Week 2 Recap
While we finished the chassis by the end of Week 1, we discovered early Week 2 that the chassis was warped corner-to-corner and wobbled back and forth. We suspected the base plate, which was reused from our 2022 robot, so we detached it, but the chassis still had issues. In the end, we had to almost fully disassemble our chassis as the churros were installed poorly and pulled the chassis into a warp.
Our chassis challenges didn’t stop there. The Toughbox gearboxes on the two sides of the chassis were not performing equally. It took forever to diagnose, but we determined that it was due to assembly error as we had printed the AM14U5 instructions off the Andymark website in advance, but we got an older version. The new T23 version has an extra spacer in the gearboxes, which we had missed, causing worsened gearbox performance on the side made following the printed instructions (rather than the new version, which came in the box and was posted on the Andymark site right after we’d already printed ours out).
By the middle of Week 2, we had Identified three possible intake arm/claw mechanisms:
Pneumatically actuated claw with cube and cone settings
Rack and pinion or pneumatic “crush” arm
Compliance wheel roller intake (inspired by 1339)
Each mechanical officer claimed one of these ideas and began prototyping. Prototyping was done in a couple days and we compared the designs:
The claw design did not hold onto any of the game pieces really well, and the spacing was poor
The crush arm design was discarded after difficulty designing two separate compressions
The compliance wheel roller intake worked great, with separate spacing for cubes and cones
We then considered whether we wanted three collinear axles for cube/cone spacing or whether two sets of two axles stacked vertically would be more effective. We eventually decided to go with the stacked intake since it needed less precision to pick up game pieces and would be easier to program since the game pieces would be held at more similar distances relative to the pivot point.
After continued math on the whiteboards, we determined that we needed a second stage for the elevator we are using as our arm and found the height that our pulley would need to be at to work well while keeping our robot’s center of gravity lower. Fortunately we had already ordered a second stage elevator kit from Thriftybot and enough Max tube from REV to make it work. We finished elevator design in the middle of Week 2 and cut our first metal of the season on Thursday. Most of the metal was cut by Saturday and assembly of final robot mechanisms has begun! The pivot point for the elevator remains an unsolved problem, but a ½" or ¾" dead axle seems to be a promising solution.
The programming team continued their work on PhotonVision and preparation for autonomous programming.
@EmerqldWither had the programming team split roles. Some programmers calibrated PhotonVision to work optimally with the OV9281 and Lifecam, others were working on autonomous code practice. This year we are using PathPlanner for autonomous routines and moving forward with the new Commands framework for writing autonomous and teleop commands. Later in the week, the whole programming team came back together to connect our Beelink mini pc (“Greggy”) to our programming chassis (“Gregory”) with our new network switch (“Greg”) to make a robot with vision capabilities for programming practice, known as “Greg³”.
In addition to actually programming, we also set up Git and GitHub for the new year and pushed our 2023 robot code.
Electronics-wise, we gathered all the electronics that we needed for our 2023 robot and soldered barrel jacks and higher-gauge wires to the regulators we purchased to power our Beelink mini pc and our network switch. We also put Anderson powerpoles on all our NEOs and Spark MAXes to get them ready for assembly on the robot as soon as the chassis is back together.