Building a robot in these COVID times

We decided to build a community outreach/test platform robot next. In itself its a nice project but the biggest time we had to spend as to how to do it under the circumstances so I am posting the process and plan (we will see it it works).

Challenge 1 was is that we cannot meet in our robotics rooms we have 2 and here is a pic of one of them 1580946341817440716283070404207

This pic was taken pre covid its about 11x7 so social distancing is pretty much out. So we identified first who has what tools and capabilities and how we can get certain equipment to certain people. In our case that means distributing the printers as we are a 3dp mostly outfit anyway. Everyone has some basic tools - hammer, knife, drill etc. some have a garage or basement some are constraint to their bedroom. Some are in small groups as we have a few members who are siblings.

So first we set up some communications. We have been using zoom and instagram already and also occasionally employed remind so we fleshed out what is best to be used for what. For now remind will be used for "Hey lets have a meeting at … " etc, Instagram for short conversation between members. And Zoom for meetings. We are using grabcad to share the cad files as we also use it to publish ours. And we are looking at qdpm to manage the projects with.

So the flow will be something like this

We have a Zoom meeting and create tasks and each task gets assigned to a member or multiples and gets a deadline.

Drawings get posted on grabcad and a notice published on remind that drawing xxx is finished

Printer person or person making something in another manner (we are going to do some fomecore stuff so cut/glue styrofoam) performs that and

Product will be QCed and maybe delivered to the assembly person(s) if it passes or kicked back to CAD. Again alerting the next person(s) in the chain. If things have to go to a different house a “delivery person” (someone with a car) is informed to pickup and deliver the box with the item.

Fiberglassing happens at my house as I am setup to do that. And then we go (hopefully) to final testing and have a robot that works.

So the plan is that each member pod becomes a “company” and performs its tasks and then ships the product to the receiving company for further processing/assembly.

I have not mentioned the other tasks like fund raising, pr etc - which are important and create the funds to build the robot but this is to focus on the actual build process as this is the technical section of CD.

Part of the challenge was to design around the capabilities that exist or can be created/delivered to a “pod” But then we are short of major resources as it is so not too much adjustment was necessary.

Just curious what you think and if anyone else is doing “distributed robot building” Hope we can keep the “shipping” to a minimum as in some cases that is a 25 min drive from pod a to pod b.

Well we will see if we can build a robot that way and how long it will take. After more than 1/2 graduated and went on to college we now have 10 students left - hope recruiting works - which is a whole other task in a remote environment