Sunday, January 31, 2016

Day 23: Proto and Practice Looking Similar

Practicebot is starting to look a bit more like Protobot. The shooter for Practicebot has yet to be made, and the intake for Protobot has not been fully modified, but the robots are coming together. The shooter on Protobot is finished, testing and mechanical/electrical modifications. The intake is still being worked on. We are ordering FTC tread for Practicebot's intake.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Day 22: Supersonic Shooter

Today, we made significant progress. We tested the shooter an innumerable amount of times, and the ball projects at quite a high speed. We created all of the electrical "mini boards," and adjusted Practicebot's frame to fit it onto the boards' mounts. We continued working on programming the drive encoders that we recently created for the Talons. We made some new code that allows us to see on the driver station who is driving and who is co driving so that if problems arise, we can edit real-time without having to redeploy code.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Day 21: Arming the Robot

Today, we continued work on Practicebot's electrical board. We layed it out and started drilling holes for the pneumatic components. We finished the CNCing of the intake arms and their construction, for Practicebot. We finalized the design of the shooter, and plan to test it tomorrow.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Day 20: When Green is Gone

Today we made much progress. Practicebot's chassis and battery mount are finished. (Oh: by the way, the battery cart is finished.) The electrical committee got hard at work with the new soldering iron. The mechanical committee worked on the modifications of the shooter, attaching it to Protobot. The design committee continued finalizing Practicebot's design, and the programming committee continued programming autonomous. Our coach, Mr. Green, left early with a couple of us to help set up a VEX competition at a nearby middle school. The video is the result of his absence.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day 19: Checkpoint

Today was a Wednesday, so we only stayed after school for an hour. We continued to lay out the electrical board, working on the encoders. We continued welded Practricebot's frame up, along with the nearly-finalized battery mount. We also continued finalizing the shooter design, as we have been modifying it recently. Practicebot is well into formation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Day 18: All Committees Are Go

All of our goals today are for the new Practicebot, which will succeed our current Protobot. Practicebot's design on Autodesk Inventor is completely finished, so all committees are go. We continued making pieces for the intake, CNCing out the second arm. The mechanical committee successfully tested the modified shooter. The electrical committee cut out the Lexan panels for the electrical "mini boards" and connected drive encoders to the Talons. Much of the frame of Practicebot was welded. The programming committee finished the basic code for the drive motors and intake/shooter motors, and started programming autonomous.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Day 17: Putting Proto to Practice

We continued to put the shooter together and we had groups of students trying to fit the shooter on Protobot.  In addition, we started to CNC out our intake arms that we are going to use on Practicebot.  We still need to finish it but we have already cut out one of the arms and groups of students are still putting it together.  The chassis was almost finished welded and would be most likely finished by tomorrow.  The design is incorporating the electrical components of the robot and each committee is preparing for the chassis to be finished welding before they work on it.  Programming is still adding more buttons to fit the co-driver's preferences, but a button for the portcullis is done.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Day 16: Practicebot in the Making

We continued our consistent efforts with building the robot and are working on different components.  Last Thursday we decided that we wanted to start working on Practicebot. We just finished welding the frame for it. We have students trying to put the shooter together so that we will be able to test the new shooter with Protobot's chassis.  In addition to working on the shooter for Practicebot, we have been currently trying to test out the intake and make minor changes to try and make the intake as efficient as possible.  The programming committee struggled a little throughout the day but most of the debugging was done by the time lunch started.  By the end of the day we had started to weld the chassis for the robot and plan out the layout for our electrical board.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Day 15: Intake Modifications

Today, we spent much of our time on the intake. We ran an innumerable amount of tests on the intake connected to the robot. We edited the way that the intake rollers were facing, the polycord, etc. We continued working on the programming code, as we were having a couple of problems with that when we had our electrical imbroglio earlier in the week. We also worked on creating the defenses, with the help of parents and mentors. A couple mentors worked on a compressor backpack for quick compressing during robot drive practice. We got access to The Grid, a website builder that creates a website using artificial intelligence. It was not as easy as it seemed to the student and mentor working on that.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Day 14: Drive Finished. Next, Intake

Protobot can finally drive. Now we are focusing on intake and shooter. The electrical committee continued improving the electrical board's organization (specifically the wires, that are all over the place). The design committee worked on making a new electrical board layout on Autodesk Inventor for the upcoming Practicebot. The mechanical committee worked on starting the chassis for Practicebot as well as working on the intake and shooter for Protobot.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Day 13: Relief...

We were finally able to get Protobot working, and we started to drive over some defenses. Over the last several days we had many issues with electrical and transmissions so we had to fix them, but in the end it ended quite nicely.  Not only were we able to test the robot but we were able to actually have a working intake which was built beforehand.  It was to a great surprise that the the intake was able to collect the ball in a matter of milliseconds.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day 12: Positive Outcome

Today, while the electrical committee continued to work on the problems with the electrical board, the mechanical committee worked on the intake and shooter design. The intake (above) was finished today, and the shooter design was improved. At the end of the day, we were able to solve all electrical problems with Protobot. Now the mechanical committee, first thing tomorrow, has to check on a transmission. After that, Protobot should be driving.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day 11: That Darn Electrical Board

Well, we mounted the makeshift electrical board, which had 10 Talons, 1 PCM, 1 VRM, and 1 PDP. (The RoboRio is attached to a separate electrical board). We attached the Talons to the motors and PDP, and turned on the robot. Only 5 Talons show up. No PCM, VRM, PDP. We checked the CAN connections, changed a couple crimps, and tried again. 4 Talons. Did this for about 2 hours. Check, diagnostics, fix possible problems, at it again. Still could not figure out the problem. Changed all of the crimps. Same result. Both of our programming mentors were out today. One will come tomorrow.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Day 10: 3 Days...Gone.

Well, our goal coming into today was to mount the electrical board to the chassis and test the drive train, intake, and shooter. That changed when we realized that the battery and PDB did not fit into the cramped space at the back of the robot. We were forced to totally redesign the electrical board, which took practically the whole day. We decided to mount the Talons to the back of the robot for the sole purpose of testing the drive train, intake and shooter. Speaking of which, the intake is not finished either. The gearbox has not even been created, and the overall frame of the robot is quite flimsy. We are giving ourselves to the middle of this week to finalize Protobot and test it. If not done by then, will consider a slightly different approach to a robot design for this game.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Day 9: A Couple More Steps

We made more progress today. We bolted the shooter onto Protobot's chassis and shot into the high goal (video). After finishing the electrical board, we encountered a problem. We planned on mounting the 15 Talons that we are using along the inside of the frame of our robot, but there was not enough space. So we redesigned the electrical board, and then rewired up the Talons. We still have to put angle bars on the robot to support the electrical board. Tomorrow, we will mount the electrical board, test the drive train and shooter, and go from there. And by the way, we finished the tower defense.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Day 8: Clicking Together

Today, we really got into working on Protobot. The mechanical committee spent the whole day working on the frame and the shooter. The design committee worked on finalizing the CAD model of Protobot. The programming committee worked the pneumatics board and Talons. The electrical committee worked on Protobot's board. This year, the orientation of the modules are going to be similar to that of 2012, on Odin. The Talons will surround the sides of the board on the bottom, along with the PCM and VRM (pneumatics control module and voltage regulator module). The only things on the board that is on the base of the robot is the battery, compressor, PDB (power distribution board), and RoboRio.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Day 7: Proto in the Making

We looked as a team on the different boulder trajectories and we found out that we are going to need to be at least 60 degrees to be able to shoot the ball into the high goal.  We continued to work on the shooter and mount the supports and the roller that are going to be able to used within the module.  We hope that all the components in our robot will potentially be its separate module so that we will be able to take it off and fit it, if it were to go wrong.  We further our discussing on how we are going to be able to fit our shooter, intake, and scaling to be able to fit within our 15" tall robot.  We are having a lot of difficulty trying to fit everything, but we feel that trying to make the robot to be under 15" is how a team will be able to win the game.  We are finalizing on the dimensions of the robot and the shooter mechanism.  Programming is starting to map all the controls and started to build commands that the robots will be using.  Chairman's are finishing with the executive summary and they are making edits and finishing it up so that we are going to be able to start making the chairman's video.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Day 6: Wooden Defenses

Today we discussed in detail the size of our shooter and robot overall. We finalized another shooter design and are in the process of prototyping it. Meanwhile, our student/alumni team is working hard on creating the defenses. The portcullis, cheval de frise, moat, rock wall, and rough terrain are finished. We are hard at work on the other ones. We 3D-printed all of the defenses prior to creating their wooden, much bigger copies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day 5: Setting the Bar Low

Not much was done today, as we spent only 45 minutes after school working in robotics. We mainly cut metal for Proto's chassis. We continued working in defenses. For sure, we decided to make a hamburger bot: one with a longer width than length. We also worked on the shooter design. The video above is of our concept bot attempting and failing to cross the moat. Then again, the chassis of the concept bot was made for 6 inch wheels, not 8 inch. A whopping 40 ft/sec instead of 20 ft/sec.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Day 4: 2 Days Overdue

The goals we sent for today were reached and surpassed. Our goals were to solve the electronic and programming problems on the concept bot, get it driving, possibly test it on a defense (moat or bump), and test the 2-axis shooter. We accomplished each and every one of those goals, and more. We got the electronics and programming debugged done while perfecting certain aspects of the shooter as well as finishing up on some wooden defense. We finalized that and tested the concept bot on the bump. After a couple tries, it started working consistently. We mounted the shooter to Odin, our 2012 robot, and tested it. It worked efficiently. The boulder had good speed as it projected from the double flywheel mechanism. Tomorrow is a short workday for us, as our Wednesdays during build season are for catching up on any lagging homework. We will most probably work on new ideas for tackling the moat defense.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Day 3: Lowkey

Today, we focused on the two aspects that we want to perfect on our robot: intake and shooter. There were a couple of ideas thrown out about both of the design aspects. We decided to pick a few that we would use for prototyping. For the shooter, we worked on 1-axis and 2-axis flywheel shooters. We were having some trouble on the 2-axis shooter, as there was some trouble with the arc of the ball. As we continue, we hope to perfect the speed and angle that the shooter could be at on our robot. On the 1-axis flywheel, we mostly got it assembled today as it was just finished cut out on our Shop Bot. When we tested it out, we only powered the wheel with a drill motor so the ball didn't go as far, but the arc looks like it should be okay. As for the intake, we played around with two ideas: a intake like our robot Odin in 2012 (multi-directional poly-cord intake) or maybe even using the same intakes from our robot from last year, Heimdall. The poly-cord intake didn't get finished today, so that will be continued tomorrow. As with the video above, the 2015 intake actually seem to work kind of well, but we might not continue it as we don't want to chase balls around on the field.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Day 2: Odin Returns...?

Our 2012 robot Odin (upper left), and the concept chassis on the floor.
Today, we got a huge amount of work done. At the beginning of the day, we picked off where we left off yesterday: strategy. Yesterday, many of us were opting for a tall robot. Now, we are thinking the opposite. We are pondering over making a small robot capable of driving underneath the low bar. Our reasoning is that we know where the low bar will be on the field and the orientation of the low bar indefinitely. We know exactly where it is every match. It's a constant. Also, Categories B and D defenses can be traversed by small robots. Along with that, we have built a robot for a game similar to this one: 2012's Rebound Rumble. Our robot that year was Odin. We made it to shoot the small basketballs using a flywheel as well as stack robots on top of ours. This morning, we decided that Odin was going to be a key influence in creating our robot this year. A flywheel is a good shooting mechanism for this boulders, and a small robot is good for getting under the low bar and traversing other defenses. Also, when/if we want to hang (depending on if we decide to make a hanging mechanism), we have a low centers of gravity and mass compared to those of a tall robot like our last year's Heimdall or our 2013's Beowulf. We decided on prototyping with 8-inch wheels because of the nature of the defenses. We slapped 8-inch wheels onto our robot and worked on the electrical board of our concept chassis. Meanwhile, a couple of our mentors and students together starting working on making wooden defenses. Today, we finished the moat and the rock wall. The electrical and programming work on the concept chassis went later into the day, so while the mechanical committee was either all over the robot or making more prototype parts, the electrical committee spent much of the day working on the batteries: checking heatshrink and tape on the battery clamps and replacing them if necessary. Later in the day, the mechanical committee had finished working and were testing the concept chassis when it didn't move. They called the electrical and programming committees into the woodshop for diagnostics, and for a good part of the afternoon, the two committees debugged and diagnosed the concept chassis. After a couple hours, the problem came to be a "miscrimped" connection between two of the Talons. We fixed that up. Tomorrow, we plan to continue making defenses as well as continue working on prototypes to attach to the concept chassis.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Day 1: Let the Game Begin

The 2016 FRC challenge is, well, interesting. Game elements from the 2012 and 2013 challenges make up this year's game. Over the day, some of us on the team started thinking about using a size and frame similar to Odin, our robot for 2012's Rebound Rumble. At the beginning of the day, we gathered together in the H building, along with FRC Team 2085, the RoboDogs, from Vacaville High School down the road. After watching kickoff with them, they left and we split into groups to tackle the game manual. After some time, we reconvened and discussed the game manual. From there, we spent some time individually answering this question: What do we want the robot to accomplish on the field? We did not describe How? whatsoever. We just listed down our ideas for what we wanted the robot to do in a match. After discussing those, we headed over to the Shubin Gym to run a game simulation. Humans instead of robots, of course. We did those for some time and discussed after each "match" that we ran. At this point (2:30pm), we as students had analyzed and received much qualitative data on FIRST Stronghold. We returned to the H building and started discussing strategies, in small groups. We challenged each other's strategies (not the people themselves) by asking thought-provoking questions, playing the devil's advocate. We looked at the pros and cons of having a short robot and a tall robot, crossing and breaching certain defenses, and making certain movements in the autonomous period. Tomorrow, we will answer this question: How do we want the robot to accomplish what we want it to accomplish on the field? Then we will discuss strategies in more depth and possibly start prototyping.