Week 1 Recap
3255 has had a very productive week 1, and has made us very optimistic about the rest of the season. I mentioned in the Kickoff Day Recap that we want to come up with a strategy, then design a robot around that strategy. The way we accomplished that is by creating a Musts/Wants list. We made a list of a bunch of things that we could design the robot to do (eg high hub scoring, climbing, fender shot, launch pad shot, 3 ball auto, floor pickup, etc) and categorized each task as either a must or a want. Additionally, each of the wants have a weight of 1 to 3. The items on this list are very high level, and are simply the basic tasks the robot will have to perform. We spent a large part of our week 1 meetings working on this list, because these are the requirements that will dictate the robot we end up designing.
The item that took the longest to decide on by far, was the turret (dedicated horizontal aiming). Initially, we had the turret down as a level 3 want, but the problem with that is that the decision to include a turret is an extremely impactful one, so having it as anything other that a must or a level 0 want doesn’t make much sense. (We have shooting from the terminal as a level 0 want: it’s something we would obviously like to do, but it’s not something we’re going to design the robot around). The turret decision was a difficult one, because including it would almost certainly make our robot better. It would allow us to have lower cycle times, shoot under defense more effectively, and potentially a higher scoring auto. The main argument against the turret is that it would take time. Time that could be used for drive practice. Would a robot with a turret being driven by students with a day of drive practice be higher scoring than a robot without a turret being driven by students with two days of drive practice? This question is impossible to answer, and everyone had a differing opinion. Ultimately, after all meaningful discussion dissolved to this question, we decided to just take a blind vote. We all put our heads down, raised our hands if we wanted a turret, had a mentor count the votes, and now the turret is a must on our list. We really won’t know if this was the right decision until we’re at comp, or at least very late in build season, so make sure to check back in a few weeks to find out.
Once we had finalized the Musts/Wants list, we could finally move on to thinking about the physical problems we would have to solve. We wrote down all the physical subsystems that robot would have, and all the physical requirements of that subsystem. Once everyone had a solid understanding on what each subsystem had to do, we split in to groups for each subsystem. Each group was assigned to come up with a few possible designs for that subsystem, and find examples of their ideas in past robots. We then came back together, and each group presented their findings, and their ideas for their subsystems. Then we formed two groups, each were to take the established subsystem designs, and pick one of each, to put on it on a complete robot. (This is still just all on whiteboards). The goal of this is to make sure that we won’t have any major packaging issues, and that the complete robot would still be functional. It also lets us weigh the pros and cons of certain styles of subsystems more accurately (eg over or through the bumper intake). Our two groups made essentially the same robot, so we all had essentially the same idea of what we wanted. This doesn’t mean the subsystems that we didn’t choose were just going to be scraped, we still have yet to prototype anything so we will still need to keep all the designs in mind in case one doesn’t pan out.
Now that we had a idea for our complete robot, we could finally get to prototyping. We just had two groups, one for shooter and one for the intake/transfer, but in just a few minutes we had a very successful intake prototype (the one in the Week 1 Recap video). This was actually just an old, unsuccessful Infinite Recharge intake laying around from the 2021 offseason, so we got fairly lucky that it worked as well as it did. That wrapped up our first week in build season! Check back here again in a week to see how the shooter prototyping went (spoiler: good).