A little behind on posting, but I’m here to fill you in on what our team was doing in the off-season.
Pre-kickoff Weekend Update
What has changed?
Last year, we returned from covid having not been in our shop for over a year. We only had a few returning students who had been through a season, our team had to adjust by scaling back our goals and focusing more on teaching everyone design, software, and manufacturing skills. We spent the majority of our time teaching, learning, and adjusting to the available tools we had at our disposal. While we were gone we did get a big shop upgrade. Our shop doubled in size and we added a 5’x10’ CNC Router and a manual knee mill. A lot of time went into adding these tools into our workflow. We had gained enough room for half a field! We ended up having an amazing season that everyone learned and improved from. We were the second pick of 6800 and 148 at TX DCMP and won our first blue banners since 2009 and advanced to the World Championship for the first time since 2017!
This year, we were able to expand the number of new members, mentors, and returning members. As a result of the increased number of students and mentors, we have more flexibility in terms of the goals we set and are able to distribute the responsibilities among a greater number of individuals, thereby allowing us to set our expectations at a higher level.
During the 2022 season, our team observed a significant increase in the utilization of swerve drives among competitors. This piqued our interest in developing our own swerve chassis in preparation for the following season. Due to constraints on access to our team’s workshop during the summer, we integrated the swerve project into our school’s robotics curriculum. This modification not only provided us with ample opportunity to gain an understanding of the design and construction of a swerve drive, but it also allowed us to incorporate FIRST principles into our classroom instruction. For our off-season project, we utilized the SDS MK4i platform, which featured NEO motors for steering and driving, in conjunction with Thrifty Bot Absolute Encoders. However, for the 2023 season, we intend to transition to the use of REV Robotics’ new MAXSwerve Modules. #TeamREV
During the winter season, our team met for Winter CAD meetings on Mondays and Thursdays until the New Year. These meetings served as an opportunity for our team members to initiate individual projects in preparation for the upcoming season. Our first project entailed designing a configurable chassis, enabling us to quickly deploy a drivetrain in the first week, thereby allowing us to allocate more time towards mechanisms for the season. Additionally, we designed configurable tube spacers to be utilized within MAXtubes to prevent crushing, a problem we had encountered while constructing our off-season robot. Lastly, our team conducted extensive research on elevators that could potentially aid us during the upcoming FRC season.
Configurable MAXSwerve Chassis
Configurable MAXTube Insert (some selections are still WIP)
During the first week of our school’s Winter Break, our Outreach team put together a week-long day camp for 4th-6th graders. The main intention for our camp was to introduce the elementary students to different aspects of robotics including, robot mechanics, programming, game strategy, and the mechanical design process. The camp also helped us become more connected with our community and additionally acted as a team fundraiser. At the end of our camp, the students got to watch a demonstration of our new Swerve drive.