Week 2 Progress:
The CAD team is done with the majority of the robot, although the intake plan was completely redone halfway through the last week. The group of people busy prototyping different ideas took some inspiration for a much better way to accomplish the same task, except more efficiently. So, the intake is currently being completely redone to function similarly to the everybot’s intake. It will be able to pick up both game pieces, and dump them inside the robot for the arm to grab and score. This way, we won’t need to have any part of the intake resting on the floor, to better avoid having it be hit and broken during a match. The plan is to use a four bar linkage, so that the part of the intake with rollers will always stay parallel to the ground.
Since the main parts of the robot haven’t changed, certain pieces of the arm structure are currently being made. Using the mill & lathe, team members are manufacturing parts that will soon become the 2023 robot.
The build team is mainly focused on testing the suction cups attached to the arm, and how to assure the robot will function efficiently during every competition. The build team currently needs to figure out what to preload and score autonomously, since the robot currently can’t double-check that it has a cargo before scoring. However, all members of the build team are split between Build, CAD, Manufacturing, and Prototyping, so not much progress has been made to assemble the final robot quite yet.
After much work, the programming team has the swerve drive working and has moved onto trajectory following and vision tracking. For vision tracking, the team will be using the AprilTags for the first time, so there’s a learning curve. So far, the cameras have been able to recognize the AprilTags and output an estimated position, but there is still a lot of tuning to be done before competition, when the actual robot is up and running. Currently, the plan is to have the robot working with the odometry to get the most accurate position possible during the match. There has also been work done on the subsystems and the basic commands over the past week, as the team has many new people.
Running photo album - https://photos.app.goo.gl/dktrRJ2kWZNzs1CA9 sorted by week
At almost every competition that the team went to in 2022, many different teams commented on the bright pink coloring of our robot (Flamboyance), and had questions about what we used to achieve that color. Well, the answer is vinyl!
We used vinyl from uscutter.com and vinyl both our polycarbonate and metal parts, and it’s super easy to apply. One of the unsuspected advantages to vinyl over other coloring methods is it is also super easy (and not noticeable) to patch stuff at competition when the robot gets beat up.
For work holding, we roll a piece of tape to hold it to the table. Just slightly wet the face of the part you plan to vinyl with soapy water so you can make slight adjustments as you place the vinyl and make it easier to squeeze out bubbles. Use a card to smooth it down working from one side of the part to the other, peeling off the backing as you go so the vinyl doesn’t stick to other things. After the vinyl is stuck to the part, go back with an x-acto blade and clean up the edges and poke out any holes that are needed. The vinyl won’t be completely stuck to the part until the water evaporates so you are able to work bubbles out using a card, but we have been able to attach it to the robot even when the part is drying. Any small bubbles and patches are virtually unnoticeable on the robot since you are rarely close enough to see them.
We use the fluorescent outdoor vinyl because we are looking for our team color (neon pink), but there are regular colors as well so you should be able to find whatever color you want. We recommend using the outdoor vinyl because it doesn’t fade in the sun as quickly and it sticks in various temperatures and weather better so the robot doesn’t become a sad sticky mess when the robot is in the trailer and it’s over 100°F outside in Texas where we are.
We vinyl cut a silhouette of our robot to put on our trailer, which is parked in the shade, every year in the same pink vinyl we use on our robot (the brighter pink ones in the picture, the muted pink ones are from the company who wrapped our trailer) and they are still holding on well. You can see some fading on the ones from several years ago on one of the mentor’s cars who had the vinyl cutout robots on their car that was parked in the sun. Overall the vinyl is still holding on and hasn’t goo-ed up or started peeling or anything, and our trailer is parked outside all year, so the outdoor vinyl should easily last a season without issues
Pictures of vinyl application - https://photos.app.goo.gl/8N6S8tZ8iCwk6AP58