Objective: Finish up all mechanics today
Problems: Parts didn’t come in
Solutions: Work on what can be done now
Tasks: Add tensioners to the chain bar, remove the de-scoring system, discuss future plans
Today, we wanted to complete our mechanics. However, we learned that our parts did not come in. Because of this, we worked on what we could, and we discussed future plans.
First, we left off on where we were on the lift system. We changed the angle of the intake to be as shallow as possible to mimic the magic intake and we added tensioners on the chainbar to keep the intake in that position. Rather than using multiple axles like last time, we used single axles to avoid the bending issue altogether. By wrapping more chain around the sprocket, the lift is secured more at the desired angle.
In addition to the lift system, we tried out the de-scoring system. We ran a test to see how the system operates, but we soon learned that the de-scoring system was too heavy. Because of this, the intake couldn’t spin. After this failure, and determining we need to do some creative engineering to get the system into dimension, we decided to ditch the system and remove it.
Because we didn’t have the parts we needed, we also tweaked our engineering notebook. We added 2 more biographies to expand our biography section, and we added a quotations section for a more personalized feel. In addition to this, we also discussed the plans for the second robot.
One of our members realized it may be possible to optimize a competitive design around de-scoring. The idea is to have the same motor distribution, but use a different intake to perform multiple tasks. The drive train will use 4 motors for mecanum wheels, giving us high traction and maneuverability. The Lift system will be an arm, powered by 3 motors for reliability, while the funnels will be powered by 1 motor to take advantage of the autonomous period. Finally, the intake will be 2 conveyors juxtaposed to grab bucky balls, large balls, de-score, and hang. The bucky ball intake will be powered by 2 motors, geared 1 to one torque with tower rollers on top, allowing the team to grab large balls. We plan on tuning this to the specifications of the magic intake to gain the same grabbing efficiency. To stash and score large balls, we plan on adding a vertical piece of metal that will help push large balls out the front, but we also think that if we over extend the lift, the large ball could be scored out the back. We then plan on gearing a second conveyor belt at 3: 1, sharing the same power as the top conveyor belt. This will give us the torque to hang and de-score. Though we are using 269 motors, due to the gear ratio and short radius, we actually have more torque than teams with 4 motor lifts geared at 7:1 torque. The biggest challenge is reinforcing the chain enough to withstand the hang. The ultimate threat this robot brings is that your opponent cannot defend against bucky ball and large ball de-scoring at the same time. If your opponent chooses to defend against large balls, then you are open to de-score/re-score the column goal for a net swing of 6 points with a permanent 5 points. If the opponents chose to protect the columns, then the robot is free to de-score all 4 opposing large balls and score all 4 of our own. The added pressure of the hang puts addition stress on the opposing alliances robots which could only do bucky balls and large balls
Objective: Finish mechanics
Tasks: Change the intake over to flaps + rubber tread, replace the motors of the drivetrain
Problems: Right intake roller would not intake
Solutions: Swap the motor out
Unfortunately, we didn’t have many people attend today. Because of this, we didn’t meet our objective of finishing mechanics. Today, we worked on swapping out the tank tread on the intake to flaps and the tread on the tower roller to rubber treads with the new parts that came in. From there, we tested to see how this change affected the grabbing ability. Unfortunately, we found out the intake wouldn’t spin in one direction (intaking). I suspect that an axle is bent inside the motor, but I’m not certain. In addition to this, we worked more on the engineering notebook. We added to the community outreach section and budget section.
Objective: Finish mechanics
Tasks: Change out the front drivetrain motors, change the internal gearing, and replace the motor in the intake system, lower motor power in maintaining lift height
Problems: Right intake roller would not intake, can’t drive over the bump, doesn’t fit in dimension, issues with grabbing 3rd bucky remains, wiggling lift
Solutions: Swap the cortex, lower intake height, enlarge storage, linkage support
Today, we finally finished all mechanics on the robot with time to spare. We split into 4 groups, working in parallel as much as possible. The freshmen removed the drive motors, while the juniors carefully changed the internal gearing of the new motors for the drivetrain, and the captain worked on swapping out the intake motor. The drivetrain was fixed in 30 minutes. Now the drivetrain runs reliably. However, for some reason we still cannot get over the bump. We were able to go over the bump at last competition, even with the damaged drivetrain. Because of this, we believe that we can’t go over the bump because our bump is wood, rather than metal. For the intake, we found an extra 269 motor, and used that to replace the damaged intake motor. We found out that the starboard side motor would spin in only one direction. We then siphoned a motor from the funnels system, which we know works, and used it on the right roller. We found out we had the same problem. Because of this, we suspect it’s a motor controller issue. Though we tweaked the code, the intake section of the code was untouched. To test if it was a motor controller issue, we swapped the ports of the intake. We discovered that when we swapped the ports, the left motor would then only spin in one direction. We then reversed the ports to change polarities, and found out the direction which the motor could only spin shifted as well. Because of this, we suspected that port 10 of the cortex is broken. Luckily, we had a spare cortex, so we swapped the modules. If we didn’t have a spare cortex, we could have y-splitted the motors and achieve a similar effect. After finishing up mechanics, we started driver practice for about 30 minutes. We found out we could now grab quicker and we can grab 3 much more easily. We still run into the problem of chasing bucky balls, and dropping the 3rd bucky if we do not intake it well.
Objective: Tune the intake, stabilize the lift, practice driving, program programming skills
Task: Change the angle of the intake rollers, apply a linkage brace, practice 2 vs 1 opening, practice de-scoring large balls
Problems: balls tend to jam in the intake, balls fall out, difficulty grabbing large ball without wall,
Solution: Bend intake outwards, reinstall previous brace
Today, we had a goal of tuning the robot for an hour and practicing how to drive for the remaining hour. For the first hour, we lowered the height of the intake rollers. Once the height was in dimension, we worked on adding the linkage brace. Unfortunately, the linkage brace ate a lot of time, and we were unsuccessful at tuning the intake and stabilizing the lift. We stuck to the schedule and practiced driving. When driving, we noticed that we weren’t reliable with 3 bucky balls, and that with 2 bucky balls, the intake has a tendency to jam when dispensing. After closer inspection, we noticed that the plate which held our top storage was beginning to bend inwards, causing the storage to shrink and catch the balls. Because of this, we bent the system outwards to unjam. After this change, the balls flowed through easily. We continued to practice executing the 2 vs 1 strategy to the best of our ability and touched on grabbing large balls. We soon found out that the large ball intake is having difficulty grabbing the large balls. To fix this, we can apply rubber bands for better grip.
Objective: Improve large ball rollers, reinforce the bucky ball storage, tune the Bucky ball rollers, test autonomous and programming skills
Problems: We couldn’t grab the large ball well, the bucky ball rollers pushed buckies away, the autonomous would keep on rerunning the first stage of code, the drivetrain has a tendency to drive towards one side
Solutions: Remove the top layer of the large ball storage, elongate the side rails, change the height of the intake, change the statement “while burst==1” to “while burst==0”, change the motor power values
Tasks: apply new tread pattern, tune the lift, and debug the code
Today, we worked on last minute changes to get our robot as competitive as possible. We rationalized that in a powerful alliance, you need good bucky ball and large ball scoring. Because of this, and our past experience, we decided to emphasize large ball grabbing. We changed the tread pattern on the intake wheel to single treads, and wrapped numerous rubber bands around the links like team UVM. After testing, we noticed the large ball rollers worked significantly better. We guess that due to the digging from the single treads and the chunk of rubberbands, the large balls were grabbed better. Near the end of the meeting, our grabbing ability still wasn’t satisfactory, so we eliminated the top plate to our large ball storage in hopes large balls could be grabbed better. We noticed that our grabbing ability significantly improved, but we also noticed that we didn’t lose our ability to grab bucky balls and large balls interchangeably. We also improved on our bucky ball system. We elongated the side rails, allowing us to remove our storage backing, allowing us to grab 3 bucky balls easily. We practiced driving for about an hour. During driver practice, we practiced 4 main things. We practiced the 2 vs1 opening, stashing buckyballs, de-scoring/scoring large balls, and topping goals. In the end, we were satisfied with our large ball scoring, but the main things that held us back were our bucky ball intakes and the gradual drop of our lift system. Other things we found out was that the new motors didn’t fix out strafing, but we then realized that we had a lot of weight near the back of the robot. Finally, we worked on code. We finished developing the programming skills code and the autonomous code. Unfortunately, we only tested the beginning of our autonomous and didn’t test the programming skills code. Through our test, we found out the robot went into a continuous loop because we set the while loop to trigger in the wrong burst value. Because of this, we changed the burst value.
Today, we brought home the design award for the second time, and advanced to the finals round
We believe our elaborate engineering notebook combined with an -overemphasis on the design process in our interview led to this award.
Unfortunately, our robot skills and programming skills were only 17 points and 9 points respectively. Our robot’s disconnecting issues led to poor robot skills score and our untested autonomous program had a ton of faults
Nevertheless, deeper into the competition, we fixed the autonomous program and became one of the major factors in competition
In competition, 3 main factors contributed to our deep placement. Our overpowering autonomous was so effective that we could 2 vs 1 teams in the elimination rounds during the autonomous period and win the autonomous bonus. Our driver’s skill was also critical. He could respond to commands quickly and manipulate large balls quickly. Another factor was excellent strategy. It got to the point that we could predict our opponent’s next move and perform an effective counter for the beginning of the match. The last factor which we lacked was performance. Our robot’s lift and drivetrain were standard, and the intake was versatile, but it lacked the bucky ball grabbing ability to keep up in competition.
As usual our president wrote a reflection, however, our captain wrote one as well. The first reflection was our president's, the second is our captain's
Vex Competition Day
Today went really well. We won the design award, and became part of the finalist alliance
There were some conflicts at the beginning of the day, but eventually, we eased up and competition went fairly smooth. The only thing I could complain about was the poor interview run.
I have a feeling that our winging is finally getting out of hand. The combination of max, alejandro, myself, and the judges interruptions(their phone ringing, their questions, their preferences) sapped so much time in the design process an design that we didn’t get to programming, community outreach, and budgeting. Because of this, I suggest that we layout specifically what criteria we need to hit, what details we need to cover, and how much time we need to spend on each.
In this competition, there were a few things that led to our competitiveness in the finals round. The drivers had a lot of practice driving a functional robot. Driver practice has accumulated for the past 3 competitions, and the last hour and a half of driving increased the fluidity of our drivers greatly. The second thing which was useful was the overpowering autonomous program we had. Some matches, we got as high as 18 points, which even 2 vs1ed opponents. Finally, there was the great use of strategy. We predicted moves our opponent would make, we blocked opportunities for our opponent to grow, and we exploited what we could do well. These factors formed 3 of the 4 things which leads to a competitive team. The only thing which held our robot back, though the other factors can carry a team, was that the robot was lacking in performance. In specific, our bucky ball scoring and drivetrain manuverability
Based on our robots performance, I suggest doing the following
-Swap the plate we used as a mounting bar, and use a piece of channel for stability, ending bend issues
-Mount the side rollers on hinges which allow us to bend the intake into a V for large balls when grabbing, in addition to the mount we have, improving large ball capabilities further
-Tune the height of the lift system to grab both bucky balls and large balls well
-Add spacers and move the standoff limiter as needed to reinforce intake
-Change the placement for our mecanum wheels to improve our turning radius and strafing ability
Here’s the rundown of the competition:
-I arrived a bit late with the materials, so we started all our stuff at 7:30
-We maintained the robot after the ride
-we changed the chain on the right side of the drivetrain, eliminating our unbalanced power issue
-we brought the robot for inspection and received our judging number
-We went in for driver skills
-We tested our the autonomous program and found out there were problems
-We did our best to fix our autonomous program, and eventually got it working to our max scores
-We went for judging
-We ran into drivetrain issues and funnel issues again, and realized that our drivetrain was falling apart, causing frictional issues
-Went for alliance selection.
-Strategized with the teams
-Advanced to eliminations until the finals
-We lost the first match due to a strategic blunder made by our allies, and we lost the second match due to an unoperational robot (rooted problem to the cortex)
Today was overall A much better competition than our previous one's this year. Drive practice is, as you said, accumulating and showing clear differences in results between our first competition and this one. Our robot as is is probably not preforming at a super high level because we really didn't build it to excel in a certain area, but rather to do as many things as possible and fill in a lot of roles. A jack of all trades if you will. Some robots in this competition really specialized in certain aspects, like Vibots with their stashing. Also, you mentioned it before, and I really does play a key factor, autonomous is quickly becoming very important to winning matches. those extra 10 points can make or break a score, and it even gave us the win in our first semifinals match. Our funnels really showed their usefulness in this competition as opposed to others, where they were rarely used. With them, we had perhaps the highest scoring autonomous of any robot ,ranging from 16-18 points. Our strategy is ultimately what really won our games for us. We countered many teams, and a prefect reference to just how important our strategy was is with that match we had against essentially the competition champions, for a qualifier. We got the auto bonus with our superior auto, and basically prevented them from taking a lead at all for a minute and 30 seconds. ask about that ruling towards parking though, if it wasn't for that ref calling our partners out on that, we would've won against the champions with our alliance partner being a drivetrain with no manipulators.