FRC 8726 - CryptoHawks - 2022//2023 Build Blog

FRC 8726 - CryptoHawks is eager and excited to participate in the #openalliance this year, and we are honored to be in it! Based from Urbana High School, Ijamsville, Maryland.

Last year was our inaugural season, and we are hopeful and excited to follow it up with a strong sophomore year, after experiencing success at DCMP. We are a team of approximately 45, with about 35 members on technical and 10 members on non-technical. We meet 5 days a week, from 2:30-5:30pm.

This is our first full year in OA, as we joined towards the end of the last season so we will update links and sources as necessary.

To begin the blog, here is what we have worked on since the summer, especially since we have competed in two offseason events (BunnyBots hosted by FRC 449, andBattle O’ Baltimore hosted by FRC 1727). Of the two events, we were finalists in BunnyBots and Event Winners in Battle O’ Baltimore. We are proud to note that the robot used at BunnyBots was almost entirely constructed by new members, with minimal help from veterans, further growing and preparing them for the regular season and competition environment.

What We’ve Done Since

After BunnyBots, we decided to strengthen the foundation of our mechanical and programming team. For mechanical, we held multiple CAD workshops to introduce the basics of CAD to our build team in order to improve efficiency. Last year taught us that the basis for making a fully functional and efficient robot is to nail the design, materials, and mechanics down before we continue building in order to make sure that no design complications arise burning the manufacturing of parts, and the construction of the robot. These in-person CAD workshops would not only raise more awareness within the team about fully designing all parts of the robot before construction, but also bring importance to our design team.

In addition to the CAD workshops, our programming team has been working on improving not only our code for the subsystems on our BunnyBots robot, but they’ve also been working on bug fixes that could potentially mess with the robot as a whole. Our code last year was inefficient due to the constant bugs that had to be fixed while our robot was on the field, so ironing out the folds and creases in our robot’s code before running it through the robot has become something that we’re currently working on, and also intend to put forward as a priority throughout the next season and more to come.

We learned a lot throughout the offseason, including:

  • A lot more time and consideration went into the prototyping stage when compared to last season
  • Rather than just prototyping out a concept, students were heavily encouraged to make mechanical drawing on paper with set values
  • At the end of prototyping we also had detailed discussion on how the subsystems we chose would work together on the final robot
  • Had some slight trouble during the initial stages of building the robot due to having to compare each system mechanical drawings and confirming that their respective number checked out

We plan to utilize this, and what we have learned from experiences so far include:

  • That the extended design period was very beneficial in allowing the team to design solid, realistic, and applicable designs, however that it was close to being problematic in the teams overall schedule.
  • That mechanical drawings were drastically helpful in assuring that mechanisms would work within the confines of the competition’s and the robot’s restrictions and allowed for easier integration
  • Heavy focus on integration was very good for the team because it ensured that the end robot was reliable and worked well
  • Extended design team was helpful for team from a mechanical perspective but left the control team with little team, so we need to be careful in allotting such a time during an official season

More To Come!

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Public GitHub Depositories:

You’ll be able to find our public github repositories at Cryptohawks8726 · GitHub

As of now, our (untested and incomplete) swerve code can be found at GitHub - Cryptohawks8726/SwerveBase at dev, but as we are still finishing up electrical wiring for the practice swerve bot, we won’t be able to test it for a few days. Will Update once that is available.

Hello everyone; congrats on completing the first week of the FRC 2023 Season. Hope everything is going well for you all! We have been working on quite a few things over the last week, and we’d like to share our progress with you all.

Design
During our previous prototyping phases during our preseason and last year, much of our prototyping was done freely, with students coming up with ideas and testing concepts through the use of PVC prototypes, resulting in numerous prototypes to choose from. Yet, this resulted in time and resources being wasted, and also resulted in problems later in the construction of the robot with problems combining the designs we chose for the season. With the upcoming season, we decided to take a more organized approach to our prototyping process. Rather than letting the students immediately work with PVC and rough sketches, we researched a wide range and selection of mechanisms that could possibly fulfill this season’s tasks. After discussing the possible uses and the constructions of the mechanisms, we then examined which mechanisms would be the best use to us by cross-referencing them with a list of our objectives and goals this season along with weighing certain aspects of each on a point value scale. Through this process, we were able to whittle down the list of mechanisms to the ones we deemed the best for this year’s game and could fulfill the goals we looked to achieve. Presently, we are now designing the selected mechanisms through CAD, mechanical drawings, and PVC prototyping. With this approach to design, we found that it helped focus the direction of the design process compared to our more free and unorganized prototyping of the previous season. It seems to be accelerating our transition from designing to prototyping, and hopefully building. Along with this, this more focused and centralized design process also aided in integrating the subsystems together since the team is aware of what other mechanisms are going to be present in the robot and integration is being taken into account during the selection of the mechanisms.

Control
As we go through the season, control is currently trying to get all the supporting tools and frameworks set up for the season, since we can’t work on any subsystem code at the moment. We have team members working on the dashboard, pneumatics, swerve drive code, and support for adding color LEDs to the robot. Our focus on control this year is making sure our repositories are organized along with the commits and code. We are also working on making our code as modular as possible to improve code readability, performance, and organization.

As far as issues, we are currently facing quite a few issues calibrating and getting swerve drive code to run. We are working on moving diagonally, fixing drift, and getting the gyro to work with the system. We plan to fix these issues over the next week or so.

Business
This past week, the business sub-team started working on the official team business plan. The plan will essentially act as a team reference for important information regarding the financial state of the team, team demographics, structure, and more. Additionally, the business plan also contains a section known as the SWOT analysis, which stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.” We hope that organizing team information in the business plan will result in a more strategic approach in the future when it comes to financial decisions on the team. Currently, the goal for the official business plan is for it to be as detailed as possible, and will most likely exceed 10 pages once we have finalized it. However, in February we will be working on a condensed business plan that is submitted to the FRC judges for the Entrepreneurship Award; FRC business plans can not be longer than 4 pages, and as a result, we will need to reduce the plan to only the most critical information about the team.

Hi everyone, welcome to the end of week 2! There’s been a lot going on so far, and we’ve gotten a lot farther than we expected within the last 7 days. Here’s our progress so far:

Control
Since the season has begun, the control team has wrapped up our preseason projects and dedicated our full attention to robot code. Our main focuses are the current code for the swerve drive, code for individual sub-assemblies on the robot, getting AprilTags working, setting up pneumatics, and looking into path planning. While we have the majority of our swerve codebase functional, we are still hunting down a few bugs with encoder offsets not being saved properly and modules sporadically rotating 180 degrees. On the other hand, the code for the individual sub-assemblies on the robot, pneumatics, and AprilTags has been fairly smooth and consistent. We’ve just started testing code for individual sub-assemblies on prototypes, so hopefully, it won’t be much longer until we can start dedicating some time to focus on driver-assist features as well. We currently have led strips in the works to serve as indicators of the robot state and warnings, but the ultimate goal is to take as much cognitive load off the driver as we can via automating subsystem interactions.

Design
Throughout the past week, the mechanical team has continued and finalized their prototypes in preparation. Our biggest learning opportunities throughout this week have been designing with pneumatics and working around motors in our prototypes. Multiple of our prototypes utilize the mechanics of pneumatic pistons and within the design, members are learning more on how they can implement the use of pneumatic pistons and optimize them. Along with this, we have also learned more in designing around motors, such as problems concerning torque on the gearbox and preventing back drive in some cases using resistance techniques. In this season we also implemented a new method of prototyping using very similar competition materials in order to best simulate match conditions in certain cases. We found that while this is more consuming in resources and time due to manufacturing, it gives us greater insight into problems in the future including weight problems, integration issues, and gearing concerns.

Mechanical
Mechanical is in the process of prototyping some outlier ideas and making the game pieces, and since they finish tomorrow, I’ll update you guys on the progress then. Stay tuned, and have a good day, people.

Hello everyone,e here’s the Mechanical week-in-review promised yesterday.

After competing in Bunnybots, we felt more comfortable with the rookie’s handle on what an entire FRC Build season would look like. During this “training period,” students learned the basics of designing, prototyping, and robot schematics. This base knowledge greatly elevated the student’s ability to comprehend the 2022-23 FRC Challenge. We implemented a few new strategies that significantly improved our decision-making upon releasing this year’s challenge. These strategies included using decision matrixes, outlining robot goals, developing robot archetypes, etc. This phase aims to construct a combination of designs to maximize efficiency, simplicity, and match potential. After concluding on a design we wanted, we split the team into various subteams, each responsible for devising a prototype that served as a proof of concept for the overall subassembly. Each subteam was tasked with constructing its mechanism using PVC, 3D-printed fastenings, and wood. After the initial week of prototyping, the subteams then presented their proof of concepts and began constructing their final design for the subassembly in CAD. We are currently in the integration phase; CAD Models for each subassembly are all assembled on Onshape, allowing us to deal with sizing constraints and other issues. After this integration process, we will follow the blueprints made for us in CAD and fabricate the final subassembly.

This methodology of constructing our robot has led to a more organized and efficient build season. Going into our final build process, we aim to have the whole robot function leaving two whole weeks for our Control team to work on the robot exclusively. The planning and framework we have worked around for this year’s build season allow us to leave ample time for control to work on the robot, which is something we failed to do last season. Some things that we have noticed that have proved to be difficult are integrating new ideas after we have already concluded on a final robot design. For our Field intake, halfway through the prototyping timeline, we introduced a new plausible idea that we could explore. Although the idea was able to tag along as an addition to any prior design, we should’ve come up with the idea before finalization, as this could’ve potentially caused a lapse in our build timeline.

Thanks so much for sharing your progress so far! Do you have any videos of prototypes, or even pictures of some of your decision matrixes/robot goals you could include? Adding some pictures would probably help break up the “wall of text”. Would love to see if you were happy with any of your PVC prototyping! Always great to explore various cheap, quick ways to test ideas. Thanks!

Sorry, for the late reply: We can get images of our prototypes, and we have a document that we use for robot goals as well. We’ll do a total prototype wrap-up in this following week’s post before we talk about what happened specifically this week. Thank’s for the feedback!

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