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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.

Build Season Update 1-31-11

Things are moving right along! We got the chain to length and the wheels and everything mounted, so we hope to have a video of us driving tomorrow! Unfortunately, the motors and transmissions for our strafe wheel haven't arrived, so it'll only be tank, but we always like the occasional sanity check on our reductions.

We have hopefully hit a gold mine for belting for our elevator. A local source may be able to donate up to 100 feet (!!!) plus pulleys for our and 3130's elevator systems. Now its just a matter of getting the transmissions and throwing it all together - and of course, it working...

A manually powered pneumatic gripper was thrown together that works quite well. It can grab from a variety of angles and onto a variety of tube thickness, always applying the same force because of the pneumatics. See a video (Youtube, Vimeo). The other contender for the title of "end manipulator" is a roller claw of sorts, which we threw together in this video (Youtube, Vimeo).

And we think our bumpers this year are going to be particularly special... more to come...

Looking forward to a driving day!