Final Stretch

Week 5 -6 Reveiw

The Polar Vortex affected FRC Teams all around the United States. Some Eastern Teams asked FIRST to change the bag date, which is this Tuesday, but FIRST declined their request. 

Our team was also affected by this, so for a collection of days in the past two weeks, the team was unable to meet due to our school closing campus and afterschool activities.

Knowing that more snow days were on their way, the team decided to take all the essential tools and parts that we needed to our lead mentors house to continue work.

At the beginning of Week 5, our robot, Gobiesox, was nothing more than a completed drive based with a partially completed climber and a elevator shaft attached with clamps.

At the house, the build team finished constructing the elevator system and riveted it to the drive base. The programming team wired up the connections from the electrical board to the sims, solenoids, and motors.

As with any design, there is always going to be some complications that need to be resolved. Design team worked with build team to troubleshoot these design changes. New parts were cut out and bent along in addition to numerous 3D printed parts.

The whole team came back together once was school was opened up last week and began to test the various systems. The sims motors for the pulley system for the elevator started to smoke when tested. This was because the sim motors were at a 1 to 9 gear ratio, so we switched them out for 1 to 45 gear ratio motors. 

Then the team tested the climber system by putting the suction cups on a Plexiglass panel. Thankfully, the vacuum seal on the cups worked.

Finally the team tested the suction cups on the underside of the grabber. They stuck right to the hatch panel but when the grabber was lifted up, the panel caught on the robot and the panel dropped. To combat this, the drive team would drive the robot up to the panel, lower the suction cups, raise the elevator and then raise the grabber to the vertical position. 

From CAD to Reality

Week Three Review:

Despite the fact that the robot has not been completed in the three weeks we had hoped to finish it in, the team is still chugging along. Everyone is pitching in to help, some members even working with other sub teams to help troubleshoot design and build technicalities.

The programming team has been able to cut out and wire a final electrical board for the robot. This will serve as the mother board for all the robots electrical functions. In addition, they started working on the final code for the robot because the mechanical design of the robot is primarily finished. This included the work they finished on the testing of the vision system.

The programming team perfected the elevator system by adding lead weights to the elevator shaft to simulate the added weight of the appendage. Then they edited the code so that the calibrations would compensate for the added weight but rise to the designated height. 

Design team had to work past the issues they were running into with the space inside the robot. This specifically had to do with the placement of where the transmission was going in reference to where the elevator shaft was going to be placed. They worked on the winch system for the lifter, which would be for the elevator shaft, and the winch system for the climber, so that the robot could lift itself up and over onto the third platform.

The build team was able to finish the drive base, complete with wheels, transmissions, chains and one section of the elevator attached. They finished 3D printing plastic parts that would go with the pulley system to raise and lower the the elevator. In addition, they began to work on the appendage that would grab the cargo ball and the hatch panels. 

Let’s Start Fabrication!

Week Two Review:

It is astonishing to see how much the team has accomplished in just two weeks. On Wednesday of this past week, the design team was beginning to integrate multiple mechanical parts together, ultimately creating a detailed draft of what the robot would look like and how its mechanical parts would function and interacting with the field and game pieces.

As of right now, an elevator shaft, through the use a pulley system, will raise and lower a dual-use appendage to deliver cargo and hatch panels to the cargo ship and rockets. The dual use appendage will rest on a hinge connected to a realignment system. This hinge allows the appendage to move from a horizontal position to a vertical position.

The appendage itself is composed of two sets of feed wheels connected to two bars that are slightly angled, forming a rough “V.” The feed wheels themselves are distanced vertically at such a width that the cargo (ball) will be stuck when the feed wheels engage. On the underside of the appendage is two suction cups. Two pegs placed on the front of the robot will align the disk with the underside of the appendage. When one side of the disk touches one peg, all the robot has to do is drive forward and the disk will line up. The appendage will be lowered downwards onto the hatch panel and a pneumatic pump will suck the remaining air in the cups so that the disk is firmly attached to the underside of the appendage. Using the hinge, the appendage will then flip up vertically, allowing the hatch panel to be placed on hook and loop tape on either the cargo ship or the rocket(s).

On the back of the robot is a frame that can flip over onto the third level platform. Two large suction cups attached to both corners of the frame will be placed down and connect with the flat surface of the platform. After the cups are fully attached to the platform, the robot, using a winch system, will flip itself over onto the third platform.

Programming team is still testing PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) control to be able to tell the RoboRio precise position controls for the elevator. This system only takes a few milliseconds for the control system to correct the placement of the appendage height. 

In addition to the testing of code for the elevator system, programming team has gotten to work on the camera system that will serve as the basis for the lateral realignment system mention earlier. The camera, placed on the robot at the same level of the reflective tape, will detect certain colors, specifically the green light from a green LED on the robot. It will then base measurements on how far left or right the robot is from the center of the hatch openings. Once it has taken these measurements, it will send them to the RoboRio which will tell the lateral realignment system how far to the left or right that the appendage needs to be moved. The programming team had just gotten the camera to detect green at the time of this writing and properly communicate with the RoboRio.

The build team has gotten to work on T and L brackets that will hold the skeleton of the robot together. They started work on the drive base, first by cutting pieces for the drive base and then riveting them together with the T and L brackets. With the help of some parents, they have almost finished constructing field pieces that we can test with once the robot is fully constructed.

At this rate, the team is right on track of our “Three Week Build, Three Week Test” schedule plan that we had decided on after kickoff.

The Clock is Ticking…

Week One Review:

Destination: Deep Space has presented the team with a game that proves to be a fun challenge for all sub teams. After kickoff and a bit of lunch, the team read through the FRC Game Manual and came up with a list of priorities that we should focus on. Small discussion groups each came up with a design concept that could complete these priorities and presented to the rest of the team. Many ideas were thrown together that were will liked and voted on by the team.

After getting a basis upon what the robot needed to do, the design team began to work on a mechanical concept for an elevator that could extend upwards and deliver balls and hatch panels with an appendage that is currently still being fleshed out.

Interestingly enough, one of the pre-season projects that design, build, and programming team worked on over that fall for training was a small elevator that could travel up and down a shaft. Programming team is using this elevator to help program the new elevator once it has been fabricated. They are using PID control code to tell the robot how high the elevator needs to extend to.

Since there is so much going on, business team is working hard on updating you on what is going on with the team. Major projects in the works include a new storyboard for this year in addition to getting T-Shirts ready to go for team members.