School finally started and academics is hitting the team hard. We completely stopped all progress on the robot to tackle recruitment, organization, administration, and education.
On August 15, we had a shop clean up day and open house. Obviously the perfect way to meet freshmen is after sweating through the clean up. Just kidding, it wasn't that bad. We cleared out the closet and placed materials in the appropriate places. We took inventory and wrote down parts we needed. This way, we can create alternate club dues for the people who are antsy about giving money. Also during the clean up, we gathered all the dust off the tables and ground that accumulated over summer vacation. After this, we met as a whole and discussed plans for FTC, Start up, and Education. We knew FTC started on the 7th of September, so we used the time to discuss what we'll do with the freshmen for 4 meetings. For the First meeting, we wanted to do rotations. In this, we'll break up the rotations into critical portions to teach he freshmen about the team. Then for the remaining 3 meetings, we would start with a team building exercise, then move on to prototyping for Ring it Up (last year's ftc game). However, there's a twist. Since prototyping is boring to some people, we decided to make them use the prototypes in a game of human robots. The rules of human robots are the same as the original ring it up, but the robots themselves have to be people that walk on their knees and manipulate objects with their elbows and wrists. So that means when they develop good prototypes, they can then use those manipulators they build rather than their body.
After the discussion, we reviewed things we wanted to cover in open house. This includes the scholarship opportunities, the CAS opportunities, and the culture of the team. During the actual open house, we created shifts to visit classes and advertise, use the Frisbee Shooter Cannon, awards, and used past engineering notebooks to attract freshmen. By the end of the day, we attracted 14 students. It was 1 less then previous years, but compared to how organized it was this year, it was quite the accomplishment
Today we collaborated as a group, discussing the freshmen. We decided to go with 40 dollars across the board for club dues due to the growing need to replace materials. After this, we decided to deviate slightly from rotations. We now have a Mechanics station, which will discuss the broad topics of engineering. A Fabrication station, which will discuss the fine topics of engineering. A lifts station to discuss the variety and critical points of lifts (Though some overlap is inevitable, this will help fortify concepts). An Electronics+Programming station limited to FTC and Vex stuff. Spirit and Safety will discuss the areas of the shop as well as attire. And We also built off spirit and safety with a Fun station, which is learning how to operate and driving around the T-shirt cannon.
We split the team into groups based on preference first, then tweaked for efficiency. The groups went to various parts of the shop to set up their stations and discuss what they want to and need to cover. From there, the presidents micromanaged and assisted each group as necessary. Because the fun station required minimal set up, the team split into 2 groups. 1 set up the T-shirt cannon while another prepared the field. We ran into the issues of charging t-shirt cannon batteries until we realized the breakers wouldn't supply the outlets electricity. We also ran into issues setting up the ring it up field. Not only did we forget the dimensions, we're missing a few of our pvc pieces. Other than this, Lifts are building linear slide and arm prototypes. Electroics and programming set up some funny sample code and a basic circuit. Spirit and safety developed a list of topics they wanted to cover, fabrication grabbed scrap pieces and set up a script of what they wanted to discuss, and mechanics also did the same
Today we continued working on presentations.
In electronics and programming, we decided to cover basic controls and movements, but include humorous titles to grab their attention. In addition to this, we plan on covering the types of electronics, what they're used for and basic ways to code for them.
In fabrcation, we covered the small aspects of mechnics. We covered combining metal, gear towers, materials and properties of pieces. We used the vex robot as a base of our presentation and used scrap metal to give listeners a connection to what we're discussing
In the fun station, we hooked up the T-shirt cannon and Frsibee shooter. We ran into issues powering each robot though. We thought our batteries or controllers were old (after all, they are 5 years old possibly 7). However, after inspection, we noticed that the circuit breakers in the room were off. After switching the breakers, the batteries could charge. After this, we tweaked the code on each robot so they were suitable for use in tight spaces.
In the lifts division, we discussed Arms, Linkages, and Linear lifts (scissor lifts are blasphemy). We discussed how to construct such a system as well as the pros and cons of each. We went more in-depth into bearings and axles. However, as time ran out, we would also discuss other aspects of the club
Mechanics: In mechanics we covered the broad aspects of engineering. We discussed various manipulators, drivetrains, as well as linking them together to form a powerful system. We discussed the pros and cons of each manipulator as well as a few drivetrains which (we hope) will inspire the incoming members
Spirit and Safety: In this division, we covered the areas of the shop, safe attire, and proper technique. In addition to this, we discussed the importance of spirit in competition and the traits of competition.
Freshman has been added to your group!*Cheering and Applauding*
Today, the new members have been introduced to the basics of
Hydra Robotics through rotations:
We also did a team building exercise: Fight Cl- I mean... Human Robots!
The freshman have also picked which teams they would LIKE to be on, which i will put the results up in a minute. Not much to talk about here, but... yeah!
The freshman would LIKE to be arranged as such
Taø Ling Riley Garrison Daniel
Kenneth Aradia Olivia
Arik Timmy Melissa
and the polls for what they are expecting.
by doing the survey, this makes it easier for the administration to divide up members and target what they want from the team.
Today, 8/30/13, we started with some team building exercises such as Introduction circles, The floor is lava(Which group 2 won), and Human Robots. Lift Team planned two separate designs for linear slide lifts and began building. Claws Designed their mechanisms, and have also started to build.
Some important upcoming events are as follows:
September 7th: 10AM-4PM is the FTC Kick-off at Middleton. Please provide youir own transportation.
September 14th: 11-2 (11-4 for Officers) Robo-que (BBQ) at HHS.
We continued having team building exercises. We played games such as human robots to get members more accustomed to each other. we decided to play ring it up, an ftc game that was played last year. From this, we developed manipulators, drivetrains, and lift systems to emulate what people did to score.
In vex, we started working on electronic changes on the robot. One of the biggest changes was the decision to change the 393 motors on the intake to 269. We reasoned that we would draw less battery life, giving the robot better performance throughout the match. This extra battery power could go towards other systems such as the drivetrain. Unlike other robots, we only have a single battery at a time, and we use 3 aged batteries for competition. Battery life will be important for our consistancy. Due to the decrease in power, we needed a way to maximize grabbing speed. With less force, we have less acceleration. To accomodate for this, we tried widening our rollers as much as possible to minimize the amount of spin needed to grab a ball
Today was more of a recovery day. Our sister teams were very excited with the release of a new game tomorrow. Because of this, we decided to help them out. We made last ditch attempted to finish up their prototypes for the human robots game. However, near the end of the day, we had to disassemble the pieces for competition. Surprisingly, the incoming freshmen were extremely upset by this. Don't mistake this for a bad thing. With this, we found out we truly have interested members.
Today, we decided to do something different. Each year, we've always had problems with funds. In the past, we would always minimize cutting, save our parts, and let our donations cover new materials. Our car washes and grant money would cover all of our registration and travels. However, this small amount of dontations were never enough to get us the parts we wanted. So we held a grant day. We brought in Eric's Mom, an individual who writes grants for a non profit organization. She talked to us on how to present ourselves and write grants. Using this knowledge, we continued to gather information of possible organizations that provide grants. Once we gathered a list of 40 companies, we each developed letters and rewards for companies. The companies we target either give money grants or supply grants.
In this meeting, we heavily inspected the robot. We noticed that a ton of parts were loose and the front left sprocket on the wheel was missing. We implemented new, incoming members and inserted new sprockets
We had a Thursday meeting because the football game was scheduled for today. We worked on the T-shirt cannon, but we had issues making it drive. For some reason, the robot launches into an autonomous program (which we did not write). Hopefully we'll figure things out in the future. The sad part about this thing was that when we got to the football game, we got rained out. No foot balls, not shirts, just wasted time and disappointments :(
We started stabilizing the intake system so it can handle the rigor of competition. Currently, each roller is connected by 2 standoffs and a pillow block. This orientation is great for light weight, however due to the minimal points of connection and the short distance between these two points, the rollers wobble terribly. To remedy this, we want to install a piece of channel which has far more points of contact, and naturally, is more stable. In addition to this, we started prototyping a hanging system. The hanging system uses an elastic raise, winch lower. The winch will be powered at 10 : 1 torque. however, this torque ratio wont be created by gearing, the tether will be placed far away from the joint. this should create enormous mechanical advantage. In addition to this, we fixed the front left wheel. We noticed that the sprockets we inserted last time do not match the ratio of other wheels. Because of this, we swapped ratios.
Today, was robo-cue. We had a good turn out, but unfortunately most of the parents were from returning members. Nevertheless, we continued as planned. We supplied food for people and started off with a fantastic presentation from the two presidents. Parents even walked up to them after the presentation to compliment them. After their presentation, Marian Manganello, our lead mentor spoke about the team. She emphasized the importance of this activity and the contributions parents can make. After this, we demonstrated the frisbee shooter and got huge cheers. After demoing the shooter, the members split out into the workroom and started doing activities. In the work room, we had robots displayed. In addition to this, the T-shirt cannon was shooting bags to members and parents and we created another version of human robots. Rather than just Ring it up, we decided to mix in traits of Bowled Over. the scoring remained the same for ring it up, but as an equalizer, balls in crates were worth 2 points each and a crate above the highest goal were 50 points each. Mixed in with commentary, members and parents had a great time.
The vex sector wired up the robot in accordance to the code. Though it is complete, the wires still lie in a very cramped space. Once wires are ziptied to the robot however, this should be fixed. Additionally, we continued to prototype the hanging system. The prototype is a 4 bar linkage which is about 17.5 inches long. On the end of the linkage is our old hanging hook from one of our earlier weeks. Currently, the prototype is too short to hang on its own, but by changing the hook and adjusting the linkage to turn more, we can reach the hang. So now that the structure is compelete, we need to build the winch to power it. Unfortunately we do not have the high tension chain we need. Because of this, the prototype will use 4 sets of regular chain. Once we get the winch set up, we can then prototype the hanging system
We're going into our daily routine in robotics now. Teams are splitting into sectors and each teams are working towards a robot. The only announcement was regarding the meeting on the 21st. It has been changed from a general meeting to an officer meeting due to our monetary needs and a predicted minimal turnout. Other reminders: We have a bonus meeting October 12, and we have a demonstrastion October 15. Start logging your CAS and Service hours.
Vex continued with stablizing the intake system, prototyping the intake system and testing the robot. As jericho mentioned, vex couldn't test the robot due to dead batteries and the standoffs were applied to stabilize the intake. The batteries were dead from lack of use, so keep it as lesson to all teams to charge their batteries when you're still in testing or prototyping stage. After closer inspection of the intake, the plate that we added a few meetings did it's job to a degree. It stabilize the axle so it doesn't flop around, however it's virtually "cantilevered". The second support created from standoffs isn't working well. Due to it's floppness, the axle is unsupported on one side, allowing the axles to bend. As for prototyping, we continued to build a mock 4 bar linkage with hook. The system uses an elastic rise and a motor powered descent to pull the lift up and down. The motor power pulling it down is geared at 10 to 1 torque. As for the system itself, we worked on stabilizing the hanging system by supporting both sides of the axles and we started adding deadweight to mimic the weight of a real robot. We also started constructing a winch made of sprockets, 36 tooth high tension gears, and short, 8 inch rails. The biggest problem we ran into was getting screws to unite the gears and sprokets together for stability. luckily, we still had 2 inch screws. From there, we tried giving the prototype a more legit feel, so we added spacers. While constructing, we noticed we are running deathly low on collars and screws. In response to this, we dismantled our protobot for parts.
The officers grouped together to work on the navy grant. We have a deadline next week for us to turn in our "white paper". A white paper is basically a synopsis about what the team does. Eric's Mom talked with us on how to present ourselves effectively when writing grants.
Random Officer Meeting Pics
Safety+Spirit Capt at Work
A student from Hillsborough High School got hurt while playing catch. We took him to the robotics to patch him up