FRC 6328 Mechanical Advantage 2020-2021 Build Thread

Alright, long time no see, we’re back!

Happy to say, thanks to Zoom, Slack, and Onshape…


2021, wow, who would have thought. Look at us now. Happy to say 6328 is going to be continuing this blog sharing with everyone the updates, progress, setbacks, and lessons we experience throughout the 2021 season! It’ll look a little different, we’re hoping to lean on the students to write a lot more of the blog posts and answer questions alongside the rest of the mentor team.

So where do we currently stand?
We’re currently operating about ~87% online, with the remaining in-person meetings happening at the shop a couple of days a week with a couple mentors and a few students all masked working at proper social distance requirements and following all local safety guidelines. We’ve continued our training for all sub-teams throughout the off-season online and are in a good place to hit the ground running come kickoff. It’s been a rough road, but in the end I’m proud of how the team has continued to stay motivated over the course of 2020.

Looking forward
So what’s next? We’re registered and looking forward to all the different competitions FIRST will be giving us on kickoff. We’ve set up a new student leadership team who will be tackling the different pieces. While we’ll likely focus a lot on the robot building side of things with this blog, we’re going to share all we can with y’all and are happy to get feedback and answer any questions!

When we locked the doors for the last time after the canceled season in March, the robot was prepped and getting ready for the Carleton event.

Here’s a link to the Onshape document with how the robot was configured for Northern CT.

We were about half way through working on an updated intake and were evaluating what other changes we needed to accomplish before heading to Greater Boston. Here’s a summary of some of the biggest issues we needed to address.

Issues from NCT
Intaking - We ran over the balls a lot, couldn’t get them into the hopper.

Climbing - It was slow and the arms wiggled like al dente spaghetti. (3)

Slow Hopper unloading - The hopped was inconsistent with more than 3 balls, the last two would always take longer to clear(if at all).

Getting shut down by defense - lack of practice(top left)… (4)

Lack of Driver Practice - This one kinda speaks for itself, we just ran out of time… (2)

We drove the wheels off it - Literally, we spun the hubs in the colsons…(this is the practice robot but the same thing happened on the comp bot) (1)

For some revision control, we made a new Onshape document for our Off-season changes we’ve made for the 2020 robot. Here’s a link to that.

We’re waiting until after kickoff to really start making some serious changes, but we’re moved forward a little with some incremental upgrades. Something we’re aiming to accomplish with this season is having the robot non-functional for the smallest amount of time possible. We really want to see the programming team and drive team get a lot of hours with the robot to practice, which is something we struggled with this past season.

The first major fix is making the robot drivable again. After a quick discussion, we decided to move from my beloved colson wheels, to a WCP Pneumatic wheel. In order to do this we had to switch over from 35# chain to 25# chain, respace all the items, and make new spacers. This was a relatively simple task, and thankfully when we initially did the c-c for the drivetrain we set it to a distance that would work for both 35# and 25#. We are slightly worried about not having enough drop in the center wheel, but inflating the center and deflating the outsides should hopefully be enough to eliminate any issues we run into. The final change/fix for the drivetrain was ordering up some new WCP Single Speed Flipped gearboxes to replace the ones we built ourselves last year. The ones that are coming out will go in the practice bot to replace the 3D printed ones.

Here’s a couple photos of the robot in its current status.

The intake and the hopper were pulled off for ease of access for everything, but will go back on after we reassemble the drivetrain.

After the robot is completely back together, we’ll continue along with the process of upgrading the intake.

Should have some more posts after kickoff!

Looking forward to a great year, stay safe everyone,