Goals: Continue from last meeting and refine as many systems as possible with small tweaks.
Things we did/Why we did it: Drive train: Moved up the front left wheel to mirror the drive train in hopes the floor contact problem goes away. Lift: retension the chain on the lift to revert back the intake’s specifications and test out a new hanging idea for possible extra points. Intake: Applied braces to further reinforce the system Funnels: Bend the expansion to help fit in dimension, applied tensioners, and apply plates to make bucky ball grabbing even more reliable. Dongle: we added a large ball knocker. We also had about 20 minutes of driver practice to steadily build up muscle memory. Finally, we started creating ads to help us get picked for eliminations at world.
Problems: The drive train had stripped screws which made disassembly difficult. The tensioners we tried installing prevented the robot from fitting in dimension. The bumper switch for autonomous gets in the way of the dongle
Results: A very productive day. We got the drivetrain mirrored and it eliminated the drive train contact problem. The lift was retensioned, bringing the intakes bucky ball abilities back to its prime. One side of the funnels has a tensioner. The intake’s storage system was more reinforced, and a dongle was almost completed
Misc. Notes: We contacted the 727s in hopes that we can work together for worlds. They said they would contact us soon
Future Plans: The highest priority would be to finish up the funnels, dongle, and driver practice. Once this is on the brink of completion, we can take hanging more seriously.
Today was a very productive day. Though the coordinated plan helped raise our efficiency as usual, constant pressure from officers, and placing the robot in a convenient place also sped up work. The coordinated plan allowed members to constantly work, while position allowed as many as 5 people to work on the robot at the same time. Finally, pressure from the officers kept work efficiency high.
At the start of the meeting, the president gave an announcement about officer applications. He said that applications were due 2 weeks from today.
After this, we had 5 tasks occurring in parallel. Two people worked on flattening out the funnels, another person worked on tensioning the chain bar, one person worked on setting up the field for driver control, and one person worked on testing the hanging system. The first problem we ran into was the surprised difficulty of flattening out one of the lips in the 8 inch rail. Despite continuous pounding and pressing, the rail would not flatten. After 30 minutes, the rail finally began to flatten to our standards. While this was occurring, another member disconnected the chain bar’s chain and reconnected it as if there weren’t any tensioners. After this, he couldn’t find an appropriate axle, so he cut one to length. He then used this axle and applied a tensioner like the first tensioner we had. After this, he reapplied the chain and weaved it through the encoder. Though it took numerous tries, the chain was finally taut by the end of the meeting. As for the hanging system, a member looked for wire to act as a tether for tests. Once this was found, he strung through the wire as the other members were working and removed the elastic assist. Finally, when the members were flattening the funnels and sawing out the axles, he used this moment to pick up the robot. Theoretically, we reasoned that if the robot could be picked up and stay in position when the batteries were off, without the lift drooping, then the robot should have enough torque to hang and stay in position. After about 10 tries, he determined that it would be optimal to place the tether about 5.5 inches away from the joint.
After 50 minutes has passed, we started to practice driving. We spent about 20 minutes today practicing because our driver had to leave early. So, to maximize our time, we had 4 general phases. We gave the driver about 2 minutes to warm up and test out the new features of the robot. He really appreciated the new preset lift heights. However, since we knew his weakest spot was the drive train control due to a new control scheme, we set up an obstacle course 5 tiles wide and 2 tiles long, with 3 bucky balls evenly spaced about 36 inches apart. With this, we made our driver form 2 sets of figure 8s to improve his dexterity. We told him to take his time so his brain can relearn the drivetrain. In addition to this, we would occasionally tell him to do the obstacle course backwards. Though this may seem counterintuitive, we took these practices from practicing techniques from our high school band. After driving backwards for about a minute, his forward driving skill increased significantly. After about 10 minutes passed, we then did another driving scenario targeted towards increasing driving fluidity for large ball de-scoring and rescoring. We set 5 tiles in a plus shaped formation, with the robot starting in the center, and a large ball in an adjacent tile. We then told him to drive forward and grab a large ball, drive back to the center tile, turn while raising the lift, and finally dump the large ball in an adjacent tile. We came up with this practice run after replaying our matches and noticing the fastes de-scoring robots followed a movement pattern similar to this. After about 4 minutes, our driver then reverted to general driver practice. We noticed that it was much easier to store 2 large balls and our bucky ball grabbing returned. However, we still can’t shake the feeling that it’s slightly worse than before. After our driver left, the programmer started testing the lift without elastic. He soon realized that the middle height was not responding as he expected, and the lift wouldn’t raise occasionally. Some ideas were thrown around, such as excess friction or weight, but he soon realized two sets of “If” statements was messing with the lifting.
After this, we did another test with the hanging system. Now that we knew where the lift would stall out, we needed to determine if the lift could raise the robot high enough to overcome tilting when hanging. To test this, we marked a spot relative to the person picking up the robot. Then, they manually picked up the robot and re-measured the height they elevated the robot to be off the ground. After this, we determined that the robot needed to rise about 4.5 inches. We then did a similar test, where we measured where the height of the tether when the lift was all the way down, then raised the lift to max height. We then found out the lift would elevate us about 7 inches, more than enough. Finally, we checked to see if our hooks would reach the hanging bar. Unfortunately, the robot only reaches 32 inches. Because of this, we need to figure out how to get the remaining +8 inches of height.
We then continued to retension the lift. While this occurred, we then worked on moving the front left drivetrain wheel forward. We ran into issues with stripped screws, so we found the best hex key we have and slowly removed the stripped screws and threw them away. We repositioned the encoders as so and finally added plates to one side of the funnels, stabilized the intake, and cleaned up the wiring.
Goals: Get a lot of driver practice, Finish up the dongle, add plates to the funnels and get it well into dimension, ease a bit into hanging
Things we did/Why we did it: Used two training exercises to speed up large ball control and drive train maneuverability.
Problems: The dongle would not stay vertical. The inner plates would conflict with the drivetrain. We confirmed dimensional problems with the funnels
Results: We got more fluid with large ball control. We used standoffs to space out the plates to avoid conflictions. Funnels have a problem moving. The dongle is mounted, but needs to be secured to position.
Misc. Notes: We heard back from the 727s, and unfortunately, they said that the school wasn’t comfortable with having the team over. We also used the time to catch up late people and discuss funding(we didn’t expect plane tickets to increase so soon)
Future Plans: Figure out how to get funnels into dimension. Continue with driver practice. Finish the dongle
At the start of the meeting, we worked at a chill pace, however, like a true procrastinator, we picked up pace to tackle the goals. Unfortunately, we only completed 2 of the 4 goals.
We achieved the first goal of getting a lot of driver practice. We used a good 20 minutes focused on our large ball exercise. We did our standard exercise, grab a ball, turn while raising the lift, dump, repeat. After the exercise, our driver was getting noticeably more fluid with this control pattern. Not only do we believe this should increase his large ball capabilities, we believe it should help with his drive train practice.
After this occurred, we moved into the dongle and the funnels. We first moved the bumper switch for autonomous out of the way to mount the dongle. After we realized the dongle would not fold completely under the bump, we moved the dongle up a few holes, increasing the amount the dongle can rotate and allowing it to go under the barrier. After this, we tried mounting elastic onto the dongle to make it point straight up. However, we could not place elastic in a manner that would allow the dongle to point straight up and rotate in both directions. Because of this, we decided to lose the ability to travel backwards under the barrier, and applied a limiter. However, due to time, we could not finish the dongles before the end of the meeting. Meanwhile, we inserted plates on the funnels on the right. After storing the funnels, we realized that the left funnels had a standoff, which bent the plate, allowing the funnels to squeeze in. Because of this, we added a standoff like the other side. We re-inspected the robot and found out the robot is out of dimension widthwise. Because of this, we then moved the chain bar funnels out one hole. This allows the funnels to rotate deeper into the storage. We then measured the width, and we were still slightly out. Because of this, we need to brainstorm more to figure out how to get the system into dimension. Despite the violation, we tested the funnels. We noticed that there was occasional difficulty expanding because we forgot to put in the spacers, meaning that the sprockets get caught within the channel. However, we noticed that it gets balls off the bump perfectly with no signs of possible failure.
Goals: Get a lot of driver practice, Finish up the dongle, get the funnels into dimension, ease a bit into hanging
Things we did/Why we did it: Large amount of driver practice for consistency, finished the dongle for autonomous, added more zipties to increase the strength of the storage, remake the large ball intake, update the code for preprogrammed lift heights
Problems: The large ball roller wasn’t grabbing as effectively as before
Results: Driver fluidity has increased noticeably throughout the week. The large ball intake was brought close to its old performance, Dongle was finished, the funnels are in dimension,
Misc. Notes: We discussed more about funding and found out that currently, each member needs to pay about $255 to attend
Future Plans: Work on Vex Awards, Hanging, 27 point autonomous, rewiring the robot
Today, we worked at a pretty chill pace. Almost half of the meeting was devoted to driver practice and driver exercises, a noticeable chunk was goofing off, and the remaining was fixing, repairing, and legalizing the robot
The first thing we did in the meeting was figure out how to bring the funnels into the robot more. We noticed that the inner plates contact the drivetrain at an angle, so we inserted spacers to offset the plate, allowing the robot to fit in dimension.
After this, we split the group into 2 parts: One part was driver practice and coaching, the other was recalculating expenses for the trip and logistics.
The moment driver practice started, we noticed the large ball intake wasn’t as effective as before. We noticed that the bulges the rubber bands used to have was getting undone. Because of this, we postponed large ball practice, and moved onto drive train control and bucky ball skills. During the practice, we also noticed that the funnels kept on getting jammed and eventually the chain broke off.
For the second group, we found out that we received a total of 1750 dollars’ worth of grant money. This was from a combination of grants from Raytheon, Shimburg Trust Fund, and Verizon. With the grant money, and everything we’ve paid off so far, we calculated that each member would need to spend $255. Other problems we noticed before we made this calculation as that our car rental price was too low. Luckily however, our housing payment was also too high, canceling each other out. We also decided to talk to southwest airlines to see if they would let us ship the robot for free.
After this, the groups recombined and debriefed each other of what just occurred. Because of this, we immediately made attempts to improve the large ball intake. Because we knew the problem was that the bulges got undone, we made a new set of rollers with 3 additions things. First, we placed our standoffs deeper into the roller. This means less bulging occurs near the outside of the roller, making the bumps much thinner. Second, we added twists when rubber banding to keep the bands in a uniform position. Finally, we added zip ties on top of the bulge, and below the bulge to keep this shape. To fix the funnel jamming problem, we noticed that the chain bar would catch onto itself. So, we bent the plate metal to be out of the way. After this, we used the debugger window to update the code. Last time we used preprogrammed controls, the lift didn’t respond as expected. We then realized that our encoder wires kept on getting unplugged. Due to our time, we ignored this issue for now. While this was occurring, we added more elastic to the dongle and mirrored it because it was slightly offset.
Photos in Order: 1. Thick black wire marks where the tether needs to be strung to hang, 2. Chaining for the chain bar funnels. 3. Working on the robot. 4. New chaining for the lift, 5. Working on mirroring the drivetrain 6. Bottom view of the drivetrain 7. The large ball rollers completed, 8. Plates on the funnels, 9. Completed funnels 10. Bent metal on the funnels to fit into dimension
Photos in order: 1. Funnel Brace, 2. Dongle, 3. New funnel plates, 4. end of wednesday ,5. More zipties 6. Dongle limiter 7. 1st Dongle attempt 8. hanging hook. 9 hanging hook other view 10. chain bar funnel joint. 11 chain bar funnel mount, 12 chain bar with encoder, 13 Robot with large ball, 14. zipties holding the large ball
3/21/14: Damaged Intake
Driver Practice Photos
Photos in Order: 1. In depth view of the back of the robot 2. Fitting the funnels into dimension, 3. Semi-neat wiring 4. Close up of the spacer to get funnels into dimension 5. Dongle and elastic 6. Chain that keeps on breaking 7. A ratsnest
Drive Train Excercise
This is the general layout of the field. The driver has to snake the robot through the balls forwards and backwards to gain dexterity
1st attempt on monday
3rd day: Recording disrupted due to Disconnecting
Large Ball exercise
This is the general layout of the field. The driver has to focus on executing multiple tasks at once for fluidity
After talking with NAR at an FRC competition, we looked a bit more into hanging. We found pastoral invasion's robot and finally realized that the pneumatic systems weren't used for hanging (at least, they didn't need to be). Combining what we knew from competitions with Haile and Nikola Tesla, we realized we could get our robot to low hang with a large ball. This is the general idea:
Green is a hook, blue is a tether, yellow is a rubber band, and black is the robot currently
The hook would be attached to the intake, but can slide off. Once the robot latches onto the hanging bar, the lift will lower, detaching the hanging hook from the intake. However, the hook would be attached via string to a point close to the arm's joint. This should create an enormous jump in torque, allowing the robot to low hang with a large ball.
We believe that any robot with an arm system should have the capabilities to hang with this system
Long Term Goal
Each day, we're applying small goals to reach a larger, more ambitious goal. This is what we want our robot to do by the time worlds comes around:
We want a robot that would heavily complement an efficiency robot. Through this, we don't plan on being the number one team in the competition, rather, we want to be that team everyone wants on their side.
To do this, we're aiming for a 27 point autonomous which can stash 3 bucky balls, knock 2 large balls, and place a bucky ball into the goal zone. Additionally, we want a robot that can endure the strain of the competition field, and manipulate large balls and bucky balls with ease. Having the ability to hang would just be a bonus