FRC 5431 Titan Robotics - 2022 Build Thread

Welcome to 5431’s first build thread ever! Joining the #openalliance as well, we’re proud to represent Titan Robotics here on Chief Delphi and are eager to participate in this welcoming community! We also really like the idea of teams helping teams, which is why we joined the Open Alliance in the first place.

FRC 5431 has been running for 7 years out of Plano ISD’s Academy High School. We’ve made it to worlds a few times over these 7 years, especially with our always-excellent Chairman’s team! We’re also proud to be one of the organizers for NTX, an off-season competition hosted in North Texas.

We’re competing at Week 1 Waco and Week 4 Irving, see y’all there!

Relevant links:

Idk what else to put here, but thanks for checking us out anyway!

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We’re excited about Rapid React this year! Some interesting layout changes and elements from previous games spiced it up.

Kickoff initial thoughts

At the start of kickoff, our team’s initial thought on the game was that it seemed to combine similar game pieces in Infinite Recharge with the same shooting type mechanisms required to score game pieces. The climb, however, shows a striking resemblance to the 2013 game, with the triangular climbing structure in the center of the field. We feel as if our robot will look fairly similar to our robot last year, with a few modifications to incorporate the new game piece and new climb, but it will function very similar.

Some of the needs we discussed on day 1 of the reveal was the ability to shoot for the 2 point shot as well as be able to make it to the third rung (the high rung). Some of the strategies we discussed alongside the needs was our ability to shoot from almost anywhere on the field, especially from the two protection zones, but after further conversation we realized how inconsistent our shots would be and decided to shoot from directly under the center of the field.

For the climber, we went through a lot - and I mean a lot - of ideas, from dual elevator systems to rotating arms; we discussed a multitude of options, but opted for a simple but effective method that incorporates two stationary elevators (cad soon, once [editor] can get their hands on it). For our intake, we opted to use a similar design to 2020’s robot by utilizing a pivoting system to “flip out” the intake over the bumpers.

Week of Kickoff - January 15

This week, we have managed to fully assemble our swerve drive modules and assemble them to our v1 drive base. This will be the first time our team has used swerve drive, and we are all excited to see the opportunities it will provide in-game. On top of this, we have started manufacturing our intake and shooter and have just about finalized all of our designs. Just like most other teams, it’s been a while since we have had an actual competition season, so although our progress has been limited compared to our previous years, we are starting to crank our titan gears back on as we continue to prototype and build our robot for this competition season.

Alongside our climber designs, we have also been prototyping a few different hook options and landed on a pretty interesting design. This collapsible hook design (images/CAD soon as well) will enable our climber to shoot straight up not having to worry about latching onto the bar.

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What swerve modules are you using, are they COTS?

They are using SDS’s L2 MK4 Swerve Modules

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Using swerve for the first time during competition season is a hell of a choice but I’ve seen ya’ll do crazier. Good luck this season!

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Swerve Drive done?!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oGUd_eGZ1mMCxWdg9tnAYzqJbRO0Hkpy/view?usp=drivesdk

Next update on Saturday…

(Sorry I missed last week’s)

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Week 2 (late update)

Week 2 was a productive week. We finished our swerve drive base last week and we started to Mount and wire all of the electronics necessary to power the entire robot. We plan to finish the wiring of our v1 robot by next week.

Prototyping
5431 finished up some prototyping designs such as a small intake and hook design for our climber. This has allowed us to proceed with the designs and enabled us to finalize all of our designs for our v2 robot which will most likely be our competition bot. Our bot will utilize a flip our intake that spans almost the entire width of the bot that will feed into our indexer and fire out the other end where our shooter will be. This shooter is a very similar design to the one from last year and will incorporate a big flywheel that will propel the ball into the second hoop. Besides our main bot functions we also have pretty much finalized a climber design which will utilize two pivoting elevators and one stationary elevator to lift the robot up and enable us to hopefully make it to the traversal rung.

Week 2 Challenges that we overcame
Some of the challenges we have ran into designing this climber is the hooks that will sit on top of the elevator which one of our teams spent some time designing finalizing a prototype and testing it late this week. This design uses a spring and pivoting hooks to allow us to shoot the elevator straight up without having to worry about adjustments and realignment.

Goals
Next week we hope to finish up our v1 drive base so our drivers can get familiar with swerve, which is a very first for our team. Along with this we hope to build our v2 intake and start work on our climber.

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How to program the Swerve Drive robot Code?thanks.

Someone currently on the team can correct me if I’m wrong about anything but they are using the SDS swerve template since they are using the SDS’s L2 MK4 Swerve Modules.
You can take a look at the current robot code that 5431 has for this year’s robot

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Week 3: January 24 - January 29

This week we accomplished a lot. After finalizing our CAD design, we were able to fully assemble our shooter, intake, and almost finish our indexer. Along with this, we assembled our v2 drivebase (v1 robot) and mounted everything on top of it. Our electronics team got our v1 drivebase (v0 robot) up and running and our drivers got accustomed to the new swerve drive mechanics. Next week we hope to finish our v1 robot and start working on improvements.

Subteam updates

Programming: We mapped our buttons to the subsystem commands, and we successfully got swerve drive working after assigning motor IDs and tuning the encoders! We’re also trying to get the Novation Launchpad working as a button board (heavily inspired by 2714’s usage of the Launchpad in their 2019 game).

Marketing: We designed and produced several buttons for our competitions! We’re also preparing to work on pit designs next week.

Electronics: We discovered one of the CANcoders on the swerve drivebase was malfunctioning (took an entire practice to discover this by testing each CANcoder one by one), and we installed a new one. Unfortunately, with some testing of the swerve bot, we also found severe battery drainage simply by driving back and forth; more testing is required.

Outreach: We edited our Chairman’s documents for this year and updated several STEM and team statistics. Also, we reached out to FLL 54321 to schedule a demo date.

Scouting and Strategy: We went over last week’s Rules Quiz with people who missed several questions and also performed retakes. We also drew a rough draft of our proposed 2022 Scouting App to give to programming next week.

Climber prototype:

Shooter prototype:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KxlwsW5YPzwWGZpcYTe3VMB-MNJqHkq2/view

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Week 4-ish: January 31 - February 1

Unfortunately, this week was cut short due to the winter storm Thurs-Sat. In these two days, however, we got v1 robot very close to done building, and almost ready for electronics to wire the bot. We also studied the voltage issues with the v0 robot and concluded that PID on the drive motors would heavily reduce the voltage load.


Subteam updates

Programming: We went over the finished v1 CAD and added preliminary “first-pass” subsystem code based on the number of motors in each subsystem. In addition to helping test the voltage issues, a couple rookies helped SnS update the 2022 Scouting App. Finally, we made a pull request to SDS’ SwerveLib to hopefully officially expose the motors to allow for integrated PID of the Falcons.

Marketing: We made over 90% of the buttons for competition with programming rookies’ help, and we started work on the pit designs, with one of the themes being Titan Robotics Airline!

Electronics: We helped test the voltage issues, and rookies completed 4 more CANcoders. Next week, we’ll start work on the v1 bot.

Outreach: We completed most of the Chairman’s essay and are hoping to get it done by next week for peer review. We also released a Woodie Flowers mentor form to choose our next Woodie Flowers nominee!

SnS: We completed 95% of our new Scouting App and should be done by next week. Also, we did some lead/squad training and finished our Needs & Wants/Alliance wishlist.


Besides all that, we also hosted a parent meeting on Tuesday night to provide information about travel and give out forms for our upcoming competitions.

Some pictures of snow because why not:


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V1 Robot looking good! There’s only some minor electronics things left to such as cable management and IDing the motors. V1 should be driving around on Monday!!

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Week 5: February 7 - February 12

This week, we made a lot of progress on both the v1 and v2 bots, and we made advances in other areas of robotics. The hub got finished by our lovely robotics dads and we took a few test shots into it with our 2020 bot, and we selected our two Dean’s List nominees.


Subteam updates

Build: We got v1 built and sent off to electronics for wiring! We also started work on v2, spray painting its parts a nice navy blue and white. The drivetrain and shooter for v2 were completed. Also, we helped produce field parts with the big CNC.

Programming: We fixed the swerve drive’s PID issues (solved with open-loop ramping of the Talons), and this also fixed the voltage issues we were having. We also managed to fix the strange and inconsistent locking by adding this hacky fix :smiley: and got v2 prepped for ID’ing. Additionally, we switched from SmartDashboard to Shuffleboard, switched our Limelights to PhotonVision, filled out more of the subsystem code for v1, assembled a red and blue Romi, and cleaned the robot cart. We also tried switching from a navX gyro to an Analog Devices one, but we encountered several calibration and drift issues and had to revert to a navX gyro.

Marketing: We finished our season button quota with over 600 buttons produced! We also worked on pit design, including themed props, paint, and updated stand signs.

Electronics: Besides fixing the v0 voltage issues with programming, we finished the v1 belly pan and got it 99.99% wired, with every rookie getting soldering practice for the CANbus and just about ready to get ID’ed and some minor cable management performed. The battery kits also arrived today, so we’ll be having a battery boot camp next week to make new batteries for this season.

Outreach: We’ve been working on Chairman’s summaries, sheets, and scripts, and we got our Woodie Flowers award info submitted.

SnS: We planned out most of our Learn the Game Night, where there’ll be a chance to introduce the season’s game. Also, we downloaded the new Scouting App onto our tablets.


Forgot to mention, our new Scouting App can be found here: https://github.com/frc5431/ScoutingApp

Also, we fixed the pivot chain on our 2020 bot, Hyperion, and we added some rope to hopefully prevent future chain breaks from happening.

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A slight teaser of the V2 robot :eyes:

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Week 6: February 14 - February 19

We made some tremendous progress this week on both v1 and v2 bots! also Waco comp looms closer… less than 20 hours to go!


Subteam updates

Build: We disassembled v0 to put most of v2 together. Although our climber parts came a little late, most of them have arrived and we’ve put one part of our climber on v2. Also, after some issues with our intake, we’ve now started building our MkII intake. Next practice, we’ll finish up v2 and get comp-ready!

Programming: v1 gave us a lot of trouble this week… we tried to calibrate the steer wheels on v1 for the first half of this week, and we finally got it done on Thursday.

Steer wheel calibration issues

We were trying to calibrate our CANcoder offsets by lifting v1 up on wood blocks and letting the wheels free-spin. We used Phoenix Tuner to run each module’s drive motor to indicate the forward direction, and we turned the corresponding wheel to face forward. Then, we ran Self-Test Snapshot on each CANcoder after the wheel was facing forwards and obtained the Absolute Value of the CANcoder and put it in the offset of our code.

However, there were two major issues with this, as we later found out.

  1. The CANcoder was always being set to Boot_to_Zero mode after a reboot, meaning it would be extremely difficult to recalibrate after setting it on the field, for example. This was traced back to an error in the swerve-lib, where the CANcoder was always being set to Boot_to_Zero mode. This was fixed in a commit made in my fork.
  2. The CANcoder already had an offset, which was further augmenting our produced values and making our resulting offsets wholly incorrect. After setting each CANcoder to 0 offset in Phoenix Tuner before running Self-Test Snapshot, we were able to obtain correct offsets, but only after a few hours of trying v1.

Besides that, we finished assembling and drove around the Romis with the WPILib example code, and we mapped our subsystems to commands and buttons for v1.

Marketing: We finished our stand signs and sent out our Valentine’s Day posts. We also worked on our button holders and pit designs, as well as learned how to use various different cameras.

Electronics: We finished making most of the batteries for this season, and we worked on v2’s wiring and cable management.

Outreach: We organized and memorized our Chairman’s script and discussed our robot reveal night.

SnS: We memorized our Learn the Game night script and perfected our presentation. We also started our scouting schedule for Waco.

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Waco + so far

I forgot to do a Waco recap, so here it is:

  • Over 15 major components broke and subsequently got fixed before the next match, with much thanks to the Pit Crew!
  • Climber broke a lot, we couldn’t manage to get a traversal climb during any official match.
  • We helped 8710 Blum Bobcat Robotics with their programming, since their only programmer was out sick :frowning:
  • When climbing on the practice field, we fell due to our swinging and accidentally broke one of our swerve modules. Oops. In one of the matches we play, you can see us failing to drive around because we miscalibrated the replacement module.
  • We had a lot of connection issues, especially in the pits. Big thanks to the CSAs from 6377 for listening to our problems!
  • During qualification 75 and elimination 1, our bot shut down - the first match was due to a loose lug on the main breaker (double oops), and the second was likely due to something with the Rio.
  • Sadly, the FIRST website broke when we were submitting our Chairman’s documents, so it didn’t register as “submitted.” We weren’t able to compete for Chairman’s here, unfortunately.
  • However, we placed decently overall and managed to climb back up in the leaderboard on Saturday after our losses from Friday, and a lot of the rookies got competition experience in the stands and in the pits.
  • Also, we got the Spirit Award!


Since Waco, we went through several code upgrades and refined our climber some more. Spring Break was right after Waco, so although we did lose a week, we still made a lot of progress with our bot.

Subteam updates

Build: We’ve started prototyping a v2 climber, but it won’t go on until after Irving (because of the time it takes to test and code it). Also, we mounted the angler, fixed the intake coming out of the pivot, and are working on protective covers for our Falcons.

Programming: We switched out the navX on our bot to a Pigeon 2.0, which is much smoother. Then, we were able to get our aiming to work, especially with the angler and RPM automatically adjusting, all with the press of one button. So far, we’ve been cranking out auton, auton, and auton, trying to fiddle around using trial and error with PathPlanner.

Marketing: We painted a backdrop on the sponsor panel, touched up our decorations, and made a heck lot of buttons.

Electronics: We added a network switch to the robot, and we also added the Pigeon 2.0. We tried using the CANivore, but our bus length was too long and it didn’t detect any devices. Also, we switched out the Ethernet cables for newer and faster ones, and we did some cable management.

Outreach: We worked on updating our Chairman’s handout and tried to come up with more outreach ideas. We also started a sponsorship template email.

SnS: We updated our team data sheets to Irving and looked at Channelview matches. We also fixed a bug in our Scouting App where the up and down arrows for our counters wouldn’t work.


But in addition to our normal practices, we had several special practices after Waco to make up for lost time. The first was on Wednesday in Rockwall, where 1296 graciously lent us their full-sized field to test on (thanks!). There, we were able to get auto angler and shooter RPM adjustment based on distance from the hub, and we also tested the waters of PathPlanner. In addition, we were able to test our traversal climb again!

We also had other special practices over the weekend. Our build lead took the bot home for Saturday and Sunday, and a small crew of 4-7 people worked on it in his garage, getting the climber fixed and other miscellaneous issues, especially with the swerve drive.
In addition, 5417 allowed us to use their partial field because they have a high ceiling - we were able to completely tune the limelight there, and we even had a defensive battle against them! Thanks for the fun and field!

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Everything over the summer:

We did stuff.

Jokes aside, we did actually do a lot of reorganization of the team. On the managerial side, we reorganized the structure of some subteams and finally split programming into programming and electrical. We also worked on cleaning out the fab lab closet- this is what it looked like before:

We also worked on refurbishing our past years’ bots:

  • 2020: Hyperion: general motor upkeep, we replaced the wheel balancer motor as it had died
  • 2019: Astraeus: this was our only bot with pneumatics, and it was a pain. there were several leaks all over, and several motors had died and were replaced. we also found a random magnetic contact sensor on the arm elevator.
  • 2018: Ophidian: we took the nesting climber off to access the electronics, drove it around as a drivebase, and then returned the cliimber to its natural habitat.
  • 2017: Thrice: an alumni is re-cadding it.
  • 2016: Chronos: we got the motors replaced, but the pulley cord thingy for the intake still needs replacing as it wasn’t taut enough to overcome the friction of the ball.
  • 2015: New Bot on the Block, or retroactively renamed Alto: we don’t talk about it. (yet)
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Offseason Update #1
Weeks of 8/22, 8/29, and 9/12

This is a bigger update than will normally be - also, I’m trying out a new, less structured format for updates, some feedback would be nice! :slight_smile:

As the first update of the offseason, we launched our new school year with an amazing start! On 8/22, we introduced our rookies to the closet and finished inventorying items that we didn’t complete over the summer.

August 29th was our Career Day, where we gave presentations to all our rookies and introduced them to all of our subteams. Groups of ~8 people rotated around 5 stations to experience 20-minute introductory sessions to mechanical, technical, strategy, marketing, and outreach categories, and this was a success! At the end, we allowed them to preemptively choose a subteam and spend 30 minutes with them to get acquainted.



On Sept. 10th, our 2020 robot, Hyperion, threw the first pitch at a Frisco Roughriders game! We had a lot of fun there, and we thank them for hosting us!

Video:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DHecrb4Yo99L8zBf7ulrL8UB083bS4bM/view


Week of 9/12
We started teaching build rookies CAD, and veterans worked on Hermes - unfortunately, it looked like the angler servo on Hermes broke, so we couldn’t fix up Hermes. Electronics rookies learned about soldering and crimping, and they learned about the major electronics parts on the robot. Veterans from metalworking and electrical worked on a new motorized cart design and started crafting a prototype :eyes:

On the software side of things, rookies started learning Java through Codecademy PRO, offered for free through the Clever dashboard, which is proving a very handy resource and should be much more effective than last year’s programming curriculum slides. For the veterans, as well as rookies who knew Java, we reviewed the classes and file structure; and the whole group, with the help of a veteran’s dad who works at L3 Harris, learned about the command-based framework of WPILib and how the laptop and driver station communicate with the robot.

Finally, in the non-robot aspects of things, we did a bunch of rookie training. Marketing rookies started learning about Adobe Illustrator and Premiere, as well as digitizing button designs using Canva. SnS (Strategy and Scouting) rookies underwent Scouting 101, where they learned how to scout, including match gameplay and our scouting app. The scouting plans for NTX were finalized, and rookies practiced scouting matches on TBA. Last, but not least, SOFA (Sponsorships, Outreach, Fundraising, and Awards) rookies learned about various sponsors and events, as well as details surrounding the award submissions, including the Impact Award.

Overall, this week has had great learning potential for our rookies, and we’re excited to continue teaching as our offseason competition, NTX, approaches!

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