Bumpers, Encoders, and What Nots
They suck, they’ve always sucked. We love them, but we have always found new innovative ways to ruin them throughout the season. So this off season, we sat down and scoured every bumper post in existence (at least every bumper post until my sanity was ruined), and tested various options to find the best one that fits to our liking. Here’s a few post that we really enjoyed and took inspiration from.
Previous Joint and Issues with it
We have always had problem with bumper joints, the past few years we have always just put L brackets onto the joints to secure two sides of the bumper together, however, doing this creates a gap between the bumper and the robot frame, causing both tolerance issue and having to add more mounts to fit with the bumper rules.
Looking through some of the white paper this past off season, we found one interesting joint idea that will allow us to minimalize the dead space between our bumper and frame.
This method when combined with wood glue and wood screw on the finger joints allow for a very high strength joint and comparably better than our L bracket joints that we have used to run.
We saw many different ways to mount the bumper on cd, ranging from the basic Bolt and Rivnut to other super custom latching system like the spectrum latching system. However, we found two fairly simply mounting systems that gave us enough play that we can build without much error and also provide good stability to our bumpers.
We first came across this from a 2046 mounting picture and we loved it immediately. However, reading through the replies, we saw that there was quite a bit of problem with horizontal movements with this mounting system. However, with a few modifications, I think we found a few good solutions.
By either mounting a screw in the middle on the robot frame, (which can be done after everything else to ensure that it lines up) or a screw exactly where the clamp is clamped down, the bumper will be secure horizontally and protected from slipping out.
Quick Release Latch Mount
Another way we found that was greatly used by many teams and simple to use is the quick release latch from Triple Helix. This was also one of the options that we ended up with before trying it out physically but we decided to go with the clamps as it was much easier to create without fault.
All in all, we think it came out to a very good design/config for us to proceed for next year, and we wrote an internal build guide for our students to follow, if any team would like to see how we approach building it.
Like many other teams, we have also been developing swerve during our off season, unlike many other teams, we didn’t use cancoders. The following is just a small comment on how to use the SRX Mag Encoder as a replacement for Cancoder + Canivore set up on SDS swerve for those who’s searching on cd for how it would work.
How we did it
First, we used a breakout board to take PWM, 5V, and Ground connection from the encoder wires into a 3 pin cable, which was plugged into the rio in the DIO ports. Then the DutyCycleEncoder Class can be used to extract data from the encoder.
The What Nots
This is all the lesser resources and projects that we have been doing or projects which have been mentioned on the discord but not in a proper blog yet this offseason.
During the beginning of build season last year, we saw that many subsystems had spilt into groups to create separate prototypes, while this was a valueable process, we didnt have enough control system that were working smoothly to support this, so this year, we created a special suitcase which contained a single control system that fed out 8 motor slots for us to connect and test with. This will allow us to have a proper physical testing bench to match up with our prototyping dashboard.
What is it that we want to do?
Every year, we would ask the team what is it that we want to do during a season, and that would help us align our design direction to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.
1 RP, no matter what.
As long as I was apart of this team, we have always focused our design direction on the principle of 1 RP every match, no matter what. This was something we thought that allowed us to develop our mechanisms in a timeline and also not overreach too much. However, as our team’s situation change, we had slowly begun to lose sight of our design direction, which caused a few problems through last season.
Be the best first pick possible.
This was something we felt suited our current abilities and resources more. It also aligned much better with our current strategist and designers opinions on how to compete, compared to the 1 RP every match principle.
Looking for Mentors
We are also still looking for mentors for our upcoming season. Our team is led by Gregory Burnham and is heading into our 9th season of FRC. With over 70 active members yearly, the need for more mentors has increased in order to keep the team’s growth and development alive. At the moment, we have limited mentors to match our rapidly expanding number of students, so anybody who is in the North Texas area and has the time, commitment, and interest in joining our program can contact [email protected] with any questions about our club.
If you are interested, we can give an in-person tour to see our facilities and the various activities in which we participate. For more information on our club, here are the links to our social media and website.
Facilities Website (STEAM Center)