calculator method of just throwing together a robot for 6 weeks, and we hope it will yield a more polished product and give us more time to work out the bugs and get it competition ready.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Build Season Day 3

Today the team discussed the two remaining ideas for a drive-train and the tube manipulation device. We decided on a octagonal bot with 4 sets of omni-wheels. Two of the wheels will have slightly more power for driving forward. The gripper has yet to be finalized, but we have determined that using a vacuum on the gripper is not a good option. The arm will be a thin 4 foot long piece of metal that is powered from a single shoulder joint. This shoulder will be attached to some type of elevating mechanism on the robot to allow it to tuck into the robot at the beginning of the match and extend to pick up tubes off of the floor and reach the highest hanger which is over 9 feet from the ground. The robot will be able to hang the tubes on the 4 highest hangers by flipping the tube over the back, but the lowers one must be hung with the robot facing forward. Unless a better option is found, the camera will be mounted in a fixed spot looking down the arm.