5937 MI-Robotics 2023 Build Thread

Hello and welcome to 5937’s first ever build thread!

We’re a high school FRC team operating out of Mercer Island High School and we found OA threads invaluable last year so we wanted to give back a bit and share our limited experience. We have roughly 60 active members, which is the largest we’ve ever been so we’ll likely also talk a little bit about our structure changes and our plans for dealing with this sudden influx of members. We’ll likely not produce anything groundbreaking in this thread, but we’ll do our best to give our best QoL improvements born from our unending laziness quest for efficiency.

Hope y’all have a great season,
Joey
CTO of 5937

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As a general recap of various things we changed in preparation for build season:

On our off-season: We attended Washington Girls Gen, Bordie React, and PNW Block Party which is the record for the most off-season competitions we’ve ever done in a season. This was definitely not the right move to do as we didn’t have enough to improve between competitions which led to a lot of rookies feeling like they didn’t really gain anything from their effort which is completely fair.
What we learned: don’t do off-season comps just because you can, they’re a valuable recruitment and retention tool so make sure to use them wisely to not burn rookies out before their first build season.

On our education/training: This year we had three different tracks of education, one for students who only attended once a week, one for students who attended twice a week, and one for intermediate students who have been here a year but don’t have everything down just yet. We found that this left a lot of holes where intermediate students or bi-weekly students had nothing to do and nothing to learn as leads were busy handling other students. We also started a beginner programmer track and an advanced programmer track as programming experienced 1600% growth, and with that came many budding programmers who don’t know Java. The beginner track focuses on learning Java while the advanced track focuses on robot code specifics.
What we learned: we need to cut down to two tracks for intermediate students and rookie students, which will mean attendance policies/cuts, extracurricular reading, or something of the sort. We also changed our education focus from trying to fit everything in one year to learning FRC over multiple years which hopefully helps a bit.

On our infrastructure: Last year we experimented with Trello which was great… When we used it… This year we’re mandating Trello to ensure that we work more productively with clear deadlines, and to make our handoffs between meetings more smooth. We also had problems with motors disappearing last year so I made a rudimentary inventory sheet in Trello, that tracks who checks what out so we know who to ask. Trello also includes a Gantt chart in the premium track that is really helpful for scheduling which will hopefully ensure that our deadlines line up this season.
What we learned: from last year, but still applicable. Document everything from short-term to long-term to ensure that things flow smoothly, short-term or long-term.

On our business/outreach: Our business team was able to get us a sponsorship with Pagliacci’s for pizza during kickoff and we hope to extend this relationship further. They also were able to collect and donate 469 pairs of socks for the homeless with Operation Nightwatch. Our business team is planning on building up our social media presence and learning what it means to be a FRC robotics business team. We also donated motors to various rookie teams in the PNW, if your team needs CIMs/Redlines/775s/etc and is willing to pay for shipping or pick them up locally, please dm me here. I can possibly drop them off at your location (if reasonable) as well.
What we learned: Many organizations are willing to work with FRC teams if you just send them an email. Don’t be scared and feel free to reach out to them, they don’t bite!

On our tooling: Some of you may have seen my requests for recommendations for new tooling. Our band-saw and drill press finally broke after almost 25 years of use so we have bought new tools, namely a DW872 chop saw with an aftermarket fixture plate. This fixture plate’s blade clearance slot was off by around a couple of degrees but the fence is perpendicular as far as we can tell. We also purchased an OMIO (today morning in fact) as we were delaying this in preparation for eviction to move to a new space but plans fell through. We’re also looking into buying a drill press, so if you’re local and you have one you’re willing to offload dm me, or if you have recommendations let me know, as I have very little experience in purchasing shop tools.
What we learned: plan for now, not the uncertain future lest you be rushed to learn something quickly that shouldn’t be learned quickly.

I think that’s all for now, we’ll update after kickoff or whenever we feel like we have something to share! Have a good break and then a good kickoff!

Joey
CTO of 5937

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Back with another update over break, this one about my adventures researching purchasing an Omio. 5937 in general has no way to cut plate currently and has struggled with precise machining for bearings and power transmission and the like so a CNC router was the obvious solution.

Why an Omio? For the obvious reason, copying other teams. Why get something new and different and quirky when we can just steal other teams hard work and benefit? General thought process of CAD lead and I was:
Step 1. Buy Omio
Step 2. Copy other teams that are successful
Step 3. Profit
Step 4. ???

When I was researching what to buy (because tbh its quite confusing as someone completely new to the world of cnc routers) I saw a varying amount of different opinions so I started trying to corroborate answers. Here’s what I ended up with:

  • 1 4mm and 1 6mm endmill (I know people go with huhao or ttb endmills, I bought these to get started with)
  • WCP Nut Strip for Fixture
  • WCP Tube Fixture w/ Clamps
  • OMIO
  • Resurfacing Bit
  • 2 * 30x22x0.5 PVC sheets for spoilboard as recommended in thread
  • ER20 Collet
  • Dial Test Indicator
  • Koolmist 78
  • Cheap Chinese mister
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • 5/16" OD tubing
  • Compressor

We’re very excited to see how this turns out, especially my jerry-rig version of a Fogbuster! That’s about it, I’ll probably update after we get the Omio or after kickoff, we’ll see!

Joey
CTO of 5937

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Hey all,

As kickoff is approaching I want to share our (scuffed) plans for this season’s kickoff. Most of our leadership is also band leadership or involved in band and band has a mandatory activity from today after school to Sunday afternoon. This means that we won’t be able to do a live kickoff event, but I consider this somewhat advantageous as we’ve always come up with ideas that have turned out flawed. This late kickoff will allow us to research what other teams are doing and come up with a solution that will fit us, especially since the whole of 5937’s fab firepower consists of a chop saw and hand tools. We hope that this will reduce overextending and allow us to make a bot that’s simple, reliable, and competitively viable.

Hope y’all have a good kickoff,

Joey
CTO of 5937

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Hey all,

We finished kickoff. We were able to get access to the game stream at our band retreat so we had a ton of ideas upon return. We spent the 3 hours we had at home on Sunday researching them before we hustled to school Monday and then met up after school where we decided on our MSCW’s. We then met up again at 9 pm remotely to discuss possible designs that would fit our criteria and also designs that could be extended if we encountered success early on which would free up our schedule.

5937’s 2023 MSCW
Must haves: l1/l2 cone + cube,
Should haves: preload + balance and preload + one piece autos, vision alignment, rgb for HP signaling, L3 scoring, and ground cube intaking.
Could haves: L3 Cube Shooter similar to 4613, and a counterbalanced arm with individual cube/cone mechanisms
Won’t haves: Swerve, ground cone intake

To accomplish these things we decided on a bot with a WCP telescope that would be used as a non-telescoping arm unless we could devote enough time to fully master the telescoping aspect which would help with L3. To be clear, this would happen after plenty of driver practice and auto/vision programming. Hopefully this isn’t an overreach but I think with our organization restructuring this year this seems like a relatively achievable goal, but will still require some hard work to be put in.

I feel a bit like a cat in a clothes dryer that was turned on when I was asleep in there, as I seem to be getting burned from all angles and in pain and have no idea what I’m doing.

Anyhow, aside from kickoff, I implemented a order form, Trello alternative, and internal documentation in Notion which we will now be using as Slack was hurting the wallet a tad.

Hope y’all are having a great Week 1!

Joey
CTO of 5937

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Day 18: We finished our prototype elevator!

We ordered a TTB elevator kit early on and we finished it after around two weeks today. Here’s what it looks like mocked up and in action (at 0.1 speed, the first time we tested i attempted to retract and it extended instead and shattered a plastic box and cameraman’s head. at 0.4 speed. in my defense he was not there when i last looked) : 2023 FRC 5937 Elevator Test - YouTube

Some snaggles we ran into:

  • Versaframe is a pain. We will be saving our existing stock for prototype, match-drilling, or cnc use only as drilling out all holes to #10 and then adding holes because our current holes didn’t work is pain. We plan on switching to REV MAXTube and then using a cutting jig for hole context because that was probably the largest bottleneck in this project.
  • Pneumatic riveter broke -_-
  • Incorrect hole context from above led us not to be able to use two pulleys for the carriage, we will test more to see if this is viable or if we should go with two pulleys on the final version.
  • CF springs scare me and so I’m coping without one by reasoning that PID should still be relatively responsive without it due to hopefully correct gearing. I will update if we do run into issues due to lack of a CF spring.

We’ll probably cushion the ending positions with a lil bit of yoga mat or smt to ensure that we don’t smack anything too hard in addition to PID.

Now for the KOP chassis and we’ve got a mini-bot capable of driver practice for the most part. Hope y’all are having a fruitful build season!

Joey,
CTO of 5937