After a busy summer recruiting and cleaning our new shop at our Athens High School in Troy, Michigan, the Argonauts were quickly occupied with the training season. As most of our team are rookies we created a set of comprehensive training material, the first major decision we made as a team was to make sure that each student was involved with both sides of the team, meaning that students would join a subgroup on the business and engineering side.
Argonauts Build Blog Update!
It has been a long time coming, but we finally are releasing our first build blog! Be ready for 4 weeks of material in one post! As a rookie team there have been a lot of growing pains with getting a robot going, so the build blog has been on the back burner. As a mentor for the team Alec was finally able to set aside some time to update everyone on how we have been doing! One benefit of this team is that we have over 10 mentors that are FIRST Alumni so we are doing our best to prepare the students for what is to come during the build season.
On the day of Kickoff, the team was split into 4 subgroups where they all went through the game manual and read all of the rules (like every team does). After about 2 hours of manual reading and general robot discussion, the team came together as a large group to strategize. This is where we used our PPUT analysis spreadsheet so we can organize and prioritize what the team wants to do in this year’s game. Below shows the team’s PPUT analysis chart that they created and the very right shows the priority list that the team is using while designing the robot. After reviewing the game, we determined that there should only need to be 4 subsystems for Rapid React (we were predicting 5). These subgroups are Chassis, Intake, Shooter, and Climber. Each group then went and started reviewing some previous robot designs of other teams to see what general strategies they wanted to use for their systems. They made sure to talk with the other subteams to make sure that their ideas would integrate well and that there would be space on the robot.
The first week of the season, the teams made proposal presentations to share with the rest of the team. All subteams came up with 3 different concepts and created prototypes of their designs, if possible, to share with the team. With our lack of extra stock with being a rookie team, it was difficult to make any prototypes, so our initial designs that we created in CAD were made and then tweaked after testing. Our intake team put together Team 8728’s first ever prototype! Once the groups presented their ideas, the team voted on what they think the robot should do and look like. They decided on a west coast style tank drive, an over the bumper intake, a single flywheel shooter and a 2-armed elevator to get to the mid bar. After decisions were made, the design team went to work to start creating their respective subgroups’ designs and talked about integration.
The design team kept working hard with our Chassis and Intake teams leading the way. We had our chassis designed by Thursday of Week 2 so we were able to get those parts ordered quickly. The intake went through several iterations, but by the end of week 2 we had a completed system. The only thing left to do was designing the deployment of the intake. We also started constructing the field elements for the game. We built an Upper and Lower Hub that Alec did a bit of redesigning on so we could save some money. We also built the whole Climbing area so if we are ambitious as the weeks progress, we have the ability to go to the high or traversal bar.
After the intake was made, the next step was to create the indexer. There were several renditions of the indexer that went through different phases, but at the end of the day, they decided to use mecanum wheels to vector the ball to the middle of the robot before it reaches the indexer. This will allow the intake to be more secure and easier for the indexer to move the cargo to the shooter. A few members on the intake team have FTC experience, so this is where they learned the vectoring strategy. In Week 3 we also had some of our parts delivered and the organization of all our parts had to be done in addition to designing and building a robot. Organization of parts was a focus of several students for a few days during week 3 while we were waiting on the rest of the parts. At the very end of week 3, Alec took 4 students over to Lawrence Tech University where we did some waterjet work, CNC Milling, and Lathe work. This is when the students started to see a robot come to life. We fully machined our chassis, got our gearbox water-jetted and machined, and got several spacers and some shafts made for our drivetrain and intake. Our programming team got to work in week 3; they started working with ROMI robots to practice some driving code for our robot and our KoP chassis that was donated to us this summer. Special Shoutout to Tyler for having us on First Updates Now this week! We really enjoyed showing how a rookie team is doing in 2022.
Welcome to Robot Week! The Students were getting really excited this week now that some parts started to come together. The Chassis was built, our gearboxes were made, our bumpers were constructed, our intake was starting to come together (just waiting on 1 more part to fully assemble) and our shooter prototypes took shape. By the end of the week our shooter worked really well! (Shot 7 for 8). This was a very exciting week for the students and we can see them getting excited and ready to have a full robot!
So far as a rookie team, we, as mentors, are really proud of where the students are right now in the build season. We are doing our best to exceed the expectations of what a rookie team is expected to be. There are still 2 crucial weeks to go and our team is so excited to get to competition season! From now on, we should be able to do weekly build blog updates so stay tuned! If anyone has any questions about our robot design, design process or just our team in general, please reach out! Our students are looking forward to seeing you all on 2/15/2022 on First Updates Now! See you soon!
P.S. I wish CD didn’t have a restriction on pictures uploaded on a comment/thread for new CD members - @AlecP24 contributed to putting together this update, I’m just posting it for him cause of new member constraints. Thanks Alec!!