After competition, we reflected on all the problems the robot had. Using the reflections, we set a basic path for the robot. We know for sure, we need to tackle the following problems
1.Robot's too slow
Currently, the intake is fast enough to grab bucky balls while driving and our driver gained a lot more experience in competition. Because of this, we have the capabilities of speeding up our drivetrain.
2.Very few Teams have a hanging zone autonomous
Because very few teams have an autonomous in the hanging zone, the overall alliance can lose or tie the autonomous bonus. So to overcome this, our team can create a sophisticated autonomous for the hanging zone.
3.Large balls and Bucky balls fall out the side
we mainly relied on the low center of gravity of large balls to keep the large ball in the intake. However, due to the shaking of the storage, defense, and keeping our lift too low, large balls tend to fall off.
4. Buckies are difficult to grab along the wall
The main problem of our tower rollers is that they were too tall and our rollers were too small. The tower rollers would hit the field perimeter and open out, dropping all stored balls.
We were still waiting for our robot, so we worked on problem number 4 with the materials we have at hand. We gathered eight, 3 inch standoffs and eight one inch standoffs with couplers. We placed lockplates and combined the standoffs to form 8 pillars. We then connected 4 pillars to each side roller. Using this design, the tower should be more secure and shorter, allowing us to grab buckies more easily.
In addition to this, we changed our tower rollers. Before we modified the rollers, the rollers were made of 24-tooth sprockets, wrapped in tank tread and rubber bands. We haven't had any problems with rubber bands slipping. We had the suspicion that our large balls slipped when rubbing against the rollers. In response to that, our next roller used 8 pieces of tread, forming a squarish roller. We then wrapped these new rollers in rubber bands, and used an additional 8 rubber bands to lock these rubber bands in place (the same way as UVM).
Today, we had an officer meeting during club day. During this meeting, we decided to schedule 2 meetings over thanksgiving break: One on the 25th, and one on the 30th. Both of these meetings will be 10 hours long, so we can get heavy progress on documentation, judging, programming, and mechanics.
In this meeting, we worked on the funnels.
from the competition, we noticed the funnels had 2 problems
1. they were too long. Though this length allowed the funnels to engulf bucky balls, it's extreme length prevented the team from expanding the funnels easily during driver control
2. The funnels had issues expanding. Because the funnels slid out to expand, we needed a way to keep this system into dimension. To keep it in dimension, the linear slides were manually compressed at the start of the match. This compression created enormous normal force. Due to this, frictional force was enormous. Even if we placed the funnels at the edge of the locking system, the funnels would not expand.
Because of this, we worked on shortening the funnels. We completely got rid of the expansion system, and moved the hooks closer to the edge of the funnels. We then ran a test without power. We opened the funnels and slowly pushed the drivetrain forward. To our surprise, the buckies flowed right into the front of the robot like we wanted.
The team worked on improving the intake.
First off, we worked on improving the large ball storage. We brought the linear slides closer together so the large balls do not rest too deeply in. Before, when the rails were 12.5 inches apart, the large balls would get wedged so far down, the large ball wouldn't roll out. Currently, the rails are about 9 inches apart.
We then tested to see if large balls can go down the storage without rolling over the intake towers. We placed a large ball on the storage and let it go. The large ball rolled down the storage and the tower rollers stopped the large balls, just as desired. With this, we should be able to store 2 large balls and control the amount we dispense if desired. We still need a railing however.
We also worked on various roller designs. We cant test the robot without a controller, so we're using the time to make every possible roller design we can think of. Our design needs to be as big enough so we can grab buckies against the wall, but it also needs to be small enough so it doesn't affect our large ball grabbing. If the rollers are too big, they will rub against the drivetrain, inhibiting our large ball grab. If the larger rollers do not work out well, we may have to resort to reducing the large ball roller width. With less width, the robot will grab large balls slower.
On the 23, we saw a video of a competition in the pacific. We were heavily surprised by the quality of these robots, drivers, and programming. These robots filled the columns in 15 seconds, they scored 3 large balls, 1 bucky, and prepared for driver control in autonomous, and these robots could shoot. We started reflecting on all aspects of our robot.
As a result, we decided to go with a more risky, yet sophisticated approach with our design. Our states competition is in March, so January and February are just filler competitions. We still plan on improving our engineering notebook, so with this, we'll have a backup plan at States.
Large Ball Storage
Various Roller prototypes
Engineering Notebook + Judging Strategy
At competition, a few teams asked us about how our engineering notebook was arranged, so we're posting a few things which were included in our notebook
First off, we used an electronic engineering notebook. We printed out the content we had and placed them inside laminating sheets, encased by an inch think binder
The book is topped with a simple blue cover sheet with our logo and team number. We hoped that the color would get judges in a relaxed mood when they first viewed the notebook
Then, on the very first page, we have a collage of 6 photos. We continued to add another 5 pages of collages in hopes that the judges are immediately wowed. After this, we have an About us page, which includes a team photo, as well as a description of our team. After that, we added biographies like in the judging criteria
After the intro, we divided the notebook into 5 sections, each labeled with a colored divider.
Under the first divider, we had our budget. This included how much the robot costed. On the next few pages, we added our fundraisers/grants/mentor support/ anything which helps our club run smoothly
After that, we included our analysis of the game(our charts of the points, graphed and compared via point values) and our strategy with photos for clarity. This was about 10 pages long
From there, our next divider was our logs. The logs were basically our weekly updates, however they were reformatted to meet judging criteria more. For example, weeks were divided and summaries were added. The summaries target exact judging criteria to help us win other awards. We also added pro/con charts to increase appeal and organization
Then, after our logs, we added a section just based on programming. Looking at the area around us, we believe that programming is an underachieved field. So, using this section, we hoped that we get one of the highest judging scores for the think award. In this section, we copied and pasted our complete code and wrote what each line meant, and how it helped our robots become more competitive
After our programming section, we then included a handout section. In this section, we made papers which targets awards. We made a paper to target the judges award, a paper based on the think award, a paper to target the innovate award, and a paper to target the create/build/and design award