7407 Offseason Upgrades - Open Alliance

Good morning/afternoon/night! I’m Sherry, a member of team 7407 and an operator who has missed the adrenaline rushes of FRC competitions ever since the season ended. And speaking of the offseason, 7407 is proud to present: our bold offseason upgrades!

Our robot Bodhi has carried us through many tough battles this year. And to honor our bot’s achievements, we wanted to level up some of the old subsystems - primarily, turning the shooter into a turret (swervet for the win!) and shortening the superstructure.

The upgrade plan was implemented after we returned from the Worlds Championship, and we would like to share our progress so far! Attached below is a technical document we made to record all of our new changes, and you can find the Onshape CAD file for our full robot assembly within it (I also put the direct link to our Onshape here for convenience). We just started manufacturing some of the parts during our summer programs classes, and we hope to finish everything before attending our offseason competitions in the fall!

Anyways, I hope you enjoy our little update! And feel free to reach out with any questions!

Onshape Link: Onshape

Technical Report: Open Alliance Off-Season Upgrades 2022 - Google Docs

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This robot is crazy!! Great Job!

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Great work Sherry!!

Choate offers summer program classes during the month of July, and I am currently teaching a HS level intro to robotics, and a HS/MS intermediate robotics course. 7407 has been working to incorporate FIRST-based projects into the curriculum of many of our robotics classes, with summer programs being the most recent addition.

In my intro course we are running a term-long design, build and fabrication project based on the 2011 game, Logomotion. Students are tasked with creating mechanisms to intake inner tubes off the floor. Throughout this process they are learning how to use Onshape, basic mechanism design, CAM, CNC, 3D printing, mechanical assembly and prototyping. Here are some pictures of their prototypes so far.


In my intermediate class we are manufacturing and building the new components for the offseason robot. The plan is to make the ball tunnel, turret and shooter assembly completely separate in class so if something goes awry, the existing version of our robot is not compromised. Students in class are learning basic CAD skills, 3D printing, CAM and running our Omio CNC’s. We are also doing a Python coding project with the SPIKE Prime kits later in the term, using the 2022 FLL game as inspiration for challenges.

Here are some pictures of the manufactured parts so far:


Lastly, here are copies of my syllabi and assignment/lesson schedules for my summer courses for anyone who is interested! We will keep sharing updates as the classes progress!

Intermediate Robotics Course Expectations 2022_to share.pdf (613.2 KB)
Intermediate Robotics Assignment Schedule.pdf (83.1 KB)

HS Intro to Robotics Course Expectations 2022_to share.pdf (75.5 KB)
Intro to Robotics Assignment Schedule.pdf (76.9 KB)

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Nerds lol

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Thanks for sharing some insight into the curriculum! Is this an accelerated version of the courses over the main school year, or more focusedbranched-off learning for the students over the summer?

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No problem! This is an accelerated version of the courses to match the summer programs schedule. For summer programs we meet for 1 hour and 10 min a day Mon-Friday and Saturday’s for 1 hour over 5 weeks. Our normal terms run 10 weeks with classes 3 days a week for 1 hour and 10 min per class. We also run extra help sessions in the afternoon/evenings as needed.

@big_dog I will fight you right here right now

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Intermediate Robotics Updates:

It has been a busy 10 days in summer programs! Over the past 2 weeks we have been focusing primarily on CNC manufacturing in my Intermediate Robotics class. At this point, all students in the class are taking models from CAD to CAM to the Omio without assistance which is certainly the quickest I have been able to teach CNC to this level of independence! We have been cutting aluminum plate and tube, and did some experimentation with the 6mm bit to make our pocketing and 2D contour passes faster. I plan on updating my CAM 101 resource later this summer with this info, but here are our summarized settings running the 6mm single flute bit on aluminum plates:

  • Select 6mm bit in Fusion 360, update to have 1 flute
  • Update “Cutting Feed Rate”: 550 mm/min
  • Update “Spindle Speed”: 16,000 rpm
  • Update “Plunge Feed Rate”: 127 mm/min
  • Update “Max. Roughing Stepdown”: 2.5 mm
  • Use tabs on internal pockets and external contour when screws are not feasible: 4mm width by 1mm height, spaced as needed based on part. We use Harbor Freight cold chisels to remove the tabs: https://www.harborfreight.com/12-piece-cold-chisel-and-punch-set-66440.html
  • Need air/vacuum for chip clearing and coolant
  • These passes are quite loud as well so hearing protection is recommended

Here are some screenshots of our settings for this 1/8" aluminum plate that we recently cut:

We have been doing quite a bit of assembly work as well. Students have been learning how to tap, press bearings into parts, use assembly tools (allen keys, nutdrivers, wrenches, pneumatic rivet gun, manual rivet gun, etc.), how to properly apply Loctite as well as how to pivot when the assembly does not go together as expected! Here are some pics of the assembly and manufacturing progress over the past few weeks:

We are starting break-down of the existing robot as well, and plan to make the swap this Saturday! Although the majority of our FRC members are scattered around the globe during the summer, we have a small group of local students who will be joining our summer crew this weekend to rebuild the robot.

The students have also completed reading and reflection question assignments based on the NASA Rap Guide. Here are copies of the HW’s I assigned, in addition to a weekly Engineering notebook submission and Onshape training tutorials.

RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions SET3 PT1 V2.pdf (1.6 MB)
RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions SET2 V2.pdf (613.6 KB)
RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions_SET1_V2.pdf (663.2 KB)

I will write about Intro to Robotics updates in a separate post! :relaxed:

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Here are answer keys for sets 1&2!

RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions SET2 V2 ANSWER KEY.pdf (3.8 MB)

RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions_SET1_V2 ANSWER KEY.pdf (2.6 MB)

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As promised, here is an update on my other summer course - Intro to Robotics.

Summer programs actually finished last week, and I am excited to report that all groups were successful in designing, manufacturing and testing a floor intake for inner tubes, inspired by the 2011 FRC game Logomotion.

Following prototyping, we dove into CAD. I forced the students to stay in 2D for a lot longer than kids tend to want to, as we actually laid out a drivetrain with a pivoting arm as well as a end effector. I did this with guided lectures. I started with creating the scoring rack with them based on the field dimensions:

The kids had to learn how to pull dimensions from the manual, sketch basic shapes, dimension parts as well as apply constraints as needed. From there we sketched a drivetrain based on 7407’s 2022 robot. We added a basic arm with a roller claw on the end.

Image 8-3-22 at 2.46 PM

The kids learned how to use Onshape variables to size different parts of the arm and roller claw. Here is a screenshot of our variable table:

Image 8-3-22 at 2.49 PM

When sketched properly, the model moves as shown:

Once we got to this point, I encouraged the students to play with the variables and dimensions until they were happy with the results. The next step was to apply this 2D sketch to a new sketch, which Onshape makes super easy to do with the “Use/Reference” command. Here is the exemplar model I created:

We started a new sketch and first identified the critical geometry we laid out in the previous sketch. I had the students sketch motor mounting patterns for Versaplanetary gearboxes as well as bearing locations for roller shafts. I had the kids verify this critical geometry with me once they finished, and from there they were given the creative freedom to design 1/4" polycarbonate pieces to encapsulate the important geometry we just laid out. Some groups added 1/8" aluminum strongback plates where the gearbox mounts since the VP gearboxes are pretty heavy.

We next learned how to use the belt calculator to space out pulleys and size belts. We also went over how to use a mechanism calculator spreadsheet (we used the JVN sheet) to figure out what gearbox reduction each team was going to use. All teams landed on 9:1 or 10:1 using the RS775 Pro motor. The kids adjusted their sketches to make sure center to center distances were correct.

From here we finally went 3D! The students learned how to create assemblies in Onshape and installed the MKCAD library. This was the final step before manufacturing their parts.

I did a full class lesson with how to create toolpaths in Fusion 360 using my model as an example. From there myself and my awesome teaching interns went around the room and checked everyone’s settings before they moved over to the machine to cut.

Most teams had between 2-4, 1/4" thick polycarbonate pieces to cut on the CNC router. Each student got a Fusion 360 Education license, and learned how to generate g-code to cut their pieces on the CNC router. They also had shafts to cut to length and tapped the ends. We 3D printed the pulleys each team used as well.

Each team had 1-2 Versaplanetary gearboxes to assemble. I staged out the relevant supplies instead of giving each team the new kit, as there are a lot of extra parts in the kit boxes which can be confusing to some kids. I did a one-on-one session with each team to show them how to assemble the gearbox properly, as they were all at different points with finishing their CAD and CNC’ing their plates. A full-class lesson just did not make sense timing wise with where the groups were.

The last step was to put it all together! Every team panicked when they went to put their belts on and it didn’t seem like the belt was going to fit. In the future I will make sure to remind the kids not to panic if the belts are hard to get on. It just means you nailed your center to center and the belt will be nice and tensioned! Some teams had 775 pro’s with the built in power poles, but a couple of teams had to solder ends on to their motors for testing. We hooked the motors up to an existing drivetrain we have with brushed motors. Each team got to hook up their mechanism and test out picking tubes from the floor and ejecting them.

Each team made a technical design poster as well. Here is a picture of my assembled exemplar as well as some of the student designs and posters!

Overall, this class was super successful! The kids really enjoyed completing this project and came a long way in only 5 weeks. It was really cool to see their skills develop so quickly. I made a recap video showcasing our classes, link below!

The video also shows the progress we made with the upgrades to our 2022 robot. By the end of the term, the robot was mechanically complete, 100 plumbed and about 90% wired. We have been finishing up wiring and are excited to get the new machine in the hands of our programmers! Look out for a reveal video, hopefully coming this fall!

Congrats to my summer programs students! It was inspiring to see all they accomplished in 5 short weeks.

I am running this project again in fall term, but with some additional modifications as I have more advanced students coming in who already know CAD and CNC, in addition to beginner students. I plan to add additional Logomotion-based tasks for kids who need more of a challenge, including designing a minibot and deployment system and designing an elevator with a universal intake mounting system. More coming on this in the fall!

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This is really great stuff; thank you for sharing.

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As promised, here is an initial update about our fall training programs and classes on 7407! We have a lot going on this fall, so this is going to be a long post! (:

Classes
In the fall we offer two robotics courses - Intro to Robotics and Robotic Design & Fabrication. Intro to Robotics is a VEX V5 based course. I am not teaching intro this term as I have 2 sections for Robotic Design & Fabrication, totaling 22 students. This is up from 12 students last year, so it is awesome to see such a big growth in interest in this course!

Robotic Design & Fabrication is a project based course where students learn prototyping, CAD, manufacturing and mechanical assembly skills by completing a term-long design and manufacturing project. Continuing with the theme of summer programs, we are using the 2011 FRC game - LOGOMOTION - to provide the design challenges. I have a wide range of incoming skill levels among the students this year, so I knew I needed to provide different project challenge levels so every student would get as much as possible out of the course. Thus, I am running 3 different projects this term:

  1. Beginner - Floor Inner Tube Intakes
  2. Intermediate - Minibots & Deployment System
  3. Advanced - Elevator & Universal Intake Mounting System

This pdf covers the project scope and grading scheme I am using.
Term Project PPT - Scope and Rubric.pdf (5.2 MB)

We are wrapping up the prototyping unit this week, and the students have done a great job diving into the challenge and testing their ideas.
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We are starting with CAD & 2D sketching soon, and the students working on the elevators have already been working in CAD. They have been learning about different types of elevators and how they are rigged, and creating 2D sketches in multiple planes to sort out geometry of the system. They are moving into power transmission design now as well as laying out their intake mounting systems.

NASA RAP guide HW’s are back for this class! Here are my most recent versions of HW 1&2, as well as a dyslexia friendly version of HW2 with modified font and backgrounds. I started making these this term after learning more about dyslexia from my students and other teachers. I always want to make my curriculum as accessible as possible for my students, so spending 10 extra minutes to make another version was a no brainer!

RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions SET2 V3_dyslexia friendly.pdf (785.4 KB)

RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions SET2 V3.pdf (733.1 KB)

RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions_SET1_V3.pdf (680.8 KB)

Here are my course schedule & expectations as well:
CS450H0 Assignment Schedule C BLOCK.pdf (129.8 KB)

CS450H0 Course Expectations Fall 2022 C_to share.pdf (77.2 KB)

Sunday Robotics Team
We also have a robotics club team that meets on Sunday afternoons to involve students outside of ARC in the team. We are running multiple student-lead projects this year, including:

  • All Terrain Swerve Drive Project: Students will CAD, manufacture, assemble, wire, code and test a swerve drive that can yeet over various obstacles. This is also the drivetrain students in my class are designing their mechanisms for. We are using 6" pneumatic tires and modifying existing SDS MK4 modules we have. We hope to be able to mount an elevator with an intake and mini-bot system to this drivetrain by the end of the year…it’s giving LogoStrongMotionHold energy
  • Intro to CAD: Students are designing floor gear intakes from FRC2017 - Steamworks
  • Intro to CNC: Students are learning how to take parts from CAD, generate g-code in Fusion 360 and operate our Omio CNC machines
  • PAWS Collaboration: We are collaborating with the PAWS club on campus to work on designing and manufacturing prosthetics and other support items for animals. Our first task is to design and build an elevator for two, 3-legged dogs that live on campus in a multi-floor home. We may also look into prosthetic legs for the dogs, but this is TBD since these are big dogs!
  • Intro to Programming: Students are learning about FRC programming via coding existing drivetrains as well as our 2022 re-designed robot.
  • FIRST Global Mentoring: We are currently mentoring Team Liberia as a part of the FIRST Global Challenge
  • VEX Competition Team: We have 1 VEX team competing in the 2022 game - Spin Up. Since Choate was a VEX team before transitioning to FRC, we have a lot of VEX supplies! Our team is planning on attending 1-2 events this fall.
  • FLL: We coach 3 FLL teams on campus - 1 Challenge, 1 Explore & 1 Discover. Students mentor the teams and are also planning an FLL Challenge scrimmage and an FLL Explore expo for later this fall!
  • Website: Students interested in web design work on the team’s website and keep it up to date throughout the year
  • Media: Students interested in media work on videos, social media posts, collaborations with the school paper, etc for the team throughout the year
  • Practical Robotics: This project will offer participants to learn something new each Sunday about practical applications of robotics. Each weekend will be a new topic/project.

We hope to share progress on all these different project, so stay tuned for more updates! Let me know if people have questions about the projects, our process, or anything else! (:

We will have updates on our upgraded 2022 robot to share soon as well! We are currently in the programming phase, working on sensor integration and tuning the PID loop on the turret. It has been an awesome programming training project for our students. Here are some short gifs of the shooter and turret so far!

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Hi Dee,
I was wondering if any pre-assessments were done to place students at the correct level that engages the student the best and build the students confidence in their skills rather than the opposite.

The courses look fantastic by the way.

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Great question! The kids in this class have to take at least Intro to Robotics, which is a VEX V5 based course. Many of them have also taken Robotics 2, which is a hybrid VEX/FRC class, aimed at transitioning kids from kit robots to custom designs. For the project assignments, the students self selected, but we did do some shifting around after they started and realized they may have picked something too challenging. I do think everyone landed where they should be in terms of project difficulty in the end, but the kids got to figure it out a bit for themselves, which was a good practice in advocating for oneself!

As a teacher, my philosophy I tell my students is “arrive as you are, and I will meet you there.” This creates an environment when students feel comfortable being themselves but also gives them space to build confidence in themselves and their skills.

I also end up having a lot of different incoming skill levels in this course, which is a major reason why I added projects at 3 different difficulty levels this year. I also change my teaching approach with each student based on their needs, preferences, lived experiences, etc. Some students require more teaching time than others, or one on one instruction, which I why I also offer two extra help sessions a week as well. I really try to emphasize that everyone is on their own learning journey and it’s going to look different than someone else’s, and that’s okay!

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Back with lots of updates! If you don’t like reading, you can see what we’ve been up to so far this offseason in our recap video:

Since the last update, we have been super busy with mainly CAD work in class. The approach I used to teach 2D sketching is summarized above from my summer class, I used the exact same approach, and the kids all have fully assembled CAD models (or close to it) at this point in the course. Here are some screenshots of their work! The only difference is teams designed their mechanisms for our all terrain swerve drive we have been working on this offseason, so the wheels are larger and there is more ground clearance.

Tube Intake Examples
Image 11-3-22 at 12.35 PM (1)
Image 11-12-22 at 8.30 AM (1)

Elevator Examples

MiniBot Examples

I also have a minibot exemplar I made, and man these look so different than when I was in high school. It was very fun to do this project again, and exemplars are an incredibly powerful teaching too! Kids being able to see and interact with a physical model makes a lot of confusing concepts make way more sense. Here are some images of my exemplar mini bot.

!

Currently students are mainly learning CNC, 3D printing and other manufacturing techniques to make their parts, and the physical assemblies started to come together this week! The term ends next Friday, so students will be doing some extra weekend meetings today and tomorrow to get everything completed. Here are some progress pics of assemblies and parts!

Image 11-12-22 at 8.33 AM

I also wanted to share our metal manufacturing resources, as most people are shocked to find out we only have 2 Omios, 1 small drill press, 1 chopsaw, 1 sander and 1 grinder. We can use the bandsaw in the school woodshop as well but it is a shared space among the whole school. We put a lot of time and effort into figuring out how to make everything on the Omios, and I think we have shown you can do a lot with these machines!

Students have also been tasked with writing a technical engineering report as well as creating a digital poster describing their designs. I attached the outline and rubrics I developed for these assignments.

Technical Design Poster Rubric.pdf (1.4 MB)

Technical Report Outline and Rubric.docx (2.5 MB)

One of the skills I want my students to leave this class with is how to properly format Microsoft Word documents with table of contents, section headers, captions, etc. This is a skill I used a lot in college and when I worked as an engineer, so tying it into the technical report is a great way to teach these skills. It helps the students learn how to communicate their ideas as well, which is another critical skill!

I assigned one additional NASA RAP Guide HW, linked below. I broke this chapter into 3 parts as there is a lot of content to cover. Parts 2 and 3 will be included in our winter class, Competition Robotics, and I will make sure to share here!

RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions SET4 pt1 V1 dyslexia friendly.pdf (603.1 KB)

RAP Design Guide Reading & Reflection Questions SET4 pt1 V1.pdf (593.1 KB)

Fair warning…Set 4 PT 1 is kinda brutal…
Image 11-12-22 at 8.30 AM

We have been very busy with outreach this fall as well! Here is a summary of major updates:

  • Prep 9 Collaboration: We partnered with admissions to host a hands-on, robotics-themed activity for students visiting campus via Prep9. Here is a description of the organization from their website: “PREP 9 helps the brightest and most hardworking African American and Latino students in New York City and the metropolitan areas of Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut prepare for success at leading independent boarding schools across the Northeast. Current 7th grade students apply to PREP 9 for entry into boarding schools in 9th grade.” We designed a SPIKE Prime based building and coding activity inspired by the game pieces from 2018, POWER UP. Here are some images of the game field and the actual event, as well as the game description sheet we made.

Prep 9 Visit PPT.pptx (46.0 MB)

  • Celebrate Wallingford Demo: This was a classic demo, although it was raining most of the day so we couldn’t bring the robot as planned. We partnered with Choate Communications Office for this event, and created a flyer with information about the different FIRST programs. We are also offering direct help with starting new teams through the Communications Office. for any schools or local organizations that are interested!

  • Geek is Glam Demo at WPI: This is an annual event at WPI for the girl scouts. It is a large STEM expo for Girl Scouts in MA. There were lots of other FRC teams there, it was a very fun day! We demoed our upgraded 2022 robot as well as ran the SPIKE Prime coding challenge from the Prep9 event.

  • FLL Challenge Scrimmage: We hosted an FLL Challenge robot match scrimmage on campus, and it was a very fun event! It was a small and low-key event, and we hope to include more teams in the future! Here is a screenshot of the CAD for the awards we gave out. We used our school’s Epilog laser cutter to make these.
    Image 11-12-22 at 9.15 AM

  • Engineering Exploratory Session 1: Mechanical Engineering: We have started a partnership with the Wallingford Public Library to provide more STEM workshops to the community. We started our first session of an ongoing series where we explore an engineering discipline via a hands-on activity. For MECHE, we did a classic catapult building project with the SPIKE prime sets. Students had a ton of fun turning the catapult challenge into a game where they tried to score in various receptacles. Below are some pictures from the event, an image of the catapult model we used, as well as the handout we created scoping the activity.

CTE Session 1 Challenge Sheets - MECH (1).pptx.pdf (771.9 KB)

We also attended two offseasons this fall, NERD & TVRR. Here are some pictures from the event. After putting so much work into the offseason upgrade, it was awesome to see the robot take to the field! Lots of new members got to try out different competition roles too, and they are inspired and ready for 2023 season!

Here is a TVRR recap video as well!

Catch me like this at the end of fall term next week!

Thanks for reading, more updates soon! (:

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