Welcome to Team 1757’s first build thread! We will be sharing frequent updates regarding our 2022-2023 season here.
Who are we
Founded in 2006, we are a high-school robotics team from Westwood, MA and compete in the New England district. With three lead mentors and twenty active members, we are a relatively small team and mainly student run. We aim to improve access to STEAM and further develop the team in terms of leadership, innovation, communication, and self-confidence.
Our team is divided into two main branches: technical (anything to do with the robot which includes programming, design, and mechanical) and business (areas that do not deal with the mechanics of the robot which include media, outreach, graphic design, and finance).
Currently, our preseason schedule includes meetings in a variety of areas. Sunday mornings are for in-person mechanical meetings. Mondays consist of an after school meeting for robot-specific programming followed by Python classes online. Tuesdays have biweekly outreach meetings. Wednesdays consist of after school CAD meetings followed by a technical meeting online. And finally, Thursdays consist of online CAD classes and business meetings afterschool.
2021-2022 Robot Reflections
Coming into the 2021-2022 season, we decided to change our approach in certain technical areas. For the first time we created a complex robot using python, despite the lack of official support. This choice of programming language proved to be beneficial as programming became more accessible to the team. We spent less time learning the language and more time refining our algorithms.
We also fully designed our robot in OnShape, which allowed us to plan everything out exactly how we wanted and give the programming subteam a head start before the bot was fully built. Because the model accounted for every part and dimension, things like weight and perimeter, restrictions were no problem during the building phase. These massive pre-season changes set the team off on the right foot.
Additionally, there were many other factors that contributed to our great performance last season, especially regarding individual subsystems.
Last year was our first year using swerve drive, SDS Mk4is, and they helped immensely as a functional drive base that could be built off of in programming. The code of the autonomous sequence was a bit patchy, but we managed to get it working for a five ball autonomous sequence. The new autonomous code used pathplannerlib instead of traditional wpilib trajectories, which was more reliable in regards to rotation. Absolute relative drive minimized driver thinking by having field relative translation and complete joystick controlled absolute rotation. Further, we developed a moving shot with our turret (although limited to forward and backwards motion). To combat defense robots, we used an X-wheel anti-defense mechanism with our swerve drive.
While initially lacking in capability at Revere, only being able to shoot at a set speed and angle, it soon after became the impressive part of our robot. Our turret is able to rotate with 320 degrees of freedom, adjust its hood, and use a limelight to track the upper hub to discern the robot’s distance and angle from the goal. With this information, the turret is able to follow the target when the beam-break sensors detect a ball, adjusting flywheel speed and hood angle to gain a greater than 80% consistent upper hub shot with a varying position. In the event of no good vision information, our robot uses odometry estimations from our swerve drive in combination with our recorded distances and angles from our vision system to approximate where we are on the field to then orient and use just the limelight.
The indexer had the least revision besides the swerve drives, only needing one minor change to make the final bot. It operates using two motors, one near the intake to collect incoming cargo, and another near the shooter to pass it on and out. It also includes two break beam sensors positioned to detect held cargo. The sensor closer to the turret turns off the limelight when cargo is not present and also stops the turret from rotating, to prevent any possible misinformation when not needed. Further, when we have two balls inside this subsystem, we turn if off to save battery usage. As a subsystem, the indexer has been very reliable and never failed us in competition due to its simplicity.
We’ve made the most revisions on the intake system. It did pose some issues: the early plates were not thick enough (in WPI elims our intake stack broke completely twice) and the belts have been falling off. Nevertheless, the system was still highly effective as we were able to properly test it using our offseason swerve bot. In retrospect there wasn’t much reason to have it be pneumatic because we likely could’ve saved weight with a fully motorized intake, and also not run out of air during the end of matches
The climber subsystem was the biggest struggle for us: it was over engineered, heavy, and easily broke. We didn’t properly consider many aspects of the cylinders; therefore, they broke and interfered with turret movement, intake, and vision. When they did work, we consistently got a mid bar (and likely low bar) climb for last minute points for RPs. Ultimately, towards the end of competition season, we would continue to shoot cargo while other more competent bots were climbing because that was a much more guaranteed source of points rather than putting our hope in the climber.
Our first competition was the New England District Greater Boston Event, ranking us 24th out of 37. We had a very rough start, but as the competition progressed, we fixed most of our bugs, and our improved performance landed us as the 2nd pick of the 6th alliance.
WPI was our second competition of the year, and we fared a lot better this time. Our turret saw the most improvement, being able to score 20+ balls by ourselves: we enabled the ability to track the target with vision, improved the turret’s range or rotation, and fine-tuned our shots. By the end, we were 6th in terms of OPR. We were ultimately disappointed by our early exit in the knockout stage, but our improvement was a good sign. Additionally, the turret and control scheme granted us the Innovation in Control Award, our first technical award since our rookie year in 2006. The combination of the award and our improved performance at WPI was enough to grant ourselves a ticket to Districts Championships for the first time since 2017.
The New England District Championship was our best competition. Everything that went well at WPI went well here as well, and our turret accuracy landed our bot 6th in terms of OPR. Additionally, we earned another award for our efforts, the Quality Award, and we finished 17th out of 40 teams in the Calcium Division. We managed to drag our knockout round draw into the 3rd match, however, we ultimately couldn’t progress past the quarterfinals. We surpassed our expectations and exited the Colisseum with our heads held high, hopeful that, for next season, we could capitalize on our increasing confidence and momentum.
We Were a Statistical Outlier
If not already readily apparent from our discussion we believe its worth noting that we were very much a statistical outlier in the NE district. While our OPR was extremely high, all of our points came from CARGO and not HANGER points as shown in the bar graph above. Its just a reminder that do dont always have to build an every bot, if you can find one aspect of the game that you can do as good or better than everyone else you can make your team just as successful as others who may have more time or resources to devote to perfecting every system on their bot.
The team had restarted due to COVID 19, not taking part in the 2021 virtual season. This left very few veteran members, and we spent the first few months redeveloping our entire team from scratch. Our business team was only managed by two team members, greatly limiting our fundraising and outreach potential. Furthermore, in the absence of the school’s annual in-person club fair, our member recruitment and retention levels were low. However, we took advantage of the pandemic model and began online classes to train new members. This adjustment was especially effective in improving team connectivity.
Our goals for the upcoming season involve continued recruitment and retention, which includes bringing new members to offseason competitions and increased team connectivity. Further, we aim to begin recruitment of new members in the spring rather than in the fall, so that we may utilize the summer to train up new members. We are also aiming to create a larger business team, thus improving our outreach and fundraising capabilities.
We hope you found our experiences informative and helpful. In case you have any questions about our robot, team, organization or more, feel free to to contact us! We anticipate sharing more about our advancements as we move closer to build season.
Website - https://whsrobotics.org/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/WWRobotics1757
Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIBET5BFj97t2WCr-tzr1VQ
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/wwrobotics1757
Facebook - Redirecting...
GitHub - Westwood Robotics · GitHub
CAD - Onshape
Written by Sean, Baili, Claire, Nolan, Luke, Divya, Ivan, and Steven (mentor)